An Autobiographical Account of a Penny

One of my most memorable experiences as a student teacher came from a regular math routine early in the school year in a second grade classroom. Each day the class came together for a morning meeting and part of that routine included tracking the number of days we’ve been in school. They kept track of this number by writing the number, collecting colored dots on the tens frame and also by collecting coins that equaled the total number of days. On the first day the teachers put a penny underneath the document camera for the class to see. They asked the students, “What do you notice about this coin?” A young boy named Jack raised his hand and instead of describing the shape of the coin or the color of the coin, as we’d all expected, he gave the lengthy history of the coin. This experience was so important to me as a future teacher, you never know what to expect from kids and what knowledge they bring with them into the classroom if you don’t ask.

One Proud Penny by Randy Siegel is an awesome picture book that presents historically accurate information about the penny. It is narrated as an autobiographical account by a penny. It begins with information about when this penny was “born” and where, in 1983 in Philadelphia. Then continues on to explore the different uses of a penny, from providing exact change to spinning and flipping out of boredom or for fun.

One Proud Penny hints at the argument of whether pennies should be banned, one we explore in my 4th grade classroom during our argument and persuasive writing unit. It also highlights some important change over time (pun intended). For example, a penny used to be enough to buy ice cream or a newspaper, but that’s no longer the case.

One Proud Penny even details the difference in the composition of pennies when they were originally minted and today.

One Proud Penny is a wonderful tribute to the penny. A small yet durable coin that at times is a nuisance in our pockets or taking up lots of space in our wallet, and other times, helping us make exact change. The illustrations by Serge Bloch blend simple line drawings with actual images of pennies, in a way that adds to the comedic tone of the text. Together they create an informative and exciting informational book.

This is a must have book for any classroom and school library as well as any home collection of a kid who loves facts and information about money and coins. Click here to purchase a copy of One Proud Penny (affiliate link).

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Mr. Tweed and the Band in Need

Mr. Tweed is back! This time he is at the zoo to see his favorite 10-piece band perform, but Wollo the walrus and band leader, can’t seem to find any of his band members.

Join Mr. Tweed and Wollo as they explore the different animal exhibits for their friends. The illustrations are bright, colorful and super detailed. For example, can you find the banjo playing jellyfish?

Mr. Tweed and the Band in Need is more than an amazing hidden images picture book. It incorporates counting, colors, and animal and instrument recognition. Each creature is hidden in its habitat, for example Jimmy Toots the toucan is hidden in the tall trees. Readers can use different clues on each page to help them find the missing band member. This book teaches children to look carefully at illustrations as they hunt for the tiniest of details.

Mr. Tweed and the Band in Need written and illustrated by Jim Stoten is an engaging and fun read. It teaches about the importance of collaboration and helping others in need. This book is making it on my go to list of books to give young readers as a gift.

Click here to purchase a copy of Mr. Tweed and the Band in Need (affiliate link).

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

A Delightful Counting Picture Book

Counting with Barefoot Critters by Teagan White is a visually stunning picture book that infuses counting and numbers within the daily activities of a cast of forest creatures. It begins with a single fox enjoying solitary activities, including reading a good book in one’s own home. Once she finishes her story, it’s time to bake pancakes as a pair.

One page flows to the next with lovely rhymes, that prepare the reader to say the next number. The characters participate in a variety of outdoorsy activities that involve imagination and collaboration. They are inclusive and playful, all while having lots of fun. This is the perfect picture book for encouraging young kids to play with one another and to welcome others in their games and activities.

The story comes full circle, after a day of adventure fox returns home to her bed and has the opportunity to reflect on the events of the day.

Counting with Barefoot Critters is a about so much more than numbers, though that part I love too. It’s about making the most out of each day and being a positive, inspirational, good friend. This book teaches resilience, collaboration and independence simultaneously, all in a wonderful way!

Click here to purchase a copy of Counting with Barefoot Critters (affiliate link).

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Promoting a Love of Math from a Young Age

Danica McKellar (also known as Winnie from the Wonder Years who went on to major in math at UCLA) wrote an awesome book, Goodnight Numbers. This is the perfect bedtime picture book that teaches a love of numbers and math from a young age. This seemingly simple picture book has many carefully planned details that encourage kids to see numbers and math all around them in their everyday contexts. There are many opportunities for the reader to count up to the designated number by looking at Alicia Padron’s lovely illustrations. Each page includes a tens-frame a math tool kids become very familiar with once they start school to support their counting by ones and eventual skip counting.

Promoting a love of math from a young age is so important. Giving kids to see math in real life contexts allows them to see firsthand how relevant math is to their everyday lives. As a result, they are much more engaged and open to learning math at school.

Click here to purchase a copy of Goodnight Numbers (affiliate link).