A Book A Day strives to support our students and teachers in our community through the giving of carefully selected titles. Every week, we make selections for our young readers but we also focus on our teachers because they are the hard workers behind the success of our students. The following are some of the greatest who have volunteered to share their background as well as a recommendation of their favorite book:
Catherine Ward is a current M.S.Ed. TESOL student at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her time working towards her M.S.Ed. she obtained her teaching certificate in Pre-K through 4th grade education from Muhlenberg College. Next year she hopes to begin her public school teaching career with a focus on multilingual learners! As a teacher, advocate, and activist she hopes that her classroom will be one where all feel they have access to agency, creativity, and education.
Book recommendation: I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
Why: I Walk with Vanessa uses visuals to encapsulate what it means to be a part of a community. Creating a classroom community wherein all students’ voices are valued is of the utmost importance to me–I Walk with Vanessa exemplifies such. Additionally, wordless picture books create opportunities for students to become designers of narrative and mimic what reading the world around them entails. The book makes accessible to many students how supporting one another can have a great impact on making schools a welcoming place.”
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Reading/Writing/Literacy program, Joanna is now a 4th grade teacher living and teaching in the Boston area. This is her 3rd year teaching 4th grade. When she’s not with her students, you can find Joanna reading, walking, or practicing yoga.
Currently teaches at: Lilja Elementary School in Natick, MA
Book recommendation: Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
Why: Finding Perfect tells the story of Molly, a middle school-aged girl who struggles to navigate friendships, family, and the challenges of OCD. This story makes OCD just one part of Molly’s experience; the story is mostly about friendships, but Swartz weaves Molly’s identity as a person with OCD into the story to show the unique challenges of a middle school-age girl who is navigating mental health struggles. This is the first story I’ve read for middle grades readers that beautifully shows how mental health struggles are just one (sometimes minor, sometimes more pronounced) part of a person! Molly reminds us that those who appear to “have it all together” might be struggling. She teaches all readers, not just those with OCD, will grow in empathy and compassion.
Taylor is a first year preschool teacher in the Little Egg Harbor Township School district.
Book Recommendation: My favorite book of all time is “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.
Why: I find that this story is relevant in many stages of life, especially times of transition. I love this book because it tells readers “you WILL do amazing things… it won’t always be easy but you are smart and able and you will persevere.” It helps remind us about the many journeys we take in our lifetimes and how each is its own unique, beautiful story with many ups and downs. Its message about believing in oneself is one that every young reader needs to hear.
Ms. Mann is a retired elementary school teacher. She taught grades kindergarten to 5th grade for 36 years. She is presently working as a substitute teacher in the Philadelphia School system.
Book recommendation: The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Why: The story of The Little Engine That Could inspires children to not say I can’t but to keep saying I Think I Can. When children are able to accomplish a task that they thought they couldn’t, it makes them feel great. As long as you feel you can do it you will do it. The book can be read anytime of the year.
Emily Ancona is a first-year kindergarten teacher in her home state of Maryland. She received her certification in Elementary Education from Muhlenberg College in 2018. She is currently changing students’ lives at Pointers Run Elementary School.
Book Recommendation: “The Rabbit Listened” by Cori Doerrfeld
Why: I love this book because it focuses on how to respond to others’ feelings. There are so many wonderful books about understanding ones’ own feelings, but this one is unique in the way it addresses ways to be supportive and empathetic for another person. It teaches that there is not just one way to be a good friend.