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Yep, that’s right! We start our Read On Wisconsin year in September at the same time the schools around Wisconsin begin their new school year. That means we have a new list of suggested titles for engaging, exciting and easily accessible monthly common reads for babies up to high schoolers. Reader’s advisory, book group, read-alouds: you can use ROW titles for these and more. We also encourage you to share the titles with kids and caregivers in your library and your school. See the list here or at the Books tab above.

Also, we encourage you, your kiddos and their caregivers to check out titles and resources on our website, @ReadOnWi on Twitter and Pinterest. Again this year, the fabulous TeachingBooks.net has partnered with us to share their amazing resources. You can find hundreds of instructional materials for the ROW titles at their Read On Wisconsin 2015-2016 bookshelf. They even have QR codes for all the ROW bookshelves and individual titles that you can print and post around your library or with the books.

A few new things this year: First, we’re trying to make information and resources for the books easily accessible. Monthly titles along with a CCBC annotation for the books, discussion starters, discussion questions, recommendations from the ROW Literacy Advisory Board and links to resources will be posted on the front page of the website. You can now easily search by age level group titles using the new sidebar buttons. We’ve reorganized our Pinterest boards. Now, you can get a sneak preview of upcoming books and their resources. Also, we’re going all in with hashtags and our age level icons. Now you can search any social media with #ROW2015 for the latests post this year. We also have hashtags for the age level groups related to their icons (see below).

Watch for these icons to appear throughout the site and social media to help you identify the appropriate age titles

Legend for the age icons

Robin = Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers = #ROWrobin
White-tailed Deer = Primary (Grades K-2) = #ROWdeer
Muskie = Intermediate (Grades 3-5) = #ROWmuskie
Maple leaf = Middle School = #ROWmaple
Badger paw print = High School #ROWbadger

And, as always, if you have suggestions or if you’d like to be part of our programming and outreach efforts, please contact the me at Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support!

Check back regularly for news about ROW programming and outreach as well as monthly titles and resources!

Read On Wisconsin!

milk of birdsThe Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman. Icon_HighSchoolAtheneum, 2013.

Here are some the reasons that our High School Literacy Advisory Committee chose The Milk of Birds as a ROW selection. … the story draws you in with its appealing writing and sympathetic characters; the author offers believable school struggles; characters’ reactions felt realistic and authentic; learned a lot about the refugee experience and Darfur but book never felt didactic.

Read the CCBC annotation:

Nawra is a fourteen-year-old Muslim girl living in a refugee camp in the Darfur region of Sudan. Through a nonprofit called Save the Girls, she is paired with K.C., a Richmond, Virginia, teen, to exchange monthly letters. A novel that moves back and forth between the two girls chronicles their correspondence and their lives. In the camp, where living conditions are awful, Nawra cares for her silent and barely functional mother, who has been traumatized by what she and Nawra have gone through—events that are gradually revealed. Eventually Nawra tells K.C. that she’s pregnant—she was raped on their journey. Later she almost dies giving birth. K.C. is initially furious her mother signed her up for the correspondence program and doesn’t write Nawra for the first four months. She struggles in school with undiagnosed learning disabilities and faces constant pressure from her mom to try harder, while her dad seems uninterested. Sylvia Whitman’s novel is effective and compelling on multiple fronts. Both girls try to understand each other’s culture without judgment. But the truth is their experiences are vastly different. Once K.C. begins exchanging letters with Nawra in earnest, a genuine friendship develops, and she goes from reluctant correspondent to a teenager deeply moved. The pain of Nawra’s story is intense, but her voice is engaging and vivid, and the back-and-forth of the narrative provides respite from the horrors she sometimes describes.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these questions:

  1. What events and actions contribute to Casey’s change of heart regarding the “Save the Girls” program?
  2. How does the author suggest that taking action, either for yourself or others, makes a difference? Conversely, what are the consequences of being a bystander? Provide examples from the text.
  3. Which one of Nawra’s proverbs is most relevant to the problems of teenagers today?

crossover with sealsThe Crossover by Alexander Kwame. Houghton Books for Middle School AgeMifflin Harcourt, 2014.

We are so thrilled to start the ROW year off with this amazing book! It’s powerful! The styles of poetry and rap as well as the sports and family stories are electric and appeal to so many readers! — The ROW Middle School Literacy Advisory Committee

Read the CCBC annotation:

Josh Bell is a talented middle school basketball player, as is his twin brother Jordan. They learned from their dad, Chuck “Da Man,” who played in the Euroleague before retiring from the game. When Jordan gets a girlfriend, Josh resents that his twin no longer does as much with him, and he takes his frustration out on the court during a game one day, almost breaking Jordan’s nose. It creates a huge rift between the boys and gets Josh banned from playing. The tension between the brothers is wonderfully portrayed within the greater dynamic of this African American family where there is a lot of love and laughing but also consequences when expectations are unmet. Meanwhile, their mom, principal of the boys’ middle school, is also worried about their dad’s health. Hypertension runs in his family and he not only isn’t taking care of himself but he’s doctor-averse. This element of the plot builds to a moment readers can see coming when their dad has a heart attack, yet it’s shocking, as sudden death is, when he dies. Kwame Alexander’s narrative has two styles—straightforward prose poems and vibrant, rap-like poems in which Josh describes the basketball action. Josh also likes language and occasional poems have Josh exploring the meaning of specific words that connect to what’s happening in his life, such as the one titled “ca-lam-i-ty” (“As in: The HUGE bald patch / on the side / of my head / is a dreadful / calamity.”). Josh’s voice is vivid, funny and moving in this fast-paced and poignant story.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these questions:

  1. A theme of this book is family relationships. How do these relationships change over the course of the book?
  2. Evaluate the format of the book. How does the novel in verse format help to develop the characters and the story? How does the use of different fonts and typefaces affect the reader’s understanding of the story and characters?
  3. The author uses three style of poems to tell the story. One style uses the twin’s SAT vocabulary homework; another style acts like Josh’s rap. What do these different styles show us about Josh? Pick one of these styles to tell your thoughts about the book.
  4. Describe a particular scene or character that you are able to visualize vividly in your mind. What did the author do to create that vivid image?

Watch these great videos:

 

el deafoFrom the ROW Literacy Advisory Committee Intermediate Group: We paired these two books because they both focus on friendship and kindness. You don’t need to have superpowers to be kind, helpful or friendly — but you’ll definitely be a hero to someone if you are.

El Deafo by Cece Bell. Amulet, 2014.Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Cece Bell contracted meningitis at age four and lost her hearing. Once she started school she wore a Phonic Ear, a device that amplified her teachers’ voice through a microphone the teachers wore on a cord around the neck. Cece could not only hear what her teachers said in the classroom but also the teachers’ lounge and — gasp! — the bathroom. Feeling like she had a superpower, she secretly began to think of herself as a superhero she called “El Deafo” (turning a pejorative term on its ear, so to speak). The experience of not being able to hear (as when her Phonic Ear is sent off for repair after the gym teacher breaks it, or when the lights are turned off at a sleepover and she can’t lipread anymore) is strikingly depicted in the graphic novel format, whether the text is gradually fading, or dialogue bubbles are filled with sounds of gibberish (e.g., “WAH BESS MAH WAWA GAH ANDY! YOO GOOLA FA BERRY GAH BOOLA!” while watching The Andy Griffith Show without amplification). But the novel’s main focus is Cece’s deep desire to have a best friend as she goes through elementary school. She tries to assert herself when bossy Laura claims her; endures passive-aggressive Ginny, who insists on speak-ing slow-ly and loud-ly to Cece; and finally finds a kindred spirit in neighbor Martha. Cece’s friendship struggles are sometimes complicated by her hearing loss but also have a universal dimension that most children will recognize. Bell’s memoir is set against the vividly realized backdrop of 1970s culture (from the TV shows to food and fashion), and told with great humor and honesty. The characters are all drawn as rabbits, giving the book a quirky charm.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these prompts:

  1. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  2. How do the illustrations add to your understanding of the book and of the author? Why do you think the author chose to illustrate herself as a rabbit?
  3. In many ways this is a book about friendships. How does Cece find a best friend?
  4. This book is a memoir – a story about the author’s life. In memoirs, authors find ways to talk about their lives in colorful, creative ways that might bending the truth a bit. What parts of this book do you think are nonfiction? What parts do you think are fiction?

Find resources at TeachingBooks.net including this teaching guide from Abrams.

Lend a Hand: Poems about Giving by John Frank. lend a handIllustrated by London Ladd. Lee & Low, 2014.

An engaging, purposeful collection of thirteen poems, each in the voice of a child who is doing something helpful. The range of subjects shows how small kindnesses matter and can happen in many ways: jamming with an elderly neighbor who shares a love of music; sharing lunch with a friend who has none; teaching an awkward classmate how to swing a bat; loading groceries in the car of a mom with small children; giving up a bus seat to someone who needs it more; tutoring a younger child; writing a letter to a soldier overseas; helping stitch a quilt for someone in need. The quilting poem concludes, “A warm spread / should have maximum size … / but the spread of warmth / should have no bounds.” The illustrations show diverse kids and adults, and a note from the illustrator recounts discovering connections between the models he photographed and some of the poems’ subjects.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these questions:

  1. What kinds of things do you do to help around your community?
  2. How do the illustrations and text work together throughout the book?
  3. The author tells about helpful acts using poetry. Do you think this format works well for the author’s purpose? Why?

Resources at TeachingBooks.net including this teaching guide from Lee & Low.

hula-hoopin queenThe Hula-Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin. Illustrated by Primary Icon of a White-Tailed DeerVanessa Brantley-Newton. Lee & Low, 2014.

We love this multi-generational and multicultural story with universal themes of friendship, family and community! — ROW Primary Literacy Advisory Committee members.

Read the CCBC annotation:

Kameeka is determined to defeat Jamara Johnson and become the Hula Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street. Kameeka’s so preoccupied with thoughts of victory that she makes a mistake setting the oven temperature for the cake her mama’s making for Miz Adeline’s birthday and it falls flat. Hoop in hand she heads out to buy more sugar for another cake but gets sidetracked when she runs into Jamara. By the time Kameeka remembers the sugar it’s too late to make another cake before the party. And Miz Adeline loves chocolate cake. But to Kameeka’s surprise it turns out she also loves something else — hula hooping! An appealing debut picture book set in a predominantly African American neighborhood is grounded in lively details and has a wonderful sense of family and community along with terrific dialogue and turns of phrase. (“Mama stands still as water in a puddle. She gives me her look.”) Highly Commended, 2015 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these questions:

  1. What conflicts does Kameka face in the story? What is the result of these conflicts? How are these conflicts resolved?
  2. In the book, what do you think Kameka learns? What makes you think this?
  3. The author uses comparisons such as “Momma stands as still as water in a puddle” to describe characters and situations. What other comparisons did you notice in the book?

 

Ling & Ting: Twice As Silly by Grace Lin. Little, Brown, 2014.

A great funny story to engage and encourage beginning readers! — ROW Primary Literacy Advisory Committee members.

Read the CCBC annotation:

ling and ting twice as sillyAlmost identical in appearance, twins Ling and Ting have far from identical personalities as fans of this series that began with Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same (Little, Brown, 2010) know. But both girls excel at being silly, as the stories in this third offering about the Chinese American sisters show. Wordplay is at the root of the humor in some chapters, as when Ting gives up on her idea for a cupcake garden and decides to plant jelly beans instead (because beans are seeds). When Ling announces she can swing higher than a tree, even one that is taller than a building, taller than a mountain, and higher than the clouds, Ting is skeptical until Ling points out that “Trees can’t swing.” The six chapters conclude with Ling and Ting making up a story that is “very, very silly,” and that also brings the volume full circle as they imagine a cupcake tree.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these questions:

  1. What does Ting plant in the garden to see if it will grow? Why does Ting plant this?
  2. What words do Ling and Ting change in the last story? How does this change the meaning of the story?
  3. The author/illustrator outlines the pictures in either straight lines or curvy lines? Why do you think?

My Busmy bus by Byron Barton. Greenwillow / HarperCollinIcon_PreSchools, 2014.

What could be more appealing to toddlers than a book about a bus driver and his canine and feline passengers? A book in which those cats and dogs are driven to a boat (“They sail away”), a train (“They ride away”), and a plane (“They fly away”). Finally there is only one dog left. “My dog,” says the bus driver. “Bow wow.” Classic Byron Barton, the illustrations feature bright colors, rounded shapes, and flat perspective, as well as priceless expressions on the faces of the cats and dogs. Barton’s winning book offers the opportunity to count on every page spread (anywhere from one to five), not to mention bark and meow with wild abandon.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

mommies and their babiesMommies and Their Babies (Black And White) by Guido van Genechten. Translated from the Dutch. Clavis, 2012

daddies and their babies

Daddies and Their Babies (Black And White) by Guido van Genechten. Translated from the Dutch. Clavis, 2012.

Two simple board books show animal parents and their offspring, using the correct name for the young: “snake mommy with her baby snakelet,” “crocodile daddy with his baby hatchling,” and so on. But it’s the warmth of the relationships captured in the striking black-and-white illustrations that really is the point. The illustrations’ bold shapes and shading create great visual interest for very young children, while the round eyes of the creatures in each pair gaze upon one another with affection and delight.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center.

Back Up!

August 6th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2015-2016 | Book trailer - (0 Comments)

Our fabulous web guru has fixed the errors! You can now peruse any page or post.  The book trailers are only available through the drop down menu. Unfortunately, clicking on a link on the Booktrailer pages will result in an error.

Unfortunately, you’ll be finding lots of 404 Error messages on the ROW website. Please standby while we fix our permalink structure and redirection. Thank you for your patience.

Another Inspiring Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | Middle School | November - (Comments Off on Another Inspiring Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School!)

For another great middle school read — Claudia Mills’ Zero Tolerance (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013). Thanks for the promo, JYMS!

 

Big, Big Thanks!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School - (Comments Off on Big, Big Thanks!)
Thank you to all who completed the Read On Wisconsin Book Trailer Survey for Middle School Teachers and Library Media Specialists! We’ll announce the winner of the Read On Wisconsin 2015-2016 Middle School books this Friday, June 12! Thank you, again, for your participation!

New Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School Students!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | Book trailer | Middle School | October - (Comments Off on New Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School Students!)

Shout out of thanks to JYMS for sending us this book trailer for the ROW 2014 October title, The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Illustrated by Julia Kuo. Atheneum, 2013. Just in time for summer reading suggestions!

Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Summer Titles: Enjoy the Outdoors with These Books

June 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Summer - (Comments Off on Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Summer Titles: Enjoy the Outdoors with These Books)

oscarshalfbirthdayOscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2005.

Oscar’s family celebrates his six-month birthday with a walk to their neighborhood park, a rather lopsided cake, and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” sung by family members and the strangers who have gathered around to admire baby Oscar. Although the birthday boy is the center of attention, the real star of the show is his three-year-old sister, Millie, who wears coat-hanger fairy wings on her back and a dinosaur puppet on her left hand, symbolic of her dual nature. “A little more fairy and a little less dinosaur,” her mother chides her gently when Millie’s play is a bit too vigorous for little Oscar. Bob Graham’s depiction of a slightly offbeat, interracial family is right on target: Millie, in her behavior and dialogue, is the quintessential three year old, commanding the attention of both her parents and the book’s readers, while Oscar remains, for the most part, completely oblivious to the fuss being made over him. The parents, young and hip, are everything good parents should be: caring, attentive, firm, and, above all, they seem to truly enjoy both of their children. Graham’s trademark pen-and-ink and watercolor paintings show a diverse cast of characters living in a working class neighborhood. Highly Commended, 2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

globalbabiesGlobal Babies by Global Fund for Children. Charlesbridge, 2007.

“Wherever they live, wherever they go, whatever they wear, whatever they feel, babies everywhere are beautiful, special, and loved.” These sentiments are spectacularly captured with sweet and stunning photographs of babies from around the world. Babies from Mali and Spain, the United States and Thailand, Iraq, Guatemala, and beyond are included in this board book. Swaddled in colorful cloth, wrapped in warm fur, or tucked into cradling arms, these babies are an affirmation of love.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

beach tailA Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Boyds Mills Press, 2010.

Swish-swoosh.” The sound of waves washing the shore repeats throughout an engaging picture book in which a young African American boy is the architect of his own adventure. After Gregory draws “a Sandy lion” in the sand at the beach, his dad cautions, “Don’t go in the water, and don’t leave Sandy.” And Gregory doesn’t, but as the tail he draws on Sandy gets longer and longer, it takes him farther and farther away from his dad: over an old sand castle, around a horseshoe and a ghost crab, all the way to a jetty. “But Gregory did not go in the water, and he did not leave Sandy.” It’s only when he finally looks up that Gregory realizes how far he’s gone. He turns a moment of worry—which one of those distant figures sitting on towels is his dad?–into masterful problem solving when he follows Sandy’s tail over and around all the objects, back to his dad’s welcome smile. Floyd Cooper’s sun-washed, sandy illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this terrific picture book narrative. Highly Commended, 2011 Charlotte Zolotow Award (MS) ©2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

summer days and nightsSummer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee. Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, 2012.

“Summer days, so warm and bright, / Paint my room in morning light.” A small Asian girl describes her activities over the course of a single summer day in a quietly engaging narrative that sees her butterfly-chasing in the morning followed by a dip in the wading pool, then on an afternoon picnic with her parents. Nighttime finds the hot, restless child looking out the window and then heading out for a discovery-rich walk in the moonlight with her dad. “Across the field, on past the gate … My eyelids droop, it’s getting late.” Wong Herbert Yee’s story is perfectly sized for the hands of toddlers and preschoolers, with a gentle ambience that is both playful and reassuring. The illustrations have a softness and warmth that add to the comforting feel, as does this realistic family, which includes a pregnant mom and a dad clad in chinos, undershirt, and fedora.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

owlbabiesOwl Babies by Martin Icon to identify Summer Reading BooksWaddell.Icon_PreSchool Illustrated by Patrick Benson. Candlewick Press, 1992, 1996.

Listen: Podcast featuring Owl Babies from the CCBC.