360 Recommends…

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 CLICK, CLACK, MOO Cows That Type

In honor of Labor Day, we are reviewing and recommending CLICK, CLACK, MOO Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin.

Typically, when we think of Labor Day, we forget that it is a holiday to commemorate the struggle for fair and just working conditions. This book is a friendly, cute way to introduce the concept of worker’s rights to children. The illustrations are colorful and do a great job of adding depth to the story.

As you read with your student, you can talk about the history of labor and exploitation, the fact that only recently have children been exempt from being a part of the working force, or how important unity and leverage are in demanding justice. On a lighter note, this picture book is great for discussing nonverbal cues like facial expression and body language, e.g. how do you think the hens feel? We also recommend a few other books and articles for helping your students understand what Labor Day is really all about. 

Books for Littles has a very thoughtful list about Labor Day books

Marjorie Ingall wrote up a list for Tablet magazine with a focus on the role of Jewish people

And A Mighty Girl, one of our favorite websites, focuses on women’s struggles. While we wish there was a bit more cultural diversity, it’s a pretty good list

And our personal book recommendations are below:
Kids on Strike!, a historic overview of child labor with stories and pictures
Who Started the Labor Day Celebration?, an explanatory kids book
This youth adaptation of Dickens’ works, which often featured child labor

Urban Intellectuals Sankofa Club (2-8-20)

Urban Intellectuals, the same group that publishes the fantastic Black trivia card packs, has a new offering. A monthly digital learning kit for kids! We don’t recommend anything that we haven’t checked out first. So with an introductory of just 2.99, we had to try it out. It is a mix of online games and printables, all related to Black and African diaspora history. There is also a private Facebook group. There are 3 sets of printables by grade: Red for PK-2nd, Black for 2nd-4th, and Green for 4th-6th.

This is awesome for so many reasons. One, many Black Americans are just as ignorant of their history as the majority of Americans (shout out to public education). This makes it easy for families to learn together. Two, representation matters. A positive view of people that look like you promotes a positive self-image, increasing a sense of wellbeing. Three, this helps build vocabulary and engages students in critical thinking activities, both of which are critical for academic success. Use the link above to sign up for your students. Start a club in your area to discuss and engage in the activities together. And remember that Black is history is for everyone, not just Black America. 😉

The Mis-Education of the Negro (2-1-20)

Published in 1933, this short volume continues to be eerily accurate and relevant in the present day. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History, posits that the lack of progress among Black Americans is rooted in how they are educated.

Calm (1-27-20)

Calm is an amazing meditation app that is well worth every penny of its subscription. Our favorite feature is the sleep stories. Choose from a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, and even ASMR. Calm is a great way to learn and teach emotional regulation and improve literacy. Check out the Festival of the First Moon by Lucy Liu to learn more about the Lunar New Year

Hoopla (1-20-20)


Libraries are America’s greatest institutions – a completely free education for the taking (minus transportation costs). In this digital age, libraries are offering Hoopla, a digital multimedia library with ebooks, audiobooks, music, etc… We love Hoopla for their audiobooks, a perfect occupation for busy brains with reading struggles. Visit hoopla’s website or your local library for access.

Reading Intervention Behind School Walls (1-13-20)

Image from Amazon

Faith Borkowsky, a master literacy coach, is one of the few voices crying out about America’s illiteracy problem. Teachers are not equipped to teach reading and students and parents are blamed for failing. This is a great book for learning more about why our national reading scores are awful and what you can do about it.

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days (1-7-20)

Students enjoy these bright illustrations of the things that frustrate these superheroes. Rhyme is used to explain that even though one may feel like throwing a tantrum, there are other ways to let off steam. A truly enjoyable read, this book is appropriate for all ages and good for elementary independent readers. This story helps students practice rhyme and build social-emotional skills.