Eyes on the Goal by John Coy. Feiwel and Friends, 2010
1. When was a time when you felt bad? How did you deal with it?
2. Which character did you relate to most? Why?
3. Has a friend ever been on an opposing team? How did you handle that?
Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkert. Illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. Michael di Capua Books / Scholastic, 2011
1. What will the Lion always remember about the Mouse? What will the Mouse remember about the Lion?
2. Have you ever helped someone bigger than you? How?
3. Which illustration did you like the best and what did you like about it?
Job Site by Nathan Clement. Boyds Mills Press, 2011
1. What color is each machine?
2. What other colors can you find?
3. What sound do you think this machine might make? (Ask for each one)
Monday Is One Day by Arthur A. Levine. Illustrated by Julian Hector. Scholastic Press, 2011
1. Let’s recite (and/or count) the days of the week in the book. (Adult: You can also use a calendar after reading the book and find each day on it with children.)
2. Is there a special thing you/your family do on the same day every week?
3. Who are the people in your family? (or, Draw a picture of your family)
Hidden by Helen Frost. Frances Foster Books / Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
1. The title of the book is Hidden. What kinds of things are hidden in this story?
2. How does the weight of their shared secret affect Wren’s and Darra’s relationship?
3. How are Wren and Darra able to understand each other’s point of view?
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz. Candlewick Press, 2011
1. How do Travis (“Bluefish”) and Velveeta feel about the nicknames they’ve been given?
2. Travis is unable to read at the beginning of this story. Why do you think he keeps this a secret
instead of asking for help?
3. Why do you think Travis, Velveeta, and Bradley get along so well?
What Really Happened to Humpty? (from the Files of a Hard-Boiled Detective) by Jeanie Franz Ransom. Illustrated by Stephen Axelsen. Charlesbridge, 2009
1. What stories do these characters come from?
2. How would the story change if it was told from Muffy’s perspective?
3. If you wrote this story, who would you make the hero and who would be the villain?
Cork & Fuzz: Short & Tall by Dori Chaconas. Illustrated by Lisa McCue. Viking, 2006
Dog & Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2007
1. How did the characters in each book show that they were friends?
2. How are the friends in each book the same and different?
3. How are you the same as or different from your friends?
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka. Schwartz & Wade, 2011
1. How can you tell when Daisy is happy? Sad? Curious?
2. What do you think is happening here? (Ask this as you go from page to page to encourage children to use their own words to tell the story as they understand it. You can also have a discussion together, sharing ideas about what is happening on each page.)
3. Daisy feels happy when she has her ball. What is something that makes you feel happy?
Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George. Illustrated by Merel Eyckerman. U.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2011
1. What would you do to get ready for the first day of school?
2. What do you think school will be like?
3. (Adult) Share a memory of a first day of school.
From CCBC Choices 2007: Fifteen-year-old Miguel and his thirteen-year-old sister, Elena, have been waiting to join their parents in California for years when they finally set off from their small, impoverished Mexican village. Neither teen knows what a harrowing journey they are about to undertake. Because they will be crossing the U.S. border illegally, the obstacles they face on both sides are huge and often deadly. In their own country, there is the threat of soldiers, and the bandits who attack the trains on which the would-be immigrants desperately cling as they ride atop the cars. And then there is the desert crossing. In those desperate heat-dazed days, a fellow immigrant who had become Miguel and Elena’s protector dies of thirst and sickness, while their guide is shot by self-appointed militia members patrolling the U.S. side of the border. Miguel and Elena make the journey to change their lives, and it changes them in ways they could not have imagined. Ann Jaramillo is a middle school teacher in a Texas border community. She wrote La Línea for her students, many of whom have made journeys that parallel Miguel and Elena’s. Her timely novel reminds readers that human hearts and hopes and dreams cannot be defined or restrained by laws or politics.