Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ten New Titles I’d Be Sharing if I was Still Teaching First Grade #pb10for10

As many of you know, I am not teaching first grade this year. But, if I were, here are 10 picture book titles I’d share for sure as soon as I could: (THIS WAS HARD TO CHOOSE JUST TEN):












It Takes a Team: Review of Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller

One of the things that was hardest about living in IL, over seven hours away from my parents and family, was missing some holiday get togethers because of the distance.

Thanksgiving was one of the holidays I missed for three years in a row. I have fond memories of my grandma’s kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. Grandpa’s carving the turkey; Grandma’s mashing the potatoes; mom is whipping up a salad; aunts are tearing apart the buns and putting them in a basket. It truly takes a family team to put together a fantastic feast.

Pat Zietlow Miller captures this team effort wonderfully in her September ’15 title, Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story. Told in a bouncing verse, the story follows a family as they make preparations for a Thanksgiving meal. From basting a turkey, to Grandpa cooking berries, to Grandma whipping up the top for a pumpkin pie, everyone has a hand in making this meal a success.

The book is set in nineteenth century America, but really, it’s not so different from family feasts today. The illustrations by Jill McElmurry give us a glimpse of the dress, style, and feel of life long ago. Though set in the past, young readers will see themselves in the story as they have probably helped with similar tasks in getting a Thanksgiving Day dinner ready.

After all of the preparations, the family gathers around the table to say grace, sharing the food the hands have worked so hard to put together. Smiles abound as the bread is broken. Pat Zietlow Miller captures what Thanksgiving is all about- gathering around with your family to give thanks.

You’ll want to add this title to your Thanksgiving collection. The story will make your heart as warm as the bowl of mashed potatoes on Grandma’s table.


Published by Random House books.

Memories In Each Step: Review of Lillian’s Right to Vote

While I was back at my small home town a few weeks ago, my father and I went on a walk. As we passed certain locations, landmarks, and houses in my small town, memories of growing up there flooded me. They came over me and gave me a warm feeling, because it reminded me of the love and joy I shared there as a child. I had a good life, and a bright future lies ahead.

Though my steps brought joy and great memories, the same could not be said for Lillian, who, in her old age, is on her way to vote. Lillian’s way to voting booth brings back painful memories. Painful memories of when her grandparents were sold as slaves. Painful memories of different periods through time when African Americans did not share the same rights as white people.

Painful memories of being able to vote— but, unfortunately, not being able to pass the test to qualify.

Lillian does not let any of these memories stop her. She marches onward to the voting booth and pulls the lever. The pulling of the lever is so meaningful to her. All of the hardships of her lifetime have led up to this moment- to finally being able to exercise her right to vote as an American citizen.


In Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans’ newest title, Lillian’s Right to Vote, we wonder how people could be so cruel. But all the way, we are cheering Lillian on as she heads to vote.

This book will not only give young readers the chance to reflect back on life before the Civil Rights movement, but also gives them the chance to appreciate their right to vote. It’s something that not everyone had, and it is something that certainly should not be taken for granted.

The endnotes offer deeper exploration into the struggles and celebrations people like Lillian faced in their lifetime, and allow us all to empathize with why voting— and rights, for that matter, are so important.