The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright and Chris Chatterton

Life is a series of challenges, even for children. Learning to deal with those challenges constructively can have a positive influence on a child’s life.

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is The Worrysaurus, written by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Chris Chatterton.

About the Book:

The Worrysaurus is about a young dinosaur who wakes up and plans a blissful day. Everything is going as planned until worries start to creep in. Did he have enough to eat? Would he get lost? Suddenly, he was scared. A storm was coming, said a lizard. Worrysaurus didn’t know what to do. In his mind, everything went dark, until he finds a way to chase the worrying thoughts away.

Writing Exercise:

Worrysaurus is overcome by his fears until he remembers something that made him that helps him let go. The writing challenge for the week is to write about a time you were really worried about something and how you recovered.

Happy Writing!

Grace and Box by Kim Howard and Megan Lötter

Imagination is the essence of childhood. From imaginary friends to turning blocks into castles and legos into battleships, children have the ability to transform a mundane world into something special.

The Picture Book of the Week is Grace and Box, written by Kim Howard and illustrated by Megan Lötter.

About the Book:

When her family gets a new refrigerator, Grace doesn’t just get a new toy, she gets a new friend. Box, the box the refrigerator came in, becomes, in Grace’s imagination, something new every day. Monday, it’s a rocket. Tuesday, it’s a home. Wednesday, it’s a tent, and on and on. Box can be anything, until one day it starts to show signs of wear. Grace works hard to mend Box, but Box just isn’t the same. None of that matters to Grace, however. In her imagination, Box is still the best companion anyone could have.

Writing Exercise:

The writing challenge for the week is to write a story about a best friend, whether the friend is real, imaginary, or an inanimate object.

Happy Writing!

Marsha is Magnetic by Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez

Kids who are naturally magnetic and popular might not find today’s book relatable. For any kid who has struggled with a socially awkward situation, today’s book is a funny, satisfying alternative to feeling bad about it.

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Marsha Is Magnetic, written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez.

About the Book:

Marsha is a scientist. She loves being a scientist. When confronted with a problem, she applies the scientific method to find the solution. Her upcoming birthday party presents a problem because she is also a bit awkward socially and her list of friends is…blank. She has no one to invite. Undaunted, she begins her investigation into her problem and comes up with an experiment. Her solution makes her truly magnetic and Marsha learns that all she needs to make friends is to be herself.

Writing Exercise:

The scientific method is an elementary learning objective. Your child’s challenge this week is to approach a problem, any problem, they might have scientifically by applying the scientific method.

The Scientific Method: (1) Make an observation (2) Ask a question (3) Formulate a hypothesis (4) Test the hypothesis (5) Analyze data (6) Draw a conclusion.

Have them document each step.

Happy Writing!

Mootilda’s Bad Mood by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Kirsti Call, and Claudia Ranucci

Everyone has a bad day once in a while, a day when everything goes wrong no matter how hard you try to make it go right. Does it put you in a bad mood?

The featured picture book this week is Mootilda’s Bad Mood, written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call, and illustrated by Claudia Ranucci.

About the Book:

Mootilda’s Bad Mood is about a young cow who has a bad day. She wakes up with hay stuck in her hair, she loses her treat, she tries to play double Dutch and ends up spilling milk everywhere. No matter what she tries, it goes wrong. She is in a bad mood. Mootilda meets some chickens who are in a bad mood, too and her new friendship with them becomes a turning point for her. She learns to laugh and turn a bad day into a good day.

Writing Exercise:

Mootilda’s Bad Mood plays with words by using the onomatopoeia “moo” to say “mooooood”. The writing challenge for the day is to write a story the plays with words. It can be another animal and the sound they make or any other word pairing that plays with words creatively.

Happy Writing!

Seaside Stroll by Charles Trevino and Maribel Lechuga

Have you ever imagined what a stroll on the beach would be like during winter? Maybe you have taken a walk like this. Maybe you dream about it.

This week’s picture book, Seaside Stroll, written by Charles Trevino and illustrated by Maribel Lechuga will transport you.

About the Book:

Seaside Stroll features a little girl, her doll, and her mom taking a stroll by the seaside. She plays with seagulls and shells and watches crabs skitter. She loses her doll in the water and gets it back. The story is told entirely with words beginning with s and skillfully communicates the sensory delights in a day in the life of a little girl.

Writing Exercise:

Seaside Stroll is told using words starting with s. This week’s writing challenge is to tell a story in words starting with the same letter.

Happy writing!

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

“The greatnesss of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

We are all members of a community. Our families, our schools, our churches, and our neighborhoods are all communities.

This week’s picture book is a celebration of the wonderful ways individuals contribute to their community, making it a warm, vibrant place to live.

About the Book:

Thank You, Omu! is about a woman named Omu who makes a thick red stew for dinner. As she sits down to read a book before eating, the scent of her stew floats out the window and down the street. A knock at the door turns out to be a little boy attracted to the smell of the stew. Omu offers him a bowl. Then there is another knock, and another, until there is no stew left. Omu has shared her her stew with her entire community. What her community does in return is a beautiful expression of love.

Writing Exercise:

Thank You, Omu! is written with a refrain. Every guest repeats the refrain, “Thank you, Omu!” Your child’s writing challenge for the week is to write a story using a refrain, meaning a repeating phrase that can define the message of the story.

Happy Writing!

I Don’t Want To Be Quiet by Laura Ellen Anderson

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you loud or quiet? Is it possible to be both?

This week’s picture book, I Don’t Want To Be Quiet, was written and illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson.

About the Book:

I Don’t Want To Be Quiet is written in 1st person from the perspective of a little girl who likes to be loud. She chats, laughs, and, claps instead of listening. She clangs cans, pops balloons, sings, and roars! One day she goes to the library and the quiet drives her up the wall…until…she picks up a book. The book gives her a different perspective on quiet v. noise. She still loves noise, but now she finds it in unexpected places.

Writing Exercise:

This week’s book is full of onomatopoeia: bang, pop, drum, stomp, burp, etc. The writing challenge for this week is for your child to write a story using onomatopoeia. It can either be a traditional style book/story with illustrations or a comic book style book.

Happy Writing!

Mirabel’s Missing Valentine by Janet Lawler and Olivia Chin Mueller

Christmas just ended, you say? It’s too soon for Valentine’s Day, you say?

It’s never too soon for a good book. This week’s picture book of the week Mirabel’s Missing Valentine’s, is a fantastic rhyming story about a shy little cat.

About the Book:

Mirabel’s Missing Valentine’s is about a shy little girl cat who is nervous about putting herself out there by passing out valentines at school the next day. She makes the valentines anyway and bravely heads off to school the next day prepared to face her fears. On her walk to school, some of her valentines fall out of her sack and end up brightening the day of characters Mirabel has never even met before. When Mirabel and the other characters realize the mistake, Mirabel learns a new lesson about love and friendship.

Writing Exercise:

The narrator tells us that Mirabel is shy, she is nervous about passing out valentines at school the next day. The writing challenge for this week is for your 3-5 grader to write a story about being shy. It can be about their own experience being shy or about not being shy at all and not understanding what it is like to be shy. It can also be a completely fictional story with animals, people, or any types of characters they wish.

Happy Writing!

The Tree That’s Meant to Be by Zommer

Doesn’t everyone feel a little different sometimes? It doesn’t always have to mean rejection. Sometimes it can mean something unexpected.

The picture book selection this week is The Tree That’s Meant to Be, written and illustrated by Yuval Zommer.

About the Book:

The Tree That’s Meant to Be is a story told from the perspective of an imperfect fir tree. The tree is a little too crooked and a little too short to be chosen as the perfect Christmas tree. When it ends up alone after all of the other trees are selected by humans, the tree wonders what will become of it. Will it never get to celebrate Christmas? Can anybody hear it’s call? Next comes the unexpected part: new friends, new confidence, and of course, Christmas!

Writing Exercise:

The Tree That’s Meant to Be is written in first person. The first person POV allows the reader to feel the main character’s emotions and experience the events in the main character’s life with immediacy. It brings the reader closer to the tree. The writing challenge this week is for your 3-5 grader to write a story about a time they felt alone in first person.

Happy writing!

If You Come To Earth by Sophie Blackall

In these days of email and texts, letter-writing can seem like an ancient custom or a lost art form. It might seem that way, but letter-writing is actually a handy skill for kids to have, one that they will inevitably use later in life even if it’s only for practical matters.

The picture book I picked for this week is If You Come to Earth, written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

About the Book:

If You Come to Earth is about a child who writes a letter to anyone visiting from outer space. He wants visitors to know a few important facts about Earth and earthlings that might help them be more comfortable. The letter explains our location in the solar system and about the things we have in common. It also shows what makes us stand out from the crowd, how we move around, and the music that is a part of our lives.

You don’t have to be a visitor from outer space to enjoy If You Come to Earth. Anyone who is new here, like young kids, will appreciate this simple and sweet orientation of life on Earth.

Writing Exercise:

Have your child write a letter to someone that explains a topic they don’t know about or are learning about. It can be about anything your child knows about or can do research on and learn about.

Happy writing!