Dark Lord / Friends with Boys

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Dark Lord / Friends with Boys)

dark lord cover
Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson. Walker, 2012

1. If your arch enemy banished you to an alternate universe, what would it be like?

2. Why do you think the author decided to include a ghost story?

3. Which supporting character(s) in these books would you like to have you welcoming you to a new situation? What appealed to you about this character?



friends with boys cover

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks . First Second, 2012

1. What are some of the ways Maggie changes in terms of how she sees herself and members of her family over the course of the story?

2. Maggie is not used to the social dynamics of high school. What does she learn from her friendship with Lucy and Alistair?

3. Why do you think it’s so important to Maggie to help the ghost? Why do you think the author chose to leave the ghost’s story unsolved?


Books for Middle School Age

Spike the Mixed-Up Monster / Oh, No! / Alfie Is Not Afraid

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | October | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Spike the Mixed-Up Monster / Oh, No! / Alfie Is Not Afraid)

Spike the mixed-up monster cover

Spike, the Mixed-Up Monster by Susan Hood. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. A Paula Wiseman Book / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. Do you think Spike is a monster? Why/why not?

2. What are ways Spike tries to act like a monster? (Let’s be monsters ourselves–swoosh, bare teeth, etc)

3. Let’s look again at the photographs of animals at the end of the story. What are some ways they are different than the animals in the illustrations? What are some ways they are the same?

Oh No cover

Oh, No! by Candace Fleming. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Schwartz & Wade, 2012

1. Name some of the animals that fall into the hole in the story. Why do you think Tiger wants to get the animals out of the hole?

2. Would you help tiger out of the hole? Why or why not?

3. How do you think it would feel to be stuck in a hole?


Alfie is not afraid cover

Alfie Is Not Afraid by Patricia Carlin. Disney / Hyperion, 2012

1. Do YOU think Alfie is afraid? Why or why not ?(Ask them to point out evidence in book)

2. How can you tell the difference between what the boy is saying and what Alfie is really feeling?

3. What kinds of things are you afraid of?


Poems to pair from Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2007:

“My Sister” by Margaret Mahy, p. 40

“In Bed with Cuddly Creatures” by Wes Magee, p. 89

“No Need to Light a Night-Light” by Anonymous, p. 100


Giants Beware / The Scary Places Map Book

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Giants Beware / The Scary Places Map Book)

giants beware cover

Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre. Illustrated by Rafael Rosado. First Second, 2012

1. Claudette has little patience with the grown-ups in her town who are afraid to go after the giant. Why do you think the adults are so afraid? Why do they go after Claudette and her friends?

2. Everyone thinks the giant threatening the town is a “baby-feet-eating giant.” In the end, they discover it’s just a baby giant that loves tickling feet. How / why do you think the story about the giant got so turned around?

3. Gaston and Marie aren’t as brave as Claudette but they set off with her anyway. How does each of the three play a role in their success? Has there ever been a time in your life when you and friends or family members have all contributed in different ways to a project or journey’s success?


scary places map book cover

The Scary Places Map Book: Seven Terrifying Tours by B. G. Hennessy. Illustrated by Erwin Madrid. Candlewick Press, 2012

1. All of the maps in this books have several features in common. Name at least two things that all of them share.

2. What are three of the dangers to watch out for in “The Land of the Golden Apples”?

3. Who is Mabel in the Western Territories? What does she carry in her pack?

4. If you were designing a scary place, what would it include?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Each Kindness

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | October | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Each Kindness)

each kindness cover

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2012

1. Why do you think Chloe ignores Maya?

2. What do you think Chloe’s teacher is trying to show them about kindness?

3. How does the ending of the story make you feel?Why?

4. What do you think Chloe will do if another new student joins their class? What in the story makes you think this?



Primary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer

The Pregnancy Project

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | High School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on The Pregnancy Project)

pregnancy project cover

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer. Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What were some of the events in her family that made Gaby so adamant about not becoming a teen mom?

2. How would you have felt if you were one of Gaby’s friends or family when she announced her pregnancy was a hoax?

3. Gaby says: “Could it be that people don’t want others to beat stereotypes? Could it be that people who don’t fit the mold make it uncomfortable for others to hold on to their prejudices?” What do you think?



Anya’s Ghost

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Anya’s Ghost)

Anya's Ghost cover
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. First Second, 2011

1. Anya’s family routine is shown several times (e.g. kitchen meals). Show your routine in words and pictures.

2. If you had Anya’s ghost, what would you have it do at home and at school? What harm or good would that cause?

3. Not just the ghost is manipulative. Describe instances of manipulation and what motivated it.

Warp Speed

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Warp Speed)

Warp Speed cover
Warp Speed by Lisa Yee. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc., 2011

1. What does this book say about the power of bystanders to make a difference?

2. In which situations would you want to be invisible and when is it better to be invincible?

3. Star Trek, Star Wars, or Batman? Discuss.

Books for Middle School Age

Eyes on the Goal

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in October | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Eyes on the Goal)

Eyes on the Goal cover
Eyes on the Goal by John Coy. Feiwel and Friends, 2010

1. When was a time when you felt bad? How did you deal with it?

2. Which character did you relate to most? Why?

3. Has a friend ever been on an opposing team? How did you handle that?

Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

Mouse & Lion

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in Primary (Grades K-2) | October | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Mouse & Lion)

Mouse & Lion cover
Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkert. Illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. Michael di Capua Books / Scholastic, 2011



1. What will the Lion always remember about the Mouse? What will the Mouse remember about the Lion?

2. Have you ever helped someone bigger than you? How?

3. Which illustration did you like the best and what did you like about it?

Job Site/Monday Is One Day

October 1st, 2012 | Posted by schliesman in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | October | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on Job Site/Monday Is One Day)

Job Site cover
Job Site by Nathan Clement. Boyds Mills Press, 2011

1. What color is each machine?

2. What other colors can you find?

3. What sound do you think this machine might make? (Ask for each one)



Monday Is One Day Cover

Monday I
s One Day by Arthur A. Levine. Illustrated by Julian Hector. Scholastic Press, 2011

1. Let’s recite (and/or count) the days of the week in the book. (Adult: You can also use a calendar after reading the book and find each day on it with children.)

2. Is there a special thing you/your family do on the same day every week?

3. Who are the people in your family? (or, Draw a picture of your family)

The Voyage of Turtle Rex

October 1st, 2011 | Posted by lendlich in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | October | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on The Voyage of Turtle Rex)

The Voyage of Turtle Rex

The Voyage of Turtle Rex by Kurt Cyrus. Harcourt, 2011

1. Why did the turtle go back to the beach?
2. Where would a 2-ton, 15-foot turtle fit?
3. Pretend you’re a sea turtle coming out of your egg–show us how you would walk on the sand or swim in the water.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

October 1st, 2011 | Posted by in October | High School | 2011-2012 - (Comments Off on Will Grayson, Will Grayson)

Wil Grayson, Will Grayson Book Cover

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. Dutton, 2010

1. Who was your favorite character in the book and why?
2. How is humor used to deal with difficult issues in this story?
3. There are many unlikely friendships in this book. Discuss an unlikely friendship you have had in your life.

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