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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?

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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

 

Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Titles for April: My First Day / Lucky Ducklings / Wee Rhymes

April 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | April - (Comments Off on Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Titles for April: My First Day / Lucky Ducklings / Wee Rhymes)

my first day

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

1. Where is the baby?

2. What is the mother doing?

3. Can you find the baby’s eyes? What other body parts can you find?

 

lucky ducklings

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.  Orchard / Scholastic Inc., 2013.

1. How many baby ducks can you count?

2. Who helped save the ducklings?

3. What would you name a baby duckling?

 

wee rhymesWee Rhymes: Baby’s First Poetry Book by Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Jane Dyer.  A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster, 2013.

1. Find a poem that rhymes. Which words in the poem rhyme?

2. Do the poems describe any things you like to do?

3. What’s your favorite poem? Why do you like it?

 

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The Nazi Hunters / I See the Promised Land

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | March - (Comments Off on The Nazi Hunters / I See the Promised Land)

nazi hunters i see the promised landHS

 

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc., 2013.

I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Arthur Flowers. Illustrated by Manu Chitrakar. Designed by Guglielmo Rossi. Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2013.

 

Having read one or both of these books…

1. How do the visual elements of the text impact your understanding of the story? What are some of the other choices the authors and illustrators made to emotionally engage readers? How do these elements work together?

2. Cite evidence of people in these books taking action for a cause greater rather than for themselves. What compels them to do this? How do those actions impact us today?

3. What did you learn about the time periods and people involved in these stories that you didn’t know before reading these books?

 

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

No Monkeys, No Chocolate

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on No Monkeys, No Chocolate)

no monkeys no chocolateGRK-2

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young. Illustrated by Nicole Wong.  Charlesbridge, 2013.

1. Why can’t chocolate grow without monkeys and other creatures? Why do you think the author chose the title, No Monkeys, No Chocolate, for this book?

2. What do you think are the important things the author wants us to know about chocolate?

3. In what other ways do plants, insects and animals depend on each other?

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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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Charm & Strange

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | February - (Comments Off on The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Charm & Strange)

coldest girl in coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Little, Brown, 2013.charm & strange

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.

Having read both or one of these books…

1. Why would an author choose to use vampires and werewolves to explore changing identity?

2. How are the vampires and werewolves similar and different from supernatural characters in other stories?

3. What plot elements allow you to suspend your disbelief?

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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

 

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

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