Monday, November 28, 2011

Powerful words, powerful illustrations!

Monday evening in Columbus, Oh. It has been raining non-stop for the last two days. It's gloomy outside and I honestly didn't find the inner strength to work out today. When the weather is like this, it only calls for the essentials: a pile of picture books and a hot apple cider by my side. Even though, at times one can feel lonely or vulnerable, all feelings can change in the company of books...the right books. So, this evening the books that I will share with you took me on a journey: I found myself crying, smiling over at a writer's sense of humor through his book, laughing with some and reminiscing with others. And that's the beauty of books...they can transform you, they can fill up the empty holes, they can make you feel so many different and opposites feelings ...all at once, all in one sitting. welcome to the journey... in this set of picture books, I decided to show four books which not only the words but the illustrations have caught my eyes in a way that make the story stick with me.

Grandpa Green by the magnificent Lane Smith is one that I read a while ago, but I needed to read again. I wanted to remind myself how the book made me felt...optimistic.This story is told from the great-grandson 's perspective. He is narrating how amazing beautiful, eclectic and different his grandpa's life used to be. Grandpa loved his garden so much that every significant event in his life was represented in his garden, through is work. Now, it is the hands of his family to preserve that garden that constitutes nothing else but grandpa's memories. What a beautiful way to remember someone...
 This is another book I immediately fell in love with but I must admit I'm a big fan of Melissa Sweet's art work so any work she does gets my immediate attention. This book will NOT disappoint any of her fans. In this book, readers will learn the story behind the colorful traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Parade that takes place in NYC every year. Little did I know that behind this spectacular parade was a man with the name of Tony Sarg who loved to figure out how make things MOVE. Thanks to his curious mind and his willingness to explore, he starting wondering and making things at a very young age. Tony Sarg had the creative and innovative mentality of "when no one is making...." then he will. And he did. Melissa Sweet's dedication in learning the story and details behind his life is beautifully illustrated through her words and her pictures. Melissa creates the kind of books that anyone would be willing to read because the format and style that she chooses to present new information makes it so appealing to any reader. From beginning, from the inside cover, to the last page and back cover, you'll learn something new along the way!
Let's continue with the flow of books that are so artistically and beautifully done. Paul Thurlby's Alphabet by Paul Thurlby is a one of a kind alphabet book. Every letter he has illustrated takes the shape and form of its subject. For example, letter C is for catch so he designed the letter C with two arms representing "catch". D is for Dog, so he made the dog's belly rounder and bigger to represent letter D. But what I love the most about this ABC book is the "vintage" appeal the book has.  At the end of the book, Paul describes his style as retro-modern, using old books, postcards, and pieces of paper for the backgrounds.

My Hands Sing the Blues, Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey by Jeanne Walker Harvey. For me this book was completely new. I must admit not knowing about Romare Bearden but this is the beauty about books. It helps you grow knowledge and understanding...all through the book of another writer who decided to capture the life of an artist. Romare Bearden and his family had to leave North Carolina due to all the discrimination and Jim Crow laws affecting them. The family began the journey to New York City where Romare decided to capture his memories of growing in colorful North Carolina through his paintings.  Romare and his grandpa spent many afternoons watching trains going by. Little did Romare know how those afternoons would later on influence his life and his work so much.  One canvas after another, Romare combined two of his passion in one: his childhood memories with the love of Jazz. The author and illustrator did a wonderful team work in the making of this book. Both were able to capture and engage readers like me, who didn't know much about him. By the time I finished the book, I definitely wanted to read more!

These four picture books caught my attention on a gloomy Monday evening. These books always make me think how important and value is the work of the illustrator who is able to capture and embrace the writer's words and turn them into paintings, colors, and shapes. A round of applause to all artists out there who make readers fall in love with books even more, day after day!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First 8 days of School Reflection

Here we are fellow educator friends. The new academic year 2011-2012 has begun. This new year brings many hopes. For me, this year bring hope that I will be able to turn every child that walks into my room a lifelong reader and writer. I hope that this year my students devour books with pleasure and not pressure. I hope that every child finds JOY in what he does, whether it is writing a note to a friend, reading that chapter book he's been waiting for, or simply find joy in coming to school day after day. It is my hope that my love for reading and writing is transparent and contagious to everyone that steps in Room 102-ESL.

This first 8 days of school has been amazing. They have already opened my eyes to some  big small moments that I need to pay close attention to. This is what I've noticed this week:

* When I asked my 3rd/4th grade class how many of them read over the summer 29 hands went up. (Yay! Bravo!) and two children didn't raise their hands at all ( Challenge #1. How am I going to turn M and L into reading this year?)

*The 3rd grade teacher shared with the that the highest score in our first writing diagnostic of the year, the ESL students scored the highest. Every single one of them. I raised writers. (THank you Lucy Calkins, Katie Wood Ray, Lisa Cleaveland, Ann Marie Corgill, I couldn't have done it without your powerful teaching/books).

*Children's interest in books ignite my passion for bringing more books into the classroom. Finding out what they're INTO in the world of books is a MUST in my journey.

*I heard this week for the first time in my years teaching at Beechwood a child that said to me, " I can't read." I'll carry his words in my heart all year long and I promised myself that it will be the last time he'll ever utter those words.

*While I confer with my writers this week, I was able to synthesize all my information from my conferences right there on the spot. This allowed me to do a powerful wrap-up session after sharing time.  A powerful wrap-up with a lead to next day's focus.

*Matching readers with books was THE MOST exciting thing to watch. Children "shopping" for the books they'll read in independent reading. I told me them it should be a balanced reading salad: a little bit of nonfiction, a little bit of picture books, with a big pinch of chapter books. They were ready to devour books after the intro.

* We have PebbleGo at school finally!!! I was happy to discover that a lot of my students have internet access at home. Can't wait to discover the possibilities there.

*I love watching 1st and 2nd graders totally into those reading phones and boy it helps keeping our voices down while reading. I discovered those 10 years ago and every year I'm thankful I was introduced to those by a talented teacher in Colorado.
*This very simple yet powerful workshop structure allows so much understanding from the children's point of view and flexibility from my end.

*The love for reading is contagious! One of my students went to the Columbus Metropolitan Library and checked out 7 books in a series she is very interested since our classroom didn't have copies of those books. She took charge and showed everyone that she is, in fact, responsible for her own reading life. Her enthusiasm made another students bring his favorite books from home so that he can access them here at school. May I just say around of applause for these young readers who are showing us they ARE ready to learn, to read volume this year, and to be in charge of their own reading life.

As Friday approaches, I will make sure I take some precious minutes to enjoy our accomplishments from this week and look ahead at another exciting week of learning and new hopes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Ode to Summer of 2011

Summer of Growth
by Stella Villalba

This was the summer that I lived in New York City
for ten glorious days.
Living and breathing city lights and Broadway signs.
Columbia University was my destination after my morning coffee
Ipod in hand, books in the bag, a whole day of learning
ahead of me.

This was the summer that I became a teacher consultant
for the Columbus Area Writing Project.
A group of dedicated teachers bonded at Kenyon University
for a weekend retreat where the most beautiful and
inspirational writing bloomed along with writers-in residence
and actors preparing for their next big screen success.

This was the summer that I stayed cool by eating
tons of watermelon during the day.
While I was writing, while I was reading,
sitting on the front steps of my apartment,
watching people on their daily run.
Watermelon by my side was my key ingredient
to stay cool and refreshed.

This was the summer that I discovered more places
in Columbus than I’ve ever had.
Mozart Café, Milestone 229, Java Central, Dirty Franks,
and my favorite one of all times: Columbus Commons
where an ideal reading room was born.

This was the summer that Cycle 20 Project Diversity from
United Way made their marks in this city leaving our footprints
behind at the Parson’s store where hundred of families
seeked for help and support to start the new school year.

This was the summer that one book club was born,
a group of women challenged each other to Think about
issues that matters, topics that rise the bar
and questions that are so controversial and unspoken.
We discovered our differences but also got united by
things that move us the most, revealing more than
we ever will.

This was the summer that I met Maria Guzman and became her
mentor. I considered this more MY blessing than hers.
I can only hope she can learn a thing or two from me,
but in reality she has been teaching ME more.
She is the living example of faith and perseverance.
of hard work and success.

This was the summer that I witnessed three of my friends
getting married, each of them promising  a life together
in healthness and in sick with the person that stole their hearts.
Their promising eyes and their unconditional love
were transparent for a whole audience to feel it and join them
in the prayer for this love to always be strong.

This was the summer I saw a Frida Khalo's original painting at MOMA in NYC.
Frida's life was a painful one but her love for the arts, for all things beautiful overcame the pain she learned to live with. 

This was the summer I read over 100 books…
some picture books, some adult novels, and young adult as well.
Poetry never misses from my pile and discovered some
great graphic novels that I will take to my classroom.

This was the summer I watch my friends’ life
making some positive changes in preparation of
the lives that will join them in the fall.
Preparing their soul for a lifetime of giving and caring,
what a joy is to watch your friends turn themselves
into the mothers they are meant to be.

This was the summer my desk moved to my living room
creating a perfect writing space for my daily mornings
in company with coffee and books.
My blue desk symbolizes the writer I’m becoming
yet it also represents the long journey ahead.

This was the summer I celebrated 10 years in the USA.
Ten years of grow…
ten years of life time friendships
ten years of moving, packing, going, arriving.
Ten years of discovering an inner strength
I didn’t know it existed in me.

Thank you Summer of 2011.
You were so much more than I expected.
You didn’t disappoint. and I made it to the end.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Early Readers for the New Year!

As the new school year approaches, I get ready to talk a lot of new books I've discovered this summer right into my classroom. Maybe that's one of my favorite things about summer, besides the obvious which is pool and plenty of watermelon, is to have the time to read. I try to be as intentional as I can about the reading I do during the summer. Sometimes, I just go to the library and let the unexpectedness of it all to lead the way. Other times, I'm very intentional about the authors I want to discover, or a specific genre I would like to explore more.
On my last trip to the library I wanted to keep my eyes open for new early readers. I love being able to match my dear young readers with the just right book. This of course means keeping my eyes open for new possibilities and stretching my horizons when it comes about books.

Here are my latest finds on early readers on my last trip to the library:
:Kat's Maps (Trucktown Ready-to-Roll) Kat's Maps by Joh Scieszka. What a great Ready to Read Level One book series book! In this particular one, Kat loves to draw maps. She draws maps of her bedroom, of her block of her town and of her world! She loves maps so much that she gave Jack a surprise. A surprise that only Kat could give to her dear friend!

Trucks Line Up (Trucktown Ready-to-Roll) Also by Jon Scieszka, comes another great early reader. In Trucks Line Up, Jack Truck lines up all the great trucks as soon as he is ready to start the day. Everyone is in a beautiful line, but wait a minute, where is Pete? How can he forget about him? I'm sure my young readers, especially the boys will find this book so appealing! After  all, who doesn't love a great truck, right?

Mouse Loves School (Ready-to-Read. Pre-Level 1)Mouse Loves School by Lauren Thompson
A tiny little mouse gets inside a backpack only to find out the wonderful world of school filled with all the best things: colors, shapes, and mostly, friends! A perfect one for the beginning of the school year.

And now for all my dear Splat The Cat fans, here are some titles you may want to add to your library:
Splat the Cat: Good Night, Sleep Tight (I Can Read Book 1)Splat the Cat Good Night, Sleep Tight by Rob Scotton. A great short story involving three friends (well...sort of) and camping out.
Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! by Rob Scotton. Oh so much to share about summer time with friends during Show and Tell! How can he only chose one? What will Splat discover about this homework? Read to find out!

Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (I Can Read Book 1)And last but not least, the special Fancy Nancy is out with a new book: Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl. Jane O'Connor sure knows how to give us a special and lovable character like Fancy Nancy whose love for fancy words is bigger than her. This time, our young girl faces the problem of realizing she is not a good runner and thus wanting to avoid Field Day at all cost. I love how this early reader has a great message for our young readers who not only will learn more fancy words but also learn a valuable lesson.

My wish for you is that your summer was filled with adventures, fireflies, plenty of sun and plenty of watermelon too. But mostly, I hope it was filled with great books that you simply can't w-a-i-t  to share with your students!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest blog post!

Today please visit the amazing Two Writing Teachers blog. I'm honored to be a guest blogger today. My topic? One that is dear to my heart: Teaching Writing Through an Author Study. Hope you find it useful and remember to always enjoy the journey.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Columbus Area Writing Project (CAWP) Part II

On my last post here at My World/Mi Mundo, I've shared my summer experience of participating in the Columbus Area Writing Project (CAWP). You can read the first part of this blog right here. 
In the first part I shared the big ideas and the philosophy behind such an amazing program like this one. Today I want to share with you what a day at CAWP looked like and some of the amazing titles recommended to all of us.
Every day a group of writers would gather in the classroom at Ramseyer Hall at The Ohio State University to start a day full of ideas, wonders, words, questions and books. Coffee brewing in the back, sleepy teachers walking one by one with excitement of a full day of writing ahead of us. Every morning, Robin Holland would filled our world with books, wonderful books, picture books, poetry books, large books, small books. This part of the day allowed our brain to wake up slowly in the preparation of the day ahead. Her knowledge and passion for books is admirable. Robin's passion for books opened our mind to genres, different genres of writing. She tuned my attention in different forms of writing and how to allow our minds to read a variety of texts, authors and genres. Every day our notebooks got filled with titles and titles to explore later.
Some of the titles I have gathered during those days include:

Teaching with Fire Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach by Sam M. Intrator
Professional Book: To Teach, The Journey in Comics by William Ayers
Listening-A Framework for Teaching Across Differences- Katherine Schultz
Terrible Thins-An Allegory of the Holocaust by Eve Bunting
Seeing the Blue Between- Compiled by Paul B. Janezco
Haiku This Other World by Richard Wright
A Postcard Memoir by Lawrence Sutin
Six Word Memoirs (there are several of this kind)
The World's Shortest Stories  Compiled by Steve Moss

This is really a partial list of the many many titles shared. I loved the fact that this was built in our daily schedule. I loved being read aloud. I loved being introduced to different "containers" where stories and words live. It helped me pay attention to other genres and formats.
Besides being immersed in the world of books, we also have daily writing time. A huge part of our day was allotted to just writing. This simple yet amazing daily moment allowed us to try new things, to create a routine and a schedule for us. We would get together with our writing group for feedback and suggestion. Other times, we would just write for our own purposes and by ourselves. We could write in any part of campus that allowed us to get into that writer's mood and let the pencil guide our way.

Almost every day we had a speaker, a guest that came to be talk to us about a specific topic. On these days, CAWP would treat all of us to an amazing lunch while we listen to another amazing person in the community share their knowledge and expertise with us. Some of our guest included Pat Enciso, Mollie Blackburn and our keynote speaker this year was William Kist whose topic included New Literacies. The set up for this guests allowed thinking and discussion time. Every voice was heard and respected. I attribute this type of atmosphere to the three instructors we had: Robin Holland, Melissa Wilson and Kevin Cordi who created this safe environment since day one. They made it possible for all of us to feel validated and appreciated regardless of our level and expertise in the writing or teaching world for that matter.

From our retreat at Kenyon College to our classroom at OSU, writing happened everyday and because of it, we all grew as writers ourselves. I highly recommend this amazing program because in order to be excellent teachers of writing, we must be writers ourselves or at least understand what it is like to be in those shoes. Teaching writing is not enough, igniting a passion for writing is a must.  I invite you to look at the National Writing Project in your area and get involved. After this experience, I feel that our job has just now started as we begin to advocate for a program that has changed and enriched the lives of many educators along the way. 
On our last day together at CAWP, I wrote this poem inspired by all the hard work my classmates and fellow teachers have put into their own lives. It is a magnificent group of educators, and it is an amazing program that opened our eyes to the importance of getting involved and advocating. 

by Stella Villalba

Stay connected 
expand yourself
stay connected
get involved
stay connected
there's so much to do.
Stay connected
we're all in this

Stay connected
because that's 
the beauty of
a community
It encourages
personal connections
sharing ideas
sharing stories.

Stay connected
get involved
so what when 
you reach 
a crossroad in your life
and it's time to reflect
and look back
you can say, 
"job well done"

Stay connected 
stretch yourself
what are you
afraid of anyways?
Of expanding your 
and not being able 
to look ahead?
Stay connected
stretch yourself
pick up the phone, 

There is no YOU or I 
in this community
There are only WE 
and present tense
Stay connected
get involved

Whatever you're passionate about, do your part, get involved, advocate. There is so much to do for one person to do alone. I want to thank our CAWP professors, and my fellow teachers for a wonderful experience of growing as a reader and as a writer!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Columbus Area Writing Project (CAWP) Part I

This summer I had the opportunity to attend, participate and become involved with the Columbus Area Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project (NWP). Under the patient guidance of the CAWP directors: Robin Holland, Melissa Wilson and Kevin Cordi, a group of writers were led every day on an outstanding journey of self-reflection, daily writing and encouragement. The writers came from all over Columbus: from east to west, from north to south with one common goal in mind: to become better writers and better teachers of writing.
The outstanding journey began at a retreat at Kenyon College. To all my dear Ohioan friends, let me just say this is a MUST place to visit. Their campus is gorgeous, small but with a flare of vintage. Their streets beg to be walked on while paying attention to the smallest details. The buildings' architectural design is one you want to pay attention. It is covered with unique twist and turns. The town is filled with brilliant minds, inquirers, researchers, word lovers, tales and superstitions. It was impossible not to feel inspired to write at a spectacular setting like this. Kenyon Colleges invites all writers to take out their pens and let them lead the way. It was at Kenyon College where CAWP Institute 2011- A Community of Writers was born. Our group bonded over poetry and read alouds. Our group connected through experiences and words. Our common love for all things well written brought us together. Our common passion to become better teachers of writing became our mutual goal.
Our group even had the chance to meet a celebrity on campus: Richard Jenkins (from the movie: Eat, Pray, Love)

That was definitely one of our surprising moments that we all like to remember and talk about. It is life's little moments or big ones that bring a community together and make us all look back and think, "hey, that was fun!" But Jenkins wasn't the only famous person that had the privilege to enjoy a walk on Kenyon College's campus. Other writers like Nikki Giovanni, Jonathan Kozol, Henri Petroski among other celebrities left their footprints and words among those buildings. 

Our amazing instructors filled our Writing Institute with books of all sorts, types, backgrounds and genres. We explored a variety of books that led us to try unique pieces of writing. Our instructors are full of knowledge and expertise and the invitation to explore was impossible to resist. I'm a strong believer of creating safe communities in the classroom where students will feel safe writing, reading, talking, sharing, asking, making mistakes and exploring. Our three CAWP directors not only talked about the importance of creating a community, they showed us how it is done by creating that culture and environment in our Writing Institute. We all felt safe putting ourselves out there. We all came from different background and different levels of experience but together we became ONE writing community. One that listens, respects, provides feedbacks and get involved with the community. 

I became a better teacher of writing through CAWP. I learned to put myself in the shoes of my students. I learned to listen and pay attention to details and to recognize beautiful language when I hear it. I learned to stretch my horizon as a reader by exploring different genres and how it is written. I learned to give my words a new meaningful, a new taste. I learned the importance of marinating my writing and let it soak it to acquire new taste. I learned to come back to old pieces of writing and firing my the grill of words again. I learned to listen, to pay attention and how to give productive feedback.  We all learned to validate each other for who we are. I can honestly say I loved everything about this Summer Institute. I'm certain that our journey together did not end at our Writing Institute. I'm positive that this is only the beginning of bigger and better projects. 

On my next post, I'll share with you what a day at CAWP Summer Institute looked like. I will also share some great titles recommended plus some projects we got involved in. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Collecting Read Alouds-Early Grades

Oh there are so many reasons I love summer time. Here are just a couple:
*endless time to read
*watermelon and patio dinners
*pool and the smell of coconut+vanilla lotions
*road trips
* collecting Read Alouds for next academic year...

Oh yes, I keep my eyes open for great read alouds for next year. I'm blessed to work with the same group of children every year (I teach ESL) and this blessing gives me the extra challenge of keeping myself updated on the world of children's literature. This way, I can bring a range of great read alouds to the various group I teach. 
For my younger ones in Elementary grades I have:

Walk on by Maria Frazee Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg Beautiful Oops!

my classic: Leo The Late BloomerLeo the Late Bloomer

and now I want to add : Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator by Mo WillemsHooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!

Mo Willems did it again! He created yet again another adorable book with great characters and a situation that children will understand. I love what he did this time. He created a short chapter book. This book is perfect to start introducing our younger readers to the world of chapter books and sustaining information. Amanda is a reader. She gets lost in the world of books because you know..."books beat boredom!" She has a best pet friend Alligator (a stuff animal really). Alligator and Amanda knows how to have fun, just the two of them. Until one day Amanda comes back from the zoo with Panda (another stuff animal!) Is this going to work? Amanda, Alligator & Panda? Read to find out. Another great addition to any library. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Reading

Oh the days in summer allows us educators to press the pause button and to enjoy and get caught up with what's new in Children's Literature. I'm sure many of you will feel identify when I say that during the year, I get to hear a lot about great books but sometimes finding time is an issue. So, I keep a list of those titles so during Summer Time I can finally get to them.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Junior Library Guild Selection (Atheneum))One of the titles that has been on my "Get to it already!" list was Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst. Let me just say that all the positive things I read about this book, it is absolutely true. I can NOT wait to share this book with my students next year. I will definitely be put to wonderful use not only as a read aloud but hopefully for what I hope it can become one of our mentor texts in Writing Workshop. But first let me just tell you a little bit about the story. Someone is telling and writing this story about Lulu and her wish for a pet brontosaurus. This narrator have a conversation with the audience (you, the reader) about some of her/his choices when writing this book.  As this narrator tells her/his story, we get  to meet Lulu, a young girl whose parents always gave her anything she asks. Since she is an only child, her family feels so happy to have her and they want to give her everything! Lulu is used to hearing the word YES. On the few occasions, Lulu gets to hear the word NO from her parents she made sure she screamed and threw a tantrum. As a result, her parents always gave in with her demands.
One day Lulu, decides to ask for a pet brontosaurus! Yes, out of all the animals she could have as a pet, she chose a dinosaur. Well at this point, once again, the narrator is telling us (the readers) why she chose that pet. This time Lulu's parents are standing firm on their answer NO! So Lulu decides to take matters in her own hands, and so the adventures begin!
This book is just so perfect for elementary students because it provides a great story line, a wonderful lesson, interesting characters, intriguing choices (as to which the narrator explains his/her choices) and each chapter is short enough to keep younger children at focus.
The story provides three different endings and the narrator does a fantastic job explaining her/his choices for rewriting then endings. (Talk about powerful lessons rights here!)
Honestly, I can't wait to listen and learn from my students' reactions to this book.

Princess Posey and the Perfect Present: Book 2Another early chapter book is Princess Posey and the Perfect Present by Stephanie Greene . A year ago, I wrote about the first book in this series entitled Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade. Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade: Book 1You can read the review right here.  In this sequel, Posey continues to be the adorable girl she is but this time she gets in a bit of a problem. Posey LOVES her teacher, she loves her so so much that when it is her teacher's birthday, Posey thought this would be the best way to show her teacher how much she cares. Posey even had an idea of a unique present that would make her teacher's heart even happier. But when Posey realizes that her idea of a birthday gift is not an original, she is totally disappointment, angry at her best friend, and sad for letting it get to her. Pose would need to make a decision about all this. Keep on reading to find out how this adorable first grader still manages to find the perfect present and learn a bit more about herself.

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off (Book 1)Next chapter book is actually a book in the series. Last year, we werer introduced to Freddie Ramos in Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off (Book 1). First, it's important to know that Freddie is an only child who lives with his mom. They're both very close to another, especially since his father passed away. They're very good at taking care of one another. One day, Freddie receives a special box from Mr. Vaslov which contained the most amazing purple shoes. You're probably wondering, what are some amazing about it? Well, these are just not your regular shoes, these are Zapato (shoes in Spanish) with extra power. It makes Freddie zooms from one place to another in no time. All Freddie wants to do is help people. These shoes allow him to not only do that but also get himself into some great adventures.
In book number 2 and number 3 Freddie keeps helping people either stay out of trouble or solve their problems. Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Springs into Action (Book 2)But in book number 2 Freddie Ramos Springs into Action, Mr. Vaslov is able to improve Zapato Powers by adding the coolest bracelet that Freddie has ever seen. Now the possibilities are endless and Freddie keeps improving his skills of helping people out in no time.
Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Zooms to the Rescue (Book 3)In book number 3, Freddie Ramos Zooms to the Rescue, the newest addition to Freddie's all improved powers is an awesome pair of goggles. Except that this time, this present is not from Mr. Vaslov. So,who's it from? Not only there is a purple squirrel that needs help, but now the goggles come from somewhere but Freddie has not clue from where. What I love about this series is that Freddie is a lovable character. He worries about his mom's being, he takes such a good care of her. He also likes to help people out and is always on the lookout for new adventures. Children will love it and boys will feel great seeing more boys as main characters. I think these series would be a wonderful read aloud addition to any classrooms.

This is what summer time is all about for me. It's about staying current with children's literature, it's about  finding new books to fall in love with next year. I love introducing my students to the latest literature. I want their knowledge to keep on expanding throughout the years and it is my duty to make sure that happens.

Happy Summer Reading! Enjoy the journey!