Postcard from Planet Esme|
by Esmé Codell
Planet Esmé (www.planetesme.com)
Even Punctuation Gets a Vacation!
Enjoy Your Summer with Children's Books
All those X-marks on the calendar have added up, and the days are winding down...what better way to reward yourself for another year well done than with a splurge at the bookstore? This month's top recommendation can be used even before that last bell rings, making the remaining school days pass all the more pleasantly.
Punctuation Takes a Vacation
by Robin Pulver
illustrated by Lynne Rowe Reed
published by Holiday House
Poor Mr. Wright plods along, trying to teach about punctuation marks, but when the frustrated teacher suggests "Let's give punctuation a vacation," the underappreciated notations take him up on it, hopping a plane and leaving the class in a lurch. It turns out that writing is so hard to understand without those funny dots and dashes! When postcards arrive with cryptic signatures, can Mr. Wright's students (and yours) figure out who each one is from? Leave it to clever Robin Pulver to take something as pedestrian as the period at the end of a sentence and infuse it with her signature zing. This attractive, funny book earns exclamation points all the way, and is a teacher's dream come true, easy to modify for many grade levels. For instance, overheads of the illustrations will bring grammar lessons to life (unscramble the badly behaved punctuation in Mr. Rongo's room!), and children will love preparing their own punctuation postcards for a trip abroad to the bulletin board! Also, use this book to introduce the idea of postcards, and give each child an envelope pre-addressed to you at school so they can have fun mailing you a summer update! If you do this school-wide, you can use all the letters to create one heck of a "welcome back" bulletin board as well, to remind everyone of recent fun in the sun!
Speaking of, when you pack those sunglasses and beach towel, don't forget to throw in a summer read; finding great intermediate fiction that is perfect to share with kids is something that may have you looking forward to September (blasphemy to say in June, I know, but trust me here!):
- Capp Street Carnival by Sandra Dutton
- Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara O'Connor
- Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
- Mind Games by Jean Marie Grunwell
- Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng (they say she's the next J.K. Rowling! What do you think?)
- A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (gripping historical fiction!)
- Spiderwick Chronicles: Book 1, the Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi (of Caldecott fame!) and Holly Black
- Spitting Image by Shutta Crum
And if you don't have any big summer vacations planned, you can still count on books to still take you and your students on some amazing trips:
- Destination: Unexpected edited by Donald Gallo (short stories by ten great authors, including Newbery winner Richard Peck and National Book Award winner Kimberly Willis Holt! Great for end-of-the year read-alouds for older kids, too!)
- Made You Look by Diane Roberts (zany road trip, great summer recommendation for your reluctant readers as well)
- Rodzina by Karen Cushman
- Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay
- To the Edge of the World by Michele Torrey (inspired by the travels of Magellan, fun journal form!)
- Where I'd Like to Be by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Be forewarned: the page-turning nature of these hot brand new summer picks may make these precious days seem to pass all the more quickly. And whatever you do, don't take a vacation from the Gazette...check back next month for more cool summer reading, literally coming to you from the air-conditioned comfort of the movie theater (year-round teachers, have I got an idea for you)! Till then ...
Happy reading always,
Esme Raji Codell
PlanetEsme.com: A Wonderful World of Children's Literature!
Also of interest:
The summer is the perfect time to surf...the Internet!
Looking for great books and activities to keep kids reading
all summer long? Help is just a mouse-click away! Cut and paste these on-line
resources on to your end-of-school letter to help parents help their children!
This amazing site will help your family set your own reading
goals and choose or create exciting rewards. This site also recommends books
that will help your child achieve those goals and even allows you (or your child's
teacher) to track your child's progress!
A great site for kids! Participate in polls, read reviews
written by other kids, solve word scrambles, link to authors and find stellar
book suggestions to boot!
An Aladdin's cave of crafts that go along with your
favorite children's books!
Revel in the latest research about the miraculous effects of
read-aloud, the key to reading achievement at all grade levels!
Not sure what to read next? Check out reviews of the latest
and greatest children's books! All titles posted are teacher tested and
The Write Stuff
It's natural to encourage kids to read over the summer to help them stay
out of a slump, but the writing component is just as important. Send them home
with a journal full of story-starters that you'll find at the site featuring
books for future authors and illustrators,
Additionally, there are ten pieces of advice waiting for aspiring authors at
For a printable version of this article click here.
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