A look at today's best trade books & professional books
● Author: Andrea Beaty
● Illustrator: David Roberts
● Grade Level: K- 3
● Independent Reading Level: 2nd – 3rd Grade
● Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
● Genre: Fiction
Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty, is a story about an imaginative young girl whose curiosity can sometimes lead to a chaotic mess. From an early age, Ada shows that she has a passion for questioning the unknown by using reasoning, hypothesizing, and experimenting to find the facts. Why? What? How? When? These are the questions that Ada asks again and again. Even though her parents and her teacher don’t always know how to handle her genius, they know that she processes the makings of a true scientist. Then one day, a mission to discover the source of the stinky smell may lead Ada down a path that doesn’t end well.
Ada Twist, Scientist is a perfect way to introduce what it means to be a scientist to any young reader. Ada lights up the pages by showing what a young scientist is capable of. The rhyming text makes it fun and easy for emerging readers stay completely engaged. The cartoon illustrations complement the text perfectly and add heart to the personality of the story. With underlying topics of creativity, individuality, and perseverance, the conservations could be endless.
As a kindergarten teacher, this book is perfect for introducing STEM to my classroom. Not only is the text catchy and fun to read, it shows my students that anyone can be a scientist. I love how it encourages the reader to ask lots of questions and follow your passion. I believe this book will inspire readers to find their own inner scientist and discover their own way to change the world.
An Ode to the Fresh Cut
•Author: Derrick Barnes
•Illustrator: Gordon C. James
•Grade Level: K-3
•Independent Reading Level: 2-3
•Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut tells a humorous story in a rhythmic, almost poetic text of a young African American boy who enters the barbershop to get a new haircut. It describes his feeling as he gets a "fresh cut", and how his attitude toward the world changes, and how he imagines others’ perception of him will change. He might just "smash that geography exam" or "rearrange the principal's honor roll" and, of course, the girls won’t be able to keep their eyes off of him. He looks around at the clients sitting in the chairs and imagines the successful, joyful lives they lead based off their haircuts.
While the illustrations jump off the page and invite readers to share in the experience, themes of confidence-building and self-esteem are the important ones that create talking points for discussion. I could see this book being read in a health class discussing a healthy lifestyle or any class where you would want to have a discussion about self-esteem. This would be a great book to discuss the idea that others see you the way you see yourself, and confidence in who you are is an important factor in being successful.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is not just a fun-filled book to read, it also does something important -- it gives us a look into the real feelings of many young boys, and the power of having pride in yourself. This fun-filled, fictional story makes you wonder, feel, and laugh. It would make a great read-aloud and edition to any classroom library.