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Author Archives: etownsend

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Charm & Strange

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | February - (Comments Off on The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Charm & Strange)

coldest girl in coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Little, Brown, 2013.charm & strange

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.

Having read both or one of these books…

1. Why would an author choose to use vampires and werewolves to explore changing identity?

2. How are the vampires and werewolves similar and different from supernatural characters in other stories?

3. What plot elements allow you to suspend your disbelief?

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Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Lincoln’s Grave Robbers)

lincoln's grave robbersLincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin. Scholastic Press, 2013.

1. How did the author use source documents to reconstruct the events of the plot to steal Lincoln’s body and the history of counterfeiters?

2. Why does Tyrell hesitate before breaking into the tomb?

3. What were Swegles’ strategies to gain the trust of the grave robbers and avoid detection?

Books for Middle School Age

 

Lulu and the Duck in the Park / The Pet Project

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Lulu and the Duck in the Park / The Pet Project)

luluandtheduckintheparkLulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay. Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. U.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2013.

1. Talk about how Lulu and Mellie and Mrs. Halliday each feel about animals. What in the story makes you say this?

2. What do you think about animals? Which of the characters are you most like when it comes to your feelings about animals and why?

3. What are some of the ways that Lulu and Mellie help each other? How do you help your friends?

 

pet project

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses by Lisa Wheeler. Illustrated by Zachariah Ohora. Atheneum, 2013.

1. What are the steps the narrator completes to determine which pet is best for her?

2. Choose a poem or animal. How does the narrator feel about this animal? What in the text makes you think this? Do you agree with the narrator’s observations? Why?

3. What do you think about the assignment her parent’s gave her? Do you think this is a good way to decide what type of pet is best for her? How would you (or have you) determined what type of pet is best for you?Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

A Splash of Red / Kunu’s Basket

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on A Splash of Red / Kunu’s Basket)

splash of red

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

1. Why do you think the author wants us to learn about Horace Pippin? What did you learn by reading this book?

2. Why does Horace Pippin keep painting even when it is difficult?

3. Why do you think he included a splash of red in each painting?

 

kunu's basket

Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee DeCora Francis. Illustrated by Susan Drucker. Tilbury House, 2012.

1. Making a basket is hard work. Why does Kunu persevere in making the basket?

2. How are baskets used in the story?

3. Kunu’s grandfather helps him with his basket. Who helps you when something is difficult?

 

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Tiger in My Soup / Stripes of All Types

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Tiger in My Soup / Stripes of All Types)

tiger in my soup

Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

1. What would you do if you found a tiger in your soup?

2. Look at the end pages, how many tigers and boys can you count?

3. What kind of soup do you like?

 

stripes of all types

Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

1. Where do you see stripes? Where do you see spots? What colors do you see?

2. In the book, what places do the animals, insects, fish and birds live?

3. Find the activity page for further exploration.

 

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Boxers and Saints / Open Mic

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | January - (Comments Off on Boxers and Saints / Open Mic)

boxers saintsHSBoxers (Boxers and Saints) by Gene Luen Yang. First Second, 2013.
Saints (Boxers and Saints) by Gene Luen Yang. First Second, 2013.

1. How do you think the order in which the books are read impacts a reader’s perspective on the rebellion?

2.  How is the influence of religious and spiritual beliefs in this pairing of books developed? How do Four Girl and Bao’s religious beliefs, as portrayed across the two books, parallel one another?

3. What elements of this book can you find in today’s headlines about similar religious or political conflict?

 

open micHS

Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices by Mitali Perkins. Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. How does the use of humor in these stories help to open discussions about race and ethnicity?

2. What are some similarities between the styles and perspectives of  the short stories? What are some differences?

3. Choose one of the stories. What is the author’s experience with racial and ethnic differences? How does the author convey this in his or her story? How does humor help the author explore and understand these differences?

 

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Pinned

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on Pinned)

pinned Pinned by Sharon G. Flake. Scholastic Press, 2012.

1. How does the author use the text to differentiate between Adonis and Autumn? How are their voices different?

2. Autumn perseveres through her struggles with wrestling and during her pursuit of Adonis, but she gives up more easily when trying to read. Why doesn’t she apply herself to reading the way she does with wrestling and in her pursuit of Adonis?

3. Why is Adonis so resistant to Autumn’s advances?

Books for Middle School Age

The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird / Tua and the Elephant

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird / Tua and the Elephant)

no 1 car spotter and the firebirdThe No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird by Atinuke. Illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell. U.S. edition: Kane Miller, 2012.

1. What are some examples of the ways the No. 1 car spotter “works smart, not hard”? What are some examples of the ways he is good at problem-solving?

2. How do the different people in the village contribute to the success of everyone? Additionally, how do you contribute to your community?

3. On page 14 Grandfather says, “Nobody is good at everything, No. 1…You are the No. 1 car spotter. That is enough.” Is this a true statement? Why or why not?

 

tua and the elephant

Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. Chronicle Books, 2012.

1. Describe Nak and Nang. How are they the same and how they different?

2. Who are some of the people who help Tua and Pohn-Pohn on their journey? How do they help?

3. What is a sanctuary? Why is it important for Tua and Pohn-Pohn get there?

Both of these books are set in faraway places and have a strong sense of community. How are No. 1 and Tua similar?

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Nora’s Chicks / This is the Rope

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on Nora’s Chicks / This is the Rope)

nora's chicks

Nora’s Chicks by Patricia MacLachlan. Illustrated by Kathryn Brown. Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. What are ways the author and illustrator let us know that Nora is lonely?

2. Who do we meet at the beginning of the story? What is happening then?  Who do we meet in the middle of the story?  What happens? At the end of the story, how have things changed for Nora?

3. How do Nora’s chicks help her?

 

this is the ropeGRK-2

This Is the Rope:  A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by James Ransome. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2013.

1. Who is telling the story of the rope? About whom is she telling the story?

2. In what different ways is the rope used in the story?

3. What object does your family own that tells a story?

 

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Big Snow / Little You

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on Big Snow / Little You)

big snow

Big Snow by Jonathan Bean. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013.

1. Which white things in the story make David think of snow?

2. What do you think David and his parents will do in the snow? What do you like to do in the snow?

3. What are some of the words used to describe the snow?

 

 

little you

Little You by Richard Van Camp. Illustrated by Julie Flett. Orca, 2013.

1. Who is holding the baby?

2. What do you see in the sky?

3. Find something red.

 

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Far Far Away

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in December | 2014-2015 | High School - (Comments Off on Far Far Away)

far far awayFar Far Away by Tom McNeal. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

1. What connections can you make between this story and fairy tales?

2. Throughout the novel, characters actively try to help others. Give some examples of when the help is sincerely offered and other examples when help is offered for selfish motives. How does this advance the plot?

3. Where and when do you think this story takes place? What tells you this?

 

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Orleans / How I Became a Ghost

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Orleans / How I Became a Ghost)

orleansMSOrleans by Sherri L. Smith. Putnam, 2013.

1. How does the dystopian New Orleans setting shape the characters’ beliefs and actions?

2. How do the points of view of Daniel and Fen differ? What are ways the author differentiates their two perspectives?

3. Safety and trust are two ideas explored in the story. Do any specific elements (scenes, character interactions, etc.) stand out when you think of how either one of these ideas was explored?

 

how i became a ghostMS

How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle. The RoadRunner Press, 2013.

1. During the course of the book, Isaac dies and becomes a ghost. How do his relationships with the other character change because of this?

2. How does the author show us ways that Isaac’s point of view is grounded in his identity as a Choctaw as well as his experiences as a child?

3. From the start, the reader knows that Isaac will die. How does this create suspense or tension in the story?

 

Books for Middle School Age

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