Header

Enter New Worlds with this Gritty Sci-Fi Story: November 2015 High School Title

October 23rd, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in November | 2015-2016 | High School - (Comments Off on Enter New Worlds with this Gritty Sci-Fi Story: November 2015 High School Title)

tin starTin Star by Cecil Castellucci. Roaring Brook Press, 2014.Icon_HighSchool

Teenager Tula Bane, beaten and left for dead aboard a space station in a remote part of galaxy, is now living in the station underguts, bartering to survive. Heckleck and Tournour, members of two different insect-like species, have both been kind to Tula, but she’s still incredibly lonely as the only human on board. Then the Imperium takes control of the station and Tula hears rumors that it’s putting political pressure on isolationist Earth to join it. It’s an effort apparently orchestrated by Brother Blue, the man who tried to kill her. The arrival of three more human teens on the station who may or may not be loyal to the Imperium gives Tula the opportunity she’s been looking for to plan revenge against Brother Blue, if she can get them to reveal information she needs. At the same time, they ease her loneliness as she delights in human contact and conversation, and even begins to fall in love. Cecil Castellucci’s satisfying work of science fiction has a complex political backstory, but it’s the wonderful characterizations and relationships that shine. Castellucci is adept at imagining how a wide variety of species whose cultural norms and habits differ relate to one another on a personal level, including how lack of cultural knowledge leads to misunderstanding. Tula’s survival has been dependent upon her ability to understand and communicate in a variety of ways. But as successful as she’s been, she’s failed to realize the most important thing: she has never been as alone as she thought. A novel that feels complete on its own leaves the door wide open for a sequel.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find resources at TeachingBooks.net.

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. How are insider/outsider lines defined in this book and in what cases are they blurred?
  2. Where do Tula’s loyalties lie? How do her loyalties change throughout her experience on the space station? Cite examples from the text.
  3. Make a text-to-world connection relating the political figures and issues in Tin Star to historical or contemporary events.

 

Creativity and Determination in Nonfiction Reads: Nov. 2015 Middle School Titles

October 23rd, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in November | 2015-2016 | Middle School - (Comments Off on Creativity and Determination in Nonfiction Reads: Nov. 2015 Middle School Titles)

etched in clayEtched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Books for Middle School AgePoet by Andrea Cheng. Lee & Low, 2013.

Andrea Cheng examines the life of Dave the Potter (who took the name David Drake after the Civil War ended) through a verse novel that tells his powerful, poignant story of endurance, artistry, and rebellion. Cheng’s poems reveal Dave’s hunger for words and learning and self-expression, and his pain of living in slavery. He was trained by and worked for Pottersville Stoneware in Edgefield, South Carolina, where founder Abner Landrum developed unique glazes. Dave later worked for Landrum’s brother and nephew, Lewis Miles, a kind man who nonetheless did not think to free Dave. Dave endured multiple, lifelong separations from people he loved: his first wife, Eliza; his second wife, Lydia; and Lydia’s two sons, whom he had taught to read. The poems are in the voices of these and other individual’s, all listed in a cast of characters near the beginning of the volume. Cheng incorporates some of the inscriptions Dave carved into his pots into her poems, and the novel as a whole gives a context for those words, showing them as a form of rebellion. Lovely, occasional black-and-white woodcut prints punctuate a work that includes back matter with more information on Dave and his poems and pottery in Edgefield, South Carolina. Cheng talks about her interest in Dave in an author’s note that precedes her list of sources. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Close reading and teacher’s guides as well as other resources available from TeachingBooks.net

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Why do you think the author chose to use various points of view to tell Dave’s story? What affect do the different points of view have on the reader’s understanding of the story and Dave’s life?
  2. The author also used poetry to tell Dave’s story. Why do you think the author chose this format? Did you find it effective in relaying information, developing characters, telling a story? Why or why not?
  3. How did Dave rebel against slavery while still remaining a slave? How does the author show this? What risks did Dave take in creating his art? Cite examples for the story that show why he took these risks?
  4. In what way is Dave’s story part of the story of the struggle for Civil Rights?

The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan mad potterGreenberg and Sandra Jordan. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2013.

The folded shapes and crenellated forms created by potter George E. Ohr may not look that distinctive now, but the striking pots he shaped were like nothing else seen in the late 1800s. And they were largely unheralded at the time. But Ohr was more than the genius he knew himself to be; he was a personality and a showman in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he had his potter’s studio. But beneath all his dazzle was incredible talent: He spun out pots and pitchers and vases and vessels with twists and turns that were sometimes quirky and playful and sometimes, simply, strikingly beautiful. He experimented with glazes. And he thrived on his own eccentricity (although his family did not). Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan provide a lively introduction to this American artist who was all but undiscovered until the final decades of the twentieth century, long after his death. Their final chapter shows his influence on contemporary pottery, and even contemporary architecture—a museum dedicated to Ohr designed by Frank Gehry was inspired by his forms. Detailed source notes follow a primer on “How to Look at a Pot.”  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Lesson plans and teacher’s ideas and other resources for The Mad Potter available at TeachingBooks.net.

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Do you think George was unrealistic for continuing to make pottery despite the fact that no one bought it? Why?
  2. How does George’s pottery reflect his personality? Cite examples from the book.
  3. In George’s time, fairs were a place that people visited to discover and explore new ideas and inventions? What fills that role today?

Striking Stories about Family! November 2015 Intermediate Titles

October 23rd, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | November | 2015-2016 - (Comments Off on Striking Stories about Family! November 2015 Intermediate Titles)

arcady's goalArcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt, 2014.Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Young Arcady is living in an orphanage in the Soviet Union in 1950, and soccer is his answer for everything. When Ivan Ivanyvich adopts him, Arcady assumes the man must be a soccer coach. In truth, Ivan is simply a sad, lonely widower trying to fulfill a promise by adopting a child. He is patient, loving, and occasionally annoyed, but Arcady is so convinced he’s a coach that Ivan finally plays along. He forms a team, he tries to coach Arcady and the other boys, and he fails. Then comes word that the Red Army soccer team is holding tryouts, and Arcady is determined to attend. Eugene Yelchin’s novel is about a boy and a man who are learning to become a family. The disconnect between Ivan’s understanding of this and Arcady’s absolute blindness to it is both funny and tender. Arcady first calls the Ivan “Coach,” and, when he proves to be no coach, Ivan Ivanyvich. When Arcady, who is also learning that it’s safe to feel, and that love can be unconditional, finally calls him “Dad” it feels like something far sweeter than victory. Occasional black-and-white illustrations by the author offer additional moments of poignancy in a story set against the backdrop of Stalinism, with the fear under which so many lived occasionally bubbling up to the surface.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Before reading: What makes a family?
  2. This story takes place in Communist Soviet Union in the 1950’s. How does this setting help explain the characters’ actions?
  3. Why does Arcady believe Ivan is a soccer coach? What makes Arcady believe this?
  4. How does the author show that Arcady is learning to trust Ivan? What causes Ivan to open up to Arcady?

Teaching guide and more from TeachingBooks.net.

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth. Scholastic Press, 2014.kinda like brothers

Eleven-year-old Jarrett and twelve-year-old Kevon are thrown together when Jarrett’s mom becomes a temporary foster parent to Kevon and his two-year-old sister. Jarrett is sometimes resentful of how much time his mom spends taking care of other children, but they’re usually babies and toddlers that he genuinely likes. This is different. Kevon is cool in a way Jarrett isn’t, inviting easy admiration from other kids. In Jarrett’s mind, that makes Kevon a potential threat socially, not to mention someone with whom he has to share his room. Meanwhile Kevon resents the implication that he can’t care for his sister—a responsibility he’s used to–and worries about his mentally ill dad. He has no time for Jarrett’s jealousy. Author Coe Booth’s characters are likable, genuine, and flawed in all the ways that make us human. Adults and kids alike in her story are well-rounded and wonderfully real. The two boys’ have good hearts but their treatment of each other ranges from bright moments of generosity to indifference to cruelty. The larger community—from Jarrett’s mom and her boyfriend to teachers at school and adults at the community center–strives to make a difference in the lives of these boys and other children, preparing them for a world that is not always fair or just. But for Jarrett and Kevon to make peace with one another they must let go of anger and hurt, and acknowledge the bond that has developed between them in spite—or because—of everything.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What makes Jarrett and Kevon kind of like brothers?
  2. How did the author use foreshadowing in the narrative? Cite examples.
  3. How do Jarrett’s feelings about Kevon change? At what point in the story, did you notice these changes?
  4. How would this story be different if told from Kevon’s perspective? What makes you think this?
  5. What role does community play in this story?

Discussion questions, excerpts from book and audiobook, and other resources from TeachingBooks.net.

Explore Emotions with November 2015 Primary Titles

October 23rd, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | November | 2015-2016 - (Comments Off on Explore Emotions with November 2015 Primary Titles)

bullyBully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.  A Neal Porter BookPrimary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer/ Roaring Brook Press, 2013.

Not a bully but a bull takes center stage in Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s visually eloquent look at name-calling and insults. “Go away!” a big bull tells a smaller one, the rejection unmistakable on the small bull’s face. When the small bull is then approached by a group of animals inviting him to play, he puffs himself up and says, “No!” But he doesn’t stop there. He calls the chicken a chicken. He calls the turtle a slow poke. He calls the pig a pig. His anger intensifies each time, and even though the words at face value are generally factual (a chicken is a chicken and a pig is a pig, after all), intent is everything here. When a billy goat counters with a name of his own for the bull, everything changes. “Bully!” Suddenly the bull, which had been growing larger with each insult he hurled, deflates. Despite its seemingly obvious message, Seeger’s book is leaves plenty of space for readers of the words and pictures to observe, reflect upon, and discuss the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. The spare text is comprised only of the words the animals exchange, while the bold illustrations are simple in composition but complex in terms of gesture and feeling. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Teaching ideas and guides, book trailer, and author interviews for Bully at TeachingBooks.net.

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Why do you think the bull picks on the other animals? Which animal makes the bull change?
  2. What does the bull say to insult the animals? How do these words relate to the specific animal being insulted? How are these words insulting and not insulting to the animals?
  3. Why do you think the illustrator shows the bull growing larger with each animal it teases?

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla byivan the remarkable true story Katherine Applegate. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Clarion, 2014.

“In leafy calm, in gentle arms, a gorilla’s life begins.” The baby gorilla learned as he played in the tropical forest of central Africa. He learned, too, by watching and listening to his mother and his father and other gorillas. But he didn’t learn about humans until he was captured by poachers and shipped in a crate with another baby gorilla to the United States. “A man who owned a shopping mall had ordered and paid for them, like a couple of pizzas, like a pair of shoes.” They were given names in a contest: Burma and Ivan. Then Burma died and Ivan was alone. He learned how to do things humans do—hold babies, sleep in a bed—but not the things that gorillas do. Eventually, he was too big to do anything but live a cage at the mall, with a TV, some art supplies, and a tire. After many years, people began to get angry on Ivan’s behalf. After twenty-seven years in a cage, he was finally moved, to Zoo Atlanta, a safe haven where he was released into the open air again. “In leafy calm, in gentle arms, a gorilla’s life begins again.” Katherine Applegate tells the story of the gorilla that inspired her Newbery-award-winning The One and Only Ivan in this lyrical and moving picture book tenderly illustrated by G. Brian Karas. A two-page photo essay at story’s end tells more about Ivan.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Teaching guides and a dedicated website for Ivan available through TeachingBooks.net.

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Before reading: How would you feel if you had to live in a shopping mall?
  2. What are some differences between Ivan’s life in the jungle and in captivity?
  3. How do the author and illustrator show you how Ivan feels throughout the story?
  4. Why do you think the shopping center owner let Ivan leave? What in the text and illustrations shows you this?

Counting and More: November 2015 Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

October 23rd, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | November | 2015-2016 - (Comments Off on Counting and More: November 2015 Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers)

gastonGaston by Kelly DiPucchio.  Illustrated by ChristianIcon_PreSchool Robinson.  Atheneum, 2014.

Mrs. Poodle is the proud parent of Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. The first three are spitting images of their mother. And Gaston — well, he clearly comes from different stock. Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La are poofy and puffy and the size of teacups, while Gaston is solid and stocky and as big as a teapot. But if being dainty and delicate and neat like their mother doesn’t come as easily to Gaston, he always “worked the hardest, practiced the longest, and smiled the biggest.” Then the family meets Rocky, Ricky, and Bruno, three stocky, solid bulldog pups, and their poofy, puffy sister, Antoinette. “It seems there’s been a terrible mistake,” says Mrs. Bulldog. And so the two puppies trade places. The problem is, “Antoinette did not like anything proper or precious or pink.” And Gaston didn’t like anything “brutish or brawny or brown.” Kelly DiPuccio’s delightful romp gets even better as the pups return to their original families, and eventually have pups of their own who are encouraged to be whatever they want to be. It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at nature versus nurture, but also an affirmation of being true to oneself.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Resources from TeachingBooks.net.

Engage children with these early literacy activities:

  • Talk: Talk about manners. What are examples of good manners? “Oui” is the French word for yes. What other ways can you say “yes”?
  • Write: Draw a map of your home and label the different rooms.
  • Play: Play a matching game or game of memory.
  • STEM:Challenge your senses by comparing and contrasting different textures. Look at the illustrations in the book. How are the dogs the same and how are they different?

We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers by Julie Flett. Native Northwest, 2014.we all count cover

Read a review by Debbie Reese from her blog, American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Check out this book trailer from the iSchool at The University of British Columbia.

Resources from TeachingBooks.net.

Engage children with these early literacy activities:

  • Read: Find other books about the animals shown in this book.
  • Talk: What languages do you speak? Who are the people in your family? Do you have cousins, aunts, uncles?
  • STEM: Point and count as your share the book. Count to 10 with your child.

Find more early literacy activities from the Youth Services Section of the Wisconsin Library Association’s 2015 Early Literacy Calendar created by Youth Services librarians across Wisconsin.

Find ROW November Titles Here!

October 19th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Primary (Grades K-2) | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | November | 2015-2016 | Middle School | High School - (Comments Off on Find ROW November Titles Here!)

Click on an image to read the CCBC annotation for the title. Check earlier posts below for discussion prompts and resources! And, Read! On Wisconsin!

we all count covergastonbully

 

 

ivan the remarkable true storyarcady's goalkinda like brothers

etched in claymad pottertin star

 

Another Inspiring Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in November | Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Another Inspiring Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School!)

For another great middle school read — Claudia Mills’ Zero Tolerance (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013). Thanks for the promo, JYMS!

 

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?

Icon_HighSchool

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?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

 

 

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?

 

 

Primary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer

 

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.

 
Icon_PreSchool

 

 

 

 

 

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial