What’s great about us already being in the SECOND MONTH of the year (where has the time gone?) is that the new books being published are on the increase again as most publishers go heavy on Christmas books in December and have a quieter month in January. Let’s get straight to our top picks for February 2020.Continue reading “Our favourite new books in February 2020”
All the book publishers have been releasing their Christmas catalogues so it has been my mission to sort through the red and green and find the non-Christmas themed books for those who cringe at all-things Christmas. So here are my top 3 picks for this month – decided by what we like to look for in a book – 1) rich vocabulary; 2) strong story structure; 3) engaging and fun to read aloud and 4) provides opportunities for conversation.
1. The Caveman Next Door by Tom Tinn-Disbury
A beautiful debut book by UK author and illustrator Tom Tinn-Disbury, this book explores the challenges of being different and how friendship is a vital part of overcoming these challenges. Ogg the caveman really struggles to find into the modern world but luckily he has his neighbour Penny to help him fit in. This story naturally facilitates conversation about the modern era and how things are different in Ogg’s time compared to now. It demonstrates good story structure by showing a number of ‘attempts’ by Penny where she tries to fix the ‘problem’ of Ogg not fitting in. A story told without too much text (to allow room for conversation) but still full of rich vocabulary (e.g. refused, surrounded, furious, miserable, opportunity).
TOP READING TIP: Model comparing and contrasting language by using words ‘but’ or ‘however’ e.g. We know books are for reading, however Ogg thinks books are for eating!
2. Ice Boy by David Ezra Stein
A very cool tale about an ice cube who isn’t afraid of adventure, no matter what form it may take. Yes, you see Ice Boy transform from ice, to water, to vapour and back into ice (as hail!) A great way to introduce scientific concepts to little ones while telling it in a fun rhyming story. The powerful onomatopoeia (e.g., clatter, bloop, puff, boom) along with stunning illustrations help to convey the meaning of the story. You can also discuss print concepts such as the speech bubbles.
TOP READING TIP: Point out print! Highlight print concepts by pointing to them and explaining what they mean. e.g. This word says BLOOP! See how it is falling down like that. Bloop is the word for the sound of water falling into a glass.
3. Millie Muffin by Alisha Henderson
Alisha Henderson, the baker behind @sweetbakes_ debuts her first book in the Storybook Sweets Series – ‘positively sweet stories with recipes’. Millie Muffin thinks she is plain and wishes she was cupcake girl, pink and pretty with frosting on top. She helps her friends (adorable characters such as Matty Marshmallow and Papa Pie) on Buttercream Bend to see what is special about them and through this, realises that her best quality is the kind of friend she is. This story provides ample opportunities to discuss, explain and try out new vocabulary for both younger and primary school-aged children with words such as pondered, simplicity, reflection, selection, generous and worthwhile.
TOP READING TIP: When explaining new vocabulary to your child, it is easier for them to understand when you put it in a sentence rather than saying ‘it means…’ e.g., When you are generous, you give something or help someone, more than they think you would.
Are you excited about these books? Let us know if we have inspired to go check them out yourself!
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Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies
Spring is here and many new books are being released as I’ve started noting down titles I am adding to the Christmas shopping list (am I allowed to talk about Christmas yet?) . If you have been following along with this series, you know that as speech pathologists, Tania and I are on the hunt for books which tell a good story (with strong story structure), sophisticated vocabulary and provide opportunities for back-and-forth conversation with your child as you read. You can catch our previous posts for June, July and August. Let’s get into this month’s picks!
1. Who’s Afraid of the Quite Nice Wolf? by Kitty Black and Laura Wood
“Who’s Afraid of the Quite Nice Wolf” is a funny, heart-warming story about friendship and finding the courage to be yourself. The story also introduces children to the idea of stereotypes and how to break away from them. There are many great Tier 2 vocabulary words to introduce to your kids in this book, including fearsome, bold, pleaded, commenced and retreat. Tier 2 words appear more commonly in written text than in conversation, so they are important for reading comprehension and they are usually able to be used in multiple contexts. Providing a kid-friendly definition of these words will help your child to understand them, rather than having to ‘guess’ the meaning from the rest of the sentence or context. For example, “If you say something has commenced, it has just started.” Another great element of this book is the print concepts you can highlight.
TOP READING TIP: Make Print Pop – “This poster says “WANTED” – it’s written in big letters to get people’s attention. The poster shows photos of wolves and the numbers written under it tell us how much money you would get if you can tell the police where they are.”
2. The Immortal Jellyfish by Sang Miao
Death is a difficult concept at any age group and psychologists recommend books to be a non-threatening platform to explore these topics with young children. In this book, a young boy’s grandfather dies suddenly and he feels overwhelmed and confused. To his delight, they meet again in a dream, where his grandfather takes him to Transfer City, where our departed loved ones live on through our memories. In this modern, Eastern telling of the afterlife, death is not an ending, but a new start to life, just like the Immortal Jellyfish which is constantly maturing and then regressing, staying as present as our deceased loved ones do in our memories. The illustrations of this book are magnificent and the imaginative narrative makes for a beautiful, accessible approach to the idea of death for young readers.
TOP READING TIP: Talk about your own experiences, helping your child transfer information from boooks to real-world contexts. e.g. “When my dog died, I printed photos of him doing all the things he loves. When I looked at the photos, it reminded me of the wonderful life we had together.”
3. Two For Me, One For You by Jörg Mühle
Two friends share three mushrooms… who will get the extra one? This book is a great introduction to the genre of persuasive text with the two characters, Bear and Weasel each coming up with one argument after another for why they should have more. A twist at the end of the story sees the two friends outwitted by another creature in the woods! This is a fun story to read, again filled with many opportunities to explore vocabulary with words such as stunned, delighted, agree and grumbling.
TOP READING TIP: Highlight comparative language – “Weasel wanted another, but Bear wanted even more.” “Bear argued that his stomach was bigger than Weasel’s. Do you think your stomach is bigger than your brother’s?”
Let us know if you have read any of these or have recommendations for any other awesome new releases this month!
As always, your favourite books for enriching oral language and early literacy development are featured in our wide range of themed book boxes. Browse our selection here and visit our social media feeds (Instagram and Facebook) to see and hear more about the books and activities.