Not a Box

by Antoinette Portis

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2007 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Award, ALA Notable Children’s Book

Pass out sheets of paper with different outline of shapes on them. Ask the children to create something, anything they would like, out of the outline of the shape. Then have the children share with other children who had the same shape what they made out of that shape. This exercise should allow the children to realize that imagination varies within each of us. Something that exists in reality (i.e. shape) can be turned into something completely different through our imagination. (From Teaching Children Philosophy)

Books by Antoinette Portis
Not a Stick
A Penguin Story
Princess Super Kitty
Kindergarten Diary

Books about Boxes/Imagination
A Box Story by Kenneth Kit Lamug
Sitting in my box by Dee Lillegard and Jon Agee
A Box Can Be Many Things by Dana Meachen Rau

Not a Box – YouTube
Animated version of this book

Author’s Website – Antoinette Portis

Not a Box – Activity Guide
Includes coloring page, event ideas and other activities

Not a Box: An OMazing Kids Yoga Lesson Plan

Not a Box – Teaching Children Philosophy


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by Kevin Henkes

Awards – Caldecott Honor (2015) and Geisel Honor (2015), Buckeye Nominee (2017)

Waiting MemoryCards

Waiting – Miss Yum

Waiting – Miss Lansberry

Books about waiting
E FOG And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
E WOO coming On Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson, ill. by E.B. Lewis
E YOL Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
ER WIL Waiting is not easy by Mo Willems

Author – Kevin Henkes

Waiting – Teaching Children Philosophy

Waiting – Horn Book

Infamous Ratsos / Geisel Award

This month we are going to talk about different awards that are given to children’s  books. This week I shared several Geisel Award Books and read one of this year’s Geisel Honor Award winners – Infamous Ratsos  by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Matt Myers


Extension Activities

Featured Books – Geisel Award

Printable – Matching Game and  Geisel Word Search

Computer – Video Infamous Ratsos meet Bikers for Books

Waiting – Award Winning Books

This week we read one of the new award winning books Waiting by Kevin Henkes.


This book won both the Caldecott Honor and the Geisel Honor. We talked about these awards and other books which have won these awards.  They also talked about other books by Kevin Henkes.

Additional Activities:

Memory Cards

Video – Meet Kevin Henkes

Featured Books – Caldecott Award, Geisel Award, Kevin Henkes

Selecting Books – Fiction Awards

We are continuing our series of  How to Select Books.

This past week we talked about Fiction Award winning books. The children’s fiction book awards which we talked about were the Caldecott,  Geisel  and  Newbery Awards.  We talked about what each of these are, showed examples for each award, and demonstrated how to find them in our library.  In our library, the award winning books have stickers on their spines.  We have posters showing the medal (first place) award winners. They can also be found by searching the catalog by the award name.  Currently they are on display in the library as well.

We then read an award winning book.  The first graders heard Josh Schneider’s Tales of a Picky Eaters (Geisel Award 2012) and second graders listened to Grandpa Green (Caldecott  Honor Award 2012).


Additional Resources:

Tales for Very Picky Eaters

Grandpa Green

Selecting Just Right Books

This week we talked about selecting books.  The first criteria is to pick something that looks interesting, whether it is an information book about dinosaurs or dogs or  a story about superheroes or princesses.  The next criteria is to find a just right book.  We read Goldisocks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins, illustrated by John Manders


The story introduces the concept of the Five Finger Rule which has you read the first page and count the number of words you don’t know on one hand.  If you find 5 words, the book is too hard and you need to select a different book.  Books with two or three new words are just right.  The story also talks more about returning the book properly on the shelf with the spine or title showing, not backwards, upside down, or laying on top.  I decorated the library with  the Goldie Socks Five Fingers Poster  and the Goldie Socks Finding a “Just Right” Book Poster


When looking at chapter books, I suggested they select books by size. Short chapter books are in our Early Reader section,   while middle to longer books are in the Fiction section.   Narrower or shorter chapter books typically have easier vocabulary, more pictures and fewer words, so would more likely to be “just right” for second and third graders, while thicker or longer books are right for the upper grades.  Other ways to select books include recommendations by friends, books by the same author or the same series as one that you have already read and award winning books. We read Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile, which followed many of the rules for selecting just right books.  We will talk more about ways to select books later in the year.

Children’s Book Awards


Children’s Book Awards

Last week the American Library Association (ALA) announced their children’s book awards, so I decided to share some of the award winning books during the 1st and 2nd grade library programs. I decided to read them Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli, which won the Geisel award for best beginning reader.  I also shared with them Locomotive by Brian Flocca, which won the Caldecott Medal Winner for best picture book and Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner , which was one of the books that won the Caldecott Honor Award.  I talked about what each of the awards were and how you can find them in the library.  I put stickers on the side of the books so they can see them when they are on the book shelves.  This week I pulled many of them and put them in a special display to make it easy for them to find.  I also put up a display of the Newbery Award winning books for the older grades.  The award winning books can also be found by searching the library catalog by the award name.

To see all the award winning books, go to ALA Award Books