Queen of the Falls

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Queen of the Falls)

Queen of the Falls cover
Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg. Houghton Mifflin, 2011

1. Which of your teachers or older relatives do you think would be willing to travel over the falls in a barrel? Would you?

2. How would this story be different if it happened today?

3. Have you heard or seen anyone performing an unbelievable feat? Why do you think people take those risks?

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Crouching Tiger / These Hands

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Crouching Tiger / These Hands)

Crouching Tiger coverThese Hands cover
Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine. Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene. Candlewick Press, 2011

These Hands by Margaret H. Mason. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Houghton Mifflin, 2011


1. What do the boys learn from their grandfathers?

2. What celebrations are important in your family?

3. How are the grandsons’ lives different from their grandfathers’ lives? How are they the same?

Swirl by Swirl / Stars

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Swirl by Swirl / Stars)

Swirl by Swirl coverSwirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin, 2011

1. Let’s trace some of these spirals in the book with our fingers (a pre-writing skill).

2. Let’s look for a spiral somewhere in this room/house/outside. Can we find other shapes?

3. (Adult) Have a group of children hold hands and create a spiral.

Stars cover
by Mary Lin Ray. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books, 2011

1. Let’s look for stars in the world around us. (e.g., Are there stars on the wall or calendar in your house/classroom? Flowers with starlike shapes outside? Cut an an apple through its equator and look at the star inside.)

2. The story begins, “A star is how you know it’s almost night.” What are some other ways you can tell when it’s almost night?

3. (Adult) Make a star for each child (or have each child make a star). Ask child/children: what kinds of things their star can do (e.g., Is it magical? If so, what kind of magic can it do? Does it shine?)

Between Shades of Gray

January 1st, 2012 | Posted by in High School | January | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on Between Shades of Gray)

Between Shades of Gray book coverBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Philomel, 2011

1. What does the title, Between Shades of Gray, mean to you?
2. Art was important to Lina. What do you think Lina gained from continuing to draw while being held prisoner? What do you think art does for you and for our world today?
3. What new information did you learn about World War II?


January 1st, 2012 | Posted by in Middle School | January | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on Forge)

Forge book coverForge by Laurie Halse Anderson. Atheneum, 2010

1. What motivated African American soldiers to fight in the Revolutionary War?
2. What would you have found most difficult about being a soldier at Valley Forge?
3. How does the war affect friendships during the course of the story?

Books for Middle School Age

Zora and Me

January 1st, 2012 | Posted by in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | January | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on Zora and Me)

Zora and Me book coverZora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon. Candlewick Press, 2010

1. What do you think is the most important lesson Zora learned?
2. What is the relationship between truth and storytelling?
3. What did Zora learn from asking questions and listening to people around her?

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The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

January 1st, 2012 | Posted by in Primary (Grades K-2) | January | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred)

The Cazeula That the Farm Maiden Stirred book coverThe Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos. Illustrated by Rafael López. Charlesbridge, 2011

1. What ingredients go into the pot? Can you say them in Spanish? In English?
2. What animals helped the cazuela make the arroz con leche?
3. What do you like to cook? What foods are special to your family?

Hello Baby

January 1st, 2012 | Posted by in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | January | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on Hello Baby)

Hello Baby book coverHello Baby! by Mem Fox. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Beach Lane Books, 2009

1. What ways do you help at mealtime at home?
2. Are there special foods your family likes to eat together?
3. Tell us a story about a time you were happy or proud about something you helped with.

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