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Author Archives: schliesman

Baby Bear Sees Blue / Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket

February 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2013-2014 | February - (Comments Off on Baby Bear Sees Blue / Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket)

baby bear sees blue cover

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff. Beach Lane / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What are some things Baby Bear sees throughout the day? What are some things you see when you wake up in the morning?

2. What colors can we find outside (go on a color walk/draw pictures of all the colors you see)

3. What are some colors you can eat?

 

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Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket by Tayana Feeney. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012

1. How does Small Bunny feel about his blue blanket? How can you tell? What do you love?

2. What is something Small Bunny likes to do in the story? Do you like to ____________? (fill in based on child’s response to first question)

3. What do you find it hard to wait for?

 

Poems to pair from Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2007:

“Sleepy Song” by Clare Bevan, p. 92

“Silverly” by Dennis Lee, pp. 94-95

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No Crystal Stair / Darkroom

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in High School | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on No Crystal Stair / Darkroom)

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No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda LAB, 2012

1. Lewis Michaux believed that books change lives. What are ways you can see this exemplified in the narrative?

2. This is a work of documentary fiction—much of it is based on fact, but the author had to take artistic license as well. How does it differ from a straightforward work of non-fiction? What are some of the ways the book as a whole succeeds in giving you both facts about Lewis Michaux and a deeper understanding of who he was and what he believed?

3. A number of factors led to the closing of Michaux’s bookstore in the 1970s, from racism to economics to politics. What do you think was the biggest reason the store had to close? What did the community lose as a result?

 

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Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver. The University of Alabama Press, 2012

1. What were some of the pivotal events throughout her childhood that gave the author deeper insight into the struggle for civil rights?

2. The author talks about knowing from the time she was young that she did not fit on either side of the racial divide, but as she gets older she finds that she connects more with Black kids than white kids. Why do you think this was the case?

3. In what ways does the title connect to the story the author tells?

 

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The Year of the Book

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on The Year of the Book)

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The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012

1. Anna’s mom thinks she is being selfish when she doesn’t want to spend time with other people. Do you think her mom is being fair? What are some of the reasons you do or don’t agree with her based on what you know and learn about Anna in the story?

2. Anna loves to read. What does she enjoy about reading? What role do books play in her life?

3. What are some of the reasons Anna is uncertain about spending time with Laura? What do you think she gains by becoming friends with Laura again?

 

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Marching to the Mountaintop / Fire in the Streets

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Marching to the Mountaintop / Fire in the Streets)

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Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours by Ann Bausum. National Geographic, 2012

1. What are some of the factors that led to the garbage workers deciding to strike in Memphis?

2. Why was Martin Luther King, Jr., initially reluctant to come to Memphis? What made him change his mind?

3. There are several major stories in this book: the Memphis garbage workers’ strike; the shifting focus of Martin Luther King’s activism from racism to poverty; and King’s assassination.  What did you learn about the connection among these three things?

 

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Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon . Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What does Maxie find so appealing about being part of the Black Panthers?

2. Based on what you know about Maxie in the story, why do you think she decides to turn in her brother? If you were in Maxie’s position, what do you think you would do?

3. This story is set in 1968, a time of great political and racial turmoil. What details did you find especially interesting about that time? Were there things that struck you as being very different from—or similar to—today?

 

Books for Middle School Age

I’ll Save You, Bobo! / Baby, Where Are You?

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on I’ll Save You, Bobo! / Baby, Where Are You?)

I'll Save You Bobo cover

I’ll Save You, Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal. Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal. Atheneum, 2012

1. Who is your favorite character in this story? Why?

2. Do you think Earl the cat likes Bobo? Why or why not?

3. What do you like about the stories the little boy tells? Do you ever make up stories? (What are they about?)

 

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Baby, Where Are You? by Mack. U.S. edition: Clavis, 2012

1. Let’s find an animal in the book that lives in or near the water. What is it?

2. Let’s find an animal in the book walking in the sand. What is it?

3. Which animals in the book have long necks?

 

Poem to pair from Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2007:

“Tide and Seek” by Andrew Fusek Peters, p. 80

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Lemonade in Winter

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Lemonade in Winter)

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Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Schwartz & Wade, 2012

1. What are some of the things Pauline and John-John do to get ready to have a lemonade stand?

2. How do Pauline and John-John try to get customers? Is there anything else you would have also done if you were in their place?

3. If you were going to sell something in winter, what would it be? Why? What would you need to get ready to have your sale?

 

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Z Is for Moose / Animal 1 2 3

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | December | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Z Is for Moose / Animal 1 2 3)

Z is for Moose cover

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2012

1. How does Moose feel when he finds out he isn’t going to be the letter “M”? How can you tell what he’s feeling?

2. Can you figure out what letters were supposed to be on the pages after “M Is for Mouse” and “N Is for Needle?.” What clues can/did you use?

3. What makes you impatient? What do you do when do you have to wait?

 

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Animal 1 2 3 by Britta Teckentrup. Handprint Books, 2012

1. Let’s count ___________s (creatures from each/any page in book).

2. What comes after _____ (number)? How much is it if we add one more?

3. Let’s move like ______ (creature from each/any page in book).

 

Poem to pair from Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2007:

“The NO-NO Bird” by Andrew Fusek Peters, p. 28

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Under the Snow

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | December | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Under the Snow)

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Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart. Illustrated by Constance R. Bergum. Peachtree, 2009

1. What are some of the ways we see the animals in the book survive in winter ? Can you think of any other things animals might do to survive in the cold?

2. Animals do different things in winter than in summer. What are some things do people do in the winterthat’s different from what they do in summer?

3. What animals have you seen in the winter?

 

 

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After Eli

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | December | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on After Eli)

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After Eli by Rebecca Rupp . Candlewick Press, 2012

1. Why do you think Danny keeps his Book of the Dead?

2. Danny’s memories give readers a strong sense of Eli. What do you learn about Eli as a brother and a friend through specific incidences in the book? How do you think he influenced Danny?

3. What are some things Danny figure outs about friendship through his relationships with Isabelle and Walter?

 

 

Books for Middle School Age

The Raven Boys

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in December | High School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on The Raven Boys)

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic Press, 2012

1. Every character in this novel is on a quest. Pick two characters and describe their quests. In what ways are their quests mutually supportive, or in conflict with each other early on. Does this change over time?

2. How do you interpret the quotes in the prologue from Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde in light of the novel? What character or characters does each quote remind you of? Why?

3. What is your theory on what happened to Blue’s father? What evidence in the narrative do you base this on?

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The One and Only Ivan

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | December | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on The One and Only Ivan)

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Illustrated by Patricia Castelao. Harper / HarperCollins, 2012

1. If you could pick one character from this book to befriend, whom would it be? Why—what things about this character do you like?

2. What are some of the ways the author made Ivan’s perspective seem true to how an animal might understand and describe what is happening?

3. Ivan remembers a time when he was free. Do you think he’d ever be able to live in the wild again? Why or why not? What about Ruby?

 

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Never Fall Down

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in November | High School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Never Fall Down)

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Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2012

1. Author Patricia McCormick explains in her author’s note why she chose to write in Arn’s own “distinct and beautiful voice,” which doesn’t follow the rules of English grammar and syntax. What impact did this decision have on you as a reader? In what ways do you think your understanding of Arn and his experience would be different if the book had been written in grammatically correct English?

2. Why do you think the transition from the life as a boy soldier to life in the United States was difficult for Arn?

3. The Holocaust during World War II is something with which most of us are familiar. Why do you think so little is known about other genocides, like the one Arn survived in Cambodia?

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