Category Archives: humor

Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

cover49096-mediumWhen I first saw this sweet cover, I thought that Ava and Pip would be an early-ish chapter book, along the lines of Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series or Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody books. This adorable cover deceives, however, as Ava and Pip is a solid middle grade novel that I think many of my 4th-6th grade students will love. While Judy and Clementine start off their series in third grade, Ava is a 5th grader, and her sister, Pip, a 7th grader. Ava and Pip‘s word count is twice that of Clementine and Judy, and the sentence structure is more suited to an upper elementary grade reader. The paperback version is coming out in March of 2015, so I’ll be interested to see what they do with the cover.

Ava is lovable, flawed, smart, and introspective. Her attempts to right a wrong are both believable and sympathetic, the family dynamics are charming and realistic, and the ending is satisfying. I look forward to recommending this one in my library this fall.

Many thanks to the publisher who provided this e-galley via Netgalley.

Publisher’s description:  AVA AND PIP is the diary of a good kid who does a bad thing.

Ava is an outgoing 10-year-old with a painfully shy 12-year-old sister. Ava gets mad at Pip and feels bad for Pip all at the same time. Mom and Dad are constantly fretting about Pip, and Ava sometimes feels invisible in her own family. When Pip’s 13th birthday party gets ruined because a new girl named Bea throws a boy-girl party on the same day, Ava, outraged, enters a writing contest with a thinly-veiled story called “Sting of the Queen Bee.” Bea finds out and is not pleased. She didn’t even know there were two parties on the same date. Bea confronts Ava, and the two reach a truce and decide to team up to try to help Pip come out of her shell. They devise five Pip Pointers. At first Pip resists, but little by little, she learns to speak up—and Ava does too. In fact, by helping Pip find her voice, Ava ultimately finds her own. She tells her parents that she would like some attention too, and she tells her diary that she has found her goal: She wants to be a writer someday.

Hand this book to the kid who:

* enjoys books in diary format

* tends to be shy

* loves words

* has siblings

* is a writer

Use this to discuss:

* Voice –The irony is that, throughout the story, Ava is trying to figure out what “voice” is in writing, yet her own voice oozes with sparkle and personality.

* Word Play–Ava’s entire family are self-proclaimed “word nerds.” They exchange puns, rhymes, and, most notably, palindromes (words and phrases that read the same both forward and backward, like A-V-A- and P-I-P, or “Was it a car or a cat I saw?” ) .

* Sibling Rivalry–Perhaps this category should be “sibling envy,” but that’s not quite accurate, either. Ava is envious of the attention that her parents give to her older, painfully shy sister, Pip, yet I don’t ever get the sense that Ava would want to be like Pip. All siblings feel this way at times, and the book will make a nice springboard for those discussions.

* Writing–Ava is an aspiring writer, and there’s a lot in these pages about finding one’s voice, writer’s block, etc. that could be culled for writers’ workshop activities.


Visit author Carol Weston’s website here to learn more about her. Students will be delighted to see how many autobiographical tidbits they can find that connect the author’s life and the book.

Check out the excellent educator’s guide by clicking here.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Date: March 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1402288708

Number of Pages: 224

For ages 9-12

Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin

hi_res_FLF_COVER_2-330 The first time I heard Charlotte’s Web was while sitting on the carpet of my 4th grade classroom in 1975 when Mrs. Smith read the book aloud to us. I was captivated. At the time, I had no idea that the book was already more than 20 years old. Fleabrain Loves Franny opens in the early 1950s, just after E.B. White published Charlotte’s Web, and main character Franny is just as smitten with Charlotte as I was. We meet Franny not long after she’s recovered from polio and is grappling with life in a wheelchair. She’s still considered contagious by her friends and their parents, and she wishes for a friend like Charlotte. Fleabrain is no Charlotte, but his imperfect love for Franny sets her off on a journey–both fantastical and internal–that provides both a needed escape from reality as well as a solid plan for her new normal. Franny is a sympathetic character who doesn’t evoke pity, but respect. One of my favorite lines is when Franny’s former gang of friends parades by her house yet again, waving and saying how much they miss her. She thinks: “Which Franny do you miss? Because, actually, I’ve been here all along. In the flesh.” She doesn’t want or need to be treated with kid gloves, and the resolved friendships in the end are both satisfying and realistic.

Teachers and students often ask if we have any new historical fiction titles on the shelves, and I’m looking forward to recommending this one in the fall.

Publisher’s description:  This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness

Hand this book to the kid who:

* enjoys historical fiction

* is interested in science (especially microbiology and germs/bacteria/viruses/medicine)

* loves a light touch of fantasy

* is struggling with feeling different from his or her peers

* would like to vicariously visit the Seven Wonders of the World

* is a fan of  E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and Katie Speck’s Maybelle series.


Use this book to discuss:

* Differences–So often we highlight ways in which we are different from other people, instead of celebrating the many ways that we are alike. Having a peek into Franny’s point of view, we realize that the kernel of who she is has not changed; it’s her community who has changed the way they see her through a lens of fear

* The science behind vaccines –As I looked through our library’s online catalog, I realized that we have quite a few non-fiction titles about epidemics and the role/effects of disease throughout history. Jonas Salk, the man who discovered the polio vaccine, is mentioned several times in the book.

* Points of View–While most of the story is told from Franny’s point of view, we do see snippets of Fleabrain’s point of view, as well. Especially in the end, when Fleabrain can’t communicate with Franny, students can discuss misunderstanding, intentions, and forgiveness all within the context of friendship.

For schools with Internet filters that block YouTube, click here for the trailer on School Tube.

Visit author Joanne Rocklin’s website here and my interview with her here in 2012.

Many thanks to the publisher who provided this e-galley via Netgalley.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams Books

Publication Date: August 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1-4197-1068-1

Number of Pages: 288

For ages 9-12

After Iris by Natasha Farrant

After IrisThere is so much that I love about this book that I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll start with the publisher‘s description:  

An unforgettable middle-grade debut that will steal your heart…

Blue Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago and her family has never been the same. Her histrionic older sister, Flora, changes her hair color daily; her younger siblings, Jasmine and Twig, are completely obsessed with their pet rats; and both of her parents spend weeks away from home–and each other. Enter Zoran the Bosnian male au pair and Joss the troublemaking boy next door, and life for the Gadsby family takes a turn for the even more chaotic. Blue poignantly captures her family’s trials and tribulations from fragmented to fully dysfunctional to ultimately reunited, in a sequence of film transcripts and diary entries that will make you cry, laugh, and give thanks for the gift of families.

With the charm of The Penderwicks and the poignancy of When You Reach Me, Natasha Farrant’s After Iris is a story that will stay with readers long after the last page.

My impression: Considering that this story is, in part, about Blue dealing with the death of her twin sister, Iris, this is not a maudlin tale. I laughed out loud more than once and was charmed countless times by Blue’s honest observations about her crazy (albeit lovable) family and life in general. The story is set in England, yet still feels accessible to American readers.

As a school librarian, I take advantage of the summer months to catch up on reading; I usually go straight from the last page of one book to first page of the next in the same day. But after I reached the last page of After Iris, I didn’t want to jump into the next book quite yet; I wanted time to linger in Blue’s world and reflect on her story before moving on to another.

After Iris is one of my favorite reads of 2013.

Hand this book to the kid who:

* has a twin or a close sibling

* enjoys books with a diary or journal format

* is interested in the art of film or making videos

* has been separated from a parent due to the parent’s job, a divorce, etc.

Use this to teach:

Format–Told in diary entries and Blue’s home-movie film transcripts, the story unfolds in an unconventional way. The story’s format will spark good discussion about why the author may have chose to tell Blue’s story in this way. Of particular note is the metaphoric  last scene when the camera is turned on Blue  for the very first time.

* Coping Strategies--Blue not only has to deal with missing her twin sister, Iris, but also with her first broken heart in love and fear of her parents’ divorce. The various ways in which Blue’s family members each deal with Iris’ death also merit discussion and analysis.

The Nitty Gritty~

Click  here for reviews.

Author’s website here.

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: July 2013

ISBN-10: 0803739826

ISBN-13: 978-0803739826

Number of Pages: 272

Interest Level: Ages 10 and up

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

The Vampirina Ballerina books by Anne Marie Pace, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Today Biblio Links welcomes picture book author Anne Marie Pace! Anne Marie’s fourth picture book was released this summer to rave reviews, and it is guaranteed to make Vampirina Ballerina fans squeal with delight. (If you haven’t met Vampirina yet, then get thee to a bookstore!)

Here’s the description of the first Vampirina book:

9781423157533Oh, to be a ballerina! It’s a challenge for any little girl, but even more so if you happen to be a vampire like Vampirina. First of all, you have to find a class that meets at night. Then you have to figure out how to perfect your form when you can’t see yourself in the mirror?  And then there’s wearing pink (not the most flattering of colors if you happen to be undead) and that nagging urge to take a little nip out of the other dancers. And worse of all… STAGE FRIGHT!!!

…and the adorable second book:

9781423175704Before Vampirina can host her very first sleepover there are a few things she must keep in mind: be polite and offer her guests food (like blood pudding); plan some games like scavenger hunt (but keep the clues simple so no one gets lost); and don’t forget to dance! Vampirina may be a little nervous at first, but by following a few simple rules she will host the Best Sleepover Ever.

I promise you will fall in love with this ballet-loving vampire who just wants to fit in. The Vampirina books are the kind that offer something different each time you read them. My students love Vampirina, and the first read-through with them is always a delight. But the more kids hear or read the book and examine the detail in the illustrations, the more they glean from the story. They always make text-to-self connections about times when they felt different from their peers.

In the second Vampirina book, I know my students will make these same types of connections, but this time centered on family. Many of my students are immigrants, and their families bring their own rich and layered cultural traditions with them to this country. Sometimes it makes them stand out from other families, and it can be tricky for a kid to balance their home culture with that of the community in which they now live. I can’t wait to share this new Vampirina book with my students.

I asked author and former teacher Anne Marie Pace how her Vampirina books might be used in the classroom.

16048Biblio Links: Welcome, Anne Marie!
A student walks into my library and I think: THAT kid needs a Vampirina Ballerina book. Who is this child?

Anne Marie Pace: I can think of several types of kid who might need a Vampirina book. There are certainly people who see a little girl ballerina on the cover and assume it’s meant for small girls who love to dance, and definitely the books work for those girls.  In fact, even last year, in the first months after release, I received photographs of more than a few girls who had dressed as Vampirina for Halloween.

But surprisingly, when I’ve done school visits, I find that third and fourth grade boys really get the book as a whole.  They really appreciate the tiny creepy details that go over younger children’s heads.  For an example of what I mean, take a look at the ways in which LeUyen Pham portrays Dame Margot Fonteyn, the famous ballerina, throughout the book.

Speaking of tiny details, I’d say a reader who loves examining illustrations closely would also be a great candidate for the  Vampirina books because LeUyen Pham includes incredible telling detail throughout.  I am still discovering new things.

Another reader who might like Vampirina would be a child who feels a little different from his or her peers and needs reassurance that being different is not only a-ok, it’s actually pretty cool.  And of course, they’re good for anyone who likes to laugh!

Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?

Anne Marie Pace: I hope you’d see a lot of kids laughing!  The teacher would have lots to point out to the kids.  She could talk about Dame Margot Fonteyn, whose influence figures prominently in Vampirina’s life; and they might discuss how we can look up to role models.  They could trace the numerous subplots that are present in the illustrations.  And they could move!  Because Vampirina is a dancer, she loves movement. There’s also a wonderful teachers’ guide developed by one Natalie Lorenzi.  It’s available for download on my website.  There are wonderful activities in that guide, from patterning to tooth brushing!

Biblio Links: Creating the teacher’s guide for Vampirina was so much fun! The story and illustrations lend themselves so well to activities across the curriculum. With the story’s theme of fitting in, school guidance counselors will want to add these to their shelves, too.

Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?

Anne Marie PaceMy website is a starting point:  There are also a lot of links on the Vampirina Ballerina Facebook page, at  And Linda Urban did a series of blog posts with both me and LeUyen Pham, the illustrator.  Those links are here, here, and here.

Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Anne Marie!

You can also follow Anne Marie on Twitter: @AnneMariePace.

Look for Anne Marie’s other picture books published by Scholastic Book Clubs. Click on either book cover to learn more.

Strangers final front coverTeacher for Bear

The teacher’s guide link to the first Vampirina book is here.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Dates: Fall 2012 (Vampirina Ballerina) and Summer 2013 (Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover)

ISBN-13: 978-1423157533 (Vampirina Ballerina)

ISBN-13: 978-1423175704 (Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover)

Interest Level: Ages 2 to 6

Number of Pages: 40

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Today Biblio Links welcomes picture book author Laura Murray! 

Full disclosure: I had the pleasure of creating curriculum guides for each of these delightful books. Both stories are twists on the traditional gingerbread tale.

Here are the summaries from the publisher’s website:

gbm-coverThe Gingerbread Man Loose in the School:   When a class leaves for recess, their just-baked Gingerbread Man is left behind. But he’s a smart cookie and heads out to find them. He’ll run, slide, skip, and (after a mishap with a soccer ball) limp as fast as he can because: “I can catch them! I’m their Gingerbread Man!”

With help from the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher and even the principal, the Gingerbread Man does find his class, and he’s assured they’ll never leave him behind again.

Teachers often use the Gingerbread Man story to introduce new students to the geography and staff of schools, and this fresh, funny twist on the original can be used all year long. Includes a poster with fun activities!

GB cover 10.1.12The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck:   Guess who gets to go along on a field trip to the firehouse? The Gingerbread Man! But when he falls out of his classmate’s pocket, Spot the Dalmatian comes sniffing around. Luckily, this Gingerbread Man is one smart cookie, and he races into the fire truck, up the pole, and all through the station, staying one step ahead of the hungry dog the whole time.

Then an emergency call comes in and the Gingerbread Man knows just what to do:
“I’ll ride to the rescue, as fast as I can.
I want to help, too! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”
With snappy rhymes and fresh illustrations, the Gingerbread Man makes a sweet return in his second school adventure. Includes a poster with fire safety tips and activities.
I adore both of these books, and so do kids. Laura Murray’s rhyme is spot-on, making it a flowing, fun read-aloud. In both books, the gingerbread man isn’t running away from anyone (well, except for a brief sprint from the fire house Dalmatian)–he’s running to  his friends, the kids who made  him in their classroom, befriended him, and then lost track of him.  Mike Lowery’s illustrations are just as appealing as the text–bright, cheery and comic-book-like with speech bubbles galore.
Here’s what Laura had to say about using these fun titles in the classroom.


Biblio Links: A student or teacher walks into my library and I think: That person needs a copy of one of Laura Murray’s Gingerbread Man books. Who is this person?

Laura Murray:  This kid loves adventure and a good giggle, or field trips, fire trucks, and fire fighters. These books are for every kid who ever felt nervous on the first day of school, or who longed to be accepted; who wants to be a helper and a hero, or who likes comic-book/ graphic novel-like pictures.Or possibly a teacher who is looking for a fun way to  introduce his/her students to the school and staff – by chasing the Gingerbread man through the school, or who simply wants a fresh, funny take on the traditional story to highlight his/her Holiday unit. Maybe this teacher or librarian wants to complement  a fire safety or community helpers unit by giving his/her students an adventurous tour of the fire station (via the GB Man) during October Fire Prevention Week. 
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using one of your books in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?

Laura Murray:  Being a former teacher myself, I wanted to incorporate lots of fun curriculum tie-ins within these books. Teachers can find printables and standards- based activities here.  These are just a few of the lessons that you might see:* Math – Gingerbread-related measuring and estimation* Science – A five senses lessons while making gingerbread; Properties of the ingredients and batter  (and kids who are very excited that they might get to taste a cookie!)* Language Arts – Comparing/contrasting the many versions of the GB Man story; Identifying story elements, structure, story event sequencing; Identifying (and chiming in on) rhyming words

* Life Skills – Fire Prevention and Safety Rules; How to navigate your school

* Social Studies –  Community helpers; Map skills in the school and community

Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  
Laura Murray:  Please feel free to visit my website at for loads of activities, printouts, and standards /common core-linked teacher’s guides, as well as information about school author presentations.Here’s  The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School’s book trailer. Fun just to watch or to practice skills like story prediction, sequencing, compare/contrast, and retelling. Enjoy!  

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Laura!


The Nitty Gritty~

Read the glowing reviews here and here.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Dates: The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (July 2011);   The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck (July 2013)

ISBN-13: 978-0399250521 (The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School)

ISBN-13: 978-0399257797 (The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck)

Interest Level: 5-8 years

Number of Pages: 32

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

And the Winner Is…Amazing Animal Athletes by Etta Kaner, illustrated by David Anderson

amazing animalThere’s a lot packed into these 31 pages–a comic-style layout, sidebars with quick facts about the featured animals, running jokes from the peanut-gallery sports fans and event participants–yet it doesn’t feel too crowded or overwhelming. Even the page set-up is well planned, with a double page spread introducing four animals and their attributes, then asking the reader to guess which of the four would take the gold medal in a particular skill–speed, high jumping, etc. Turn the page to find out the winner and how a human’s performance in the same event would compare. Each animal’s size is taken into consideration, so the winner isn’t always the animal you’d think. For example, the best long-jumper is the Rocket Striped Frog–in proportion to its size, the length of its jump would compare to a human jumping the length of a football field.

Although the publisher says that this is for readers from ages 4 to 8, I would definitely hand this to older kids who are struggling and/or reluctant readers.

Publisher’s description:  In this unique facts book, animals compete in sporting events such as high jump, swimming and weight lifting. Readers are encouraged to guess which animal will win before turning the page, while walrus and cockatoo “announcers” provide funny commentary and interesting statistics about the athletes’ amazing abilities. This is a winning format for kids who want to know which animals can be faster, stronger and more powerful, and how humans compare.

Hand this book to the kid who:

* is interested in animal facts

* reads joke books, riddles, and plays on words

* enjoys comics and graphic novels

* loves numbers, stats, and math challenges

Use this to teach:

Animal Units–All students in the U.S. study animals and habitats at some point during their elementary school years. In addition to the animal facts, there’s also a quick review of habitats around the globe at the start of the book.

* Research--This would make a nice springboard for kids’ own animal research projects. Using the same format, students could come up with their own events and animal participants.

*Predicting–Children can use their own background knowledge to make predictions at first. Once they’ve caught on that the winners aren’t always the obvious choices, they’ll likely make more thoughtful predictions as they read further.

*Proportion–Challenge older  kids to calculate how other animals would fare in similar competitions.

* Olympics–Display this alongside traditional sports books for a winning Olympic display.

The Nitty Gritty~

Click here for reviews.

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Publication Date: April 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1-55453-904-8

Number of Pages: 31

Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell: N (3rd grade)

Interest Level: Ages 4 to 8 (Although I’d give this to older struggling readers in a heartbeat…)

Thanks to Anatastia Suen for creating Non-Fiction Mondays, and to Prose and Kahn for hosting today!

Thanks to Anatastia Suen for creating Non-Fiction Mondays, and to Prose and Kahn for hosting today!


Click here for more children’s book recommendations that highlight science, technology, engineering and math!

Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Happy Book Birthday tomorrow to Sophie’s Squash!

CoverWith school starting rather soon-ish, my first thought was to recommend Sophie’s Squash to teachers, librarians and parents as a charming book for autumn. But I hesitate to  limit this gem to the “books for fall” shelf. Inspired by Pat’s own squash-loving daughter, Sonia, this lovely story is really about friendship, and is a joy for all seasons.

From the publisher’s website: On a trip to the farmers’ market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents’ gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes…. What’s a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? With absolutely delightful text by Pat Zietlow Miller and downright hilarious illustrations from Anne Wilsdorf, Sophie’s Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.

If you’re thinking this book sounds like a must-read, you’re not alone. So far it’s received four–count ’em–FOUR! starred reviews:

“In a perfect blend of story and art, the humorous watercolor-and-ink illustrations are bursting with color and energy on every page… This is a paean to love and friendship, which can come in all species, shapes, and sizes.” ~Booklist

“With lessons on life, love, and vegetable gardening, this tale will be cherished by children, and their parents will be happy to read it to them often.” ~School Library Journal

“Sensitive but funny… Miller’s easygoing storytelling taps into the familiar scenario of children making fierce attachments to favorite objects.” ~Publishers Weekly

“This season-spanning turn with high-spirited Sophie offers endearing lessons about nurture and regeneration.” ~Kirkus Reviews

I asked Pat Zietlow Miller how Sophie’s Squash might be used in the classroom.

PAT ZMBiblio Links: A student or teacher walks into my library and I think: THAT person needs a copy of Sophie’s Squash. Who is this kid or teacher?

Pat Zietlow Miller: The kid would be any preschool through second-grade kid carrying a stuffed animal, a pet rock or a blanket that has been loved into oblivion. Or a kid with one best friend he or she does everything with. Those kids would totally understand why Sophie loves Bernice.

The teacher could be a teacher looking to talk about friendship with her class. Or loss. Or a teacher who’s just looking for a new fall book. Or maybe a teacher who’s about to take his or her class on a field trip to a farmers’ market.

Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?

Pat Zietlow Miller: Well, in a perfect world, I’d love to peek into a classroom and see all the kids happily decorating squash of their own so they would have new friends. This would be after the teacher had read the book to them and talked about what a good friend is, how you know when you’ve found one and how you can be a good friend to others.

Biblio Links: I’d also add that this book is a natural pick for school guidance counselors. In addition to the topic of friendship, Sophie’s Squash is the perfect springboard for discussions  on loss–of pets, friends who move away, loved ones. etc. 

Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?

Pat Zietlow Miller: My main website is

I also have a Pinterest board that suggests books with similar themes to SOPHIE’S SQUASH. It’s at:

Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Pat!

You can also follow Pat on Twitter: @PatZMiller. And the titles on her Pinterest board? They’d all make nice pairings with Sophie’s Squash for lessons on making text-to-text connections.

Look for Pat’s upcoming books in 2015: Sharing the Bread, a Thanksgiving book from Schwartz and Wade, and The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, inspired by Olympic sprinter Wilma Rudolph, from Chronicle Books.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Schwartz and Wade

Publication Date: August 6, 2013

ISBN-10: 0307978966

ISBN-13: 978-0-307-97896-7

Interest Level: Ages 3 to 7

Number of Pages: 40

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.