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Explore Identity and Friendships in April 2016 Middle School Title

March 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in 2015-2016 | Middle School | April - (Comments Off on Explore Identity and Friendships in April 2016 Middle School Title)

if i ever get out of hereIf I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth. Books for Middle School AgeArthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2013.

Lewis Blake is the only Tuscarora reservation kid tracked with the “braniacs” in junior high. Sixth grade was a social disaster—it turns out white kids don’t get Indian humor–so he starts seventh grade in 1975 determined to have a better year. He’s even cut off his braid in hopes of fitting in. George, a recent arrival to the nearby air force base in upstate New York where they live, becomes his first, and only, white friend. The two initially bond over a mutual love of music, especially the Beatles and Paul McCartney and Wings. Surprised that George’s military father and German mother genuinely welcome him into their home, Lewis knows he’ll never be able to reciprocate the invitation. Money has been tighter than ever since his grandfather died, and the house where he lives with his mother and Uncle Albert is literally falling down. So he lies about why George can’t come over, although in many ways Lewis has much more in common with George than with Carson, his closest friend on the reservation. In a narrative full of humor and rife with tender, honest, and unsettling truths, author Eric Gansworth explores identity, and what it means to find and be a friend. Gansworth’s first foray into young adult literature lovingly captures both time and place, and reveals characters whose complexities bring sadness, joy, and survival into full relief. In a novel that exposes racism both subtle and overt (seen most vividly in the subplot involving the school’s unwillingness to punish the son of a school donor who is bullying Lewis), Gansworth also portrays two very different but equally loving families. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find resources at TeachingBooks.net.

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Lewis and George’s lives intersect for a brief period of time in their seventh grade year. How does the author chronicle their friendship as the plot develops? How does each one of them change over the course of the story?
  2. Identity and friendship are major themes in the story. Do any specific elements (scenes, interactions, etc.) stand out when you think of how either one of these themes was explored in the story?
  3. What role did music play in the lives of the characters? How is it woven into the story?

Try pairing this book with Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Games Galore in the April 2016 Intermediate Titles

March 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | April - (Comments Off on Games Galore in the April 2016 Intermediate Titles)

african acrosticsAfrican Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways by Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readersAvis Harley. Photographs by Deborah Noyes. Candlewick Press, 2009.

Animal lovers, poetry appreciators, and puzzle fiends will all find something to appreciate in this collection of poems about birds and animals of the African savannah. Most of Avis Harley’s clever descriptive poems are traditional acrostics, in which the first word of each line spells out a word relating to the poem’s subject. But some are more devious—there are double acrostics, which feature words spelled from both the beginning and end letters in each line, multiple acrostics—one poem has five imbedded vertical words—and other variations on the acrostic form. Accompanying each poem is full-page photograph of the animal subject. Photographer Deborah Noyes took most of the photos in Namibia and includes a note about that experience. Brief additional notes about each of the animals, and a more lengthy explanation of the acrostic form, round out this unusual volume. (MS) ©2009 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find more resources at TeachingBooks.net.

Start conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Before reading: Both of these books (African Acrostics and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library) feature puzzles. What is your favorite type of puzzle?
  2. How do the text and pictures work together to add meaning to this book?
  3. How did the acrostic part of the poem add to the meaning of the poem?
  4. How does this book use puzzles? To enhance setting? To share information? To add detail?

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library: A Puzzle Mystery bymr lemoncello Chris Grabenstein. Random House, 2013.

Check out this comprehensive list of resources for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and more on the author’s website: Chris Grabenstein: fast-paced fun reads for young(er) readers.

Find even more resources at TeachingBooks.net.

Start conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Before reading: Both of these books (African Acrostics and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library) feature puzzles. What is your favorite type of puzzle?
  2. Solving puzzles helped the characters win the challenge. What else helped them?
  3. Teamwork gave some kids an advantage. How did the book show this?
  4. How does this book use puzzles? To tell a story? To create tension? To enhance setting?

Pictures and Words Make Meaning Together in the April 2016 Primary Titles

March 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2015-2016 | April - (Comments Off on Pictures and Words Make Meaning Together in the April 2016 Primary Titles)

benjamin bear's bright ideasBenjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! by Philippe Primary Icon of a White-Tailed DeerCoudray.  Toon Books/Candlewick Press, 2013.

An unusual entry in Toon’s comic series for beginning readers features one-page comic strips, each with a clever visual punchline. For example, Benjamin Bear says to a fish swimming in a bowl, “Let’s go play at your house” and, after dumping the fish in the lake, dons the upside-down fish bowl to wear as a diver’s helmet before entering the lake himself. Or, after seeing his rabbit friend jump over a stream, Benjamin Bear builds a bridge for the rabbit, who proceeds to jump over the bridge. It’s one laugh after another in this engaging easy reader. The humor is simple enough for new readers and sophisticated enough so that older children will enjoy it, too.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find lesson plans, book trailer and more for Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! at TeachingBooks.net

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What are some of the problems that bear solves?
  2. How would you describe the relationship between bear and rabbit?
  3. Which of the stories is the most realistic and which is the least realistic? Show examples for your reasoning.

Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry by Joyce Sidman. meow ruffIllustrated by Michelle Berg. Houghton MIfflin, 2006.

Plump / bright dome / of sugary white / sky muffin.” Joyce Sidman’s descriptive cloud poem will change shape, form, and content over the course of this intriguing picture book, just like the clouds themselves. If there’s a story here, it’s of small dog and a small cat at odds with one another until a sudden storm finds them sheltering beneath the same picnic table. But the real story is the way that tale is told—in a series of concrete poems that chronicle the storm’s rise and fall, the changing relationship of the two animals, and their surroundings. The rain is represented in falling words that convey both the sight and sound of the downpour: “sudden ferocious drilling” (the storm’s onset), “stinging ropes of water” (the height of its fury), “fat fingers tip tapping” (as the rain begins to subside). A series of lovely descriptive poems also describe the tree in the yard, the grass beneath the animals’ feet, and, of course, the clouds. While some of Sidman’s poems are true concrete verse, taking the shape of their subject, others are merely suggestive of a form. Illustrator Michelle Berg’s task was to draw the characters and complete the scene, and the bold, clear, graphic design of her illustrations provide a perfect complement to Sidman’s words.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find lesson plans and more for Meow Ruff at TeachingBooks.net

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What story does the book tell about the dog and cat?
  2. Give some examples of how the print looks like what it’s describing or representing? Why do you think the author and illustrator chose to show the words this way?
  3. What are some of the different voices expressed in the poems?

Enjoy Nature with April 2016 Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Titles

March 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2015-2016 | April - (Comments Off on Enjoy Nature with April 2016 Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Titles)

baby animal farmBaby Animal Farm by Karen Blair. Icon_PreSchoolCandlewick, 2014.

A group of five racially diverse toddlers visit a baby animal farm in this board book sure to invite noisy participation from the toddlers with whom it is shared. On each page, the toddlers in the story interact with baby farm animals, their actions coupled with a matching sound. Throughout the farm visit, one of the children is looking for his missing teddy bear, which is obligingly returned by a playful puppy by story’s end. All of it is conveyed in a minimal, rhythmic text (“Follow the ducklings. ‘Quack, quack, quack.’ Chase the chicks. ‘Cheep, cheep, cheep’ ”) and tidy illustrations in cheery watercolors  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Resources for Baby Animal Farm available at TeachingBooks.net.

  • Talk: Talk about animals sounds and encourage your child to make some.
  • Sing: Sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”.
  • Write: Find some pictures of farm animals and have your child trace the outlines of the animals. Talk about the size and shape of each animal.
  • Play: Visit a farm. Enjoy a picnic.

Call Me Tree = Llámame árbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez. call me tree Translated by Dana Goldberg. Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low, 2014.

“I begin / Within / The deep / dark / earth.” A child imagines himself a tree, beginning as a seed that pushes through the earth, reaching and rising to discover other trees all around. Maya Christina Gonzalez pays tribute to both trees and children, affirming the beauty of each in a picture book that pairs a bilingual (English/Spanish) text with lush, colorful illustrations that convey something magical in their literal depiction of children embodying trees. Together, the text and illustrations work as a both an imaginative flight of fancy and as a stirring, strong statement about the importance of nature and value of all children: “All trees have roots / All trees belong.”  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find excellent resources — video of author reading book as well as teacher’s guide – at TeachingBooks.net.

  • Talk: This book is written in English and Spanish? What other languages do you hear or speak. What is the Spanish word for tree?
  • Write: Practice writing with a tree branch in some sand or dirt.
  • Play: Try the yoga tree pose. What other yoga poses can you try?
  • STEM: Go for a walk and observe different trees.

wolfsnailWolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell. Boyds Mills Press, 2008.

Drama on a small scale unfolds in this introduction to the wolfsnail, a gastropod that feeds on snails and slugs. A sentence or two per page and large close-up photos document a wolfsnail as it follows a slime trail across a hosta leaf in search of prey. After a brief retreat into its shell when a bird lights nearby, the wolfsnail catches a small snail and uses its tooth-lined tongue to scoop the meat from the shell. A glossary, fact page, and additional information on wolfsnails are included at the book’s close.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Educator and librarian resources for Wolfsnail available at TeachingBooks.net.

  • Talk: Reinforce new vocabulary by labeling the body parts on a picture of a wolfsnail.
  • Write: Take photos and write some words to describe them.
  • Play: Move slowly and crawl like a snail or a slug.
  • STEM: What were some interesting facts you learned about a wolfsnail? Drip some water on a leaf and watch it roll. Try other liquids like cooking oil, milk, juice and syrup. Find a recipe to make some slime.

Find more early literacy activities from the Youth Services Section of the Wisconsin Library Association’s 2015 Early Literacy Calendar created by Youth Services librarians across Wisconsin.

Wild Variety in the April 2016 ROW Selections! Check Them Out NOW!

March 23rd, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Primary (Grades K-2) | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | Middle School | High School | April - (Comments Off on Wild Variety in the April 2016 ROW Selections! Check Them Out NOW!)

baby animal farmcall me treewolfsnail

meow ruff

 

 

benjamin bear's bright ideas

african acrostics

mr lemoncello

if i ever get out of here

silver people

Click on any book cover image to learn more about that book! Read an annotation from the CCBC! Find discussion questions and activities as well as links to TeachingBooks.net and all of their fabulous resources!

Big Impact of Diverse Books: Student Interview with Mitali Perkins

April 29th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | January | April - (Comments Off on Big Impact of Diverse Books: Student Interview with Mitali Perkins)

Author Mitali Perkins and Middleton High School student, Ali Khan, shared thoughts on race, humor and her book, Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices (Candlewick, 2013), during an interview in March 2015. Mitali’s addition of humor to discussions of race in her book has positively impacted Ali’s life and his approach to communicating ideas about culture and politics. This is an excerpt from that interview.

Coming Soon! Interview with Mitali Perkins

April 26th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | January | April - (Comments Off on Coming Soon! Interview with Mitali Perkins)

In March 2015, Ali Khan, a senior at Middleton High School, interviewed author Mitali Perkins about her book, Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices (Candlewick, 2013). As part of a book trailer project with Simpson Street Free Press, Madison Public Library, and Read On Wisconsin, Ali created a book trailer of Open Mic. Mitali’s approach to adding humor to discussions of race strongly resonated with Ali. Fortunately, we were able to bring Mitali and Ali together on Skype to share thoughts on the book, racial identity, and humor. Check back soon to see excerpts from the interview! In the meantime, enjoy Ali’s book trailer for Mitali Perkin’s Open Mic.

Brand New! Read On Wisconsin Ambassadors!

April 24th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | April - (Comments Off on Brand New! Read On Wisconsin Ambassadors!)

This month we started a trial program called Read On Wisconsin Ambassadors! We’ll have different youth services librarians from across Wisconsin showcase some of the engaging, educational and easy ways that they are integrating Read On Wisconsin titles into their library programming and outreach.

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Heide Piehler, Youth Service Librarian, shares one of April’s R.O.W. titles Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore during the Shorewood Public Library Preschool Story Time.

For April 2015, our ROW Ambassador is Heide Piehler from the Shorewood Public Library.

Here’s what Heide told us about her storytime with April 2015 ROW titles, Lucky Duckling by Eva Moore: “I read stories about lost ducklings. We compared the pictures of the traffic stop in Lucking Ducklings to the one in Make Way for Ducklings. I had also printed photos of actual duckling rescues to demonstrate how a story in a book can be based on an actual event. …

 Heide Piehler, Youth Service Librarian, shares one of April’s R.O.W. titles Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore during the Shorewood Public Library Preschool Story Time.

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore, one of the April R.O.W titles, is featured in Shorewood Library’s duck-themed preschool story time.

 

In between stories, we did duck themed finger games and sang duck themed songs like Six Little Ducks. We also talked about we’d name ducks and created ducks with “feathers in the back” out of peep chicks.” 

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Inspired by the R.O.W. featured book Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore and the song Six Little Ducks, Shorewood Library’s story time preschoolers create their own little ducks with “feathers in the back.”

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Duck “with the feathers in the back” Peep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Heide Piehler and the Shorewood Public Library for the time, creativity, extra work and photos!

High School Title for April: More Than This

April 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | April - (Comments Off on High School Title for April: More Than This)

more than thisMore Than This by Patrick Ness. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2013.

Teenage Seth drowns in the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest only to awaken, feeble and dehydrated, in the long abandoned house of his British childhood. Trying to make sense of the inexplicable world in which he’s found himself—the entire town appears lifeless—Seth struggles to find the basic necessities he needs to survive. He meets teenage Regine and young Tomasz on one of his scrounging forays, and they warn him about the Driver, a menacing individual who seems intent on hunting all three of them down. They also begin to explain the world in which Seth has found himself, and he mightily resists what they tell him. As more and more proof presents itself, Seth is forced to revisit painful moments from his long-ago childhood, and recent events that sent him walking into the ocean intent on dying. If he believes Regine and Tomasz, then much of Seth’s life is a lie. If he rejects what they tell him, then they are the lie, and he’s come to care too much about them to believe that, either. Masterful rather than manipulative, the ambiguity of Patrick Ness’s wholly original and compelling novel gives readers a richly developed array of possibilities but leaves the meaning-making up to them when it comes to divining the situational truth of Seth’s story. But some truths exist at every point along the continuum of possibilities laid out or waiting to be imagined: Meaningful relationships matter, and a life is so much more than can be measured or felt at any single moment in time.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the author explore the idea expressed by the title, that life is “more than this,” throughout the story? What about the importance of memory and of human connection? What are examples of details and scenes through which you see these ideas developed separately and in relation to one another?

2. Which world do you believe is real? What evidence do you have to support your idea? Do you think it is important to determine which world is “real”?

3. Technology is often seen as a solution to our problems. Is technology a solution to the problems that Seth’s societies face?Icon_HighSchool

Middle School Title for April: One Came Home

April 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | April - (Comments Off on Middle School Title for April: One Came Home)

one came homeOne Came Home by Amy Timberlake. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

The largest passenger pigeon nesting on record happened in South Central Wisconsin in 1871. Millions of birds spanned an area of at least 850 square miles. Amy Timberlake’s novel sets a compelling human tale against this fascinating history of the natural world. Thirteen-year-old Georgie lives in a small Wisconsin town in the nesting area. She likes working in the family store and likes being known as the best shot in town. Georgie’s older sister, Agatha, longs to attend college at the university in Madison. Weeks before Agatha ran away with a group of pigeoners—people who follow the pigeons for economic opportunity. Now, the badly decomposed body of a young woman has been found in the woods outside a neighboring town. The dress on the body is Agatha’s. So, too, is the color of the woman’s hair. Georgie refuses to believe Agatha is dead, and flashbacks reveal their sometimes prickly but deeply loving bond. Determined to find Agatha, Georgie runs away on a borrowed mule (she wanted a horse) and reluctantly accepts the company of Billy McCabe, Agatha’s former suitor. Georgie’s fresh, lively, and surprisingly funny voice propels a narrative rich with language and metaphors suited to the setting and the time period. Nothing is predictable, from Georgie’s relationship with Billy McCabe to what the two of them discover in a tale about women and girls and decency and deceit that is full of humor and tenderness. Timberlake provides more information about her research, the nesting, and the tragedy of the now extinct passenger pigeon in an author’s note. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Discussion Questions:

1. How do the setting and time period of this book (frontier town in Wisconsin, 1871) influence Georgie’s first-person voice? How does Georgie defy traditional expectations for women’s roles in 19th century Wisconsin?

2. Which events in Georgie’s journey change her willingness to kill? Why do you think Georgie had a change of heart about shooting animals?

3. Georgie’s grandfather pays Billy to secretly take Georgie to Dog’s Hollow. Why does he do this, instead of encouraging Georgie to look directly for Agatha?

Books for Middle School Age

Intermediate Title for April: Word with Wings

April 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | April - (Comments Off on Intermediate Title for April: Word with Wings)

words with wingsWords with Wings by Nikki Grimes. Boyds Mills Press, 2013.

1. What are some of the problems Gabriella faces at school? Do you relate to her? How does Gabriella’s teacher help her to solve one of her problems?

2. Why do you think the author used two different fonts in the story? What do you think the two different fonts represent?

3. Read the prologue and the poem on page 22. Why is the main character named Gabriella and how does this name fit her? Think about your own name. How does your name fit you?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Primary Titles for April: Take Me Out to the Yakyu

April 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | April - (Comments Off on Primary Titles for April: Take Me Out to the Yakyu)

take me out to the yakhuGRK-2

Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon. Atheneum, 2013.

1. What are three things that are similar at a baseball game in the United States and Japan? What are three things that are different?

2. What do you like to do with your grandparents?

3. Can you think of something that you do in two or more different places? (for example, eating, reading, jobs) How is it the same? How is it different?

Primary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer

 

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