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Our October Titles!

September 18th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Primary (Grades K-2) | October | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | Middle School | High School - (Comments Off on Our October Titles!)

Find out more about these titles! Click on the book cover to read the annotation! Check out resources from TeachingBooks.net for links to teaching guides, videos, author interviews and more for all of the titles below! And, now, check out the posts below for discussion prompts, annotations, and prompts for each title.

Cover for book i am so braveBook cover to go shapes gobook cover of Shh! We Have a Planbook cover for sam and dave dig a holebook cover for gravity

book cover for separate is never equal

book cover for madman of piney woodsswallowscreaming staircsehow it went down

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multi-Award Winner Starts the Middle School ROW 2015-2016 Year!

August 28th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in September | 2015-2016 | Middle School - (Comments Off on Multi-Award Winner Starts the Middle School ROW 2015-2016 Year!)

crossover with sealsThe Crossover by Alexander Kwame. Houghton Books for Middle School AgeMifflin Harcourt, 2014.

We are so thrilled to start the ROW year off with this amazing book! It’s powerful! The styles of poetry and rap as well as the sports and family stories are electric and appeal to so many readers! — The ROW Middle School Literacy Advisory Committee

Read the CCBC annotation:

Josh Bell is a talented middle school basketball player, as is his twin brother Jordan. They learned from their dad, Chuck “Da Man,” who played in the Euroleague before retiring from the game. When Jordan gets a girlfriend, Josh resents that his twin no longer does as much with him, and he takes his frustration out on the court during a game one day, almost breaking Jordan’s nose. It creates a huge rift between the boys and gets Josh banned from playing. The tension between the brothers is wonderfully portrayed within the greater dynamic of this African American family where there is a lot of love and laughing but also consequences when expectations are unmet. Meanwhile, their mom, principal of the boys’ middle school, is also worried about their dad’s health. Hypertension runs in his family and he not only isn’t taking care of himself but he’s doctor-averse. This element of the plot builds to a moment readers can see coming when their dad has a heart attack, yet it’s shocking, as sudden death is, when he dies. Kwame Alexander’s narrative has two styles—straightforward prose poems and vibrant, rap-like poems in which Josh describes the basketball action. Josh also likes language and occasional poems have Josh exploring the meaning of specific words that connect to what’s happening in his life, such as the one titled “ca-lam-i-ty” (“As in: The HUGE bald patch / on the side / of my head / is a dreadful / calamity.”). Josh’s voice is vivid, funny and moving in this fast-paced and poignant story.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start discussion with these questions:

  1. A theme of this book is family relationships. How do these relationships change over the course of the book?
  2. Evaluate the format of the book. How does the novel in verse format help to develop the characters and the story? How does the use of different fonts and typefaces affect the reader’s understanding of the story and characters?
  3. The author uses three style of poems to tell the story. One style uses the twin’s SAT vocabulary homework; another style acts like Josh’s rap. What do these different styles show us about Josh? Pick one of these styles to tell your thoughts about the book.
  4. Describe a particular scene or character that you are able to visualize vividly in your mind. What did the author do to create that vivid image?

Watch these great videos:

 

Another Inspiring Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in November | Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Another Inspiring Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School!)

For another great middle school read — Claudia Mills’ Zero Tolerance (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013). Thanks for the promo, JYMS!

 

Big, Big Thanks!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School - (Comments Off on Big, Big Thanks!)
Thank you to all who completed the Read On Wisconsin Book Trailer Survey for Middle School Teachers and Library Media Specialists! We’ll announce the winner of the Read On Wisconsin 2015-2016 Middle School books this Friday, June 12! Thank you, again, for your participation!

New Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School Students!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in October | Book trailer | Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on New Book Trailer from Jack Young Middle School Students!)

Shout out of thanks to JYMS for sending us this book trailer for the ROW 2014 October title, The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Illustrated by Julia Kuo. Atheneum, 2013. Just in time for summer reading suggestions!

Middle School Summer Titles: Masterful Storytelling

June 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | Summer - (Comments Off on Middle School Summer Titles: Masterful Storytelling)

Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, 2008.

When 12-year-old Mitch’s parents divorce, he and his mother go to spend the summer with his grandparents in their cottage on Bird Lake. Mitch feels angry, sad, and lonely, and he retreats into his imagination where he pretends the long-vacant cottage next door belongs to him. He sweeps the front porch, cleans out the bird bath, and carves his initials into the porch’s wooden railing. He even resolves to keep the splinter he gets from the railing so the house will be a part of him. Mitch’s future plans are disturbed, however, when another family shows up to spend a week at the cottage. From his position in the crawl space underneath the front porch, he learns that they own the house and he decides he will try to scare them away by making them think the house is haunted. What Mitch doesn’t know is that 10-year-old Spencer and his family haven’t been to the lake for years because it was the site of his older brother’s drowning when he was four and Spencer was just two. And every small thing Mitch does to make them think the house is haunted, Spencer reads as a sign from his dead brother. Masterfully told with alternating points of view, Henkes shows the developing friendship between two boys who are both withholding information from each other. Only the reader knows the full story, and the dramatic tension builds as each boy gets closer to finding out the truth. (KTH) ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

 

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia. Amistad / HarperCollins, 2013.

Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back in Brooklyn after spending the summer of 1968 with their mother Cecile in Oakland (One Crazy Summer, Amistad / HarperCollins, 2010), and dramatic changes are in store. First, Pa has a girlfriend, Miss Marva Hendrix. Then Delphine starts sixth grade expecting to have Miss Honeywell, the most mod of teachers. Instead, she gets Mr. Mwila, on an exchange program from Zambia. And a new group—five singing and dancing brothers named Jackson—have the sisters and the nation mesmerized. When Miss Marva Hendrix offers to take them to see the Jackson 5 at Madison Square Garden, Pa insists they earn half the money for tickets, and Delphine assumes she’ll be in charge, like always. Miss Marva Hendrix appoints Vonetta to manage their earnings. Delphine predicts disaster. Vonetta doesn’t fail. Uncle Darrell comes home from Vietnam, but elation turns to worry when he struggles with drugs. It’s so disturbing that Big Ma, always dependable if demanding, begins to falter. “Be eleven,” Cecile writes Delphine at the end of each letter. But she is eleven. What does her mother mean? What matters is that Delphine knows Cecile’s message is rooted in love, just like Big Ma’s home training. And now there is Miss Marva Hendrix, who thinks a woman could run for president someday, further expanding Delphine’s understanding of being young and Black and female. The modeling and mothering provided by all three of these women buoy Delphine and her sisters in ways they don’t always understand but surely feel. Rita Williams-Garcia once again captures time and place with sparkling clarity in an inspired look at childhood and growth and change. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

 

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2010.

Katey attends school in the Game, a converted mall designed by corporations, which have become the major funders of education. The companies constantly monitor students on camera and online in hopes of finding teens they can “brand” to help promote and sell their products. Everything in the Game is about being connected, being cool, and staying on top of the latest trend. Unlike most of her peers, Katey isn’t eager to be branded and does the bare minimum to remain a player; as a result, she’s intrigued by a group called the Unidentified who seem to be inviting the students to break out of the controlled and controlling system based on popularity and consumerism. But her very interest in the Unidentified—she’s the first to pay attention to what they are doing, and curious about who they are—attracts sponsor attention. Katey and her mom are struggling financially, and she accepts the sponsorship only because it comes with economic benefits. Suddenly the Unidentified are being exploited by sponsors as the nexthttp://readon.education.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Icon_MiddleSchool1.png big fad, http://readon.education.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Summer.pngeven as Katey discovers they may not be as radical as they originally appeared. This timely novel combines a mystery (who is behind the Unidentified?) with exploration of provocative issues of privacy and consumerism in a story set in a believably not-too-distant future.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

ROW 2015-2016 Book Lists are HERE!

May 29th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Primary (Grades K-2) | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | Middle School | High School - (Comments Off on ROW 2015-2016 Book Lists are HERE!)

After much hard work and diligence from the Read On Wisconsin Literacy Advisory Committee and the CCBC librarians, the Read On Wisconsin book selections are now complete for the 2015-2016 year.

Please check out the NEW 2015-2016 Read On Wisconsin Books here or on the Books page of the website. And, spread the word!

Wisconsin Middle School Educators: Take Our Survey for a Chance to Win ROW Books!

May 20th, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 - (Comments Off on Wisconsin Middle School Educators: Take Our Survey for a Chance to Win ROW Books!)

Hello Middle School Educators!

Read On Wisconsin is looking for ways to support Wisconsin middle school educators in working with students to create book trailers.  Please help us out by completing our survey.

Before you start this survey, you may want to know more about book trailers.

What is a book trailer?  A multi-media book advertisement (Think movie trailer for a book!)

Why create a book trailer?

Here are just a few reasons teachers and librarians have shared with us:

  • Book trailers are a great way for students to analyze and synthesize what they have read and then make new meanings of the those texts through sounds, images, and technology.
  • Book trailers allow students to share their enthusiasm for a book with other students in their schools as well as the larger community, making reading personal, social and communal.

 Here are a few examples of book trailers from Read On Wisconsin projects:

Complete the Survey and Win!

For completing this survey by June 5, 2015, you will be entered in a drawing for a complete set of the Read On Wisconsin 2015-2016 Middle School titles!

Please follow this link to the survey: http://goo.gl/forms/Ca4eoAwCPS!

Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey!

Adventure, Action, Humor! May 2015 Middle School Titles Have It All!

May 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | May - (Comments Off on Adventure, Action, Humor! May 2015 Middle School Titles Have It All!)

 blufftonBluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan. Candlewick Press, 2013.

Bluffton was an actors’ colony just outside Muskegon, Michigan, established in 1908 by Joe Keaton to give Vaudeville performers a place to relax during the summer months when theaters were too hot to draw an audience. For Joe’s son, Buster, Bluffton was a place where he could be a kid, pursuing his love of baseball and hanging out with kids his own age instead of starring in his parents’ act. A graphic novel spanning three summers is told from the point of view of Henry Harrison, a fictional boy who lives in Muskegon. He becomes Buster’s summer friend and dreams of being a performer himself. Life in Muskegon is anything but glamorous, but to be on the stage! Everything is wonderfully understated in Matt Phelan’s storytelling, from the color palette to the dialogue to the way he fills in Henry’s life between each of the summers with several brief, elegant, wordless page spreads. A handful of years can bring maturity and new depth of understanding, and just how Henry changes, and how his relationship with Buster affects and reveals that change, is gracefully told.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Discussion Questions for Bluffton:

1. How does the author use pictures to convey Buster’s family and life situations? How does the use of text add to that?

2. What do you think Henry is trying to achieve by telling Sally that Buster has only been to school once in his life?

3. Buster Keaton was a real person who eventually went on to act in movies before they had sound and actors had to rely more on actions rather than words. Have you ever seen a silent movie? Explain how Buster Keaton’s physical talent of learning how to fall, flip, and roll would be important in silent movies.

 Poison by Bridget Zinn. Hyperion, 2013.poisonMS

Potions master Kyra is on the run after a failed attempt to assassinate Princess Ariana, heir to the throne. The fact that the princess is also her best friend doesn’t deter Kyra from wanting to succeed at her self-imposed mission. Krya’s had dire visions in which Ariana causes the complete destruction of the kingdom. With the princess now in hiding, Kyra ends up in possession of a pig with special hunting abilities to track her down. The small creature has an endearing disposition that Kyra tries to resist, not to mention a soft spot for dog biscuits. And then there’s Fred. Handsome and friendly, this wanderer Kyra meets in the woods is really the last thing she needs. But he did provide the dog biscuits, along with a name for the pig (Rosie), and a helping hand at a desperate moment. So when Fred is later accosted, Kyra comes to his aid, although she risks revealing her own considerable fighting skills, making it hard to maintain her disguise as nothing more than another wayfarer. She doesn’t want a traveling companion but seems fated to have found one in Fred—a proposition she finds both vexing and pleasing. Bridget Zinn’s buoyant novel brims with adventure, mayhem, intrigue, humor, and romance, along with surprising twists and revelations right up to the end. (Bridget Zinn, a former CCBC student employee and Friends of the CCBC board member, died at the age of 33 in 2011. Anyone who knew Bridget will sense her spirit on every page of a novel that is full of charm, exuberance, optimism, and plenty of pastry.) (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Discussion Questions for Poison:

1. Kyra and other characters have different perspectives on why Kyra attempted to assassinate the princess. How does this build tension in the story?Books for Middle School Age

2. What reason does each character have for concealing their identity? What does Kyra learn about herself from having two identities?

3. Throughout the story, Kyra resists an emotional attachment to Rosie the pig? What do you
think Rosie symbolizes in the story?

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

March: Book One / Imprisoned

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on March: Book One / Imprisoned)

march book oneMSMarch: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, 2013.

1. Education was important to John Lewis from the time he was a child. How is this introduced and then explored throughout the book? What does John Lewis learn from raising chickens and reading scripture? How do these learning experiences influence his life?

2. How does the use of the graphic novel style contribute to John Lewis’s story? Does it detract in any ways?

3. Why was nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience effective with Lewis’ group’s protests? What other problems could be solved with this type of action? Are there any problems that could not (or should not) be approached this way?

 

imprisonedImprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II by Martin W. Sandler. Walker, 2013.

1. The author believes that the response of the government and many individual Americans to people of Japanese descent in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was unjust and hysterical. How does he convey this perspective and support it in the narrative?

2. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Battalion were two units composed entirely of Japanese Americans. What were some of the reasons these men gave for fighting for a country that had treated them so poorly?

3. Why do you think it took so long for the U.S. government to apologize for the treatment of Americans of Japanese ancestry?

Books for Middle School Age

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Lincoln’s Grave Robbers)

lincoln's grave robbersLincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin. Scholastic Press, 2013.

1. How did the author use source documents to reconstruct the events of the plot to steal Lincoln’s body and the history of counterfeiters?

2. Why does Tyrell hesitate before breaking into the tomb?

3. What were Swegles’ strategies to gain the trust of the grave robbers and avoid detection?

Books for Middle School Age

 

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