Posts Tagged ‘video clip’

The Nature Of Monsters – Clare Clark

Posted on August 1st, 2012 by Teen contributor

Storytime Standouts’ teen contributor writes about young adult fiction title, The Nature of Monsters

Storytime Standouts' teen contributor writes about young adult fiction title, The Nature of MonstersThe Nature of Monsters – written by Clare Clark
Young Adult Fiction published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



In 1718 Eliza Tally arrives in London to work as a maid for an apothecary, a position arranged to protect the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why does her master want another maid when he already has one, a half-wit named Mary? And why is she never allowed to look her master in the face, or enter his study where he pursues his experiments? Soon Eliza realizes the nature of his obsession and must act to save the child, Mary, and herself.

Though not the most light and happy way to start off my summer reading, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the imagery in this book. It made me really feel that I was in that world. The whole novel is very descriptive, creating a dark and claustrophobic atmosphere. The story its self is haunting and scary, the author paints a very real picture of what London must have been like for the common people in the eighteenth century. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It has a different, mysterious plot line that would be enjoyed by fans of both the gothic and historical genres.

The Nature of Monsters at Amazon.com

The Nature of Monsters at Amazon.ca

Clare Clark @ 5×15 from 5×15 on Vimeo.


Good Dog, Carl – Checking Out a Classic Wordless Picture Book

Posted on June 18th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at wordless picture book Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

Storytime Standouts looks at Alexandra Day's first wordless picture book about Carl:  Good Dog, CarlGood Dog, Carl created by Alexandra Day
Almost wordless picture book published by Simon and Schuster



This immensely popular almost wordless picture book will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young mischief makers. When mother goes out for awhile, she asks her pet rottweiler, named Carl, to look after the sleeping baby.

Carl watches at the window as Mother leaves and then lowers the crib rail and waits patiently while Baby Madeline climbs onto his back. Carl provides loving care for the infant, bouncing her on Mother’s bed, playing dress up and meeting her at the bottom of the laundy shute. When the baby goes for a dip in the family fish tank, Carl is nearby, ensuring that she is swimming safely. Eventually Carl makes lunch for Madeline, returns her to her crib and tidies the house thoroughly before her unsuspecting mother returns home.

Once readers get over their shock at the idea of leaving an infant at home alone with a dog, they will enjoy the silliness alongside Carl’s gentle and devoted caregiving. Carl is utterly loveable and Baby Madeline is clearly having a grand time.

Good Dog, Carl is the first of seventeen wordless picture books about Carl and Madeline. Available in a variety of formats including board book and paperback, the hardcover measures 7.6 x 8.5 inches and is designed appropriately for small hands to grasp. Suitable for toddlers and preschool-age children.

Good Dog, Carl at Amazon.com

Good Dog, Carl at Amazon.ca

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Other Wordless Picture Books About Carl at Amazon.com

Other Wordless Picture Books About Carl at Amazon.ca



Wave – Wordless Picture Book

Posted on June 2nd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at a wordless picture book by Suzy Lee: Wave

Storytime Standouts looks at Wave, a wordless picture book by Suzy LeeWave – created by Suzy Lee
Wordless picture book published by Chronicle Books



It hardly seems right to attempt to capture the infectious spirit and joy of Suzy Lee’s Wave with mere words but I shall try.

When a young girl arrives at a beach, she is filled with enthusiasm and dashes forward, stopping just short of the beautiful, frothy blue water. She hesitates on the sand, pausing, leaning as she is drawn toward the ocean. Suddenly, the character of the water changes. Worried, she tentatively shifts backward, her steps mirrored by a group of friendly gulls. As the waves reverse and retreat, our young heroine stands on her tip toes and challenges the salty water. Before long, she leaps into the dancing waves, joyfully kicking and splashing until an enormous wave erupts. The powerful crest leaves her sodden but excited when it deposits a bounty of shells on the sandy beach.

Children and adults will revel in this playful, wordless celebration of a day at the beach.

Gorgeous illustrations were created with charcoal and watercolours. Suitable for all ages.

Wave was selected New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book 2008

Wave at Amazon.com

Wave at Amazon.ca

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books



I’m Here by Peter H. Reynolds helps kids understand those with ASD

Posted on April 2nd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at I'm Here by Peter H. Reynolds, a picture book that encourages children to embrace those with autism spectrum.I’m Here written by Peter H. Reynolds





You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Written with a goal of encouraging children and adults to reach out, embrace, and appreciate children in the autism spectrum as well as anyone who is different from ourselves, I’m Here suggests that young readers rethink their ideas about a child who prefers solitude or who is not skillful at social interactions.

At recess, a young boy sits, by himself. The loud, playground voices are too much for him, I hear it all like one big noise. A big drum. Boom. Boom. Boom Boom.

Sitting away from the crowd he feels the touch of the wind, notices a floating leaf. When a piece of paper lands near him, he knows, This is not where the paper wants to be.” He folds the paper into an airplane and launches it heavenward. Soon, the young boy is flying in the plane, exhuberant at the adventure.

A thoughtful, metaphorical picture book, I’m Here explores themes of friendship and acceptance and encourages children to look for opportunities to smile and be a friend.

I’m Here at Amazon.com

I’m Here at Amazon.ca

April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day

The Juice Box Bully – anti bullying picture book that works with older kids

Posted on February 28th, 2012 by Jody


The Juice Box Bully - Anti Bullying Picture Book that Works for Middle GradesThe Juice Box Bully; Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others written by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy and illustrated by Kim Shaw
Published by Ferne Press | Nelson Publishing and Marketing LLC



Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Teaching a grade four/five class means that you have to find a balance between capturing their attention but not “babying” them. They are intermediates and want to be treated as such. I don’t think there’s an age limit on picture books; if there is, I’ve personally surpassed it and I’m okay with that. Some of the best messages children will ever get come from picture books and kids truly enjoy them. I read a book tonight that I think strikes the balance between giving an appropriate kid friendly message while appealing to the intermediate audience. The Juice Box Bully; Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others talks about being a bystander, or rather, not being a bystander. The kids in Mr. Peltzer’s class have all made a promise to their teacher, and each other, that they will not bully and they will not allow others to be bullied.

This month especially, with Pink Shirt Day (Bullying Awareness Day) being tomorrow, we focus on what bullying is, how to prevent it, and how to stand up against it. Being a bystander means that you are not involved in the bullying but you witness it. Research has shown that all three groups, the bully, the victim, and the bystander/witness have long term emotional repercusions from the bullying experience. It is not easy for kids to witness bullying, particularly if it is a friend being bullied.

The charming part of The Juice Box Bully is that the entire class agrees to stand by each other. The new student, Pete, has been bullied before and figures that if he intimidates others first, he’ll be safer. The students continuously invite Pete to be a part of their classroom family, even when his behavior does not warrant the invitation. A “juice box incident” leads one student, Ruby, to forget her class promise and she insists that she will make life at his new school hard for Pete, now that he’s upset her. Her classmates tell Ruby that they will not let her fall into that trap; they will not let her bully Pete through isolation or rumors. Likewise, they insist that they will not allow Pete to continue to harass their friend. Pete is humbled by the fact that the other students stood up for him, even though he had been cruel.

The Juice Box Bully shares a powerful message of what it can be like if kids stood together to reach a goal or make a difference. It’s a great connection to the story of two boys who really did band together and make a difference. David Shepherd and Travis Price took action against bullies when they organized a protest with students wearing pink shirts to stand up for another student who had been bullied because he wore pink. They chose not to be bystanders, but upstanders.

Social media and the internet have added a new facet to bullying, but the message from The Juice Box Bully still applies; make a promise, work together, and do your part to stop bullying. To find out more about Pink Shirt Day, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca.

Add this anti bullying picture book to your bookshelf

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to0 Stand Up For Others at Amazon.com

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others at Amazon.ca


The publisher offers a free printable The Juice Box Bully Resource Kit

Christmas Picture Books – Carolyn’s List of Favourites

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


I can’t imagine the Christmas holidays without our special collection of Christmas picture books. Earlier this month, Jody shared her favourites. I have finally put together my own post. Jody and I both love The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham and read it on Christmas Eve. I decided to write about a different version of the poem and mention that reading the same text with different illustrations is great for youngsters. It encourages taking a thoughtful look at the illustrations and making comparisons.

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.

Jan Brett's The Night Before Christmas is one christmas picture book recommended by Storytime StandoutsThe Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
Christmas picture book published by Putnam Juvenile

This version of the classic Christmas poem is filled to the brim with wonderful extras. Each beautiful two-page spread is framed with details that might otherwise never be seen. As reindeer are prancing and pawing on the roof, we get a glimpse of some special tree ornaments, Santa Claus appears in the fireplace and anxious Pa quickly descends the stairs.

Fans of Jan Brett’s work will want to visit her website and discover an abundance of printables including coloring sheets and cards.

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at Amazon.ca


The Polar Express is one christmas picture book recommended by Storytime StandoutsThe Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Christmas picture book published by Houghton Mifflin

Long before The Polar Express was made into a movie, it was a Caldecott Award winning Christmas picture book. When a friend says, “There is no Santa,” a young boy hopes desperately that his friend is incorrect. On Christmas Eve, he goes to bed and listens intently for the sound of sleigh bells. He does not hear sleigh bells but rather hissing and clanging. He looks out his bedroom window and is amazed to see an enormous train, waiting outside his house.

A magical story, The Polar Express will encourage children and adults to believe in the magic of Christmas.

The Polar Express at Amazon.com

The Polar Express at Amazon.ca

Christmas Picture Books – Jody’s List of Holiday Favourites

Posted on December 8th, 2011 by Jody


Christmas Picture Books - Jody's List of Holiday Favourites Check Them Out!

Christmas picture books are in a class of their own.
At home, we always keep our Christmas picture books separate from the rest of the piles. We pull them out in late November and tuck them away at the end of the season with all of the other decorations. Just like when we unwrap each ornament that has been packed away for a year, pulling out each story is equally exciting. We forget which ones we have over the year or which new ones we may have purchased at the end of the season and stored away. Over the years, we’ve read many different Christmas tales, but some stay with you throughout the season and beyond.



The Night Before Christmas illustration by Christian Birmingham





Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here .






Here are some of my favourite Christmas picture books…

image of cover art for The Night Before Christmas The Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Christmas picture book published by Running Press Kids

The classic tale that we all know; I love reading this every Christmas Eve. It makes me think of my mom, who recites the words along with me as I read because she knows it by heart. I love that the wonderment of Christmas is displayed through an adult’s eyes.

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Christian Birmingham at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Christian Birmingham at Amazon.ca


image of cover art for Are You Grumpy Santa!Are you Grumpy Santa? by Gregg & Evan Spiridellis
Christmas Picture Book published by Disney-Hyperion

This is, hands down, one of the cutest Christmas books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Just like anyone else, Santa can only take so much and finally becomes grumpy when nothing goes his way. The rhyme and the pictures are great. It never fails to amuse me, regardless of how many times I read it.

Are You Grumpy Santa? at Amazon.com

Are Your Grumpy Santa? At Amazon.ca


image of cover art for Queen of ChristmasQueen of Christmas by Mary Engelbreit
Christmas picture book published by HarperCollins

I have always enjoyed Mary Engelbreit’s illustrations. I often buy calendars with her pictures because they are sweet and have nice phrases on them. I purchased this book a few years ago and the illustrations are beautiful. It’s the story of a young girl who is working hard to finish her incredibly long Christmas list before Christmas Eve. Of course, in the end, she learns it’s not what’s on the list that counts. When I purchased this book, it came with a paper doll and clothes, which my children love as much as the book.

Queen of Christmas at Amazon.com

Queen of Christmas at Amazon.ca


image of cover art for Christmas Around the WorldChristmas Around the World by Chuck Fischer
Christmas Pop Up Book published by Little, Brown and Company

My mom gave me this book a couple years ago. You are never too old for a good pop up book. Just this morning, my youngest opened one of the pages and said, “Wow! Mommy, look at this Christmassy page!” Featuring a number of different countries, it includes pull outs, interesting facts, and beautiful images.

Christmas Around the World: A Pop Up Book at Amazon.com

Christmas Around the World: A Pop Up Book at Amazon.ca



image of cover art for Snowmen at NightSnowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Snowman Picture Book published by Harcourt

The illustrations in this story are very fun. It’s a favourite with my classroom kids, who like to imagine what a snowman could possibly do when no one is looking!

Snowmen at Night at Amazon.com

Snowmen at Night at Amazon.ca

image of cover art for Olivia Helps with ChristmasOlivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
Christmas Picture Book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

I can’t help but love every Olivia book and pairing her with my favourite holiday is just a bonus. As they wait for Santa to finally arrive, Olivia finds many ways to help her mom. My favourite part is when she makes a special mini Christmas tree “centre piece”.

Olivia Helps with Christmas at Amazon.com

Olivia Helps with Christmas at Amazon.ca


image of cover art for How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Christmas Picture Book published by Random House Books for Young Readers

I love the rhyme, the characters, and I absolutely love when the Grinch’s heart grows! It’s such a cute and fun story. I’m very glad that my kids are no longer scared of it!

Grinch Printables from Seussville.com

How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Amazon.com

How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Amazon.ca


Aside from reading to my own children, I love the joy my students get from these picture books. Though we teach differently in the intermediate grades, there is no age, or grade, limit for enjoying these stories.


The Butterfly Circus – view it and rethink disability and stereotypes

Posted on December 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Set during the Great Depression, The Butterfly Circus encourages viewers to rethink disability, stereotypes and assumptions.

The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph

When Mendez, a showman from the renowned Butterfly Circus discovers a limbless man being exploited at a carnival sideshow, the showman sees ability and courage rather than disability. He sees a magnificant man.

A multi award-winning short film, The Butterfly Circus will soon be made into a full-length, feature film.

The Butterfly Circus – HD from The Butterfly Circus on Vimeo.

The Butterfly Circus
Directed by: Joshua Weigel
Written by: Joshua Weigel & Rebekah Weigel
Produced by: Joshua Weigel, Rebekah Weigel & Angie Alvarez
Starring: Eduardo Verastegui (Bella, Chasing Papi), Nick Vujicic (Life Without Limbs) & Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer, Hellboy)

Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton

Posted on November 24th, 2011 by Jody


Storytime Standouts' guest contributor recommends middle grade fiction,  The Secret World of Og by Pierre BertonThe Secret World of Og written by Pierre Berton
Middle grade fiction published by McClelland & Stewart





Many of you might remember this tale as one of your own childhood favorites; I do. It’s been delightful to learn that this fun adventure story continues to entertain and engage audiences.

It’s the tale of four children, Penny, Pamela, Peter, and Paul who they affectionately call Pollywog. They love to make believe and a trip through the floor of their playhouse leads them on an amazing journey to a place called Og.

Between the adorable humor and the endearing characters, the tale stays with you. When I read it to my daughter this summer, I had fond memories of reading it when I was only a bit older than her. My student teacher asked if she could read it aloud to our class because it had been a favourite of hers. The students are loving it and creating vivid comic strips that highlight the best parts of the book. We decided to do a bulletin board to display the comics and many of the adults at our school commented on how much they loved the book when they were little. It is simply one of those classics that any generation can relate to and enjoy.

The four children, each with their own unique personality traits, discover a hidden world under their playhouse, filled with all of the toys, clothes, and random items they thought they had lost over the years. They find themselves surrounded by small green people who only speak one word: “Og”.

The children soon find out that the people of Og can use real words, but their style of speech resembles the comic books that the kids love. Somewhere along the way, the kids have left books out in the yard that have made their way down to Og. The result is a bunch of Og people living a parallel life to the four children. They all enjoy comics, make believe, and dressing up.

Some of my favourite parts of the book include the Pollywog’s continuous jailbreaks, Earless Osdick (the cat that thinks it’s a dog) being mistaken at the Og market as a rabbit, and Peter disguising himself as a little green man.

Published in 1961, it represents the meaning of “timeless tale”. If you haven’t read it before, or even if you have, it is worth the read.

The Secret World of Og at Amazon.com

The Secret World of Og at Amazon.ca

Check out this 1991 Front Page Challenge episode with Pierre Berton and his daughter, Patsy talking about the 30th anniversary of the book. Patsy illustrated the original version of The Secret World of Og.

Spectacular Christmas Pop-Up Book: 12 Days of Christmas

Posted on November 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts reviews and outstanding Christmas pop-up book The 12 Days of ChristmasLast evening my nine year old son and I snuggled up and shared an incredible Christmas pop-up book, The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition by Robert Sabuda. I was somewhat familiar with Mr. Sabuda’s artistry but this book is truly extraordinary. My son was enthralled and first called, “Daddy, Daddy, You’ve got to see this!” and then, “I have to take this to ‘share’ at school!”

The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition created by Robert Sabuda
Christmas pop-up book published by Little Simon



Truly a spectactular pop up book, The 12 Days of Christmas is a visual delight from beginning to end. Gorgeous, mainly white, paper cut outs of a partridge, turtle doves, french hens, include a music box, scissors and a snow globe. The final spread, which includes a lit Christmas tree, is fabulous.

Mr. Sabuda’s website is well worth a visit as he provides detailed instructions for ‘simple’ pops ups you can make.

The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration at Amazon.com

The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.



A Fresh Look at a Frog Prince – Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince)

Posted on November 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Kiss Me I'm a Prince written by Heather McLeod and illustrated by Brooke KerriganKiss Me! (I’m and Prince!) written by Heather McLeod and illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
Picture book published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside





When young Ella chances upon a talking frog, she is not altogether sure that kissing his puckered froggy lips is a good idea. For Ella, the idea of a talking frog is much more appealing than the prospect of kissing him and turning him into a boring frog prince. Ella is a fan of play – she likes basketball, swimming and Simon Says. Ella’s reluctance to kiss her new froggy friend means that he has a chance to enjoy traditional childhood games and to behave in some ways that are not at all royal. Eventually, representatives of the palace arrive. The royal frog is returned to a life of fencing and studying but not before Ella’s ideas have made a lasting impression. The frog negotiates with his parents for more playtime before returning to ask Ella for a magical kiss so he can join the neighbourhood baseball team.

An enjoyable read aloud for children aged four and up, Kiss Me! (I’m and Prince!) provides many opportunities for children to make predictions and also invites comparisons with other versions of The Frog Prince.

Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince) at Amazon.com

Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!) at Amazon.ca

Christmas Baking with Kids – Remember to Add a Pinch of “Love”

Posted on November 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Cooking and baking with kids is worth the mess

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen will inspire you to spend time baking with children over the holidaysKids in the Holiday Kitchen written by Jessica Strand and Tammy Massman-Johnson with photographs by James Baigrie
Cookbook highlighting Baking with Kids published by Chronicle Books



This is a wonderful time of year to engage young children in baking and cooking. Although messy at times, baking with kids and preparing yummy treats to share with others will create memories to last a lifetime – for you and your children. I remember creating sticky and lopsided gingerbread houses with my young boys. I think they ate more of the “decorations” than they actually managed to attach to the houses! Another year, we helped Grandma bake cookies because she was recovering from a stroke and couldn’t manage by herself. The kitchen was a disaster afterwards but the laughter, memories and delicious goodies more than compensated.

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen is a fun holiday book that is sure to inspire you and your children. Offering recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts as well as craft ideas, the photographs will have you reaching for cookie cutters, rolling pins and icing sugar.

Meet the authors and hear about the book on YouTube

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving at Amazon.com

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas printables – You will find our Christmas songs, rhymes and fingerplays here, Christmas interlined paper here and Christmas words with pictures here.



Canada’s Highway of Heroes – a picture book tribute by Kathy Stinson

Posted on November 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at Kathy Stinson's Highway of Heroes picture book.Highway of Heroes by Kathy Stinson
Picture book published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside



A solemn forward by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk affirms that Kathy Stinson’s Highway of Heroes is a fitting tribute to Canada’s fallen heroes and the route they travel from Canadian Forces Base Trenton to Toronto, Ontario.

Highway of Heroes is a fictional account of one young boy’s trip as he and his mom accompany his father’s remains from the CFB Trenton tarmac to the coroner’s office in Toronto. The boy is surprised to discover, All the people – on all the bridges – are there because of his dad. A hero.

Dramatic photos depict the journey of the convoy and the crowds standing and waiting to honour a fallen soldier.

While dealing with a solemn topic, the text encourages young readers to appreciate and echo the respect shown by Canadians who choose to go to the Highway of Heroes and and honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

32 pages, suitable for children aged five and up

Endnotes include The Story of the Highway, Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan, Ways to Honour Those Who Are Killed or Wounded In Service to Their Country.

Highway of Heroes Teachers’ Guide in PDF form

Highway of Heroes at Amazon.com

Highway of Heroes at Amazon.ca



Ruby’s Wish is a Gem With an Important Message for Girls

Posted on November 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Ruby's Wish is a Gem With an Important Message for GirlsRuby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sockie Blackall
Picture book published by Chronicle Books



Many years ago, Ruby lived with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in a huge house in a city in China. At that time, girls did not typically have a chance to go to school but Ruby was fortunate. In her household, because there were many children, a teacher came and taught all the boys. Unlike her girl cousins, Ruby did not want to be married; she wanted to go to university. Each day, Ruby worked hard to study with the boys in addition to learning all of the household skills expected of girls.

Ruby’s Wish is beautifully illustrated and lovingly told. Based on a true story, Ruby’s Wish will be enjoyed by children five years and up.

Ruby’s Wish at Amazon.com

Ruby’s Wish at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.



Picture Books to Help Children Deal with Challenges –

Posted on October 29th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.

As parents and teachers, there are many moments when we must help our children to deal with challenges. These books deal with important information and themes. A well written book can often be enormously helpful. Today, I would like to introduce you to a number of picture books that may assist you to guide your children.


Picture Books to Help Children Deal with Challenges Including AutismThe Friendship Puzzle: Helping Kids Learn About Accepting and Including Kids With Autism Written by Julie L. Coe, inspired by Jennifer Maloni, and illustrated by Sondra L. Brassel
Published by Larsian Publishing, Inc.

When Mackenzie meets a new boy in her class, she tries to be his friend but he seems a little different. At recess, Dylan spends alot of time on the swings and, although he apparently wants to play soccer with his classmates, he does not seem to know how to join in and play.

Dylan is bothered by the noise in the cafeteria and he sometimes waves his hands and makes noises. Mackenzie decides to find out how to be Dylan’s friend. She learns that Dylan ‘doesn’t have a lot of words and that it is hard for him to tell people he wants to play or be friends.’

In addition to telling the story of Dylan and Mackenzie, The Friendship Puzzle includes discussion questions and suggested activities. The authors also remind readers that it is important to praise children who reach out to and are inclusive of others.


The Friendship Puzzle: Helping Kids Learn About Accepting and Including Kids with Autism at Amazon.com

The Friendship Puzzle: Helping Kids Learn About Accepting and Including Kids With Autism at Amazon.ca


Picture Books to Help Children Deal with Challenges Including Difficulty ReadingMiss Little’s Gift (Douglas Wood and Jim Burke)– Douglas is in grade two and he doesn’t like to sit still. He interrupts his teacher; he has problems with reading and on the playground. He is very resistant to staying after school in order to get extra help but Miss Little is firm and determined. She finds a book to match his interests, she encourages him and she gives him just enough help. Miss Little’s Gift is a celebration of the difference a wonderful, caring teacher can make.



Miss Little’s Gift at Amazon.com

Miss Little’s Gift at Amazon.ca


Picture Books to Help Children Deal with Challenges Including Mobility ProblemsAll Kinds of Friends, Even Green (Ellen B. Senisi)– Here we accompany Moses on a school day. When he is given an assignment to write about friends, he carefully considers all of his friends and all the fun things he does with them. Ultimately, he decides to write about an iguana named Zaki whose toes were poisoned by mites. Moses likes Zaki because ‘she figures out how to get where she wants to be in different ways.’ Moses understands that friends may be different on the outside but may be very much alike on the inside.


All Kinds of Friends, Even Green! at Amazon.com

All Kinds of Friends, Even Green! at Amazon.ca


Twists in Measle and the Wrathmonk Will Engage Reluctant Readers

Posted on October 27th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Measle and the Wrathmonk will appeal to reluctant readersMeasle and the Wrathmonk written by Ian Ogilvy
Chapter book for middle grade and reluctant readers published by Oxford University Press





Measle and the Wrathmonk is one of my new favourite chapter book series for middle grade readers. Ten year old Measle lives a deplorable life. He is hungry most of the time, he is fifthy and lives in a wretched house with a menacing guardian. He has been told that his parents were killed by a snake but Measle is unconvinced and hopes he will be reunited one day.

Although the set up of Measle and the Wrathmonk seems all too familiar (orphaned child, deplorable conditions), Ogilvy creates unexpected and exciting twists and turns that are sure to engage young readers. Measle is a winner and well worth trying with reluctant readers. Additional books in the series include Measle and the Dragodon, Measle and the Mallockee.

Lexile Level – 900L

Measle and the Wrathmonk at Amazon.com

Measle and the Wrathmonk at Amazon.ca

Visit our page about reluctant readers for more information.


3 Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Three familiar tales are given ingenious ‘make overs.’ Readers are sure to enjoy comparing these terrific picture books with the traditional stories that inspired them.

Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books by Storytime Standouts includes Three Little Fish
The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark written by Ken Geist and illustrated by Julia Gorton
Picture book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic

When Mama Fish sends Jim, Tim and Kim off to make their homes in the deep blue sea, a Big, Bad Shark is watching. It is not long before he knocks at a door and roars, “Little Fish, Little Fish, let me come in.” A really delightful addition to a picture book collection, youngsters will enjoy chiming in when the Little Fish replies, “Not by the skin of my finny, fin, fin!” Bold, bright illustrations complement this clever adaptation and ensure a very happy ending.

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark at Amazon.com

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark at Amazon.ca


Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books by Storytime Standouts includes Clancy with the Puck
Clancy With the Puck written and illustrated by Chris Mizzoni
Picture book published by Raincoast Books

Just as Casey could hit a baseball, Clancy is a star when it comes to hockey. When Clancy Cooke joins the Hogtown Maple Buds, hopes are raised for a Stanley Cup win. Alas, in the final moments of a playoff game, when Clancy takes a penalty shot, “The puck deflected off the post, like a comet to the sky. The Buds had lost the Stanley Cup – and the fans went home to cry.” A sure winner, especially for hockey fans and those familiar with the classic story of Casey at the Bat.

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.com

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.ca


Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books by Storytime Standouts includes The Three Snow Bears
The Three Snow Bears written and illustrated by Jan Brett
Picture book published by Putnam Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin Books

When Baby Bear’s soup is too hot and burns his mouth, he and his snow bear family leave their igloo and go for a stroll. Meanwhile, Aloo-ki is searching for her sled dogs. She happens upon the bear family’s igloo and is soon inside, tasting soup, trying on boots and sleeping in Baby Bear’s “just right” bed. Beautifully illustrated, this is a truly inspired adaption of Goldilocks’ story.

The Three Snow Bears at Amazon.com

The Three Snow Bears at Amazon.ca



Getting Ready to Read and Beginning to Read, Week Two

Posted on September 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Week Two of Getting Ready to Read and Beginning to Read at Steveston Community Centre, Fall 2011

In Getting Ready to Read this week, we talked about letter “G”. As adults, we know that “G” can make two different sounds. The sound we hear in garden, gate, go, green, gloves, glue is referred to as the hard “G” sound. This is the “G” sound we talked about in class.

As the children move ahead with reading, they will learn that “G” also makes the sound we hear in gym, giraffe, gem, giant. This sound is referred to as the soft “G” sound. We are not going to confuse the children by introducing the soft “G” sound at this stage. When they are ready to learn about the soft “G” sound, you will want to know that “G” usually makes the hard sound when it is followed by “A” (gate), “O” (go), “U” (gum) or a consonant (great). It usually makes the soft “G” sound when followed by “E” (gem), “I” (giant) or “Y” (gym).

Week two of our community centre programsOur story this week was Honk! – The Story of a Prima Swanerina written by Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrated by Henry Cole.

Honk!: The Story of a Prima Swanerina at Amazon.com

Honk!: The Story of a Prima Swanerina at Amazon.ca





In Beginning to Read this week we talked about the “et” word family (bet, get, jet, let, met, net, pet, set, wet). Our tricky word was “quiet.”

Our theme was Bathtime and we played a fishing game – fishing for rubber ducks (each had one of our word family words on it). Our story was Once Upon a Bathtime by Vi Hughes and illustrated by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin.

For more bathtime fun, check out our free downloads

image of PDF icon  Bathtime Chants

Add actions to these fun chants for bathtime. A free printable for home and preschool.

I love using word families with beginning readers. If you wish, you can download and print off more word family materials for your child here.

Once Upon A Bathtime at Amazon.com

Once Upon a Bathtime at Amazon.ca


The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell – Discover Ways to Help Teen Readers

Posted on September 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Do you share my concerns about inspiring preteen and teen readers?

Storytime Standouts looks at suggestions for inspiring preteen and teen readers from The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell The Reading Zone written by Nancie Atwell
Professional teaching/parenting resource about teen readers published by Scholastic



Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to enjoy reading Nancie Atwell’s The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers.

I am always interested to read and hear leading educators suggest ways to ensure that children, preteens and teens become “Skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers” because for so many teen readers this does not happen. Ms. Atwell’s approach to reading reading is practical and passionate. She reminds all parents of teens that everyone has reading homework and there is no more important homework than reading.

She identifies the key ways a teen reading ‘class’ can be transformed into a teen reading ‘zone.’ She also discusses the three categories of book difficulty: Holidays, Challenges and Just Rights. Her chapters on teen reading include Choice, Ease, Comprehension, Booktalking, Boys, Commmunicating with Parents and High School. The book’s appendix lists How to Create a National Reading Zone.

This is a book that every parent of a preteen or teen reader and most teachers should read. It is both informative and inspiring.

Link to the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine

The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers at Amazon.com

The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers at Amazon.ca

Meet Nancie Atwell in The Reading Zone



Middle Grade Readers Travel Through Time to the London Blitz

Posted on September 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve put aside the picture books and early chapter books and read two interesting books for middle grade readers that feature time travel. Suggested for children in grades six through nine, also referred to as middle grade readers, I have some reservations about the age range but enjoyed each of the books thoroughly.

Storytime Standouts looks at London Calling by Edward BloorLondon Calling written by Edward Bloor
Middle Grade Fiction published by Alfred A. Knopf





In London Calling by Edward Bloor, the central character is a seventh grade student at a private school in New Jersey. Hating school and disconnected from his family, Martin is sleeping his life away. When his grandmother dies, he is bequeathed a beautiful Philco Deluxe Art Deco radio. After he “started sleeping with the radio on … A boy – small,thin, dressed in mud-brown clothes – leaned out from behind the radio and whispered, “Johnny, will you help me?”.

At first fearful of the recurrent dream, through research, Martin confirms that his nighttime visitor is transporting him to 1940 London. Soon his directionless days become purposeful as he works to research dates, places and identities. Repeated visits to the wartorn city help him to understand how he can “help.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and particularly the portions set in the London Blitz. Having said that, I was disappointed by the following exchange,

I keep it hidden under my bed.” she smiled devilishly. “Perhaps you should check under there.”
The General stared at her dumbly. Then he smiled back, slowly, acknowledging the joke. “Uh-huh. Sounds like I’d better.”

As much as I enjoyed the book, I’m just not sure some of the nuances will have meaning for middle grade readers aged 12, 13, 14. Is an allusion like this appropriate or necessary for a book intended for children in grades six through nine?

London Calling at Amazon.com

London Calling at Amazon.ca



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