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Lulu and the Duck in the Park / The Pet Project

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Lulu and the Duck in the Park / The Pet Project)

luluandtheduckintheparkLulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay. Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. U.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2013.

1. Talk about how Lulu and Mellie and Mrs. Halliday each feel about animals. What in the story makes you say this?

2. What do you think about animals? Which of the characters are you most like when it comes to your feelings about animals and why?

3. What are some of the ways that Lulu and Mellie help each other? How do you help your friends?

 

pet project

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses by Lisa Wheeler. Illustrated by Zachariah Ohora. Atheneum, 2013.

1. What are the steps the narrator completes to determine which pet is best for her?

2. Choose a poem or animal. How does the narrator feel about this animal? What in the text makes you think this? Do you agree with the narrator’s observations? Why?

3. What do you think about the assignment her parent’s gave her? Do you think this is a good way to decide what type of pet is best for her? How would you (or have you) determined what type of pet is best for you?Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

A Splash of Red / Kunu’s Basket

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on A Splash of Red / Kunu’s Basket)

splash of red

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

1. Why do you think the author wants us to learn about Horace Pippin? What did you learn by reading this book?

2. Why does Horace Pippin keep painting even when it is difficult?

3. Why do you think he included a splash of red in each painting?

 

kunu's basket

Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee DeCora Francis. Illustrated by Susan Drucker. Tilbury House, 2012.

1. Making a basket is hard work. Why does Kunu persevere in making the basket?

2. How are baskets used in the story?

3. Kunu’s grandfather helps him with his basket. Who helps you when something is difficult?

 

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Tiger in My Soup / Stripes of All Types

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Tiger in My Soup / Stripes of All Types)

tiger in my soup

Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

1. What would you do if you found a tiger in your soup?

2. Look at the end pages, how many tigers and boys can you count?

3. What kind of soup do you like?

 

stripes of all types

Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

1. Where do you see stripes? Where do you see spots? What colors do you see?

2. In the book, what places do the animals, insects, fish and birds live?

3. Find the activity page for further exploration.

 

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Unspoken / Chickadee

February 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2013-2014 | February - (Comments Off on Unspoken / Chickadee)

unspoken cover

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole. Scholastic Press, 2012

1. Who is the person hiding and who or what are they running from? How can you tell?

2. Do you think this is the first time someone has hidden on this family’s farm and gotten help? What can you point to in the illustrations that make you think yes or no?

3. Why do you think the illustrator chose to tell this story without any words?

4. If you were the girl in the story and discovered someone hiding and in need of help, what would you do?

 

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Chickadee by Louise Erdrich. Harper / HarperCollins, 2012

1. Chickadee is taken hundreds of miles from his home and has to find his own way back when he escapes. What knowledge does he draw on? Who are some of his helpers?

2. Everyone in Chickadee’s family is worried about him and misses him, especially his twin, Makoons. What are some of the ways Makoons responds to missing his brother? Why do you think Chickadee’s disappearance is so hard for him in particular?

3. Describe the characters of Babiche and Baptiste. In what ways were they funny? In what ways were they scary?

 

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Bomb / Code Name Verity

February 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in High School | 2013-2014 | February - (Comments Off on Bomb / Code Name Verity)

bomb cover

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. Flash Point / Roaring Brook Press, 2012

1. The author has described this book as a “non-fiction thriller,” which suggests it reads like fiction even though it is factual. What are some of the things he does in the writing to make the book read like fiction? What are some of the things he does to make clear this is a work of non-fiction?

2. Individuals involved with the Manhattan Project were motivated by a variety of things—from the challenge of the work itself to patriotism to politics. What are examples of ways the perspectives of some of the individuals in the book changed regarding how they felt about the bomb after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

3. In what ways has this book changed your thinking about atomic weapons and who should have them?

 

code name verity cover

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hyperion, 2012

1. What are some of the ways both Maddie and Julia exemplify courage and friendship across the narrative?

2. What are some of the things you learned in Part II about Julia’s situation as a hostage of the Gestapo that she didn’t reveal in Part I? Would you define her as a reliable or unreliable narrator in Part I? Why?

3. In your opinion, was the choice Maddie makes when she sees Julia get off the bus in Part II the right thing to do? Why or why not?

 

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The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

February 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2013-2014 | February - (Comments Off on The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano)

revolution of evelyn serrano cover

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano. Scholastic Press, 2012

1. How and why do the relationships between Evelyn, her mother, and her abuela change over time?

2. Do you think the occupation of the church by the Young Lords was justified? Why or why not?

3. Manzano uses powerful descriptive language to set the scene. What sights, smells, sounds stood out to you and what words would you use to describe your neighborhood?

 

 

Books for Middle School Age

Once I Ate a Pie / Wolf Pie

February 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2013-2014 | February - (Comments Off on Once I Ate a Pie / Wolf Pie)

once i ate a pie cover

Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan. Illustrated by Katy Schneider. HarperCollins, 2006

1. If you could have one of the dogs in this book as a pet, which one would you pick and why?

2. Why do you think some of the words in the poems look different—bigger or bolder or with letters that aren’t in a straight line?

3. We learn something about each of the dogs in the poems. For example, Gus likes his people in a group. Mr. Beefy likes to eat. Darla likes people but not other dogs. If you were going to write a poem about you, what is something you would want us to know about yourself? Do you think it would be a funny poem? A serious or sad poem? Why?

 

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Wolf Pie by Brenda Seabrooke. Illustrated by Liz Callen. Clarion, 2010

1. Were you surprised by how the wolf in the story behaved? Why or why not?

2. What are ways Wilfong proves he is a true friend?

3. What part of this book was funniest to you? Why?

 

 

 

 

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Baby Bear Sees Blue / Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket

February 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2013-2014 | February - (Comments Off on Baby Bear Sees Blue / Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket)

baby bear sees blue cover

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff. Beach Lane / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What are some things Baby Bear sees throughout the day? What are some things you see when you wake up in the morning?

2. What colors can we find outside (go on a color walk/draw pictures of all the colors you see)

3. What are some colors you can eat?

 

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Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket by Tayana Feeney. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012

1. How does Small Bunny feel about his blue blanket? How can you tell? What do you love?

2. What is something Small Bunny likes to do in the story? Do you like to ____________? (fill in based on child’s response to first question)

3. What do you find it hard to wait for?

 

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:

“Sleepy Song” by Clare Bevan, p. 92

“Silverly” by Dennis Lee, pp. 94-95

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Want to Go Private?

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in High School | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Want to Go Private?)

Want to Go Private? cover
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman. Scholastic Press, 2011

1. As a reader, how many red flags can you identify as Abby is “groomed” by Luke?

2. What is the effect of having different perspectives in Parts 1, 2, and 3? How did this work for you as a reader?

3. The characters in the book reference guidelines they were given about online safety. How would you teach online safety to younger kids?

A Monster Calls

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on A Monster Calls)

A Monster Calls cover
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Illustrated by Jim Kay. Candlewick Press, 2011

1. Why is it so hard for Connor to sort out what is real and what isn’t real?

2. How do the illustrations affect your understanding of the story?

3. Why is telling the truth so difficult for Connor? How is it difficult for you?

Books for Middle School Age

Soldier Bear

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Soldier Bear)

Soldier Bear cover
Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak. Translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson. Illustrated by Philip Hopman. U.S. edition: Eerdman’s, 2011

1. What did you learn about World War II that you didn’t know before?

2. How did Voytek win over people’s hearts and minds? What is it about animals that people find so appealing?

3. What animal would you train to help you?

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Emma Dilemma

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Emma Dilemma)

Emma Dilemma cover
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Clarion, 2011

 

 

1. A dilemma is a situation that has good parts and bad parts. What were the good parts about having a little sister? What were the bad parts?

2. Are you more like Jess or Emma?

3. Each poem tells about a small moment in Jess and Emma’s lives. Together, the poems tell a story. Share something you remember from this story.

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