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Reason #4,554 that picture books are gold in an upper grade classroom. 

Recently, I introduced Narrative Elements and modeled each element using a picture book. 

Clovis Keeps His Cool is the PERFECT picture book to explicitly teach about character, setting and problem and solution. I mean a BULL in a CHINA SHOP! Can the creativity get any better ?!?

The quick deets of the lesson: Go over the definition of character, setting and problem/solution. Students write these definitions down in their journals. Then I share that I will be reading a picture book, and I want my students to be investigators for character, setting and problem/solution. After I read, we go back through the text looking for those elements. Students fill out their elements chart to refer back to once they start to become authors. 

Having students see INCREDIBLE writing allows for them to start thinking like writers. Its magic when I OPEN THE MAGIC! 

While Halloween may not be my favorite holiday, I do love holiday picture books. There is something sweet about a theme of books. I feel like it brings us closer together and gets that kids more excited about books, reading and the holiday. 

Each morning in October, during Morning Meeting, I read a Halloween picture book to Open the Magic. At the end of the week, we vote on which one we liked the best. Little did the kids know we will be practicing a RACE verbal response, as well. 

What is your favorite Halloween picture book? I love Crankenstein and the new Trick or Treat, Crankenstein by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dan Santat. This book always bring about great conversations about being cranky. The kids and I always learn something from these deep and informative discussions. 

Non- Fiction Reads are the best! They feed curious minds and new information is being learns through a unique format. 
You know the guy on Jeopardy said he learned most of what he knows from picture books. I think he is pretty smart, if I say so myself. ⁣

Picture Book > Textbook⁣

Here are some of my newer favorite non fiction reads to provide my 5th grade students confetti moments of curiosity. ⁣

The Great Stink⁣: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem
Teatime Around the World⁣
Nina: The Story of Nina Simone⁣
Gizmos, Gadgets, and Guitars: The Story of Leo Fender⁣
Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem⁣
Playing At The Border: Story of Yo-Yo Mama ⁣

Ps! Can we discuss how teaching how to punctuate titles last week has been super helpful punctuating picture book titles on Ramona Recommends. #reallifekids

Open The Magic,

*Amazon affiliate links were used in this post. This is no additional cost to you, but helps Ramona Recommends be able to purchase more books to recommend to YOU!

C.E.L.B.R.A.T.E National Open The Magic Day on September 25th. I created National Open The Magic Day to encourage parents, teachers, and students to find confetti moments all around them. Want to know more about this special day? I never knew my 3rd grade self would one day be a teacher and founder of National Open The Magic Day. 

What is a confetti moment? A confetti moment is when a child or adult reads a book and finds that special moment in a story that brings them great joy. I also wanted to give back to my community and share my love of picture books with everyone. Read more to find out all the things you need to know to make your Open the Magic Day experience a great one! 

I am featuring six books for Open the Magic Day. All of these books spoke to my heart. We all need hope right now. These books challenge us to be resilient. Click here to download a handout that has questions and activities for each book that you can use to celebrate Open the Magic Day!

THE BOOKS with a Confetti Moment:
 A Walk in The Words:  a story about the author's journey with Dyslexia.
I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience:  a story about how to be courageous in life.
Survivor Tree: a story about the Callery pear tree that was saved after 9/11.
Kindness is a King String: a story about how to spread kindness through similes and metaphors
What If, Pig?: a story about a pig's journey navigating anxiety.
A Friend Like You: a story about friendship. 

THE HANDOUT! This is so helpful for teachers and parents to support their readers during Open The Magic Day!

Want to celebrate on Friday, September 24th? Check out what Miss Hinshaw (that is me!) is doing in her classroom. In fact, the whole 5th grade is celebrating. 

The first confetti agenda item is taking a class picture with their favorite picture book.  

Next I teach my students and others the Open The Magic Day song. I have done this song with both 3rd and 5th graders and they love it. 

We have a picture book raffle of what books the students want to read next. This year I am thankful that Harper Kids donated What If, Pig? to four lucky 5th grade students. They will be able to take the book home and share it with their families.

All the confetti moments donuts! Each student will get a sprinkled donut which represents Confetti Moments. 

I planned a virtual author visit with the one and only Susan Verde! I am so excited. She will be reading her new book I Am Courage and talking to the students about mindfulness. 
Want to know how to set up a virtual author visit, click here!

I have a wonderful day planned for Saturday. I will be celebrating at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, CA.  I am thrilled that Marcie Colleen, the author of Survivor Tree, will be there with me signing copies of her new book at 11am pst. I will be celebrating with sprinkle donuts, book giveaways, and reading the featured books throughout the day. If you are in the area, please join us in celebrating. 

How are you celebrating National Open The Magic Day! Tell me ALL the things! Please fill out this Google Form to let us know how you plan to participate. There is also a certificate linked in the form to commemorate your participation in the inaugural National Open the Magic Day! You can print out the certificate and post in your classroom, child's bedroom, in the book nook, or the refrigerator door. Share how you are celebrating on all your social media outlets. Let's keep spreading the confetti.  Don't forget- use the hashtag #openthemagicday

One of the highlights of this experience has been my interaction with the authors, illustrators and publishers of these wonderful featured books. I had the pleasure of hosting a panel with many of the authors and illustrators. The picture above is a preview of the video that will go live on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8am EST on my You Tube Channel. It is linked here but won't be viewable until 8am EST on Saturday, Sept. 25. You won't want to miss this very special discussion. 

If you didn't get a chance to order your MAGIC WEAR for this year's celebration, you can still click here to go to my Magic Wear store and grab one of my new items. There are tshirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, mugs and hats. There are three sayings to choose from. These items are a wonderful way to show your love of picture books and all things reading. 

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement that helped make this day a reality. I am so excited to celebrate the joy of Open the Magic Day and to change the world one picture book at a time.You never know if that one book you read aloud to a child could be the one that makes them a reader. As you know Picture Books are my Jam so be sure to read a picture book on Saturday, Sept. 25 and every day!

Want to know more about this special day?

*amazon affiliate links were used in this blog post. Thank you for helping me get more picture books to share with you.

OPEN THE MAGIC DAY is Wednesday, September 25th. Think about all the confetti moments your students will have when you read them a picture book!

All I wanted was to be able to comprehend a book and not tell my mom, "I don't get it." -third grade me.⁣

I hated to read, but I LOVED books. I loved books because I saw them as prized treats that would make me smile as I learned about each character. ⁣

Sitting on the floor with my mom as a kid reading picture books is one of my greatest childhood memories. Reading was a forever in my home. My parents and teachers showed me all the magic that can come from good books even if someone else is reading the story. ⁣

You have students in your class who are desperately wanting to open the MAGIC in books. ⁣

Come celebrate OPEN THE MAGIC Day! This day is to celebrate read alouds, picture books, the love reading, and students who have struggled to find their reading voice. Be the teacher who says, "Open The Magic!".

I also want to bring awareness to "this picture book is recommended for K-2" when most picture books make kids and adults have all confetti moments. PICTURE BOOKS ARE FOR ALL AGES #even100yearolds

I have selected 3 different picture books that have sparked MAGIC in my heart to read on Open The Magic Day! Each of one of these books reminds me why I believe teaching social emotional standards is a must in the classroom. Our kids need to see themselves in literature and learn about others around them.  I hope you will choose one or all three to read to your students. Read one or three OR pick a book another... but just READ! :)

A Boy Like You: 
I am so thankful that I can share A Boy Like You. This masterpiece encompasses all of the perfect messages to send to the boys who sit in our classrooms everyday. THIS book is the perfect text to help teachers and parents find the right words when modeling self love.
Author: Frank Murphy
Illustartor: Kayla Harren
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press 

Zola's Elephant:
Do you ever plan something out and then something completely opposite happens? When I picked up Zola’s Elephant. I thought I was going to read about building friendships. But then as I was turning the pages I started to realize something. This book was chosen for me and my fifth graders. Raise your hand if you have ever speculated something but it wasn’t even true. Yep, I will admit that I over analyze, worry, and lead with my heart.  THIS book just taught me a life lesson and I am 35.  Sometimes you just gotta let life happen and if you want something, sometimes you have to go for it. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there and let the world see and hear your heart.  Think about your students could they learn something from Zola?
Author: Randall de Seve
Illustrator: Pamela Zagarenski
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

The Day You Begin:
This book needs to be in every classroom around the world. THIS book reiterates why using picture books with older kids is so powerful. This little gem celebrates the difference of people all around the world while tucking in lessons on diversity, imagery, and self-esteem. I don’t know about you, but those are some great topics for upper elementary. 
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: Rafael Lopez
Publisher: Penguin

Not sure what to do on Open The Magic Day?! Below are some suggestions to help you get started! If you have other ideas, come find me on instagram and share! @ramonarecommends 

Want to know more about how to get in touch with an author or illustrator? Read my free guide with tips and ideas to invite an author or illustrator into your virtual space.

Guess WHAT! New MAGIC WEAR is launching Sunday, August 11th at 8:30am! Stay tune for some really cute merch!

If you have any questions, please reach out! I love talking books, reading, and all the teachery things! Just don't forget to celebrate OPEN THE MAGIC DAY!

*amazon affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you for supporting Ramona Recommends!

One day this will be a picture book. One day a child will read my story and share a confetti moment. One day I hope you read my story and know you are making a difference for every student in your classroom. One day my life changed when I found my love for books.

Before I start, I want you the reader to know I share this because I want to help any person who can benefit from my story. This is hard to share, but I feel empowered to let you know that EVERY STUDENT CAN BE SOMEBODY!

Lets rewind and give a little background into my life. I grew up in a lovely home with two educated parents. My mom was a high school English teacher for 30 years. My father has been in business my whole life. I have two older sisters who skated through school with almost perfect GPAs. Yes, they had to study, but I had TO STUDY. School was always seen as a glorious entity that we all cherished. There was always talk of universities, careers, and the future. When I was in 2nd grade, I told my family at dinner one night, " I WOULD LIKE TO ANNOUNCE: I AM GOING TO BE A TEACHER!" Books sparkled all over our home in special places where I would leave them. I had models in my life who showed me books were magic. Weekly trips to Rakestraw Books, the yearly Scholastic Bookfair, and local libraries were my FAVORITES. My mom read picture book after picture book to me. A childhood favorite was The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs. We got different chapters books and I would painstakingly read them to her. Then she reread my disaster and we discussed what happened. Those times were so special to me! To this day my mom tells me, "It wasn't that you couldn't do it: you just needed time." These were my favorite times as a kid.... the times where books were involved.

I was never the first to tie my shoe, write my name, read fluently, or know my times tables. Strriiiiickkk I would read instead of correctly pronouncing the word stick.  Sometimes words looked totally different than what was on the page. My mom sat for hours helping me each night to get my homework done, and I cried and cried because I knew I was not like everyone else.  I told her "my brain just can't think. It is like it's empty". If I could get paid in books for how many times I said I was tired, my library would be triple. Of course I wasn't tired, but work was HARD! As a kid, I got pulled to go to the resource room to practice reading comprehension. It was in a very nice trailer next to the music and computer rooms. My resource teacher was a jolly man who went by Mr. T. I went to "this room" all the way until high school. Like most resource students, I had a battery of tests given to me over the years that pin pointed my challenges as dyslexia and an auditory processing disorder. On top of that, I liked donuts too much, and the baby weight never came off. Luckily, my social skills were off the charts.

One of my favorite stories from my testing career was when I was young. It is embarrassing, but we are best friends now, right?  I have to share it!

Tester: "Courtney, What stings?"
Little Courtney: "My Bottom"
a. I was being literal #genius b. the answer is bee

When I left "the room" I had many tutors for math and reading. I always had a positive attitude about learning. I did A LOT of memorizing to just to get through tests. My parents empowered all of us to have a positive mindset even when something was hard. Believe me, I wanted to give up many times! I had a teacher in high school who told my mom I was not smart. Can you imagine saying that to a parent now? The horror! Even typing it I get so mad! Luckily, I was taken out of her class and placed in another class where I had more support to work on my math skills.

Fast forward to college application time. Y'all, I had low self esteem and the only thing I wanted to tell the world was I got accepted into a 4 year university. The thought of saying I was going to a community college made me feel so small. I had nightmares over this starting the second day of junior year. I prayed with my family for the right answer. The answer came to apply to a small liberal arts college in Illinois. I followed God's direction and applied.

Two months later, I received an email that read, "You must have a full year of geometry before we can further review your application." My heart melted. I was so close to going to a four year university, but this road block kicked me to the ground. I cried and cried. I went and met with my counselor and explained the situation. FLASHBACK: Remember when I was taken out of that one class my junior year? YEP, it was geometry. As I was sitting in my counselors office, our angel assistant principal peaked her head out of her office. Long story short, this angel let me take the whole year of geometry in summer school.  I had a stellar teacher. He taught me all about proofs and every time I spelled angles wrong he never said I wasn't smart. #angels Just a teacher tip: if your student is dyslexic, pick a different battle if they spell angles like angels. At the end of that summer, I passed geometry and actually understood proofs! I was able to give my transcripts to the college of my dreams. Then the communication went silent. I mean SILENT! Until.... March 4th at 4:31. The house phone rang. On the other side was a nice lady who asked if Courtney was home. I replied and the next thing I knew I was going to a 4 year university. I WAS GOING TO COLLEGE!!!!!

"Presenting Courtney Hinshaw as she will be attending a 4 year university in the fall" a man in a dark suit announced at the National Charity League Senior Presents.  I was beaming! I mean beaming. In my heart, I had made it. I was going to college like everyone else in my circle of friends. I felt like an equal. As a teenager, this was huge.

One bright and early morning in August, we flew to St. Louis, Missouri where I embarked on my journey to college. I couldn't believe it! I was no longer the resource kid. The fight inside of me was burning, and I was ready to take this on the next four years with no problems. Welll..... life is funny isn't? Being away from home meant no family close by , a free range of food, and lonely nights. As much as I wanted to be a 4 year college student, I had to be true to myself. I had gained a ton of weight, I was not fitting in, classes were beyond hard, and my grandma passed away 2 days before my sophomore year. I remember calling my parents sobbing one night in November and saying, "I made a mistake." This is too hard and I need help. Y'all the tears were big! I have never felt this sad and alone. I had to come home. I was embarrassed, but I knew God had a plan for me. He always does. Right before Thanksgiving break, I packed my entire dorm room and shipped back 15 boxes that belonged to me.

Now if you do not know, I am an extreme planner. On the flight home, I was already thinking what to do. The local community college would be starting in January for their winter session. The next morning, I called and set up an appointment with a college counselor. I was ready to try again at a pace that was better for me. THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS OF MY LIFE. I attended the local community college for 2 years and had a hard, but rewarding experience. One story that sticks out the best in my mind is from my Math class. As you might remember math and I aren't the best of friends. In fact, reading and I get along better. Before I tell you this story, I literally had to tell my math tutor she couldn't go into labor until I went into my final. I needed her tutoring until the last possible second before my test.

Have you ever had a teacher who pushes you so hard, but in the end you learn more than you thought? Welcome to Mr. Summer's math class. If you did one step in the process wrong, the problem was wrong. My mom was even frustrated because she saw the tears build after every test that would come home with Ds. She reached out to a family friend for support, and the friend mentioned maybe college wasn't for me. I had over heard that conversation that night, and felt defeated. My mom totally disagreed, but the thought that this might be a reality, crushed me. Maybe she was right I thought to myself. That little light inside of me from all the years of my parents and teachers telling me YOU CAN DO IT made me keep shining.

I had to practice and practice and practice for every test. My parents and I laugh that we bought my tutor's entire designer bag collection. I had a tough time in class, but I learned. The final exam came (don't worry my tutor didn't go into labor until 2 days after the final) and I took in every question and gave my best effort. That night I received a call from the professor who shared with me I had received a B on the final. PRAISE ALL THE ANGELS!!!  Having the professor call me at home gave me all the confidence in the world to keep going. I had a wonderful rest of my time at the community college, and now it was time to decide where to transfer as I had finished almost all of my GED courses.

I called the University of Arizona home for the next 2 years where I received my degree in Elementary Education. During one of my first few weeks at UofA, I found Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco* at a local bookstore. As I read down the page, I saw myself. I saw this little girl who wanted to be like everyone else, but wasn't.When I found out this story was about Patricia Polacco, my very first confetti moment happened. I remember calling my mom and telling her everything was going to be alright!

SQUIRREL: As I was looking for something else on my computer tonight, I found this letter I had written to a friend in my cohort about what it was like to be me:
"I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and other learning disabilities when I was in third grade. I have struggled with school my whole life. I love school and work so hard, but sometimes it doesn't pay off. There are times when I am sitting in class and I am so confused because I can't process what the teacher is saying and write at the same time. Coming to the UofA has been one of my biggest accomplishments, and I can't believe I will be graduating in May. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me." -2008

On May 17th, 2008, I walked across stage as my entire family plus best friend watched from the audience. The Dean of Students from the College of Education announced not only my name but...

COURTNEY HINSHAW, College of Education, Magma Cum Laude
Courtney Hinshaw, BA Elementary Education

When you know your passion, do it! Education classes were my favorite. They were hard, but I was able to do it! I was able to share my love and insight into something that so greatly described me as a person.  

It was time to start looking for my first teaching job! I was fresh, excited, new, and ALL the things. There was an opening at where I student taught. My dad flew over and went shopping with me to get my first interview suit. Probably one of the best days of his life getting his youngest an interview suit. Want to know a little more about my opinion on dressing like a teacher? click here. I had an interview on a Tuesday at 4:20, and yes I still remember the time. Fun fact: that is actually a perk of someone who is dyslexic: our long term memory is stellar. I interviewed for the 4th grade position. Two days later, I received a phone call from my principal offering me the position. I accepted. I taught at this school for two years. This experience will forever be in my heart. The little girl in the picture is now in college and we still keep in my contact. While I enjoyed Arizona, it was time for me to come home to California. 

Since California was going through a recession, there were no jobs. Even though I told everybody I needed at least 5 years before I opened another textbook, I went and applied for my masters in Reading Education at California State University, Fullerton. It was time for me to give back. I wanted to learn how to help kids in reading and share my love of reading with elementary children. 

While I was getting my masters, is when RAMONA RECOMMENDS was born. On November 11th, 2013, I posted my first instagram photo on @ramonarecommends titled, "Welcome to Ramona Recommends".  I did not really know what I was doing in the beginning, but I did know how much I love children's literature. If you are interested in why it is called, Ramona Recommends hop on over  to read all about Ramona and Beezus.

As you can imagine, I was itching to get back into the classroom, but California had a different plan. Since there were no teaching jobs, I applied as an instructional assistant in a near by district. I was offered this position to work with 5th grade. While IAing, I worked on my masters, ran Ramona Recommends, and tried to stay positive about not having a teaching job. There is something to say for being humble when you use to teach and now you are fixing 1,001 paper jams on the daily. I have so much respect for instructional assistants because they work so hard! 

My master's was almost over, but here came the Composition Exam. Oh boy was I stressing!!! Luckily there was a class to prepare us, but I needed extra help. I did not want anyone to know. Again, even though I had come so far, I was still embarrassed and thought I wasn't smart. Each week in my last trimester of CSUF, I drove up to the Reading Center where I was tutored on how to take the exam and practiced sharing my knowledge. The tutor and I worked through each paragraph. It was really helpful. If you are unsure about a comps exam, it is a 2 hour test that you take on site about everything you learned from the program with no notes. Prior to this day, you also write a paper using books and research and turn it in the morning of the on site exam.  Examiners grade the essays and then you receive an email about 2 months later with test results. I will never forget April 16th.  I was sitting on the floor of Party City buying glasses for my upcoming graduation party when my phone dinged. 

The moment was here.... I opened the email and was elated when I read, YOU HAVE PASSED your Comps exam. I cried sitting there because it was another example that I was a READER. 

On May 19, 2012 I walked the across stage to hear:
Courtney Hinshaw, MS in Reading Education with a Reading Specialist Credential  

Continuing my story... I was still an IA running Ramona Recommends. I was getting super discouraged. Even though I had an opportunity to long term sub, I still did not have own classroom. I questioned daily if teaching was for me. It was a long four years, but then Jesus spoke to me. It was a Tuesday night, and I was bawling my eyes out in the old Open The Magic headquarters. My mom tried to reassure me something was going to happen. It was the end of August, and I had received no calls for interviews. The following morning, I was sound asleep and my phone rang. It was the office assistant of a brand new school in my district. Fast forward I had an interview that Saturday and was offered the job on the next day while I was shopping at Nordstrom. You can read all about that journey right here! When I got off the phone with my principal, I literally screamed and ran back into the bathroom to shout the news to my mom, sister, and baby Jayden. I quickly dialed my dad's number to share the good news! I finally had a teaching job after four years of praying and photo copying. Yes, I had Ramona Recommends but being teacher is where I was called. 

It is now February 23rd, 2019, and I want to share one last confetti moment with you. I am where I am today because I AM A READER. My name is Courtney Hinshaw, and I am a college graduate, a master's degree recipient, a reading specialist, owner of Ramona Recommends, a presenter, a 5th grade teacher in one of the best districts in the United States, and somebody who never gives up!

 Because I found the love of reading, kept fighting, had teachers who walked  this journey with me, and parents who gave me the world I can share my story. Now here is where I want you to read very carefully! Because of all the love and support I had from teachers, parents, and myself, I BECAME A READER! Looking back, I had so many GREAT teachers who told me to keep fighting and they HELPED me succeed in their class: Mrs. Greco, Mrs. Giguere, Mr. Hilts, Mrs. Abelmann, Mr. Amistead, and Professor Summers. It was not over night: in fact, it was over years of tears and practice. The rest of my story is because of the FIGHT. I would not be where I am today without MY STORY.
 This picture was taken in my fifth grade classroom 2 years ago. Meet Mrs. Abelmann, my 5th grade math teacher. She is now a children's literature author. 

As much as books were what I feared, I LOVED THEM. Picture Books are my Jam because they helped me know that words on a page can give you great joy. I can promise you all your students would love if you read them a picture book.

In closing, when people ask me what I want to do with Ramona Recommends I always laugh. I laugh because sometimes dreaming big scares me. I do not want to let myself or others down. When I first started Ramona Recommends, I did not know where it would go. For years, I would say it is a hobby because I didn’t want to fail. I downplayed it because I was nervous about what I was really doing. Yes, I know I was recommending books, but to me that wasn’t worthy of a side business title. The lies were big and got me. This all changed on December 23rd, as I was sitting in church listening to the song “You Say” by Lauren Diagle. A small voice whispered to me and said YOU ARE ENOUGH, MAKE IT HAPPEN. My mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. She doesn’t know this, but her fight has made me want to fight so hard to share my story.  She told me TO LIVE BIG and to be proud of everything I accomplish. I realize I have a BIG story to tell.

EVERY KID HAS A CHANCE to become a READER. While I do recommend picture books, it is much bigger than that. I recommend books to help promote the love of reading. Every kid deserves to find a book that will lead them to a confetti moment. Reading aloud should never stop. Library trips should never stop. Scholastic Bookfairs should be forever! Book store visits should never stop.Books bring hope and love. Books bring confidence. Books help kids become confident  caring readers who love books.

There is so much magic in my heart. Never give up on your students. Every single one has magic in their heart. Be the teacher who says, "Open The Magic!"


*amazon affiliate links used top photo: stephanieweberphotography.com
I love when other teachers recommend books that they think are special, unique, and will have the kids LOVING reading. I have teamed up with Scholastic to bring you a few BACK TO SCHOOL picture books that are perfect for building community and building laughs within your classroom. 


I truly believe in the statement above. EVERY kid deserves the right to read. It hurts my heart when I hear educators say, "But, I don't have time to do a read aloud". Teaching our students that reading for fun is a priority is a common goal that I share in my classroom. If we want our kids to read academically, we must first give them opportunities to see themselves as a reader. They will not love reading if all they do is annotate passages. Give them REAL BOOKS and allow them to dive head first and learn about themselves.

I share the following with my parents to highlight the value of Scholastic Books

"Dear Parents of Awesome Readers,
       This year, I hope all of my students will bask in the glory of good books. I am a true believe that readers get to go on many free vacations and learn more about themselves through the eyes of book characters.  Scholastic Book Clubs is one of my favorite companies that does so much to support school libraries and teachers. The prices of all the books are quite reasonable and they give many free books to classrooms. The more the kids order the more free books I get to hand select for my classroom. Reading is one of my favorite moments each day because I see my students grow as people and readers. "

If you only get 5 books in the month of September for your classroom, here is what I recommend! Please note I am looking at all of these books with a 5th grade lens. I will read these books during OPEN THE MAGIC and to facilitate content. I have linked all about the books for you to easily find on Scholastic's website.

Adam Rex
Why I LOVE: I thought about how many kids say they do not like school and how I can fix that. I think when something is new many kids turn to frustration before trying. This book gives great examples on how to overcome the uncomfortable. It is great to teach multiple perspectives. 

Ame Dyckman
Why I LOVE: ALL teachers need this book in their classrooms! ALL. So many times kids are misunderstood or given titles from previous teachers. Real Talk: This book gave me a wake up call. I promised myself this year, I was going to see every kid with a new beginning no matter what I have heard before. This goes for kids as well. All kids deserve a new chance with each other. This book will be in my first 10 picture book reads this year during OPEN THE MAGIC. 

Nick Seluk
Why I LOVE: I am always looking for informational texts for Science that will intrigue the students. This one is perfect for our 5th grade planet unit. The illustrations are fun, but it is chalked full of great information about the Sun and planets. 

Brad Meltzer
Why I LOVE: Here is another informational text that is rich with information, but in a fun and artist way. Kids learn from these books because they are kid friendly. There are many more books in this series- definitely one to have in the classroom for our Native American unit.

The Bad Seed- Jory John
Why I LOVE: I mean when you see Aaron and Jory...that is enough. Anything by these two authors I just love and so do the kids. Both of these are great back to school reads. I plan to use both of these books when I talk about "new year new you". Kids need reminders not only from their teachers and parents, but also from books that you always have the power to change. Both of these books would be perfect also for characterization and how a character's actions change over time.

Do you use Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom? If you don't, what are you waiting for?

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