Each week, I go through my classroom library and rotate the tattered books and most checked out books, with the books that don’t get that much attention, new books from our Scholastic Order and books that relate to the topics we are going to be discussing in class. I then display these books throughout the classroom so that scholars can sign out and enjoy. It was this routine that prompted me to reach out to my colleague and friend, Jessika Olivares. Jessika is currently a K-2 special education teacher and Usborne Books consultant. Most of the Usborne books I own are reference books that my scholars go to time and time again (especially the Math Picture Dictionary and Atlas!) In this post, Jessika writes writes about a few of her favorites from Usborne!

As an English Lit major, I have always proudly boasted about my love for reading and books.  As a teacher, I get the greatest joy out of sharing stories of all kinds with my students and trying to instill in them a similar love for reading.  It really shouldn’t be seen as a task for students but as something more—perhaps an adventure, journey, or even escape from reality.  Yet, I often wondered, “What more could I do to  reach more children than just the ones in my classroom?”

Well, I recently joined an amazing company called Usborne Books & More.  As an independent consultant I am trying to promote literacy and serve not only as a resource for parents and teachers to find some amazing treasures but also to get parents and teachers to assist me in my mission to foster a love for reading.  I know what you are thinking, “Here comes the sales pitch!”  Actually, my mission goes beyond finding the additional income that teachers are always in need of or simply getting free books for my classroom library; and while I do wish to feed my 7 year old’s insatiable desire to own nearly every book he encounters … IT TRULY and SIMPLY IS ABOUT PROMOTING LITERACY!

So when my colleague and friend asked me to write a guest blog and talk about some of my great Usborne and Kane Miller finds I took the opportunity to share some of my “teacher” favorites for you (keep in mind this was not an easy task as there are nearly 2000 amazing books available).


As an Elementary Teacher I have to begin with some “Read Alouds” …

B is for Bedtime by Margaret Hamilton – It is an alphabet book that has lovely rhythmic rhymes and will hypnotize any preschool, pre-k, or even kindergartener (especially right before naptime) while reviewing those ABC’s.

Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt – The Whatif Blog2Monster is fearful and hesitant to try new things but Jonathan James tries to put a positive spin on situations and they go back and forth  with probing questions that early childhood students are often faced with.  The best part of this treasure is that there is a Storytime app available and even a Whatif Monster plush!

Atinuke’s Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus – This is a wonderful book to share with younger students who are learning how to deal with a new addition to the family – or two!

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox – Yet, another conversation starter that addresses the presence of Alzheimer in families and explores the relationship of a youngster with the elderly.

Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton – What happens when a little girl encounters a strange beast in the woods?  Well in this gem you get two points of view, which we all know is an important literary term to reinforce at any age.

Usborne Publishing is best known for its Non-Fiction and “Reference Books” …

BlogIllustrated Math Collection – This amazing collection is for students ages 4 to 12 and includes three Math “dictionaries.”

The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia – Who said encyclopedias were replaced by Wikipedia?  This outstanding reference book is recommended for ages 8 and up.  It comes with thousands of attractive visuals and best of all 150 QR codes to continue exploring topics online.

Lift the Flap General Knowledge – In this interactive reference book students ages 6 and up get to learn  some fascinating facts.

Usborne Look Inside – The topics range from Look Inside Your Body to Look Inside Our World and they can easily adapt to any age group beginning as early as 3 years old.

We absolutely can’t forget about the variety of book series and the “Chapter Books” available …

Billie B. Brown  and Hey Jack by S. Rippin – These books are for 4 to 7 year olds who are not only building up their literary skills and fluency but also trying to deal with everyday issues that children encounter.

I am Jack (series) by S. Gervay – This book is recommended for 8 to 12 year oldBlog3s and deals with issues such as bullying, blended families, and cancer.

Butterflies by S. Gervay – This book is a must read for all the pre-teens out there.  It deals with accepting our flaws and finding your own identity.

Choose your Own Ever After by Nova Weetman – This is also a book series that is geared towards preteens and teens who want to navigate the story according to their preferences.  There are options throughout the books that will guide you to your own “happily” ever after!

HAPPY READING & SHOPPING! Explore more titles or search for these titles at https://y4107.myubam.com

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on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/jessbooks


Jessika Olivares

(Special Education Teacher AND

 Usborne Books & More Consultant)