Construction-themed books

Heavy Equipment Up Close by Andra Serlin Abramson (2007)

I bought this book for the library this year because of our major construction project going on right now. We are building an addition to the school and students have been seeing the progress all year long.

This book is HUGE - about four times the size of a chapter book - and includes full-page pull-outs of actual size photographs. From cranes to bulldozers and tractors, this book includes all types of heavy machinery with short, readaloud-friendly blurbs of information.

It's begging to be checked out by a teacher to share with students!

While we don't have too many construction-themed books in the library, I did pull out a few others to make connections to what's happening right outside our windows.

Building Heroes by Annie Auerbach (2004)

Back cover:
An old abandoned building is being demolished to make space for a new after-school center. Bad weather threatens to disrupt construction plans, but the Hero City team knows they must complete the center in time for the next school year. Join these heroes as they rev up their machines and rise to another building challenge!

Raise the Roof! by Anastasia Suen (2003)

Inside flap:
Grab your tool kit and put on your hard hat - there's a house to build! It starts with drawing up the floor plans and ends with laying down a welcome mat, but in between there are lots of things to do. Bright, humorous illustrations capture all the details around a construction site as a busy family lends a hand (and sometimes a paw!) to help build their dream house.

Dig, Drill, Dump, Fill by Tana Hoban (1975)

This wordless book features full-page photographs of heavy machinery. The glossary at the end adds short explanations of what each machine does. Though the book is a bit dated, construction equipment has changed little over the years, so the book is still relevant today.

Machines at Work by Byron Barton (1987)

Inside flap:
At the construction site the workers gather. Their machines are ready and waiting. A busy day is about to begin.
Down comes the old building. The land is made ready. A new building starts to go up.
Byron Barton's bright, bold illustrations convey all the energy, action, and excitement of the day.

Big Work Machines by Patricia Relf (1984)

This is a nonfiction book about heavy machinery. Each page has illustrations of a worksite, with captions for the construction equipment and explanations of how and when they are used.


The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman

The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman, illus. by David Roberts
published June 2009 by Candlewick
56 pages (hardcover), ages 6-10

Miss Breakbone hates kids. Unfortunately for everyone, she is a schoolteacher, which means that she's around kids all the time. The book starts with Miss Breakbone screaming at her class:

Well, these dunderheads won't have it! After Miss Breakbone pushes Theodore (aka Junkyard) too far by taking away his mother's birthday present, the kids band together and decide to sneak into Miss Breakbone's house to get it back. The students are a cast of characters with unique talents, from Hollywood the movie buff to Einstein the brainiac to Spitball (you can guess what he's good at it). They cleverly work together to break into Breakbone's to retrieve Junkyard's confiscated treasure.

I'll be using this book with third grade students for our almost-end-of-the-year readaloud because it is just SO MUCH FUN! The illustrations, as you can see from above, are fantastic and help tell the story where the text may be a bit elevated. For that reason, I'll have it projected up on the SmartBoard, so that students can follow along with me and everyone can see the pictures. I hope it's a hit with students!


Books by the Bushel!

Parents, teachers, and friends, 

Remember that this weekend is the Books by the Bushel event at Barnes & Noble! This event helps raise money and donates books to school libraries in the area. Any purchase you make at B&N this weekend will help support our school library! Just print out the voucher below or tell the cashier you'd like to support Books by the Bushel. 

Print Books by the Bushel voucher

You can also donate a book from our wishlist to the library!  Here are a few of the books on our wishlist, which you'll find at Barnes & Noble:

Hope to see you there!


This Week @ the Library (4/4 - 4/7)

We are celebrating the season of spring in kindergarten. To begin this new thematic unit, we read Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson. In this book, Bear wakes from his deep winter slumber, and he is HUNGRY! His forest friends help him find food until he is so full and so big that he can't fit in the opening of his cave. But Bear's a problem-solver - he decides to take a nap outside instead. :)

This week also marks the first week that kindergarten students are able to check out from some of the library bookshelves. We have been using a special cart of books until now, learning how to use a slider to keep the books in order. Students are excited about the wider selection of books!

Our Fractured Fairy Tales unit comes to a close this week. Last week, we read The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel, and this week we end with The Three Little Tamales, also by Kimmel. We are back at Tia Lupe and Tio Jose's taqueria, where the tamales are encouraged to run away lest they get eaten! The story follows the mold of The Three Little Pigs, and students were quick to point out the similarities in the two stories.

In second grade, we begin our Tomie dePaola author study with a reading of the classic Italian folktale, Strega Nona - or Grandma Witch. Strega Nona can make warts disappear, make husbands magically appear, and can grow hair on a bald man's head, but she is getting old and needs some help around the house. Enter Big Anthony, a well-meaning young man with one problem - he has trouble listening to directions. Strega Nona has one rule, and that is to never touch her magic pasta pot. Well, you can guess what Big Anthony does... :)

We'll be reading more Strega Nona stories in the coming weeks and some other books by Tomie dePaola, who was also the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Winner in 2011.

We're continuing our Fables unit this week. Because our library workroom is under construction, I visited both third grade classrooms for this lesson. Students read aloud in pairs from Mary Hoberman's You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together. Before students began reading to each other, we discussed what makes a good read-aloud, and they came up with some great points, like:
  • Read slowly.
  • Read in a loud, clear voice.
  • Use expression. 

I also visited fourth grade this week, and I finished reading aloud Dona Flor by Pat Mora. While I read, students took notes on examples of Tall Tale Characteristics in this book, such as:
  • The main character is bigger than life and/or has superhuman powers.
  • There are many exaggerations.
  • The main character has a problem to solve. 
  • The main character solves the problem and/or defeats the "bad guy" by the end of the story. 
Dona Flor is a giant living in a peaceful town of humans. The townsfolk love her and appreciate her enormous size, visiting her whenever they get a chance. But the loud roar of a puma scares the people into their homes, not wanting to venture out for fear of encountering this large cat. Dona Flor investigates and finds that the people really have nothing to fear at all. You'll have to read it to find out why!

We wrapped up our Civil War unit in 4th/5th grade this week by finishing Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco. This class has spent quite a bit of time this year getting to know Ms. Polacco as an author, so I am pleased that we were able to read some of her Civil War stories too. 

For the second half of class, I shared with students a bibliography of Civil War Historical Fiction. They each received a blue bookmark with the titles I booktalked, and I passed the books around for students to browse. You can find the list of books on our online catalog's Resource List, entitled Civil War Historical Fiction

Fifth grade students engaged in discussions about Internet Safety this week. We talked about social networking sites such as Facebook and how to lock down their privacy settings to make sure students are not sharing too much information with the whole world. They had many questions, comments, and personal experiences to share, as we ventured into topics of parental responsibility, sharing photos and videos, keeping in touch with family and friends, and more. 


The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli

The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli
published May 2010 by Random House
256 pages (hardcover), ages 8-12

Eleven year-old Bindi is confused and hurt when her father moves to another town to take a job. Her mom and her aunt also make a big change in their lives, and they buy a restaurant - The Dancing Pancake. Not only does Bindi have to live without her dad, but she's also squeezed into a tiny apartment above the restaurant so her mom can save money. Bindi feels like she has to grow up too fast, and she's not handling the changes so well. But lucky for Bindi, she has some great people in her life - her friends Albert, Megan and Kyra are always there to listen and joke and understand, and there's her restaurant family too. From her adorable, younger cousin Jackson to the sweet teenage waitress and the regular coffee and toast customer, Bindi makes some new friends who help her through this rough time in her life.

This book is written in verse (perfect for National Poetry Month!) and reads very quickly. Bindi's story is heartfelt and honest. She's quirky and spunky, but she can be selfish too - and her friends will tell her so. Because the book is written from Bindi's perspective, we know everything that's going on in her life but don't get to know any of the other characters until Bindi herself takes the time to. And she does. Bindi matures as the story unfolds, and she learns how to be a good friend too.

Although we don't have this book in the library yet, I wanted to write about it because I read it recently and really liked it. I liked it so much that I put it on our Wish List for Books by the Bushel, which is coming up in just over a week. What's that, you say?

Books by the Bushel is a fund-raising event organized by the Junior League and hosted at Barnes & Noble. It's a chance for school libraries in the area to receive books on our Wish Lists by the generosity of our community. This year, it takes place on April 15, 16, and 17. Find more information at the Junior League's website. We hope that you'll visit and do some shopping so that we can add books like The Dancing Pancake to our school library!

(ETA: You can support us at your own B&N and/or online too! Just print the voucher from the Junior League website to use in-store 4/15-4/17 or use the voucher number when ordering online through 4/22.)


This Week @ the Library (3/28 - 4/1)

We wrapped up our Rosemary Wells author study with a math activity in the library. Each student chose their favorite Max & Ruby book that we read together and placed it on our bar graph on the SmartBoard. Then, we counted up all the students in the class and all of the book covers on the graph to make sure the numbers matched and that every student had a turn. Finally, we counted each book's results to see which Max & Ruby book was the class' favorite! 

We are on our fourth week of our Fractured Fairy Tales unit. This week, we read The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel - a Texas twist to the classic Gingerbread Man story. 

Second grade students put on their detective caps this week and worked in groups to solve "Call Number Mysteries." We are working on learning how the library is organized and where to find specific books in the library. Do you know where to find a chapter book in the King School Library? Do you know what the call number starts with? They do!

We are on our third week of our Fables unit in third grade. This week we read Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes by Margie Palatini, based on Aesop's fable "The Fox and the Grapes." We also read the pictures of The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney because this book had no words, only the sounds the animals made!

Fourth grade students are a few weeks into our Tall Tales unit. One class finished reading John Henry by Julius Lester, while another began reading Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart by Pat Mora.

Our 4th/5th grade split class is reading Civil War stories in the library. This week, we started reading Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco, a historical fiction picture book about two very different Union soldiers who find themselves on the outskirts of the war. We'll finish up the book and this unit next week. 

Fifth grade students are also finishing up a Civil War unit. This week, we explored a nonfiction book called You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier by Thomas Ratliff. We learned about interesting details of a soldier's life such as where he would sleep, what he would eat, and what he would do in his free time. We also talked about the You Wouldn't Want to... series of books, many of which were checked out from the library this week. 

Have a great weekend!
Back to Top