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H.O.R.S.E.: / Hoop Genius

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on H.O.R.S.E.: / Hoop Genius)

h.o.r.s.eH.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers. Egmont, 2012.

1. Did you have trouble deciding who was talking on each page of this book? What helped you to figure out who was speaking?

2. What is the setting of this book? How do you know? How do the illustrations and the text help you to identify the setting?

3. Do you think the characters are friends? What makes you say that?

 

hoop genius

Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy. Illustrated by Joe Morse. Carolrhoda, 2013.

1. Why did James Naismith invent basketball? What experiences helped James Naismith invent the sport?

2. How or why were some of the rules for basketball formed? How were the original rules different from the basketball we know today? Why do think some of the rules changed?

3. Why do you think basketball is still a popular sport?

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Which is Round? Which is Bigger? / All the World

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on Which is Round? Which is Bigger? / All the World)

which is round

Which Is Round? Which Is Bigger? by Mineko Mamada. Translated from the Japanese by Yvette Ghione. U.S. edition: Kids Can Press, 2013.

1. Which animals have tails?

2. How many circles do you see? What fruits do you see?

3. What are some of the ways that the animals and fruits change to become bigger or smaller, round or not round?

 

all the worldAll the World by Liz Garton Scanlon. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, 2009.

1. Find people who are playing. Which place would you like to play?

2. Find people who are working. Which job would you like?

3. What does your family like to do outdoors?

 

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Unwind

March 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2013-2014 | March - (Comments Off on Unwind)

unwind cover

Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Simon and Schuster, 2007

1. Connor, Risa and Lev have followed three different paths to the same fate and are all destined for “unwinding.” How do their individual experiences draw similarities between the future in which this story is set and our society today?

2. What are some of the ways the three main characters influence one another’s understanding of and attitudes toward “unwinding”? How do Connor, Risa and Lev change in other ways from knowing one another?

3. This book takes a highly controversial issue in our society today and offers up a fictional future where the solution is a compromise that seems unimaginable. What do you think the author wants readers to think about or take away from this?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Final Four

March 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in High School | 2013-2014 | March - (Comments Off on Final Four)

final four cover

The Final Four by Paul Volponi. Viking, 2012

1. This book raises a lot of questions about whether college athletes should receive compensation from the NCAA for their talent. What do you believe and why? In what ways, if any, has your opinion been informed by or changed by this novel?

2. Malcolm McBride, Roko Basic and Michael Jordan are each facing challenges—some off the court, some on. What are their similarities and what are their differences. How do they work individually and together as characters to illuminate realities for college athletes?

3. In what ways do you think the secondary female characters were stereotyped? How could they have changed those roles to make them less stereotypical?

 

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Penny and Her Song

March 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2013-2014 | March - (Comments Off on Penny and Her Song)

penny and her song cover

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2012

1. How do you think singing her song makes Penny feel? How can you tell?

2. How does Penny’s family respond when they finally hear her song? What things happen?

3. What can you tell about Penny’s parents from the story and the illustrations? If you could be Penny’s friend, do you think you’d enjoy spending time with her family? Why?

 

 

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Liar & Spy / The Mighty Miss Malone

March 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2013-2014 | March - (Comments Off on Liar & Spy / The Mighty Miss Malone)

liar and spy cover

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Wendy Lamb Books / Random House, 2012

1. Georges is uncomfortable with some of the things Safer asks him to do. Would you do anything differently if you were Georges in terms of how he responded? Would you do anything differently than Georges in terms of handling the bullies he faces at school?

2. Things are revealed near the end of the story that change our understanding of both Georges and Safer. Looking back, can you find clues early on to what we eventually learn about each of them and their situations?

3. Why do you think Georges didn’t reveal the truth—to Safer and to us as readers—about his mom? Why do you think Safer wasn’t honest with Georges?

 

mighty miss malone cover
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. Wendy Lamb Books / Random House, 2012

1. Deza describes each member of her family early on in the story in an essay for her teacher. What do you learn about Deza from the way she writes? Do you think she’s a girl you’d enjoy knowing? Why or why not?

2. What are some ways the author shows how Deza’s family is affected by having so little money?

3. What are some of the differences between Deza’s school experience/teacher at the beginning of the story, when her family is still living in Gary, and later, when she’s going to school in Flint?

 

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Green / Animal Spots and Stripes

March 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2013-2014 | March - (Comments Off on Green / Animal Spots and Stripes)

green cover

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2012

1. What kind of green would you call a blade of grass? How about a shirt that you love?

2. What are other green things you can think of?

3. What do you think is meant by “forever green” on the book’s final pages?

 

animal spots and stripes cover

Animal Spots and Stripes by Britta Teckentrup. Handprint Books, 2012

1. Let’s find all the animals with spots in the book. Now let’s find all the animals with stripes.

2. If you could choose between having spots or stripes, which would you want to have? Why?

3. Let’s count the _________! (name the specific creatures on each page)

 

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 :

“Soggy Greens” by John Cunliffe, p. 19

“Recipe for Green” by Jane Yolen, pp. 54-55

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Beauty Queens

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in High School | 2012-2013 | March - (Comments Off on Beauty Queens)

Beauty Queens cover
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Scholastic Press, 2011

1. What is this book making fun of?

2. What stereotypes are broken down or reinforced in this novel (e.g. stereotypes of the states)?

3. Who would you cast as the characters if this were a movie and why?

Dead End in Norvelt

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | March - (Comments Off on Dead End in Norvelt)

Dead End in Norvelt cover
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011

1. What are ways you tell this book is set in the 1960s rather than today?

2. Jack reads history to escape his boredom. What do you do?

3. Why do Jack and Miss Volker make a good team?

Books for Middle School Age

The Unforgotten Coat

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2012-2013 | March - (Comments Off on The Unforgotten Coat)

Unforgoten Coat cover
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Candlewick Press, 2011

1. Have you ever left something behind? How would you get it back?

2. Who do you think was the demon and were you surprised at the end?

3. How do the photographs help tell the story? Have you told a story with photographs?

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Let’s Go See Papá

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2012-2013 | March - (Comments Off on Let’s Go See Papá)

Let's Go See Papa cover
Let’s Go See Papá! by Lawrence Schimel. Translated from the Spanish by Elisa Amado. Illustrated by Alba Marina. Groundwood, 2011

 

 

1. What ways can you keep in touch with people you love when you can’t be near them?

2. How would you help the girl in this book if she started coming to your school?

3. Why do you think people choose to move to other countries?

Ten Little Caterpillars / And Then It’s Spring / Insect Detectives

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2012-2013 | March - (Comments Off on Ten Little Caterpillars / And Then It’s Spring / Insect Detectives)

Ten Little Caterpillars coverTen Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr. Illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Beach Lane, 2011

1. The first caterpillar in the story “crawled,” the second one “climbed,” and the third one “wriggled.” Pretend to be each one of those caterpillars. Is there a difference between crawling, climbing and wriggling?

2. Can you think of other ways a caterpillar might move?

3. Let’s count the caterpillars at the book’s end together. What numbers would come next after ten?

And Then It's Spring coverAnd Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook Press, 2012

1. Compare the colors at the end of the book to the beginning. Have they changed? If so, how and why?

2. What do you think you might hear if you put your ear to the ground in the spring? What else might you hear if you listen closely to outdoor sounds in the spring? How about summer, fall and winter?

3. (Adult) With children, plant seeds indoors in cups. Send home after plants have sprouted.

Insect Detectives coverInsect Detectives by Steve Voake. Illustrated by Charlotte Voake. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2010

1. What are some things in nature we can see (any time of year) . . . Let’s choose one to look at more closely . . . Now what do you see?

2. Let’s go outside and find an insect to watch. (spring/summer). . . What you notice it?

3. If you were an insect detective, is there a bug you would want to look for?

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