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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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Never Fall Down

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

never fall down cover

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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Me and Momma and Big John / Castle

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | November | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Me and Momma and Big John / Castle)

me and momma and big john cover

Me and Momma and Big John by Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by William Low. Candlewick Press, 2012

1. Why is the boy so disappointed when he finally sees the stone his mother has been working on?

2. How is the boy feeling about his mother’s work by the story’s end? Why?

3. Do you think the boy’s momma is an artist? Why or why not?

 

 

castle cover

Castle: How It Works by David Macaulay, with Sheila Keenan. Square Fish / David Macaulay Studio / Macmillan, 2012

1. If you were a visiting the castle in this book, what are some of the things you might see once you cross the drawbridge?

2. If you were an enemy, how might you try to get inside the castle in this book? What are some of the ways you learned those in the castle might try to stop you?

3. Why don’t you think people live in castles anymore?

 

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I Love Saturdays y domingos / Baby’s Day

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | November | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on I Love Saturdays y domingos / Baby’s Day)

I Love Saturdays y domingos cover

I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada. Ill by Elivia Salvadier. Atheneum, 2002

1. What are some of the things that are the same at each of the two houses the little girl visits?

2. What are some of the things that are different?

3. What do you like to do with a grown-up you love?

 

 

 

baby's day cover

Baby’s Day by Michael Blake. Candlewick Press, 2007

1. What color is __________? (name the highlighted object(s) on every page)

2. When would a baby wear a bib and have a bowl? What do you think the baby is about to do?

3. Baby is sleeping with a toy bunny. Is there something you like to sleep with?

 

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:

“Your Birthday Cake” by Rosemary Wells, p. 22

“Baby Fingers” by Nikki Grimes, p. 20

“Candles” by Wendy Cope, p. 26

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Mighty Mars Rovers / Moonbird

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in November | Middle School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Mighty Mars Rovers / Moonbird)

mighty mars rover cover

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch. Houghton Mifflin, 2012

 

 

moonbird cover

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012

 

 

 

1. What are some of the ways birdwatchers have helped scientists understand the rufa red knot?

2. How does Moonbird’s story show the interconnectedness of ecosystems?

3. How does the Mars Rover story show the interconnectedness of scientific disciplines?

4. Scientists working with the Mars Rovers seemed to develop emotional attachments to Spirit and Opportunity. Did you feelconcern for these pieces of equipment when they encountered problems on Mars or lost communication with Earth? How does that make you feel about research in space?

5. How are these two extraordinarily long journeys similar and different?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic / Dolores Huerta

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | November | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic / Dolores Huerta)

auntie yang cover
dolores huerta cover

Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo. Illustrated by Beth Lo.
Lee & Low, 2012

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren, Sarah. Illustrated by Robert Casilla. Marshall Cavendish, 2012

 

 

1. In what ways were Auntie Yang and Dolores Huerta similar women? How are they different?

2. What are some things each woman did to bring together people in her community.

3. In Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic food brings people together. What role does food play in Dolores Huerta?

 

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Up Close: Harper Lee

November 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in November | Middle School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Up Close: Harper Lee)

Up Close Harper Lee cover
Up Close: Harper Lee by Kerry Madden. Viking, 2009

1. Whether or not you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, what did you learn about the impact of that novel?

2. Harper Lee does not want to be defined by a single book. What do you want to be defined by (e.g. behaviors, values, activities, etc.)

3. This book explores Harper Lee’s private and public lives. How do you describe your public and private lives?

Akata Witch

November 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in November | Middle School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Akata Witch)

Akata Witch cover
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. Viking, 2011

1. If you were a Leopard Person, what would your juju be?

2. How does Sunny’s sense of identity change throughout the book?

3. Which do you think is more important to the story — the power of friendship or the power of magic? Why?

Books for Middle School Age

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