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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?

 

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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?

 

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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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The Year of the Book

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on The Year of the Book)

year of the book cover

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012

1. Anna’s mom thinks she is being selfish when she doesn’t want to spend time with other people. Do you think her mom is being fair? What are some of the reasons you do or don’t agree with her based on what you know and learn about Anna in the story?

2. Anna loves to read. What does she enjoy about reading? What role do books play in her life?

3. What are some of the reasons Anna is uncertain about spending time with Laura? What do you think she gains by becoming friends with Laura again?

 

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No Crystal Stair / Darkroom

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in High School | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on No Crystal Stair / Darkroom)

no crystal stair cover

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda LAB, 2012

1. Lewis Michaux believed that books change lives. What are ways you can see this exemplified in the narrative?

2. This is a work of documentary fiction—much of it is based on fact, but the author had to take artistic license as well. How does it differ from a straightforward work of non-fiction? What are some of the ways the book as a whole succeeds in giving you both facts about Lewis Michaux and a deeper understanding of who he was and what he believed?

3. A number of factors led to the closing of Michaux’s bookstore in the 1970s, from racism to economics to politics. What do you think was the biggest reason the store had to close? What did the community lose as a result?

 

darkroom cover

Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver. The University of Alabama Press, 2012

1. What were some of the pivotal events throughout her childhood that gave the author deeper insight into the struggle for civil rights?

2. The author talks about knowing from the time she was young that she did not fit on either side of the racial divide, but as she gets older she finds that she connects more with Black kids than white kids. Why do you think this was the case?

3. In what ways does the title connect to the story the author tells?

 

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I’ll Save You, Bobo! / Baby, Where Are You?

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on I’ll Save You, Bobo! / Baby, Where Are You?)

I'll Save You Bobo cover

I’ll Save You, Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal. Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal. Atheneum, 2012

1. Who is your favorite character in this story? Why?

2. Do you think Earl the cat likes Bobo? Why or why not?

3. What do you like about the stories the little boy tells? Do you ever make up stories? (What are they about?)

 

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Baby, Where Are You? by Mack. U.S. edition: Clavis, 2012

1. Let’s find an animal in the book that lives in or near the water. What is it?

2. Let’s find an animal in the book walking in the sand. What is it?

3. Which animals in the book have long necks?

 

Poem 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:

“Tide and Seek” by Andrew Fusek Peters, p. 80

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Marching to the Mountaintop / Fire in the Streets

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Marching to the Mountaintop / Fire in the Streets)

marching to the mountaintop cover

Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours by Ann Bausum. National Geographic, 2012

1. What are some of the factors that led to the garbage workers deciding to strike in Memphis?

2. Why was Martin Luther King, Jr., initially reluctant to come to Memphis? What made him change his mind?

3. There are several major stories in this book: the Memphis garbage workers’ strike; the shifting focus of Martin Luther King’s activism from racism to poverty; and King’s assassination.  What did you learn about the connection among these three things?

 

fire in the streets cover

Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon . Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What does Maxie find so appealing about being part of the Black Panthers?

2. Based on what you know about Maxie in the story, why do you think she decides to turn in her brother? If you were in Maxie’s position, what do you think you would do?

3. This story is set in 1968, a time of great political and racial turmoil. What details did you find especially interesting about that time? Were there things that struck you as being very different from—or similar to—today?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Lemonade in Winter

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Lemonade in Winter)

lemonade in winter cover

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Schwartz & Wade, 2012

1. What are some of the things Pauline and John-John do to get ready to have a lemonade stand?

2. How do Pauline and John-John try to get customers? Is there anything else you would have also done if you were in their place?

3. If you were going to sell something in winter, what would it be? Why? What would you need to get ready to have your sale?

 

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Blink & Caution

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in High School | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Blink & Caution)

Blink and Caution cover
Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2011

1. How do the names “Blink” and “Caution” reflect the identities of the two main characters? Do you have a nickname that authentically describes you?

2. How does the relationship between Blink and Caution change over the course of the book?

3. Blink, Caution, and Jack Niven are all trying to keep a secret. What are those secrets and how are they resolved?

Almost Astronauts / Amelia Lost

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Almost Astronauts / Amelia Lost)

Almost Astronauts cover
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone. Candlewick Press, 2009
Amelia Lost cover
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming. Schwartz & Wade, 2011

 

 

 

 

1. Why do you think we know so much about Amelia Earhart, but so little about the Mercury 13?

2. Was Amelia Earhart a good role model? Why or why not?

3. How might history be different if the women had been first in space?

Books for Middle School Age

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