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?


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?


Books for Middle School Age





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?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

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?


Primary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer

Matilda and Hans / Wild Berries

October 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | October | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Matilda and Hans / Wild Berries)

matilda and hans

Matilda and Hans by Yokococo. U.S. edition:  Templar / Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. Do you know someone nice like Matilda? Do you know someone naughty like Hans?

2. What kind of mask do you like to wear?

3. Were you surprised by the ending to the story?



wild berriesBTPWild Berries by Julie Flett.  Simply Read Books, 2013.

1. What kind of blueberries does Clarence like? What kind does his grandma like?

2. What do you like to do outdoors with your family?

3. This book has words in English and in the Cree language. Can you say some of these words? (Teachers/Librarians/Caregivers: There’s a pronunciation guide at the end of the book.)



Dark Lord / Friends with Boys

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Dark Lord / Friends with Boys)

dark lord cover
Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson. Walker, 2012

1. If your arch enemy banished you to an alternate universe, what would it be like?

2. Why do you think the author decided to include a ghost story?

3. Which supporting character(s) in these books would you like to have you welcoming you to a new situation? What appealed to you about this character?



friends with boys cover

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks . First Second, 2012

1. What are some of the ways Maggie changes in terms of how she sees herself and members of her family over the course of the story?

2. Maggie is not used to the social dynamics of high school. What does she learn from her friendship with Lucy and Alistair?

3. Why do you think it’s so important to Maggie to help the ghost? Why do you think the author chose to leave the ghost’s story unsolved?


Books for Middle School Age

Spike the Mixed-Up Monster / Oh, No! / Alfie Is Not Afraid

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | October | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Spike the Mixed-Up Monster / Oh, No! / Alfie Is Not Afraid)

Spike the mixed-up monster cover

Spike, the Mixed-Up Monster by Susan Hood. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. A Paula Wiseman Book / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. Do you think Spike is a monster? Why/why not?

2. What are ways Spike tries to act like a monster? (Let’s be monsters ourselves–swoosh, bare teeth, etc)

3. Let’s look again at the photographs of animals at the end of the story. What are some ways they are different than the animals in the illustrations? What are some ways they are the same?

Oh No cover

Oh, No! by Candace Fleming. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Schwartz & Wade, 2012

1. Name some of the animals that fall into the hole in the story. Why do you think Tiger wants to get the animals out of the hole?

2. Would you help tiger out of the hole? Why or why not?

3. How do you think it would feel to be stuck in a hole?


Alfie is not afraid cover

Alfie Is Not Afraid by Patricia Carlin. Disney / Hyperion, 2012

1. Do YOU think Alfie is afraid? Why or why not ?(Ask them to point out evidence in book)

2. How can you tell the difference between what the boy is saying and what Alfie is really feeling?

3. What kinds of things are you afraid of?


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:

“My Sister” by Margaret Mahy, p. 40

“In Bed with Cuddly Creatures” by Wes Magee, p. 89

“No Need to Light a Night-Light” by Anonymous, p. 100


Giants Beware / The Scary Places Map Book

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Giants Beware / The Scary Places Map Book)

giants beware cover

Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre. Illustrated by Rafael Rosado. First Second, 2012

1. Claudette has little patience with the grown-ups in her town who are afraid to go after the giant. Why do you think the adults are so afraid? Why do they go after Claudette and her friends?

2. Everyone thinks the giant threatening the town is a “baby-feet-eating giant.” In the end, they discover it’s just a baby giant that loves tickling feet. How / why do you think the story about the giant got so turned around?

3. Gaston and Marie aren’t as brave as Claudette but they set off with her anyway. How does each of the three play a role in their success? Has there ever been a time in your life when you and friends or family members have all contributed in different ways to a project or journey’s success?


scary places map book cover

The Scary Places Map Book: Seven Terrifying Tours by B. G. Hennessy. Illustrated by Erwin Madrid. Candlewick Press, 2012

1. All of the maps in this books have several features in common. Name at least two things that all of them share.

2. What are three of the dangers to watch out for in “The Land of the Golden Apples”?

3. Who is Mabel in the Western Territories? What does she carry in her pack?

4. If you were designing a scary place, what would it include?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Each Kindness

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | October | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Each Kindness)

each kindness cover

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2012

1. Why do you think Chloe ignores Maya?

2. What do you think Chloe’s teacher is trying to show them about kindness?

3. How does the ending of the story make you feel?Why?

4. What do you think Chloe will do if another new student joins their class? What in the story makes you think this?



Primary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer

The Pregnancy Project

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | High School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on The Pregnancy Project)

pregnancy project cover

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer. Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What were some of the events in her family that made Gaby so adamant about not becoming a teen mom?

2. How would you have felt if you were one of Gaby’s friends or family when she announced her pregnancy was a hoax?

3. Gaby says: “Could it be that people don’t want others to beat stereotypes? Could it be that people who don’t fit the mold make it uncomfortable for others to hold on to their prejudices?” What do you think?



Anya’s Ghost

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Anya’s Ghost)

Anya's Ghost cover
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. First Second, 2011

1. Anya’s family routine is shown several times (e.g. kitchen meals). Show your routine in words and pictures.

2. If you had Anya’s ghost, what would you have it do at home and at school? What harm or good would that cause?

3. Not just the ghost is manipulative. Describe instances of manipulation and what motivated it.

Warp Speed

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Warp Speed)

Warp Speed cover
Warp Speed by Lisa Yee. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc., 2011

1. What does this book say about the power of bystanders to make a difference?

2. In which situations would you want to be invisible and when is it better to be invincible?

3. Star Trek, Star Wars, or Batman? Discuss.

Books for Middle School Age

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