Low-Definition, High-Definition, & Re-Definition: Constellating Stars Along I-280

Among the many hobbies we here in the Library & Learning Commons share, tracking shifts and evolutions in the landscape of education is one of our favorites, and Twitter serves as our central hub to peer into these developments throughout the world. Given the medium’s frenetic pace, we often feel situated in a camera obscura, catching emerging shapes and moving figures without much chance for the fullest clarity, so any opportunity to get on the ground in one of the most exciting environments for education is an opportunity for a high-fidelity view.

This past week marked the second occasion we have sent a team of educators down to The Nueva School’s Innovative Learning Conference. We’re incredibly fortunate that Annie Wright commits to immerse its educators in the zeitgeist shared by so many in the Bay Area. Worldwide, there is no higher concentration of people and organizations committed to transformation outside of the I-280 corridor. Even as whispers of another tech bubble continue their crescendo, it’s almost impossible to imagine that area becoming unseated from its dominant position. That place, like no other, has built itself on learning, and such learning will ignite rapid resurrection. Excess capital might take a sabbatical, but it will always return to this environment’s infrastructure of fervent thought.

We see this learning in major Silicon Valley tech firms, start-up incubators, world-class universities, and, for our purposes, the many schools committed to honing best practice in progressive education.

Aside from the conference itself, our trip featured visits to The Hillbrook School, Stanford’s d.school, and MKThink. The learning spaces of these places are so easily alluring.

Hillbrook has its I-Lab.

The d.school is the gold standard for formal education’s move to make space for critical collaboration and creative thought.

MKThink holds incredible expertise in shaping such spaces, and their own headquarters features a makerspace and small collaborative hot seats within a historic roundhouse that sits along San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Round out our Thursday visits to these three organizations with a Friday dedicated to orbiting around the Nueva School’s triple threat of i-Labs, and we received a front seat to education’s most interesting furnishings and technology features.

We can easily depart SFO with airline napkins and hotel stationery filled with scribbled blueprints and quite a set of shopping lists. But to do so would be to miss the Bay Area’s most important lesson: transformation occurs by examining the ecosystem of evolution, not its tools. Not the makerspaces. Or the sticky notes. Or the furniture. Or iPads. LCD screens. Dream Director position descriptions. Centers for Teaching Excellence. Service learning projects. Internal start-ups. Online classes. Global education. Coding. STEM/STEAM/STEAMS/SHTEAM. Makerspaces. Group process toolkits. Meditation techniques. Assessment practices. Pedagogical approaches. Even delicious salads served at school lunch. Design Thinking as a proper noun. All and all and all: the tools and deliverables so easily seen from the camera obscura. It’s wonderful to realize the expanse of tools at our disposal, but what might we put them in the service of?

What constellates Hillbrook, the d.school, MKThink, and Nueva among the many, many stars along I-280 are their commitments to modes of thought that shape their learning ecosystems, ecosystems that are poised to evolve exponentially and infinitely.

Hillbrook was an early adopter of 1:1 iPads. This enabled the school to transform their computer lab into the iLab. The school performed in-house research on how the iLab affected learning outcomes, and this research motivated educators in Hillbrook’s community to adopt the features of the iLab in individual classrooms. The iLab has since morphed into a makerspace. This makerspace will soon move to a yet unbuilt hub at the center of their campus. Their engine of further evolution is fueled by an in-house researcher and a teacher in residence program that will continue to measure the impact of their prototypes and prepare their community for whatever they choose to scale out next.

We can take Hillbrook’s shopping list and their how-to guide. What’s more challenging, and what I-280 does so well, is maintaining thoughts on higher aspirations with each incremental shift and assuring each development arrives with contrails that ask everyone to interrogate how that development might impact the next step, even if that next step has yet to be imagined.

The d.school advocates and educates towards mindsets and practices that enable organizations and individuals to navigate their evolutions with the intellectual elegance that is on display in ecosystems like Hillbrook’s. Stanford empowers professional and personal transformation, launching those that connect with their mode of design thinking well into the future.

MKThink is increasingly involved in constructing conceptual frameworks for identifying problems within problems and quantifying the impact of solutions in order to ignite continual iteration.

Nueva showcases standing evidence of a school very experienced in such evolutions, and their decision to expand into educating high schoolers displays their evolving savvy in thinking towards these next steps.

This year’s lineup of speakers and workshops at the Innovative Learning Conference also presented such maturity. Almost every presentation we attended focused on the process of evolution. Here is how we aligned a community around a set of values. Here are the many levers we have at our fingertips to drive us towards fulfilling those values. Here is how we measure our effectiveness. Here is how our measurements motivated pivots along the way. Here is the ecosystem we created. Take it in. We’re set to evolve.

But don’t copy us or our direction—it’s truly about the messy work of developing the ecosystem that will sustain your community’s values, not ours.

Umberto Boccioni: “The City Rises”

All in all, It’s easy to get wrapped up in the aggressive futurism embedded throughout I-280. Credos abound:

At its face, we might easily be turned off by such aggression that harkens back to F.T. Marinetti and Company:

“Do you, then, wish to waste all your best powers in this eternal and futile worship of the past, from which you emerge fatally exhausted, shrunken, beaten down?”

We know the environment is also competitive and cutthroat, and extremely problematic are issues of race and class, which also makes the Bay Area a central node for both social innovation and social unrest to the extent of outright riot (ex 1., ex. 2.).

We can also point towards other stars outside of the valley, from the transformative Mount Vernon and Shattuck St. Mary’s to the upstart Iowa BIG, Watershed, Big Picture Learning, Nuvu Studio, the latter allowed the luxury of developing an ecosystem from scratch.

But it’s the thoughtfulness, warmth, and calculated elegance with which organizations dedicated to learning employ empathy driven design thinking and lean methodology to engage in the messy process of transforming ecosystems along I-280 that makes a visit there so thrilling, as the area offers such a concentration of schools and school partners prepared shape the continued brilliance of the Bay Area for years to come.

Thanks to community members at the Hillbrook School for the warm welcome, Durell Coleman of DCDesign for an engaging tour of the d.school, Signo Uddenberg for exposure to MKThink and its work, and everyone who worked so hard to put together the Innovative Learning Conference at Nueva. And thanks to Annie Wright for dedicating the time and resources to make this experience happen.

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Mongolia, Wolves, and Reading & Running the World: (or, The Week in Library: 3!)

When I’m not in the library, I’m often on the run, enjoying the trails and roads of Point Defiance or exploring new hills in downtown. And when I’m on the run, I’m plugged into an audiobook. So strange, I think, to have my ventures narrated by The Devil in the White City, Americanah, or The Wind-Up Bird ChroniclePerhaps a good zombie thriller would help add some strength to my gait.

Since June, my run read of choice has been Wolf Totem, a 26 hour audio epic. While it took me 4 hours to truly adjust to a style which enrolls characters to serve as satellites for ideology (as many works of political literature do), I’m utterly enamored by the work, which was initially recommended to me by one of our Chinese international students last year. This 2004 publication by Jiang Rong is the second best selling book in all of Chinese history, with Mao’s Little Red Book the only other work to supersede it in sales.

With three hours left in my listening, I’m continually enchanted, gutted, and elated in this realistic account of the Chinese push to develop inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, an act that severely set back the sustainable, spiritual, and ecology-minded existence of the nomadic peoples of that region.

Truly, this is a book that’s made me add miles to my daily outings on foot, and it’s raised my consciousness over cultural conflict and the rapid implementation of technology to habituate humans in environments that we had been so ecologically mindful of for thousands of years.

So, that’s my fiction recommendation for the week. Our collection features two editions of Wolf Totem: the original Chinese version and its English translation.

Here are a few recommendations from our collection that I hope will constellate around this choice!

NONFICTION

What the World Eats, by Faith D’Aluisio, Peter Menzel

JUNIOR FICTION

I Rode a Horse of Milk and White Jade,         by Diane Lee Wilson

JUNIOR NONFICTION

Mongolian Folktales, by Hilary Roe Metternich

ILLUSTRATED

Suho’s White Horse: A Mongolian Legend, Retold by Yuzo Otsuka

THE WEEK IN LIBRARY

My excitement over such readings trumped a chronicle of this week in library, although don’t fret: we’re dishing books, raising levels of information literacy, and providing inspirational and aspirational learning spaces for all the learners in AWS. My favorite moment of the week is when our Kindergarteners approached me with drawings and photographs of where they’ll keep our library books safe when they bring them home.

Safe Places for BooksSo lovely, this utter excitement over selecting books and hauling them home. With such research into proper book care, our Kindergarteners have unlocked this next ability in their library lives.

Besides that, we’ve been rolling with a few great read alouds and some energetic activities (‘let’s pretend we’re books, and let’s organize ourselves!’).

With our first full week, the library’s on the move!

Endnote

*Scribd is another great resource for ebooks and audiobooks available on subscription basis. I also scour local libraries (and our own collection at AWS–the username and password are exactly the same: your ID number).

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The Week in Library: 2!

The bustle! Our favorite moments in the Learning Commons arrive when there’s a cacophony meetings, classes, and independent workers sharing the space all at once. Stop by the library between 2:30 and 4:00, and you’ll likely see several Upper School activities sharing the many breakout spaces in the library, staff meetings for our Extended Day program, 4th graders participating in their Guided Reading program, parents and grandparents awaiting the day’s release, and several others wandering through for reading materials or library resources. These moments really showcase the flexibility and design features we engineered into the space in the summer of 2014, shifting the library into a ‘modern learning environment.’

Which is all to say that we’re settling into the normal pace of school life in the library. Despite the bustle described above, the library still serves for sanctuary for many of our students during certain parts of the school day, and each new school year brings a new corps of patrons who opt to use the library for study hall, a recess alternative, or for meeting space. It’s been wonderful to see a corps of 4th graders gather in the library to draw during recess, instead of the 4th graders of last year who made great use of the 3D printer during their daily breaks.

Among other events, classes, and happenings, this week’s library featured the first ever visit from Preschool, who showed exceptional library manners (even shushing the librarian during his read-aloud). We also hosted our 10th grade English class as they scoured the shelves for independent reading materials. I book talked several of our most renowned selections, while offering resources to help them find and select book titles, such as BookRiot, YourNextRead, and GoodReads.

Here are several recommendations, including my favorite podcast episode that I tuned into this past week!

FICTION

Kalpa Imperial, by Angelica Gorodischer

Click here for to access our digital edition

NONFICTION

The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean

PODCAST

Image borrowed from 99% Invisible’s landing page for Episode 180. Photo taken by Håkan Dahlström.

99% Invisible: Episode 180: The History of the Refrigerated Shipping Container

JUNIOR FICTION

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos

JUNIOR NONFICTION

Volcano Rising, by Elizabeth Rusch and Susan Swan (illus.)

ILLUSTRATED

Quest, by Aaron Becker

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The Week in Library: 1!

Happy New Year, AWS!. After a long, quiet summer, the library is ready for another raucous, vigorous year of reading, learning, and sharing. As a community space, the library was

Blue Tie Library Camp OutSome highlights from Week 1:

*9th Grade Orientation’s Camp out on the Soccer Field was moved indoors due to rain. While the Learning Commons is typically home base for homework and quiet reading in the after hours, we’re happy to host a multitude of events, and it was incredible to see the various forts and palaces our new and rising Blue Ties created.

*Middle School occupied the library on the opening day of school, as we cast aside all of our furniture to clear the floor for an exciting new year. While I didn’t get the chance to spend much of the orientation week with Middle School, I had a blast heading out to Millersylvania State Park to supervise a cabin for their overnight.

*5th Grade visited the library two times in two days, first to find titles for independent reading and second to challenge their library skills by navigating a scavenger hunt for titles relating to their Unit of Inquiry on Peace & Conflict.

*PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade all enjoyed reading and discussing Little Elliot, Big City. Inspired by Andy Plemmons’s ideas for using this text with his elementary library students, we also used the story of this industrious elephant to consider how we navigate our large library space with the help of our friends.

We rounded out the week with a visit from 2nd & 3rd grades along with a stint with my section of 9th Grade Humanities. If the week’s excitement and energy about reading and learning together is any indication, this year in library is going to be great.

A Week in Recommendations

I walk our shelves each Friday afternoon, unearthing titles in our collection that are worth a deeper look. With a return to wetter late summer weather, I was reminded of the great PNW tale of The Raven. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales has been such a hit with our younger readers, they are often unaware of the important dose of history these books provide; The Underground Abductor is Hale’s newest. The classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle wraps in almost every reader, and Drowned City is a timely reminder of the Katrina’s impact on New Orleans. And finally, The Theory of Everything: the story of a girl, her imaginary panda, and her quest to find her father. Kari Luna is an author to track, and this is best work to date.

FICTION

The Theory of Everything, by Kari Luna

NON-FICTION

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, by Don Brown

JUNIOR FICTION

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald

JUNIOR NONFICTION

The Underground Abductor: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, by Nathan Hale

ILLUSTRATED The Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, by Gerald McDermott

The Summer in Library

With August upon us, the Library & Learning Commons is preparing for another great year for the Annie Wright community. Throughout the summer, we have been continuing to evolve our space to best suit our patrons and the role our space plays within school life.

For all the library fans out there, here are few updates regarding the projects we’re rushing to complete for the start of the year.

Named for Albert Sutton, who was the architect of the Annie Wright Seminary and whose son John Sutton was the architect for the Library

Named for Albert Sutton, who was the architect of the Annie Wright Seminary and whose son John Sutton was the architect for the Library

The Sutton Room

As a space for both our library archives and community connections, the Sutton Room already holds the most historic books in our school collection. As we have transitioned this space into an archival center, we have decided to integrate our Reference collection into the main library, and we have been re-cataloging, re-labeling, and moving these items throughout the summer months. This should create enough shelf space to hold one or two of our historic periodicals. We hold over 100 years of National Geographic and many decades of Life Magazine elsewhere in the building.

Additionally, we will complete our installation of the teleconference equipment that helps make the Sutton Room a center for community engagement. Last year alone, we connected with alumni, task force members, and other schools on 15 occasions, and we hope to demonstrate how we might open school walls from this space in our learning commons.

Wayfinding

This summer, our 3D printer has been bustling with letters that we’ll use for signage throughout the library space. As a library that teaches information literacy, we really struggle with nailing down wayfinding philosophy: how easy should we make book finding experience for students? Ultimately, we have decided to take a few steps to label sections, and we think the 3D printed letters will look rather spiffy on the library walls.
http://www.mobypicture.com/static/flash/player.swf

The Sound-Sensitive Bulletin Board!

Ok! That video above may not look as awesome as it will in a few weeks, but it’s shaping up to be pretty cool. Over the last few months, the Library Team have been teaching ourselves Arduino (click here for a quick introduction). When our bulletin board is up and running, we’ll have a sign that spells “READ” outside our library doors. If the hallway is relatively quiet for 3 seconds, the ‘R’ will light up. 3 more seconds? The ‘E.’ 3 more the ‘A,’ and 3 more the ‘D.’ If any noise occurs during that sequence, the sign will go dark and start counting again!

We aren’t necessarily fans of quiet libraries, but we thought this would be a cool way to showcase what one can do with a little coding, electrical engineering, and creativity.

And more! 

Besides those items, we’ve spent the summer developing curricula, planning acquisitions, sifting through archives, and making plans for minor Maker activities throughout the year. This school year’s going to be something else, and we’re excited to see the halls filled with learners so soon!

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2015 Lower School Summer Reading Recommendations!

Dear AWS Parents and Community Members,

Summer presents itself with such wonderful opportunities for informal reading and learning. Our children have more chances to freely dive into the topics, activities, and stories that do not always fit into the hectic pace of school life. What follows is a list of non-required reading recommendations that I hope will capture the interests and imaginations for our rising Preschool through Fifth Grade students.

Many of these will serve as perfect launchpads for a summer flush with learning, creation, and imagination. I hope you consider sharing these stories with your children through read alouds and conversations, as this is one of the most proven ways for parents to encourage academic success in children of all ages. Each title also presents opportunity for an accompanying activity, whether our young readers write a sequel, invent new stories with the same theme, or tackle a project that may have been presented within the narrative.

For more reading recommendations and techniques, you may consider Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook or Diane F. Frankenstein’s Reading Together. We have copies of these in our library should you wish to check them out this summer.

Likewise, you may be interested in pursuing guides like UnBored: the Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors. These are flush with ideas for summer projects you may like to explore with your child, the projects will surely spark new interests and develop invaluable skills.

Additionally, there are many summer reading events and activities planned at our local public libraries, and they themselves are great resources for reading recommendations, as well. Here are links to the children’s programming for several local libraries:

Tacoma Public Library

Pierce County Public Library

Kitsap Regional Library

Timberland Regional Library

If you have any questions regarding reading opportunities, suggestions, or activities, never hesitate to e-mail us: library@aw.org.

Thanks for a great year of reading and learning. We’ll be excited to reopen the library in August.

All the best,

Joe Romano

Library Media Specialist

Reading Lists for Rising Grade Levels

Preschool and PreKindergarten

Kindergarten

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

A note on these lists:

When available, we have provided links to the e-book editions of our summer reading recommendations, as many of them are available through Overdrive, our digital lending service. You can access these titles through your home computer, an e-reader, a tablet device like the iPad or the Kindle Fire, or even your smartphone. Click here to learn how your device can access our e-reading services. During this process, you will be prompted to enter your student’s username and password. This username and password are both your student’s AWS ID number. If you need assistance in accessing OverDrive, please visit our library or send along an e-mail, and we are more than happy to help.
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Fourth Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. (from publisher’s note)
Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullen

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Think you know the real story behind the Greek myths? Think again. Most people only know what Zeus wants them to. But the truth is, Zeus is a total myth-o-maniac. Hades, King of the Underworld, is here to set the record straight on how he ended up as Ruler of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods. (from publisher’s note)

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she “does” want: to fight dragons! (from publisher’s note)

Jinx, by Sage Blackwood

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library!

In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus. (from publisher’s note)

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., by Greg Pincus
Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he’d be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents’ permission he’s going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he’s been playing fast and loose with the truth: “I LOVE math” he tells his parents. “I’ve entered a citywide math contest!” he tells his teacher. “We’re going to author camp!” he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he’s going to have to make good on his promises.(from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall | Click here for an e-book edition

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo | Click here for an e-book edition

Holes, by Louis Sachar | Click here for an e-book edition

Lincoln’s Graverobbers, by Steve Sheinken

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Third Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dicamillo

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. (from publisher’s note)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But what is weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. (from publisher’s note)

The Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked , by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

When a call comes in about a crime down at the docks involving a missing schoolteacher and a duffle bag full of illegal fish, Zengo and O’Malley are going to have to learn to set their differences aside if they want to get to the bottom of this. Especially when the clues all point to Frank Pandini Jr., Kallamazoo’s first son and its most powerful, well-respected businessman. (from publisher’s note)

El Deafo, by Cece Bell

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. (from publisher’s note)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Big, Bad Ironclad, by Nathan Hale | Click here for an e-book edition

The Sasquatch Escape, by Suzanne Selfors & Dan Santat

The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnet, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell (illus.)

Fake Mustache, by Tom Angleberger | Click here for an e-book edition

The Fairy Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley | Click here for an e-book edition

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Second Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet, by Tony Abbott

Eric, Julie, and Neal have just found something magic in Eric’s basement. They have discovered a staircase to another world! The world of Droon is amazing – full of magic, flying lizards, and fun, furry creatures. But how will Eric, Julie, and Neal find their way home? (from publisher’s note)

Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts (illus.)

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. (from publisher’s note)

Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill

Young, up-and-coming illustrator William Grill weaves a detailed visual narrative of Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica. Grill’s beautiful use of colored pencils and vibrant hues effortlessly evokes the adventure and excitement that surrounded the expedition. His impeccably researched drawings, rich with detail, fastidiously reproduce the minutiae of the expedition. (from publisher’s note)

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

A girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. (from the publisher’s note)

Guinea Dog, by Patrick Jennings

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Rufus has been dreaming of getting a dog. His best friend has one. His worst friend has one. But his dad has a few objections: They whine. They gnaw. They bark. They scratch. They beg. They drool. Rufus pays no attention when his mom offers her think-outside-the-box suggestion, because she can’t be serious. She can’t be. She can be. And she actually comes home with a guinea pig. And if Rufus’s dad thinks dogs are a problem, he won’t know what hit him when he meets the Guinea Pig that Thinks She’s a Dog. She barks. She bites. She’ll eat your homework. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate | Click here for an e-book edition

Me…Jane, by Patrick McDonnell

Do Not Open this Book, by Michaela Muntean & Pascal Lemaitre (illus.)

Mercy Watson to the Rescue, by Kate DiCamillo & Chris Van Dusen (illus.)  | Click here for an e-book edition

Stuart Little, by E.B. White & Garth Reynolds (illus). | Click here for an e-book edition

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First Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever—or Snack Time? Tammi Sauer and Michael Slack (illus.)

In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget’s trust, Fang takes desperate (and hilarious) measures. But it’s not until his big sharp teeth save the entire school that minnows learn this shark is no foe. Fantastically stylized artwork adds even more humor to this undersea story of unlikely friendship. (from publisher’s description)

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero, by Deb Pilutti

In this handy guide, Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy, take young readers on an adventure to learn all ten rules of being a good superhero. (from publisher’s note)

11 Experiments that Failed, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (illus.)

By reading the step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the answers to such all-important questions along with the book’s curious narrator. Here are 12 “hypotheses,” as well as lists of “what you need,” “what to do,” and “what happened” that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!) (from publisher’s note)

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons, by John J. Muth

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth–and his delightful little panda bear, Koo–challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.  (from publisher’s note)

My Name is Yoon, by Helen Recordist & Gabi Swiatkowska (illus.)
Helen Recorvits’s spare and inspiring story about a little girl finding her place in a new country is given luminous pictures filled with surprising vistas and dreamscapes by Gabi Swiatkowska. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Reading Recommendations

This is a Moose, by Richard T. Morris & Tom Lichtenheld (illus.)

Around the World on Eighty Legs, by Amy Gibson & Daniel Salmieri (illus.)

Diary of a Fly, by Doreen Cronin & Harry Bliss (illus.)

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, by Jennifer Fisher Bryant & Melissa Sweet (illus.)

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Ariceman | Click here for an e-book edition

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