Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Non-Fiction Picture Book Tuesday, March 26

Please visit the Non-Fiction 
Picture Book Challenge Host- Kid Lit Frenzy 

Words Set Me Free
The Story of Young Frederick Douglass
by Lesa Cline Ransome
Illustrated by James E Ransome

This story of young Frederick Douglass' life was heartbreaking and inspiring.  Narrated from young Frederick's point of view, this book describes his childhood and his quest to learn to read and write.  After his mother's death, Frederick was sold to a new family.  His mistress had never had a slave before and was kind to Frederick.  When he asked her to teach him to read, she did not realize it was illegal so she agreed.  When he learned his letters and a few words quickly, the mistress boasted of her teaching to her husband.  Her husband was outraged and screamed that if Frederick learned how to read, "It would ever unfit him to be a slave."

It was too late. The seeds of literacy had been planted.  Frederick spent all his spare time trying to learn to read and write. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book. "I may not have known how to read, but I knew that if learning made me no longer want to be a slave, then I would secure my freedom one letter at a time."  

This book would make a great read aloud in grades 2 and up. At 32 pages, it is a relatively quick read. It would also be a wonderful addition to a unit on the Civil War,  early American history, biographies or Black History Month. It sends a powerful message about the importance and the gift of literacy. 

Monsieur Maceau
Actor Without Words
by Leda Schubert
Illustrated by Gerard Dubois

I have to admit, the only thing I knew about Marcel Marceau before reading this book was that he was a famous mime.  In this short picture book, I learned several things about this fascinating man.  Born Marcel Mangel, he changed his last name to Marceau after WWII so people would not realize he was Jewish.  As a teen, he bravely led hundreds of Jewish children to safety from France to Switzerland.  Marceau's father tragically died in the concentration camps during the war. 

It was not until after the war, at the age of 24, that Marcel studied mime.  He soon became famous for his talent and his well known character, Bip.  During his career, Marcel Marceau traveled the globe and performed for presidents and royalty.  In his lifetime, he performed an estimated 15,000 times.  Marceau died in 2007 at the age of 84. 

I found this book to be very interesting.  It is quite a short read (40 pages with few words on each page).  The pictures are fantastic.  I think children would enjoy reading about Marcel Marceau and practicing some of his movements to tell a story. 

More recent blog posts:
It's Monday, What Are You Reading?
Our Wonder-ful Journey Comes to a Close

Monday, March 25, 2013

What I am Reading-Monday, March 25

Please visit the amazing blog: Teach Mentor Texts 
who host this terrific meme each week. 

I did not post last Monday so here is 
what I read over the last two weeks. Click 
on the title to go to the book's Goodreads page.

Picture Books
I would like to thank my friend Laurel Parker from 
The Windham Public Library for always helping 
me get my hands on great books.

Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee. A very cute story about two dog brothers who do everything the same until a they chase a pesky neighborhood squirrel and  things change. 

Goldilocks and Just One Bear  by Leigh Hodgkinson.   An adorable adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears where a bear goes into the house.  There's a really neat twist at the end.

  Jimmy the Greatest by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng. Jimmy loves boxing and idolizes Muhammed Ali.  He finds out there is more to life than training and helps his community by running the gym and creating a library.

 The Other Side of Town by Jon Agee.  When a cab ride goes to the "other side of town", everything is different. There is the Finkon Tunnel and the Spankees baseball team.  It's a very silly fun little book.
This Moose Belongs to Me. by Oliver Jeffers. A really sweet story of a boy who claims to own a moose.  However he meets another person who claims to also own the moose.  How will they determine the true owner? Sweet story.

 Squeak, Rumble. Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton MarsalisA terrific book to show the "music" that surrounds us in everyday things.  Would make a fun read aloud. Nice way to show onomatopoeia.
 It Jes' Happened. by Don Tate
This is a fascinating non-fiction read about the life of Bill Traylor, a former slave who began drawing at the age of 85. His pictures were all based on memories of his family and his life experiences.

 Mary and Her Little Lamb. by Will Moses
Did you know that the famous poem/song was based on a true story? Neither did I. There was an actual girl named Mary who saved the life of a baby lamb. The two had such a bond that the lamb would follow Mary everywhere.  A visiting poet saw the lamb at school and wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

Middle Grade

by Holly Kowitt
The third in the Loser List series.  
Review to come later.

by Barbara Brauner and James IverMattson
Release date May 14
 I really enjoyed this book and I think many of my 4th graders will too.  I liked that it is a middle grade book, but the characters are in middle school (12 years old). Lacey Unger-Ware (yes, an unfortunate name) is a pretty average, not-too-popular girl at school. She has a close, supportive family and a loyal best friend.  However, she envies the new girl and cheerleader, Paige, who shot to super-popularity in record time.  Through a series of magical events, Lacey must act as a fairy godmother to Paige or both girls' future dreams will not come true. But why would Paige, who seems almost perfect, need a fairy godmother?
I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.  I will be sharing The Glitter Trap with my 5th grade daughter. Children who love stories of fairy tales, magic, friendship and glitter will love this book.

Young Adult Graphic Novel
by Vera Brosgol
I had originally thought that this books was a middle grade book, but it is VERY YA. It is a bit spooky and filled with teen drama. I didn't love the fact that the main character 
smoked, but I did like the book. 

 Currently Listening

by Laurie Halse Anderson
LOVING this book.  
Such a sad story, beautifully told. 

Molly and I have abandoned Splendors and Glooms for now.  
Just too "heavy".  We may go back to it someday. 

Thank you for reading my post. 
Please share what you are reading!

Click to view a recent post: 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Our Wonder-ful Journey Comes to a Close

This week our classes finished reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio (a bit tearfully I might add).  We all enjoyed reading this book together throughout the winter.  Reading about Auggie's difficulties created rich and important classroom discussions about kindness, bullying and acceptance.  

It was fun to watch the students fall in love with this book.  It seemed like each week, more and more students came to school with their own copy to follow along or read ahead.  They carried the books around like trophies. Some even wrote their last name along the pages just like I do.

I often overheard students talking about Auggie amongst themselves.  Slowly, he became part of our classroom community. They reacted to his mistreatment with personal outrage, as though it were happening to a class member.  They reacted to his successes just as strongly, with cheers and happy tears.  

As a culminating activity, we had students write about what makes each of them a wonder. It was heartwarming to see what kind words can do.  I watched their faces beam as they read the kind words their classmates had to say about them.

Reading Wonder has made our year together better.  It created a bond through a beautiful common experience.  They will be able to discuss this book together for years to come.  I would like to thank R.J. Palacio for giving this amazing book to us.  It was truly a gift.

See my review of Wonder here.
Read more about our Wonder-ful experience:
Entry #1
Entry #2

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Am I Reading This Monday? March 11

Please visit the amazing blog: Teach Mentor Texts 
who host this terrific meme each week. 

Here is what I read this week. 
Click on the titles to go to the book on Goodreads.com. 

Picture Books 

by David Covell        
An odd couple friendship.   
Kind of cute, but sort of strange.

Step Gently Out 
by Helen Frost
Beautiful close-up pictures of insects in a wonderful poem

by Mary Ann Hoberman                                    
Fun poems to read aloud. 

Graphic Novel

by Siena Cherson Siegel
I really enjoyed this autobiographical graphic novel 
about the life of a young ballerina. 

Currently Listening

by Grace Lin

Still Reading

by Kate Messner

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Very slowly reading aloud with my daughter

What Are You Reading?


Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Monday What Are You Reading- March 4

Please visit the amazing blog: Teach Mentor Texts 
who host this terrific meme each week. 

Here is what I read this week. 
Click on the titles to go to the book on Goodreads.com.

Picture Books

Elsie's Bird by Jane Yolen
Really sweet book about a single father and his daughter that moved to Nebraska to become homesteaders.

Find a Cow Now by Janet Stevens
Cute story about a herding dog that 
needs to find a cows to herd, 
but doesn't know what a cow is. 

Spuds by Karen Hesse
Nice picture book about a family with a hard-working single mom and her 3 children.  The children try to help mom by picking potatoes at a field that doesn't belong to them.

by Matthea Harvey
Just silly and adorable!

by Devin Scillian
Very funny.  About a goldfish who gets many new tenants to his bowl, which becomes too crowded. I read this to my daughters 5th grade class and they really liked it.

Graphic Novel
Binky The Space Cat by Ashley Spires
My first Binky book.  Very simple writing with 
entertaining pictures.  Cat lovers would enjoy this book. 

Middle Grade Book
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
A US adaptation of an Australian book. 
Extremely silly, quick to read. 
Click here for my Goodreads review.
Young Adult Novel
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Interesting YA novel.  
Click here to read my review on Goodreads. 
Finished Listening
by High Lofting

 Currently Reading
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Hide and Seek by Kate Messner

What Are You Reading?

Check out my review of Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl here.