By Melissa Micka, Collection Development

It’s that time of year when students start losing focus and itching to be out of school. Get them engaged again with some fresh, new reads! From humor to fun and beautiful illustrations, these books are sure to hook readers and get them excited about reading. And, they have some great classroom applications too (shhh…don’t tell your students!).

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons

(Grades K-3)Hi, Koo! A YEar of Seasons - Booksource

Appeal to those short attention spans with variations of one of the shortest poetry forms out there: haiku. Koo from Zen Ties is back to share the essence of haiku. While the poems don’t follow the traditional five-seven-five syllable count associated with haikus, they do fit with the nature focus and embodiment of present tense that is characteristic of this form. Students will love that the author breaks the “rules,” and this book will make a great springboard for discussing text forms and creative license. A clever alphabet path is also featured in this book, in which the capital letters A through Z appear one by one throughout the verses.

Help! We Need a Title!

(Grades K-4)Help! We Need A Title! by Herve Tullet - Booksource

Being a reader has never been more fun than in this title from the New York Times best-selling author of Press Here! The book opens with childlike sketches of a pig and princess type girl. The girl says, “Hey! Someone’s watching us!” That someone of course is the reader. From there you meet a variety of characters who are not sure why you are there and what they can do to please you. They gather that you want a story but the story is not quite ready. They try a few things and then decide to call in the author. The author appears quite comically with a photograph headshot overlaid on an illustrated body, and tells “one teeny, tiny story.” This engaging format will have students laughing out loud and get them excited about the writing process—perfect for writing workshop.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

(Grades 2-5, Lexile 790)Josephine - Booksource

This picture book written in verse exemplifies the beauty and musicality of verse—and it tells the inspiring, true story of the life of performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker. If you are thinking, “This sounds a little heavy for a spring fever book,” think again! The illustrations are as vibrant as the text, creating a most captivating read that will have student wanting to get up and dance. It is a great pick for engaging reluctant readers in nonfiction and carries powerful messages about prejudice that lend themselves to classroom discussions. With the mix of history and music, it is also an ideal title to use across curriculum.

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life

(Grades K-5)The Scraps Book - Notes From A Colorful Life - Booksource

Get ready to be inspired! In her vibrant, signature collage style, best-selling author and illustrator Lois Ehlert takes us on a visual journey through her life and creative process. From her childhood interest in art and her aspiration to someday make a book to how she made her dreams a reality, we get an inside look at where this iconic author/illustrator gets her ideas and how she brings them to life on the page. Ehlert writes the book in a very conversational style, addressing the reader as “you,” and includes photos of her childhood interspersed with illustrations from her books. This makes this nonfiction read a very inviting one from both a text and picture standpoint. It has the potential for so many classroom applications! You could pair it with other Ehlert titles for an author/illustrator study, use it for a writing workshop, do a genre study of memoirs, integrate it into an art lesson and more!

​Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done

(Grades 3-7)Timmy Failure Now Look What You've Done - Booksource

Timmy Failure and his 1,500-pound polar bear business partner are back in this sequel to the New York Times bestseller Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made! Clueless as ever, Timmy Failure finds a new ally in his Great-Aunt Colander as he investigates a stolen globe. In between his detective work, Timmy digresses with humorous information (for example, when talking about his academic failures he includes a book report page on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that says, “I’m guessing the lion ate the witch’s clothes.”). Full of word play and comedy, this illustrated chapter book will appeal to middle grade students, especially fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue

(Grades 4-7)Princess Labelmaker To The Rescue - Booksource

The latest installment in the Origami Yoda Book series will not disappoint fans of this series. The book picks up where The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet left off—the war against FunTime Menace. This time the gang is going to need some major help to defeat the Dark Standardized Testing. Will Principal Rabbski become an unexpected ally? Full of humor and pop-culture references, this book will have students on the edge of their seats wanting to know what happens next and laughing all the way.

Written by Melissa Micka, Collection Development Specialist at Booksource. She is currently reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.