Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Books in the Classroom with Yvonne: The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail by Maureen Stolar Kanefield

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Everyone has magic, but sometimes you have to search to find out what it is. That’s what Maxwell Mouse had to do. And he discovered that what he thought was something very bad was actually something very good, indeed.
The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is more than just a charming, wonderfully illustrated story. With childlike innocence, it presents an inspiring motivational model for youngsters—especially gifted kids and those with special needs—to take another look at themselves and recognize their unique gifts. It shows them how to see beyond what appear to be limitations and appreciate them as positive attributes that will help them to soar.
Maureen was an educator with over 30 years in the trenches. By building her teaching on sound educational principles and acknowledging the various ways children learn (multiple intelligences), The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is a micro-guide to life. It will delight children as they celebrate Maxwell’s triumphs, and warm the hearts of parents as they watch their kids discover how perfectly special they are.

Author Maureen Stolar KanefieldMaureen attributes her inspiration for writing the first Maxwell book to her personal philosophy. She believes that children should be surrounded with opportunities of all kinds at all levels. “They should seek and find what interests them, and most importantly, they must have the confidence to rise above anything that impedes their dreams,” Maureen suggests.
In The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail, Maxwell is that character. He overcomes the difficulty of having a tail that is much too long and discovers he is stronger and better because of it, not in spite of it.
“The book is a metaphor to every child’s life,” Maureen explains. “A child will always have to overcome one or more obstacles in their young years. It is finding the strength, or ‘magic within,’ through positive direction and self-realization that empowers a child to move forward. From there, children will open their minds to erudition at the highest level.”
As a member of SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Maureen has gained an added respect for the children’s book writing industry. With the publication of her first children’s book, The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail, she brings to the forefront a message that all children should hear. That message is to accept life’s challenges and find the strength, or ‘magic within,’ you to achieve your dreams.
Maureen Kanefield has enjoyed a fulfilling career as an educator, passionately dedicated to teaching children of all ability levels, from special needs to the gifted student. An insatiable learner herself, she has sought ways—inside and outside the box, including integrated curriculum instruction (language arts and social studies) and Gardner’s eight intelligences—for awakening children’s natural curiosity and guiding them to learning successes. The underlying purpose of her children’s books is to encourage young readers to recognize and celebrate their unique gifts.
Maureen lives in Chicago, her base for advocating on behalf of children for enhanced educational experiences. Maureen is an active volunteer and advocate for the Special Kids Network and First Tee Organization.

Yvonne's Review: 
The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail

This is a perfect book for every elementary classroom. Maxwell teaches students that there is “a bit of magic” in all of us. Teachers can use this book to have students take a closer look at their classmates and find the good…a fun way to build classroom community.
Additional ways to use this book in the classroom:
                   -reading dialogue with expression (various “said” words)
                   -reader’s theater
                   -using pictures to infer characters’ feelings
                   -“reading” the illustration to understand main character’s personality                       and character traits
                   -vocabulary (feelings)
                   -simple theme (Perfect way to introduce young readers to the concept
                     of themes in a book.)
                   -setting changes and how they affect character changes
                   -use thought bubbles to model how to write in internal thinking
                   -write Maxwell’s next adventure
                   -chart “said” words
                   -for beginning writers – how illustrations can show movement

This book has it all!  It is a great book to use with PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) and a true mentor text for reading and writing. My second grade class has enjoyed it every time we have read it and it is a book they read in groups during any free minute in the day. 5 BIG stars!!!

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