A Book Is Just Like You! – Read-n-Feed

Toward the end of last year, I went on a reading binge and resurrected my Read-n-Feed posts, which made me feel all industrious and proud of myself. But then I got engrossed in several writing projects and stopped reading again. I have a really hard time reading other people’s stories while I’m immersed in mine – they get muddled together in confusing ways. So while it’s great that I’m making significant progress on the writing front, I miss reading. Now I’m determined to find the right balance and revive my Read-n-Feed posts . . . again.
Like last time, I’m kicking it off with a book by a friend of mine: Kathleen Fox. I met Kathleen six years ago when I first joined SCBWI, since she ran the local critique group. I was petrified walking into that first meeting (sharing my work with strangers, what?!?), but Kathleen and the others quickly put me at ease. Kathleen is warm, witty, and supportive, and I’m so lucky to call her my friend.
Kathleen is a fabulously funny writer, who also manages to infuse a ton of heart and soul into her writing. Her stories can have me giggle-snorting at one moment and then ugly crying just a few pages later. While A Book Is Just Like You! is not that type of emotional roller coaster, it does have a special place in my heart: it’s the first published book that I helped critique. I know it would have been fantastic even without my input, but I did feel a bit like a proud auntie when I held it the first time.
Author: Kathleen Fox
Illustrator: John Wallace 
Category: Picture Book
Genre(s): Nonfiction
Publisher: Upstart Books (2012)
Pages: 32
Description:  Do you know that a book is just like you? It’s true! Think about it:
• On the day you were born, you were given a name. A book is given a name, too — it’s called a title.

• You have a spine that helps to keep your body together. A book also has a spine, which keeps the book’s body of pages together.

• You don’t go to school naked — you wear clothes to keep warm, protect your skin, show off your fashion sense and, of course, to keep out of the principal’s office! Books wear clothes, too. A book’s clothes are called a cover, or jacket, and like clothes, they keep the inside of a book protected from things like kids with sticky ice cream fingers and little baby brothers.
With vibrant illustrations and hilarious comparisons, A Book Is Just Like You is the perfect teaching tool for helping students understand their books — inside and out. Grades K-3.
Since A Book Is Just Like You! is not only a picture book but also nonfiction, it is well outside of my wheelhouse, but that’s why it was such a great learning experience to read it. I’ve taken a few stabs at writing nonfiction articles for kids, but they have all been horrible. No matter what I try, they sound lecture-y rather than enjoyable. 
Kathleen avoids that pitfall by starting with an inventive premise: teach kids about the parts of a book by comparing it to something they are very familiar with – themselves. Then instead of using a teacher-y tone to explain the similarities, she uses a chatty voice that sounds like she’s discovering these similarities along with the kids rather than lecturing them.
In addition to the main text, each page is filling with amusing captions that accompany all the adorable drawings. These captions are where Kathleen’s humor really shines – they support what she’s explaining in the text in a memorable, funny way that should stick with young readers. 
I don’t know if I’ll ever try my hand at non-fiction for kids again, but if I do, I’ll be returning to Kathleen’s book as an example of how to make it both educational and entertaining.
To celebrate the re-revival of Read-n-Feed, I’m giving away a signed copy of A Book Is Just Like You! Since it compares the parts of a book to the parts of a person, I’m asking: If you could be any book, which one would you be? To enter the giveaway, leave your answer in the comments and feel free to share why you’d be that book if you have a reason.
When I asked Kathleen, she said she’d be How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman.
As for me, I’d want to be Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss because on the surface it’s fun and silly, but at its core it has a serious message. Ironically not a message I took to heart because change makes me break out in a cold sweat. 
There are also social media related ways to receive extra entries – just fill in the Rafflecopter form, and I'll use it to pick a random winner. 
The giveaway is now over - congratulations to Carol for winning!
This is a great book for librarians or teachers to use in their classrooms, so please share the giveaway with anyone you know working with young children.
I’m willing to ship internationally, so this is open to everyone. The giveaway will be open for a week, and I’ll announce the winner next Friday, July 26th. Good luck!


Medeia sharif's picture

It is true. People and books have things in common.

I'd love to be JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. I'd be a well-worn copy enjoyed by many children.

Lexa Cain's picture

I like the excitement in the voice of the book. It's enthusiastic and the kids should love it! :-)

Rosemond Cates's picture

I would be Dooly and the Snortsnoot by Jack Kent! It's my very favorite picture book!

Check out my book blog at www.bighairandbooks.blogspot.com

Diane Downs's picture

Chilly-um Gum...it is a very old book about a Gumdrop boy. Love it as a child.

C. Smith's picture

Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski. This book inspires me to march to the beat of my own drum and try new things. I love Woolbur!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Medeia - I was impressed with how many similarities Kathleen came up with. JatGP is a good one!

Lexa - It does have a great voice.

Rosemond - I have to admit I'd never heard of Dooly and the Snortsnoot - I looked it up and it seems fun!

Diane - I'd never heard of Chilly-um Gum either, but a book about a gumdrop boy sounds awesome.

C. Smith - I think I need to hang out with more kids because I hadn't heard of this one either. I love the cover though. 

Marcia Berbeza's picture

I have always loved Patricia Polacco's Trees of the Dancing Goats. I am not Jewish but it is about a community who sickens during the Christmas holidays and a Jewish family takes food and Christmas trees to the families decorated with the carved goats made for Chanukah. I loved the multicultural message, I loved looking at the old fashioned kitchen with all of the implements that I recognize, I even identified with the scarlet fever that I had as a kid. It sends the message that we're all in this together and we survive by helping each other out.

Topangarose's picture

Definitely "A Wrinkle in Time". It teaches friendship, loyalty, inclusion, and best of all sprinkles quantum physics and lovable characters into the mix in an epic saga of good versus evil. I always believed you could travel through time and space, and Madeleine L'Engle introduced that concept to millions of children.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Marcia - That sounds like a lovely book. I'll have to find it!

Topangarose - Excellent choice!

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