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FEBRUARY (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (2))

Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez. Holiday House, 2016

A small, pajama-clad boy is on a morning hunt at home for Bongo. “Dónde está Bongo?” He asks Wela, his grandmother; Gato the cat; Daisy the dog; and his dad. He tries to ask his mom, but she’s busy. Even the delivery man at the door is questioned. No one knows where Bongo is. The boy finally finds Bongo, a small brown-and-white stuffed animal dog, peeking out from behind a set of bongo drums. “Tonight I will hold on to Bongo so he won’t run away.” It turns out Bongo isn’t on the run, but someone else is in this picture book with an ending that is surely a surprise to the boy and may be to child readers and listeners, although others may have noticed a certain look on the guilty party’s face earlier in the story. The illustrations in this picture book featuring an Afro- Latino family provide a wonderful sense of home and warmth and morning routine. (Ages 3–6)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: In the book, what do you think Bongo is? Can you find clues in the pictures or words that help you guess what Bongo is?
  • Talk: Do you have a favorite stuffed animal? What kind of animal is it? How did you get it? What do you call it? What can you do with a stuffed animal that you can’t do with a live animal?
  • Sing:  “Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?”
  • Write: Draw a picture of your family. Who is in your family?
  • Play: Hide a toy and work together to find it.
  • Math or Science: Recreate the booby trap at the end of the book. Or, try making your own pretend way to catch someone.

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FEBRUARY (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (1))

Old Dog Baby Baby by Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2016

A family’s old dog is perfectly content to spend the day snoozing but “here comes baby baby crawling across the kitchen floor.” The dog has no choice but to wake up. He seems to enjoy the attentions of the baby, even the poking and paw-squeezing, but before long both dog and baby are stretched out together on the kitchen floor asleep. The gentle rhythmic text uses just a few words to show the loving relationship between the two, and the watercolor illustrations are comfortingly soft-edged, showing a rotund blonde baby. The rest of the family plays a minimal role but, when shown, includes two moms. (Ages 2–4)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: “The Kitten’s” Dream” from Goodnight Songs
  • Talk: About pets. Do you have any pets in your family? What is your favorite kind of pet?
  • Sing: “BINGO” or other dog song
  • Write: Draw a picture of your dream pet.
  • Play: Act out how to approach an animal. How would you approach a family pet? An animal or pet that is new to you? Who should you ask for permission to approach a pet?
  • Math or Science: Talk about life cycles and animal names. How are puppies different from dogs, kittens different from cats.

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FEBRUARY (2)

May 10th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2017-2018 Intermediate | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (2))

Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet. Afterword by Martha White. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White, known to family and friends from early adulthood on as Andy, was shy and often anxious throughout his life. But with a pen in his hand, or a typewriter in front of him, he was entertaining and eloquent. Readers who know him as the author of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan will relish the stories here about those books. They will also love discovering White the young adventurer, White the amateur naturalist and avid outdoorsperson, White the urbane journalist, White the opinionated commentator and essayist and defender of democracy, White the humorist, White the family man, White the farmer, White the literary stylist and master of clarity, and much more. Author/illustrator Melissa Sweet brilliantly distills these qualities into an appealing, accessible portrait of White in a book that blends original watercolors, photographs, and collage with a clear (White would approve!) and engaging substantial narrative that integrates many quotes from White’s professional and personal writing. The gorgeous book design offers a sense of effortless interplay between the visual elements and text. A timeline, ample citations and source material, an author’s note and an afterword from writer Martha White about her grandfather and this book all add to a work that will bring delight to, and shows such respect for, young readers. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What makes the style of this biography unique?
  2. How do the illustrations and text work together or separately to tell the reader about E.B. White, his life, and his writing?
  3. What kind of child was E.B. White? What were some of his experiences, interests and/or fears?
  4. What do you notice about his writing and revision process (pages 87 to 91)? How did this influence his writing as an adult?

FEBRUARY (1)

May 10th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2017-2018 Intermediate | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (1))

Catching a Storyfish by Janice N. Harrington. WordSong / Highlights, 2016

Katheren, called Keet by her family—short for Parakeet, because she never stops talking—loves telling stories. But when her African American family moves from Alabama to the north and she’s teased at her new school for her southern accent, she stops talking in class. She makes a new friend in Allegra, who lives next door and who Keet nicknames Allie-gator, and continues to tell stories at home, but remains quiet at school. When her grandpa has a stroke and seems lost, Keet tells him a story every day, willing him to come back. She misses him, and she needs his support, faced with the terror of giving a “Dream Day” oral report. “My hands are grasshoppers / my heart is a kangaroo / my lungs are too small / my throat is a desert / my tongue … / where’s my tongue?” After seven weeks of silence the words come pouring out. “My voice is all the places I’ve been / and all the stories I’ve heard. / It’s Grandpa, Grandma, Mama, Daddy, / and Nose. It’s my uncles, aunties, / and my hundred-hundred cousins.” Lovely characterizations, language, and word play propel a story about family, friendship, and the power of story to hold and express a heart. A poetry glossary defines the different types of poems that comprise the novel. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. “Knowing someone’s story is one way to put an end to a lot of trouble in the world.” (pg. 152). What does that quote mean to you?
  2. Relationships are very important in this story. How do they help Keet find her voice again?
  3. Use the Poetry Glossary on pg. 219 to find out more about different types of poetry. What type of poetry would you use to tell your story?

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FEBRUARY (2)

May 10th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | High School | 2017-2018 High School | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (2))

Watched by Marina Budhos. Wendy Lamb Books / Random House, 2016

When Naeem is caught shoplifting, it further jeopardizes his already tenuous hope of graduating high school. Then he’s offered a deal by police: spy on other Muslims in New York City and he won’t be charged. In fact, they’ll pay him for information. It could even become a real job. Naeem is both enticed and repulsed by the offer. He wants to help his family, and the cops make him feel like he’s special, but he hates the idea of spying, and he hates that he doesn’t think he has a choice. When Naeem encounters Ibrahim, a boy he hasn’t seen in awhile, he realizes Ibrahim fits the officers’ “lone wolf ” profile: he’s angry, isolated, and has been reading radical Islamic web sites. Naeem reluctantly reports him then becomes more and more uncomfortable as another operative steps in and further fuels Ibrahim’s anger. Isn’t this entrapment? Naeem feels trapped, too, in this taut, timely novel that addresses complex realities, from Islamophobia and police coercion to radicals who prey on Muslim youth feeling disillusioned, disconnected, and hopeless. Details of Naeem’s daily life, his worries about school, and his relationships with family members, friends, and others within and beyond the diverse Muslim community ground this riveting work in even greater poignancy and realism, while the author’s note provides background information on the truths behind this work of fiction. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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FEBRUARY (1)

May 10th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | High School | 2017-2018 High School | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (1))

Radical by E.M. Kokie. Candlewick Press, 2016

Bex, 15, is distrustful of the government and knows that Lucy, in town for the summer to visit her grandparents, wouldn’t understand why Bex goes to Clearview. So she says nothing about the shooting club/survival training center near her rural Michigan home as they fall for each other. For Bex, who isn’t out, dating Lucy is unexpected, uncertain, sweet, and thrilling, until a police stop illuminates the huge gap in how the two young women see the world. Bex is also growing uneasy about her older brother Mark’s involvement with a group of young men at Clearview who defy the rules, intent on causing trouble. Mark’s behavior toward Bex becomes threatening and violent before government agents arrest the young men for plotting to use explosives. Bex is arrested, too, and doesn’t believe she can trust anyone in the system, including her well- meaning, court-appointed lawyer. Some of her fears about the system are not unfounded, and her mother is pressuring her to take the fall for Mark because she’s a minor facing lesser consequences. Bex, her brother, and her parents are all singular individuals in a struggling family dynamic. The leadership and most members of Clearview are also wholly believable in this unusually nuanced novel showing degrees of extremism. A thoughtful, at times passionate coming out story is woven into this insightful look at how Bex’s thinking has been shaped, and is shifting by story’s end.   © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What assumptions did you make about the cover of this book? (Even before reading it!)
  2. Do you think Bex’s views are radical? Did your opinion change throughout the book?
  3. Why do you think Lucy made the decisions she did? What do you think motivated Lucy’s decisions?

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FEBRUARY (2)

May 9th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Primary (Grades K-2) | 2017-2018 Primary | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (2))

A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick Press, 2016

Everybody has a bike but Ruben. He longs for one like his friend Sergio’s, but he knows his family can’t afford any kind of bicycle. So when Ruben sees a neighbor in the grocery store drop a hundred-dollar bill from her purse, he snatches it up and pockets it. It’s enough to buy him a bike like Sergio’s. Will he do it? Ruben thinks through this ethical dilemma over the next day or so and ultimately decides to do the right thing. “What you did wasn’t easy,” his dad tells him later, “but it was right.” Both text and pictures show a family living on the economic edge, facing realistic challenges in their day-to-day lives. Highly Commended, 2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. How does the author let the reader know Ruben’s family does not have a lot of money?
  2. How do Ruben’s feelings change throughout the story? How does Ruben show empathy?
  3. What do you think Ruben would have done if he had not seen the lady again at the grocery store?
  4. What do would you do if you found something valuable like Ruben, but you did not know who had lost it?

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FEBRUARY (1)

May 9th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Primary (Grades K-2) | 2017-2018 Primary | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (1))

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller.  Illustrated by Frank Morrison. Chronicle, 2016

Alta prides herself on being the fastest runner in Clarksville, Tennessee, hometown of Olympic star Wilma Rudolph. But Charmaine, of the new-shoes-just-like-Wilma’s, is fast, too. She may be even faster than Alta, although it’s hard to say: Alta is sure Charmaine tripped her when she won the race between them. Alta ended up with a hole in her sneaker. “Oh, baby girl,” says Mama. “Those shoes have to last.” On the day of a parade for Wilma Rudolph, Alta and her friends Dee-Dee and Little Mo make a huge banner, but getting the banner all the way to the parade isn’t easy, and time is running out. Then Charmaine shows up and suggests they take turns carrying it–a relay, just like Wilma ran for one of her medals. “Three people ran it with her, you know,” Charmaine says. “I hate to admit it, but she’s right.” A spirited story set in 1960 ends with an author’s note featuring a photograph of Wilma Rudolph at the real parade held in her honor in Clarksville. The energetic illustrations are full of movement and feeling. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. If you were going to try out for the Olympics, what event would you choose?
  2. How and why does the relationship between Alta and the new girl change?
  3. How do the girls see Wilma Rudolph as a role model? How does she inspire them?
  4. “Shoes don’t matter. Not as long as we’ve got our feet.” — Do you agree or disagree with this quote?
  5. What role does the setting play in the story?

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FEBRUARY (2)

May 8th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Middle School | 2017-2018 Middle School | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (2))

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2016

Chloe Cho’s immigrant parents never talk about Korea so she’s explored her heritage on her own. A class assignment leads to crisis when her parents’ reticence makes it impossible for Chloe to share a family story as required. Finally, her parents reveal that they aren’t really Korean; they’re aliens from another planet. They intentionally chose an all-white U.S. town where its assumed they don’t know things because they are immigrants. In turn, the residents of the town are so ignorant about Koreans that no one has ever assumed Chloe’s parents are anything but what they claimed to be. Chloe’s best friend Shelley, who has learned about Korean culture with Chloe, is the only person who has always understood Chloe’s eye-rolling annoyance and occasional anger at the many uninformed things people say to her. Classmates assume, for example, that Chloe is obsessed with good grades and plays the violin because she is Asian, not because she is Chloe. Learning that she isn’t who, or even what, she always thought makes Chloe question everything, including Shelley’s interest in her culture, until she discovers both how little has changed and how much the things that matter—true friendship and family love—have remained steadfast. Mike Jung’s use of otherworldly “aliens” as a metaphor for how white people think about people of other races makes for a smart, funny, layered novel that is both blithe and deeply insightful. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Would you take a DNA test like Chloe? Why or why not?
  2. Chloe and Ms. Lee have a strong connection. Have you ever had that type of relationship with a teacher of mentor? How did it benefit you?
  3. What does it mean to be an alien in this book?

    Find more resources here

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FEBRUARY (1)

May 8th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Middle School | 2017-2018 Middle School | February - (Comments Off on FEBRUARY (1))

Ghost (Track, Book 1) by Jason Reynolds. A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2016

Castle Cranshaw, aka Ghost, stands out at his middle school for his too-big, ratty clothes, crappy knock-off sneakers, and a temper that gets him in trouble. But to the coach of an elite city track team, Ghost stands out for his speed. Ghost has had a lot to run from in his life, including a father, now in prison, who once went after Ghost and his mom with a gun. It’s a memory Ghost can’t run from. Even though Ghost thinks of basketball as his game—never mind he doesn’t actually play—Coach persuades Ghost to become one of four new runners on the team. Coach’s rules and his rigorous training regimen are challenging, but Ghost is determined to show how good he is, and sure he’d run even faster if he had fancy track shoes like some of the other kids. In a spur- of-the-moment act, Ghost shoplifts a pair. He calls them his Silver Bullets and they do seem to improve his running, but they also mess with his head. Fast- moving, funny, and realistic, this first in a four-book series features a winning protagonist and distinctive secondary characters, from the no-nonsense, give- me-patience, cab-driving Coach, who mentors the kids on and off the track, to Ghost’s fellow new team members, Lu, Patty, and Sunny, who also have stories to tell. (Ages 9–12)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Most chapters start with “World Record for…” What would you like to set a world record in?
  2. In what ways is Ghost running in this book?
  3. At the newbie dinner, the coach asks each team member to share a secret. Ghost shares that his father tried to shoot him. How does sharing secrets help people build trust?

    Find more resources here

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Community, Knowledge, Friends, Nature, Family! Themes of Love in February Titles

February 1st, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Primary (Grades K-2) | 2016-2017 | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | Middle School | High School | February - (Comments Off on Community, Knowledge, Friends, Nature, Family! Themes of Love in February Titles)

This month, Read On Wisconsin titles offer a wide range of subjects, characters, genres, and languages across our age-level groups. Books for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers include bilingual titles, Maya’s Blanket / La Manta de Maya and Squirrel Round and Round: A Bilingual Book of Seasons, in Spanish and Chinese for International Mother Language Day on February 21st.  Primary titles, New Shoes and Trapped!, while very different stories, illustrate how creative problem solving can help others. For Intermediate readers, Stella by Starlight and The Book Itch offer stories imbued with a love of words, family and community. Family, friends, and fate interweave around Valentine’s Day in the Middle School title, Goodbye Stranger. And, Printz Award-winning, Bone Gap, is a Midwestern fairy tale about strength, understanding, and kindness. 

Find descriptions, discussion questions or literacy activities, and resources for each title below by clicking on the book cover image. Find descriptions, discussion questions or literacy activities, and resources for each title below by clicking on the book cover image.

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Bilingual Books for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers: February 2017

January 25th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2016-2017 | February - (Comments Off on Bilingual Books for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers: February 2017)

Maya’s Blanket / La Manta de Maya by Monica Brown. Illustrated by David Diaz. Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low, 2015

Little Maya loves her manta (blanket), which was made by her abuelita. When the edges of the blanket fray from use, Abuelita helps Maya turn it into a vestido (dress). They later make the vestido into a falda (skirt), which they eventually sew into a rebozo (shawl), before turning it into a bufanda (scarf), and then a cinta (headband). When Maya gets her hair cut, she turns the cinta into a marcador de libros (bookmark). When she loses her bookmark, Maya realizes she can write the entire story down. And when she is grown with a little girl of her own, she tells that story to her. Based on a traditional Yiddish folk song, this lively contemporary story is grounded in Latino culture and told in both English and Spanish. Monica Brown’s engaging cumulative narrative seamlessly integrates Spanish words into the English text, defining them in context, while the cultural details and a wonderful, warm sense of family as Maya grows are brought into full visual relief in David Diaz’s richly hued illustrations that are both heartfelt and whimsical. Highly Commended, 2016 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2015 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Share these early literacy activities with caregivers or add them in story time.

  • Talk: This book is in both English and Spanish. What other languages do you hear or speak?
  • Sing: Do you know any songs or poems in different languages? Sing one of these songs.
  • Write: Draw your favorite thing. Is it a blanket, pillow, or something else?
  • Play: Create a story about your favorite thing. Can you act out your story?
  • Math or Science: Make a blanket fort.

Squirrel Round and Round: A Bilingual Book of Seasons by Belle Yang. Candlewick Press, 2015

Squirrel Round and Round describes the changing landscape and activities of its inhabitants as a squirrel travels through the seasons of the year. The squirrel observes blooming camellias, noisy cicadas, ripe persimmons, and more as winter turns to spring then to summer and fall. The first frost and fresh tracks in the snow bring the squirrel back to winter. The book offers a rich vocabulary in English and Mandarin Chinese while attractive illustrations painted in impressionistic colors are simple yet detailed.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center.

Share these early literacy activities with caregivers or add them in story time.

  • Talk: What different animals live outside your house? Where do they live?
  • Sing: Listen for the sounds in your world. What sounds can you make? Do different languages make different sounds?
  • Write: Can you create Mandarin characters?
  • Play: Go outside and make some tracks.
  • Math or Science: How can you tell what season it is? Use all 5 senses.

Include some poetry: Changes: A Child’s First Poetry Collection: page 20 and Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Firsts section

For more bilingual titles, try the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) bibliography, 50 Bilingual and Spanish/English Integrated Books, or search on the CCBC website.

Find more resources for Maya’s Blanket/La Manta de Maya and Squirrel Round and Round: A Bilingual Book of Seasons at TeachingBooks.net.

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