Want to Go Private?

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in High School | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Want to Go Private?)

Want to Go Private? cover
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman. Scholastic Press, 2011

1. As a reader, how many red flags can you identify as Abby is “groomed” by Luke?

2. What is the effect of having different perspectives in Parts 1, 2, and 3? How did this work for you as a reader?

3. The characters in the book reference guidelines they were given about online safety. How would you teach online safety to younger kids?

A Monster Calls

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on A Monster Calls)

A Monster Calls cover
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Illustrated by Jim Kay. Candlewick Press, 2011

1. Why is it so hard for Connor to sort out what is real and what isn’t real?

2. How do the illustrations affect your understanding of the story?

3. Why is telling the truth so difficult for Connor? How is it difficult for you?

Books for Middle School Age

Soldier Bear

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Soldier Bear)

Soldier Bear cover
Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak. Translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson. Illustrated by Philip Hopman. U.S. edition: Eerdman’s, 2011

1. What did you learn about World War II that you didn’t know before?

2. How did Voytek win over people’s hearts and minds? What is it about animals that people find so appealing?

3. What animal would you train to help you?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Emma Dilemma

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Emma Dilemma)

Emma Dilemma cover
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Clarion, 2011



1. A dilemma is a situation that has good parts and bad parts. What were the good parts about having a little sister? What were the bad parts?

2. Are you more like Jess or Emma?

3. Each poem tells about a small moment in Jess and Emma’s lives. Together, the poems tell a story. Share something you remember from this story.

Fiesta Babies / Anna Hibiscus’ Song

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Fiesta Babies / Anna Hibiscus’ Song)

Fiesta Babies coverFiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla. Illustrated by Amy Córdova. Tricycle Press, 2010

1. A fiesta is a party. Let’s find at all the party things happening in the book (e.g, dancing, eating, singing)

2. Adult: Give shakers and streamers or ribbons to create a (supervised) fiesta.

3. Adult: Play upbeat dancing music and ask children to dance after reading the book together (you can read the book while they dance, too!)

Anna Hibiscus' Song coverAnna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke. Illustrated by Lauren Tobias. U.S. edition: Kane Miller, 2011

1. What are some things you like to do when you are happy?

2. What are some of the things the people in Anna’s family do when they are happy?

3. Anna lives with her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Who do you live with? Who else is in your family?

Blink & Caution

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in High School | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Blink & Caution)

Blink and Caution cover
Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2011

1. How do the names “Blink” and “Caution” reflect the identities of the two main characters? Do you have a nickname that authentically describes you?

2. How does the relationship between Blink and Caution change over the course of the book?

3. Blink, Caution, and Jack Niven are all trying to keep a secret. What are those secrets and how are they resolved?

Almost Astronauts / Amelia Lost

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Almost Astronauts / Amelia Lost)

Almost Astronauts cover
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone. Candlewick Press, 2009
Amelia Lost cover
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming. Schwartz & Wade, 2011





1. Why do you think we know so much about Amelia Earhart, but so little about the Mercury 13?

2. Was Amelia Earhart a good role model? Why or why not?

3. How might history be different if the women had been first in space?

Books for Middle School Age

Queen of the Falls

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Queen of the Falls)

Queen of the Falls cover
Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg. Houghton Mifflin, 2011

1. Which of your teachers or older relatives do you think would be willing to travel over the falls in a barrel? Would you?

2. How would this story be different if it happened today?

3. Have you heard or seen anyone performing an unbelievable feat? Why do you think people take those risks?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Crouching Tiger / These Hands

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Crouching Tiger / These Hands)

Crouching Tiger coverThese Hands cover
Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine. Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene. Candlewick Press, 2011

These Hands by Margaret H. Mason. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Houghton Mifflin, 2011


1. What do the boys learn from their grandfathers?

2. What celebrations are important in your family?

3. How are the grandsons’ lives different from their grandfathers’ lives? How are they the same?

Swirl by Swirl / Stars

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | January | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Swirl by Swirl / Stars)

Swirl by Swirl coverSwirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin, 2011

1. Let’s trace some of these spirals in the book with our fingers (a pre-writing skill).

2. Let’s look for a spiral somewhere in this room/house/outside. Can we find other shapes?

3. (Adult) Have a group of children hold hands and create a spiral.

Stars cover
by Mary Lin Ray. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books, 2011

1. Let’s look for stars in the world around us. (e.g., Are there stars on the wall or calendar in your house/classroom? Flowers with starlike shapes outside? Cut an an apple through its equator and look at the star inside.)

2. The story begins, “A star is how you know it’s almost night.” What are some other ways you can tell when it’s almost night?

3. (Adult) Make a star for each child (or have each child make a star). Ask child/children: what kinds of things their star can do (e.g., Is it magical? If so, what kind of magic can it do? Does it shine?)

Now Is the Time for Running

December 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in December | High School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Now Is the Time for Running)

Now Is the Time for Running cover
Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams. U.S. edition: Little, Brown, 2011

1. Throughout history, people have sought refuge in other countries. For what reasons might people leave their homeland?

2. This book provides a window into current events in Zimbabwe. What struck you about life in this country?

3. The cover shows a soccer ball and barbed wire. How do these images reflect the boys’ journey?

Drawing from Memory

December 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | December | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Drawing from Memory)

Drawing from Memory cover
Drawing from Memory by Allen Say. Scholastic Press, 2011

1. How did the format of the book help you understand Allen Say’s story?

2. Allen Say gave up everything to pursue his passion for drawing. What is your passion?

3. What teacher has been most influential in your life and why?

Books for Middle School Age

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