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Author Archives: etownsend

Sophie Scott Goes South / Little Dog, Lost

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Sophie Scott Goes South / Little Dog, Lost)

sophie scott goes southSophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester.   U.S. edition:  Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

1. There are lots of types of illustrations in this book. Why do you think the author/illustrator decided to use so many different types of illustrations? How do you think these different styles of illustrations help you understand the things Sophie describes?

2. Who are some of the people who work on the Aurora Australis and what are their roles? What about the people at Mawson Station?

3. Sophie is a child making this trip for the first time. How do you think that that makes a difference in what she describes? How do you think the story might be told differently if her dad was telling it?

 

little dog lost

Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer.  Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell.  Atheneum, 2012.

1. People in the town have formed opinions of Charles Larue without getting to know him. What do the kids in the town think of Charles Larue? What is Charles Larue really like? Charles Larue changes throughout the story. What is he like in the beginning of the story? How is he different at the end of the story?

2. This book tells the story of three characters, Buddy, Charles Larue, and Mark. How do these three different perspectives help you to understand the characters and their actions?

3. The author wrote this book as a story in verse. Do you think this format, using poetry to tell the story, adds to or distracts from the story? Why?
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Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm)

meetthedogsofbedlamfarm

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm by John Katz. Henry Holt, 2011.

1. What are the different jobs of the dogs? How do the dogs help the farm by performing these different jobs?

2. What is your job in your family? How does this help your family?

3. What do you think the author wants us to learn from this book?

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Quinito’s Neighborhood / Inside, Outside

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Quinito’s Neighborhood / Inside, Outside)

quinitosneighborhood

Quinito’s Neighborhood = El Vecindario de Quinito by Ina Cumpiaño. Illustrated by José Ramírez. Children’s Book Press, 2005.

1. Do you know someone with one of these jobs? Which job would you like to do?

2. What do people in your family do in your neighborhood or town?

3. Who are some of the people you might meet on a walk in your neighborhood?

 

inside outside

Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd. Chronicle, 2013.

1. Which shapes can you find and name?

2. How many patterns can you find? Describe the patterns.

3. What do you see through the windows?

 

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Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in November | 2014-2015 | High School - (Comments Off on Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass)

yaqui delgadoYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina. Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. What reasons does Piddy give for not telling anyone about the bullying? What are specific ways the novel shows that silence – not letting anyone know about the bullying – makes things worse for Piddy? How does finally breaking her silence give Piddy some control as shown in the story?

2. Give examples of adult authority in Piddy’s life. What expectations do they have of her? How do these expectations impact the decisions she makes?

3. Piddy can be seen as both an obedient daughter and also a rebel. What other individuals in the story are portrayed with two conflicting sides to their character? How does the author show two sides of the same person?

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Eruption! / Zero Tolerance

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in November | Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Eruption! / Zero Tolerance)

eruptionEruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch. Photographs by Tom Uhlman. (Scientists in the Field) Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

1. The author writes about volcanic eruptions and human reaction across the globe. What are some of the differences in the ways people have reacted to volcanoes in different countries?

2. Only 100 people were killed as a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. What lessons from earlier eruptions did scientists use to achieve such a positive result?

3. How do the VDAP scientists interact with people who have survived eruptions?

 

zero tolerance

Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013.

1. What argument is the author trying to make about ‘zero tolerance’ as a disciplinary policy? Are one-size fits-all policies such as zero tolerance effective? What would you have done in Sierra’s place and why?

2. Kids who serve detention are often perceived as troublemakers. What are examples of ways Sierra buys into that stereotype initially? How does the novel ask us to challenge that stereotype?

3. When straight-A student Sierra falls victim to the Zero Tolerance policy at her school, she gets an in-school suspension and may be expelled. How do the points of view of her principal and her father differ? What are ways does the author develops their two perspectives? Does either or both of them change?

Books for Middle School Age

It Jes’ Happened / Hold Fast

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | November | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on It Jes’ Happened / Hold Fast)

it jes happenedGR3-5 It Jes’ Happened:  When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low, 2012.

1. Do you think the author of this book thinks Bill Traylor’s art is important? What makes you say that? What did you know about Bill Traylor before reading this book? What do you know now? Do you think his work is important?

2. Why did Bill Traylor become an artist? How does the title of the book reflect this?

3. What challenges did Bill Traylor face throughout his life? How did he overcome them?

 

hold fastGR3-5Hold Fast by Blue Balliett. Scholastic Press, 2013.

1. Why do you think the author chose the Langston Hughes poem “Dreams” as one important to Early and her family? How do you think the poem connects to what happens in the story?

2. How did Early’s life change once her dad disappeared? How did Early adapt to life in a public place? How would you?

3. What kind of a person is Early? What things do you learn about her that makes you say that? How does the kind of person she is help her to find her dad? What are the clues that help Early find her dad?

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Thanks a Million: Poems / The Big Wet Balloon

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | November | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Thanks a Million: Poems / The Big Wet Balloon)

thanks a million

Thanks a Million: Poems by Nikki Grimes. Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Amistad, 2006.

1. What makes you thankful?

2. These poems are written in many different ways. Which one do you like best? What makes you like that poem? The illustrations?  The style?  The words? Something else?

3. Which of these poems feels like it could be talking about you? Why?

 

 

big wet balloon

The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers.  Toon Books/Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. How do the pictures and words work together to tell the story? Do you think you could understand the story without the words? without the pictures? How might the lack of words or picture change the story?

2.Why do you think the balloon is important to the story?

3. What do you think will happen at the end of the story? Why?

 

 

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Turkey Tot / Run Home, Little Mouse

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | November | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Turkey Tot / Run Home, Little Mouse)

turkey tot

Turkey Tot by George Shannon Holiday House, 2013.

1. What do you think Turkey is making when you read the story?

2. How would you solve the problem?

3. How can being different be good?

 

 

run home little mouse

Run Home, Little Mouse by Britta Teckentrup.  Translated from the German.  U.S. edition:  Kids Can Press, 2013.

1. What seven animals do you see in the forest on the first page?

2. Look through the hole and what do you see?

3. Count the mice on the last page.

 
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Maggot Moon

October 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in October | 2014-2015 | High School - (Comments Off on Maggot Moon)

maggot moonMaggot Moon by Sally Gardner. Illustrated by Julian Crouch. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. What are the different factors that pressure characters to not seek the truth?

2. What are specific ways the author provided information in this alternate history to help you make sense of what was going on? In what ways did the fact that it was an alternate history—rather than a futuristic dystopia—hinder or help your understanding of the characters and their situation?

3. As you consider the sequence of events in the novel, what are the details that reveal the hoax to Standish?

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I Lay My Stitches Down / The Thing about Luck

October 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in October | Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on I Lay My Stitches Down / The Thing about Luck)

i lay my stitches down

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery by Cynthia Grady. Illustrated by Michele Wood. Eerdmans, 2012.

1. In the introduction, the author states that she included three references in each poem: biblical/spiritual, musical, and sewing/fiber arts. Choose a poem and locate each of these references in it.

2. As you were examining each page layout (poem, explanation, artwork), which order did you use to best understand and decode? Why was this your strategy?

3. How is the theme of sewing and quilting developed throughout the collection? What is the relationship between quilting and the experiences of American slaves?

 

thing about luck

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Illustrated by Julia Kuo. Atheneum, 2013.

1. Why is Summer so obsessed with mosquitoes? Why does she spend so much time drawing them and seeing them as “beautiful”?

2. How would you describe Summer’s relationship with Obaachan, her grandmother?

3. The author, Kadohata, ends the book in an abrupt way, meaning that there is no distinct ending. Why do you think the author does this? What are possible outcomes for Summer and her family at the end of summer?

 

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Buffalo Bird Girl

October 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in October | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Buffalo Bird Girl)

buffalo bird girlGR3-5

Buffalo Bird Girl:  A Hidatsa Story by S.D. Nelson. Abrams, 2012.

1. Why do you think the author wanted you to learn about Buffalo Bird Girl? What are the things the author included to show you this?

2. What do you learn from the photographs, illustrations, and maps?

3. What do we know about the author from the note at the end of the book?

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Picture a Tree / Chavela and the Magic Bubble

October 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | October | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Picture a Tree / Chavela and the Magic Bubble)

picture a tree

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid. U.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2013.

1. According to the author, what are some of the uses of a tree? Can you think of new ways to use trees?

2. What changes do you see in the tree in the book? What changes are taking place with the trees outside? What other changes will occur?

3. How do the pictures help you understand the words?

 

chavela and the magic bubble

Chavela and the Magic Bubble by Monica Brown. Illustrated by Magaly Morales. Clarion, 2010.

1. Where does Chavela’s magic bubble take her?

2. What types of trees does Chavela visit? What do people make from these trees?

3. How does Chavela know that her magical trip takes her to her grandmother’s past?

 

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