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The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird / Tua and the Elephant

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird / Tua and the Elephant)

no 1 car spotter and the firebirdThe No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird by Atinuke. Illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell. U.S. edition: Kane Miller, 2012.

1. What are some examples of the ways the No. 1 car spotter “works smart, not hard”? What are some examples of the ways he is good at problem-solving?

2. How do the different people in the village contribute to the success of everyone? Additionally, how do you contribute to your community?

3. On page 14 Grandfather says, “Nobody is good at everything, No. 1…You are the No. 1 car spotter. That is enough.” Is this a true statement? Why or why not?

 

tua and the elephant

Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. Chronicle Books, 2012.

1. Describe Nak and Nang. How are they the same and how they different?

2. Who are some of the people who help Tua and Pohn-Pohn on their journey? How do they help?

3. What is a sanctuary? Why is it important for Tua and Pohn-Pohn get there?

Both of these books are set in faraway places and have a strong sense of community. How are No. 1 and Tua similar?

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Nora’s Chicks / This is the Rope

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on Nora’s Chicks / This is the Rope)

nora's chicks

Nora’s Chicks by Patricia MacLachlan. Illustrated by Kathryn Brown. Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. What are ways the author and illustrator let us know that Nora is lonely?

2. Who do we meet at the beginning of the story? What is happening then?  Who do we meet in the middle of the story?  What happens? At the end of the story, how have things changed for Nora?

3. How do Nora’s chicks help her?

 

this is the ropeGRK-2

This Is the Rope:  A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by James Ransome. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2013.

1. Who is telling the story of the rope? About whom is she telling the story?

2. In what different ways is the rope used in the story?

3. What object does your family own that tells a story?

 

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Big Snow / Little You

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on Big Snow / Little You)

big snow

Big Snow by Jonathan Bean. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013.

1. Which white things in the story make David think of snow?

2. What do you think David and his parents will do in the snow? What do you like to do in the snow?

3. What are some of the words used to describe the snow?

 

 

little you

Little You by Richard Van Camp. Illustrated by Julie Flett. Orca, 2013.

1. Who is holding the baby?

2. What do you see in the sky?

3. Find something red.

 

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Far Far Away

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in December | 2014-2015 | High School - (Comments Off on Far Far Away)

far far awayFar Far Away by Tom McNeal. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

1. What connections can you make between this story and fairy tales?

2. Throughout the novel, characters actively try to help others. Give some examples of when the help is sincerely offered and other examples when help is offered for selfish motives. How does this advance the plot?

3. Where and when do you think this story takes place? What tells you this?

 

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Orleans / How I Became a Ghost

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Orleans / How I Became a Ghost)

orleansMSOrleans by Sherri L. Smith. Putnam, 2013.

1. How does the dystopian New Orleans setting shape the characters’ beliefs and actions?

2. How do the points of view of Daniel and Fen differ? What are ways the author differentiates their two perspectives?

3. Safety and trust are two ideas explored in the story. Do any specific elements (scenes, character interactions, etc.) stand out when you think of how either one of these ideas was explored?

 

how i became a ghostMS

How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle. The RoadRunner Press, 2013.

1. During the course of the book, Isaac dies and becomes a ghost. How do his relationships with the other character change because of this?

2. How does the author show us ways that Isaac’s point of view is grounded in his identity as a Choctaw as well as his experiences as a child?

3. From the start, the reader knows that Isaac will die. How does this create suspense or tension in the story?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Sophie Scott Goes South / Little Dog, Lost

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Sophie Scott Goes South / Little Dog, Lost)

sophie scott goes southSophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester.   U.S. edition:  Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

1. There are lots of types of illustrations in this book. Why do you think the author/illustrator decided to use so many different types of illustrations? How do you think these different styles of illustrations help you understand the things Sophie describes?

2. Who are some of the people who work on the Aurora Australis and what are their roles? What about the people at Mawson Station?

3. Sophie is a child making this trip for the first time. How do you think that that makes a difference in what she describes? How do you think the story might be told differently if her dad was telling it?

 

little dog lost

Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer.  Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell.  Atheneum, 2012.

1. People in the town have formed opinions of Charles Larue without getting to know him. What do the kids in the town think of Charles Larue? What is Charles Larue really like? Charles Larue changes throughout the story. What is he like in the beginning of the story? How is he different at the end of the story?

2. This book tells the story of three characters, Buddy, Charles Larue, and Mark. How do these three different perspectives help you to understand the characters and their actions?

3. The author wrote this book as a story in verse. Do you think this format, using poetry to tell the story, adds to or distracts from the story? Why?
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Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm)

meetthedogsofbedlamfarm

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm by John Katz. Henry Holt, 2011.

1. What are the different jobs of the dogs? How do the dogs help the farm by performing these different jobs?

2. What is your job in your family? How does this help your family?

3. What do you think the author wants us to learn from this book?

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Quinito’s Neighborhood / Inside, Outside

December 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | December | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Quinito’s Neighborhood / Inside, Outside)

quinitosneighborhood

Quinito’s Neighborhood = El Vecindario de Quinito by Ina Cumpiaño. Illustrated by José Ramírez. Children’s Book Press, 2005.

1. Do you know someone with one of these jobs? Which job would you like to do?

2. What do people in your family do in your neighborhood or town?

3. Who are some of the people you might meet on a walk in your neighborhood?

 

inside outside

Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd. Chronicle, 2013.

1. Which shapes can you find and name?

2. How many patterns can you find? Describe the patterns.

3. What do you see through the windows?

 

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Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in November | 2014-2015 | High School - (Comments Off on Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass)

yaqui delgadoYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina. Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. What reasons does Piddy give for not telling anyone about the bullying? What are specific ways the novel shows that silence – not letting anyone know about the bullying – makes things worse for Piddy? How does finally breaking her silence give Piddy some control as shown in the story?

2. Give examples of adult authority in Piddy’s life. What expectations do they have of her? How do these expectations impact the decisions she makes?

3. Piddy can be seen as both an obedient daughter and also a rebel. What other individuals in the story are portrayed with two conflicting sides to their character? How does the author show two sides of the same person?

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Eruption! / Zero Tolerance

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in November | Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Eruption! / Zero Tolerance)

eruptionEruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch. Photographs by Tom Uhlman. (Scientists in the Field) Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

1. The author writes about volcanic eruptions and human reaction across the globe. What are some of the differences in the ways people have reacted to volcanoes in different countries?

2. Only 100 people were killed as a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. What lessons from earlier eruptions did scientists use to achieve such a positive result?

3. How do the VDAP scientists interact with people who have survived eruptions?

 

zero tolerance

Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013.

1. What argument is the author trying to make about ‘zero tolerance’ as a disciplinary policy? Are one-size fits-all policies such as zero tolerance effective? What would you have done in Sierra’s place and why?

2. Kids who serve detention are often perceived as troublemakers. What are examples of ways Sierra buys into that stereotype initially? How does the novel ask us to challenge that stereotype?

3. When straight-A student Sierra falls victim to the Zero Tolerance policy at her school, she gets an in-school suspension and may be expelled. How do the points of view of her principal and her father differ? What are ways does the author develops their two perspectives? Does either or both of them change?

Books for Middle School Age

It Jes’ Happened / Hold Fast

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | November | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on It Jes’ Happened / Hold Fast)

it jes happenedGR3-5 It Jes’ Happened:  When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low, 2012.

1. Do you think the author of this book thinks Bill Traylor’s art is important? What makes you say that? What did you know about Bill Traylor before reading this book? What do you know now? Do you think his work is important?

2. Why did Bill Traylor become an artist? How does the title of the book reflect this?

3. What challenges did Bill Traylor face throughout his life? How did he overcome them?

 

hold fastGR3-5Hold Fast by Blue Balliett. Scholastic Press, 2013.

1. Why do you think the author chose the Langston Hughes poem “Dreams” as one important to Early and her family? How do you think the poem connects to what happens in the story?

2. How did Early’s life change once her dad disappeared? How did Early adapt to life in a public place? How would you?

3. What kind of a person is Early? What things do you learn about her that makes you say that? How does the kind of person she is help her to find her dad? What are the clues that help Early find her dad?

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Thanks a Million: Poems / The Big Wet Balloon

November 1st, 2014 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | November | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Thanks a Million: Poems / The Big Wet Balloon)

thanks a million

Thanks a Million: Poems by Nikki Grimes. Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Amistad, 2006.

1. What makes you thankful?

2. These poems are written in many different ways. Which one do you like best? What makes you like that poem? The illustrations?  The style?  The words? Something else?

3. Which of these poems feels like it could be talking about you? Why?

 

 

big wet balloon

The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers.  Toon Books/Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. How do the pictures and words work together to tell the story? Do you think you could understand the story without the words? without the pictures? How might the lack of words or picture change the story?

2.Why do you think the balloon is important to the story?

3. What do you think will happen at the end of the story? Why?

 

 

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