MRA 2015 Picturebook Presentation Slides & Booklist

Last week, I attended one of my favorite conferences – the Annual Michigan Reading Association Conference. On Sunday afternoon I presented a session titled “Examining Illustration/Text Relationships in Picturebooks for Classroom Selection and Discussion”.

Here is the link my powerpoint slides (posted on slideshare): 

One of the great things about presenting so close to home was that meant I could bring two large bags of picturebooks to the presentation for attendees to read and explore. Because it wasn’t possible for me to share everything that I brought, I created a list of everything I brought with me on google docs.

You can also copy and paste the following address to get to the booklist:

Thank you to all who attended!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading…

Be sure to check out the fabulous teachmentortexts to see what others are reading!

This week I read:

Homer written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

The calm and steady character of Homer the dog are integrated into every aspect of this book; from a simple yet meaningful text to gorgeous water color illustrations. Framed, single-page spreads show Homer’s vantage point from the porch throughout the day. Occasional double-page spreads with full bleeds “speak” for Homer without needing text. This is a dog who is completely satisfied with his life.

House Held Up By Trees written by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen

I reread this book in preparation for a discussion about realistic fiction in my children’s literature course this week. Kooser’s prose is beautifully written and the accompanying illustrations showcase a variety of points of view. The color palate is subtle and is a great example of green representing life, even when it seems it may not go on.

Grandpa Green written and illustrated by Lane Smith

I’ve read this book many times and was not disappointed on this reread. The students in my children’s literature course are also reading (and rereading) it in preparation for our first class discussion and their first papers. I’m always struck by the intricacies of the illustrations and the different ways that I think about the grandson and his grandfather.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

This story has not disappointed. Schlitz’s ability to weave together magic, history, social class, and mystery create a tale that engaged me from the first page. She gives enough information to bring me in without making things predictable. I’m looking forward to finishing off the last few chapters tonight!

This coming week:

I’m still working on No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, it’s next on my tbr stack. I also picked up The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater at the library yesterday. I’ve not read any of her books, but she is going to be at our local independent bookstore this coming friday and I’m planning on taking my daughter. I was hoping to get her newest, The Raven Boys, but it was checked out.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

I’m working on creating a “school-year” reading routine for myself. During the summer months I have some more flexibility and don’t need to be quite as plan-full. Thankfully, our local library had some great new books to get me started!

Remember to check out Teach Mentor Texts to see what others have been reading!

What I read last week:

The Hueys in The New Sweater written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers is a genius – both as a storyteller and illustrator. When we talk about picture books in my children’s literature course, I want the students to understand the role of brevity – both in text and illustration – and this is fantastic example.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combination story by Monica Brown illustrations by Sara Palacios

This thoughtful story about a young girl who is a “creative, unique, bilingual, Peruvian-Scottish-American, soccer-playing artist” is published with both english and spanish text. I love the potential discussions that could follow a reading of this about identity, how we define ourselves, and diversity.

The Obstinate Pen written and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer

Funny story about a pen that people just don’t want to listen to, when a young boy finally does some wonderful things happen.

The Insomniacs written by Karina Wolf illustrated by The Brothers Hilts

I loved this quirky story about a family who is adjusting to moving across multiple time zones and finding a rhythm that works for them. As someone who struggles with insomnia, it is refreshing to read – and see – it set in a positive “light”. (I know it’s a bad pun, couldn’t help myself.)

Isabella’s Garden written by Glenda Millard and illustrated by Rebecca Cool

Rich, vibrant illustrations accompany this sweet add-on story in the style of “the House the Jack Built”. This is particularly close to my heart because I was able to see some of the original artwork at an exhibit in Sydney, Australia over the summer.

What I’m reading now

Same Sun Here by Silas House & Neela Vaswani

So far I’m loving the dual voices in this book about pen pals from New York City and Kentucky.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

This week I read:

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu – I won this in a twitter giveaway by @WaldenPondPress, my eldest daughter (6th grade) had just finished it and said, “Mom you HAVE to read this, next, don’t wait!” She was right, I loved it; particularly all of the intertextual references to Narnia, Wrinkle in Time, When You Reach Me, and various fairy tales.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger – This picture book is absolutely stunning. I will definitely be using it as one of the examples of this genre in future children’s literature courses. The use of colors to contrast the various greens and cutouts draw the reader in visually. The varied use of language to describe the color is beyond brilliant. (can you tell how much I love this by my overused adjectives – it really is THAT amazing, go get it NOW if you can!)

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee – Another stunning example of a picture book. The illustrations and the text work beautifully together. The are lovely and lyrical on their own, but together they are amazing. Frazee uses sequencing to enhance the story and the text is an excellent example of how brevity adds to a story. I will be purchasing this one for my shelf soon!

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia – This was a reread for me because the students in my children’s literature course were reading, writing and discussing it this week. It’s the first time I’ve used it in class and wanted to refresh my memory. The writing – particularly of the characters – were just as wonderful the second time through.

This week I’ll be reading:

Also recommended by daughter #1, I’m going to start Divergent by Veronica Roth. I don’t anticipate being able to finish it because of my other reading which includes papers about One Crazy Summer and 27 Language Arts Lesson Plans. Even at the end of the semester, I still read every word of what my students submit and give them some sort of feedback. If I want them to give me thoughtful consideration, than they deserve it back.


27 Language Arts Lesson Plans to be read and given comments - I figured they deserved a photo too!

When Blue Met Egg

Blue wakes up one morning and discovers a strange looking Egg in her nest. Blue decides that they should look for Egg’s mother and so begins an journey throughout New York City. When Egg’s family can’t be found, Blue decides to care for it and keep on looking. Spring brings changes and things momentarily look bleak, but Blue’s optimism wins in the end.

I picked up and read this book for the first time yesterday and am so taken with it. I reread it at least four times last night and again this morning and am going to try and put into words what it is that I find so endearing. Here is my list so far:

  • The color palate is a calming, subtle and beautiful. As I sat here thinking about how to describe it, I realized that the color palate is similar to An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston & Sylvia Long, making me wonder if Ward selected her palate from colors of actual eggs.

  • A whimsical pink and purple hat emphasizes Blue’s character but doesn’t detract from the overall illustrations (or color palate)
  • I made my first visit to New York City 3 years ago and fell in love. The obsessive, I can’t wait to go back, watch any movie with NYC in it kind of love. The end papers immediately drew me to NYC as the setting with small “telescope views” of the different sites Blue & Egg visit – all connected with Blue’s footprints of course. I also appreciated that each of the sites are labeled in the end papers, allowing me to confirm the locations that Blue & Egg visited on their journey if I wanted to.
  • I’ve heard and read about the idea that a city, particularly New York City, is often more of a character than a setting. I got that sense from this book as well, I love the three page spread of the Brooklyn Bridge to show the spanse and the view of the city.
  • Ward’s use of different papers and the layering of the papers creates a lovely dimension to the illustrations. I appreciate that in the illustrations of skylines, the different papers (math homework, grading book, scantron forms) give each building a unique character in a subtle and unique way. It reminds me of the feeling I get when I look at an actual skyline; at first glance buildings may seem very similar, but closer look reveals that each has unique features and character.
  • Blue is a delightful character. I appreciate her positive outlook and persistance to keep looking for Egg’s family. She has a relaxed, yet focused matter-of-fact nature.
    • “Blue knew they wouldn’t make it in time if she tried to carry Egg, so she decided they would do what anyone would: take the subway uptown.”
  • Blue clearly enjoys life – I only need to look at her eyes, beak and wings to get a sense of the emotions she feels. A favorite example is the illustration of Blue & Egg iceskating, sledding and making snow birds together.

I’ll be rereading this book multiple times – definitely with my daughters and my undergraduate students – and I am confident that I will be able to add to this list of things that I appreciate and love about this story.

Lindsay Ward’s Blog:
Lindsay Ward’s Website:
Interview with Lindsey over on 7-Imp:

When Blue Met Egg
Written & Illustrated by Lindsay Ward
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3718-1
Received from publisher at MSU Children’s Literature Team office.