Librarians’ Choices 2007
1. Abdel-Fattah, Randa. 2007. DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? New York: Orchard. ISBN 0439919479 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
2. Alexie, Sherman. 2007. THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013680 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]
3. Anderson, Laurie Halse. 2007. TWISTED. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670061013 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
4. Banks, Kate. 2007. LENNY’S SPACE. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374345754 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
5. Barasch, Lynne. 2007. HIROMI’S HANDS. New York: Lee & Low Books Inc. ISBN 9781584302759 [Suggested Grade Levels K – 3]
6. Bateman, Donna M. 2007. DEEP IN THE SWAMP. Ill. by Brian Lies. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781570915963 [Suggested Grade Levels K – 2]
7. Bingham, Kelly. 2007. SHARK GIRL. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 0763632074 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
8. Bishop, Nic. 2007. SPIDERS. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439877563 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]
9. Brande, Robin. 2007. EVOLUTION, ME AND OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE. New York: Knopf. ISBN 9780375843495 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
10. Castellucci, Cecil. 2007. THE PLAIN JANES. Ill. By Jim Rugg, Lettering by Jared K. Fletcher. New York: DC Comics. ISBN 978-14012-115-8 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
11. Choldenko, Gennifer. 2007. LOUDER, LILI. Ill. By S. D. Schindler. New York: Putnam. ISBN 978-0-399-24252-6 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
12. Clements, Andrew. 2007. NO TALKING. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416909835 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
13. Coffelt, Nancy. 2007. FRED STAYS WITH ME! Ill. By Tricia Tusa. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316882699 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
14. Crowe, Ellie. 2007. SURFER OF THE CENTURY: THE LIFE OF DUKE KAHANAMOKU. Ill. by Richard Waldrep. New York: Lee & Low. ISBN 1584302763 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
15. Crutcher, Chris. 2007. DEADLINE. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060850890 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
16. Curtis, Christopher Paul. 2007. ELIJAH OF BUXTON. New York: Scholastic: ISBN 0439023440 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
17. Day, Karen. 2007. TALL TALES. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375837739. [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
18. Downham, Jenny. 2007. BEFORE I DIE. New York: David Fickling Books. ISBN 9780385751551 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
19. Draper, Sharon. 2007. FIRE FROM THE ROCK. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525477204 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
20. Ellis, Ann Dee. 2007. THIS IS WHAT I DID. New York: Little Brown & Co. ISBN 0316013633. [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
21. Fletcher, Susan. 2007. DADBLAMED UNION ARMY COW. Kimberly Bulcken Root. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 076362263X [Suggested Grade Levels K-4]
22. Florian, Douglas. 2007. COMETS, STARS, THE MOON, AND MARS: SPACE POEMS AND PAINTINGS. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 9780152053727 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
23. Frank, John. 2007. HOW TO CATCH A FISH. Ill. by Peter Sylvada. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 9781596431638. [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
24. Freedman, Russell. 2007. WHO WAS FIRST?: DISCOVERING THE AMERICAS. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 9780618663910 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
25. Freymann, Saxton, et. al. 2007. KNOCK, KNOCK! New York: Dial. ISBN 9780803731523 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
26. Gifford, Peggy. 2007. MOXY MAXWELL DOES NOT LOVE STUART LITTLE. Photographs by Valorie Fisher. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375839153 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-4]
27. Giles, Gail. 2007. RIGHT BEHIND YOU. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316166362 [Suggested Grade Levels 8-12]
28. Gravett, Emily. 2007. ORANGE PEAR APPLE BEAR. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 139781416939993 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre-K – 2]
29. Gutman, Dan. 2007. CASEY BACK AT BAT. Ill. by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN: 978-0060560256 [Suggested Grade Levels 2 – up]
30. Hale, Shannon. 2007. BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS. New York: Bloomsbury. ISBN 1599900513 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
31. Harrington, Janice. 2007. THE CHICKEN-CHASING QUEEN OF LAMAR COUNTY. Ill. by Shelley Jackson. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374312510. [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
32. Harrison, Mette Ivie. 2007. THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0061131873 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
33. Hemphill, Stephanie. 2007. YOUR OWN, SYLVIA; A VERSE PORTRAIT OF SYLVIA PLATH. Knopf. ISBN 9780375837999 [Suggested Grade Levels 8-12]
34. High, Linda Oatman. 2007. THE CEMETERY KEEPERS OF GETTYSBURG. Ill. by Laura Francesca Filippucci. New York: Walker. ISBN 0802780946 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
35. Holm, Jennifer L. 2007. MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF: A YEAR TOLD THROUGH STUFF. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 9780689852817 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-7]
36. Holt, Kimberly Willis. 2007. PIPER REED: NAVY BRAT. Ill. by Christine Davenier. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805081976 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
37. Jenkins, Steve. 2007. DOGS AND CATS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618507672. [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]
38. Johnson, Tony. 2007. BONE BY BONE BY BONE. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781596431133 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
39. Jolin, Paula. 2007. IN THE NAME OF GOD. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 159643211X [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]
40. Keenan, Shelia. 2007. ANIMALS IN THE HOUSE: A HISTORY OF PETS AND PEOPLE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN: 9780439692861 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
41. Kerley, Barbara. 2007. GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH. Ill. by Banyai, Istan. New York, NY: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439802031 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-8]
42. Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. 2007. THE TOP JOB. Ill. by Robert Neubecker. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525477891 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
43. Kinney, Jeff. 2007. THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID. New York: Abrams. ISBN 0810993139 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
44. Kirkpatrick, Katherine. 2007. THE SNOW BABY: THE ARCTIC CHILDHOOD OF ROBERT E. PEARY'S DARING DAUGHTER. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 0823419738. [Suggested Grade Levels 4-6]
45. Kwon, Yoon-duck. 2007. MY CAT COPIES ME. La Jolla, CA: Kane/Miller. ISBN 9781933605265 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre-K - 2]
46. LaFevers, R.L. 2007. THEODOSIA AND THE SERPENTS OF CHAOS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618756384 [Suggested Grade Levels 3 – 6]
47. Lester, Julius. 2007. CUPID. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 015202056X [Suggested Grade Levels 10-12]
48. Levine, Ellen. 2007. HENRY’S FREEDOM BOX. Ill. by Nelson, Kadir. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439777339 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre-K - 5]
49. Lurie, April. 2007. BROTHERS, BOYFRIENDS, & OTHER CRIMINAL MINDS. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780385731249 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-9]
50. Lyga, Barry. 2007. BOY TOY. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618723935 [Suggested Grade Levels 10-12]
51. Marcus, Leonard. S. 2007. PASS IT DOWN: FIVE PICTURE BOOK FAMILIES MAKE THEIR MARK. New York: Walker. ISBN 9780802796004 [Suggested Grade Levels 2 – adult]
52. McCaughrean, Geraldine. 2007. THE WHITE DARKNESS. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060890353 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
53. McG, Shane. 2007. TENNIS, ANYONE? Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. ISBN 0822569019 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
54. Miller, Sarah. 2007. MISS SPITFIRE: REACHING HELEN KELLER. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1416925422 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
55. Moses, Sheila P. 2007. SALLIE GAL AND THE WALL-A-KEE MAN. Ill. by Niki Daly. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439908900 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
56. Murdock, Catherine. 2007. THE OFF SEASON. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618686959 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
57. Noyes, Deborah. 2007. RED BUTTERFLY. Ill. by Sophie Blackall. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763624002 [Suggested Grade Levels K – 3]
58. Park, Linda Sue. 2007. TAP DANCING ON THE ROOF; SIJO (POEMS). Ill. by Istvan Banyai. New York: Clarion. ISBN 9780618234837 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
59. Paulsen, Gary. 2007. LAWN BOY. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385746861 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 7]
60. Peet, Mal. 2007. TAMAR. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763634889 [Suggested Grade Levels 8-12]
61. Pendziwol, Jean E. 2007. MARJA’S SKIS. Ill. by Jirina Marton. Toronto: Groundwood Books. ISBN 9780888996749 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
62. Pennypacker, Sara. 2007. THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE. Ill. by Marla Frazee. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9780786838707 [Suggested Reading Levels 2-5]
63. Perkins, Mitali. 2007. RICKSHAW GIRL. Ill. by Jamie Hogan. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580893084 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
64. Peterson, Cris. 2007. CLARABELLE: MAKING MILK AND SO MUCH MORE. Photos by David R. Lundquist. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781590783108 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]
65. Prelutsky, Jack. 2007. GOOD SPORTS: RHYMES ABOUT RUNNING, JUMPING, THROWING, AND MORE. Ill. by Chris Raschka. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375837000 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]
66. Resau, Laura. 2007. RED GLASS. New York: Random House. ISBN
9780385734660 [Suggested Grade Levels 6 - 12]
67. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse & Tom Lichtenheld. 2007. THE OK BOOK. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780067752559 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
68. Sabuda, Robert and Matthew Reinhart. 2007. MEGA-BEASTS. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 978763622305 [All ages]
69. Sandell, Lisa Ann. 2007. SONG OF THE SPARROW. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439918480 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]
70. Schlitz, Laura Amy. 2007. GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! Ill. by Robert Byrd. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 0763615781 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-9]
71. Schmidt, Gary D. 2007. THE WEDNESDAY WARS. New York: Clarion. ISBN 0618724834 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
72. Schrag, Ariel, ed. 2007. STUCK IN THE MIDDLE: SEVENTEEN COMICS FROM AN UNPLEASANT AGE. New York: Viking. ISBN 978067062218 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-9]
73. Scott, Elaine. 2007. WHEN IS A PLANET NOT A PLANET? New York: Clarion. ISBN 9780618898329 [Suggested Grade Levels 3 – 6]
74. Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. 2007. FIRST THE EGG. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596432727 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-1]
75. Selznick, Brian. 2007. THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439813785 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-9]
76. Sharenow, Robert. 2007. MY MOTHER, THE CHEERLEADER. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061148965 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
77. Shaskan, Kathy. 2007. HOW UNDERWEAR GOT UNDER THERE: A BRIEF HISTORY. Ill. By Regan Dunnick. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525471783 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 7]
78. Shea, Bob. 2007. NEW SOCKS. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013574. [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]
79. Shusterman, Neal. 2007. UNWIND. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1416912045 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
80. Sidman, Joyce. 2007. THIS IS JUST TO SAY: POEMS OF APOLOGY AND FORGIVENESS. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618616800 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-7]
81. Sís, Peter. 2007. THE WALL: GROWING UP BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374347017 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 12]
82. Sitarski, Anita. 2007. COLD LIGHT: CREATURES, DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS THAT GLOW. Ill. by Kwon, Yoon-duck. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781590784686 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-12]
83. Siy, Alexandra. 2007. SNEEZE. Ill. by Dennis Kunkel. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781570916533 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
84. Sonnenblick, Jordan. 2007. ZEN AND THE ART OF FAKING IT. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439837071 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
85. Stead, Rebecca. 2007. FIRST LIGHT. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375840173 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 8]
86. Sullivan, George. 2007. HELEN KELLER: HER LIFE IN PICTURES. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439918152 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-8]
87. Tan, Shaun. 2007. THE ARRIVAL. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439895294 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-12]
88. Tarshis, Lauren. 2007. EMMA-JEAN LAZARUS FELL OUT OF A TREE. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780803731646 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
89. Taylor, Peter Lane and Charles Nicola. 2007. THE SECRET OF THE PRIEST’S GROTTO: A HOLOCAUST SURVIVAL STORY. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben. ISBN 9781580132602 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-12]
90. Urban, Linda. 2007. A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 0152060077 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]
91. Watson, C.G. 2007. QUAD. New York: Penguin. ISBN 1595141383 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
92. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2007. BIRMINGHAM, 1963. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781590784402 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 7]
93. Wells, Rosemary. 2007. MAX COUNTS HIS CHICKENS. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780670062225 [Suggested grade level PreK – 2]
94. White, Ruth. 2007. WAY DOWN DEEP. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374382513 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
95. Willems, Mo. 2007. KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO: A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423102991 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
96. Willems, Mo. 2007. THERE IS A BIRD ON YOUR HEAD. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423106869 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2].
97. Worth, Valerie. 2007. ANIMAL POEMS. Ill. by Steve Jenkins. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0374380570 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
98. Yaccarino, Dan. 2007. EVERY FRIDAY. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805077243 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
99. Zarr, Sara. 2007. STORY OF A GIRL. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 0316014532 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
100. Zevin, Gabriel. 2007. MEMOIRS OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374349462 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
PARTICIPATING REVIEWERS: Julie Brinker, Mary D. Buckalo, Jane Claes, Susie Demarest, Cay Geisler, Janet Hilbun, Tammy Korns, Becky Laney, Rebecca McKee , Sylvia M. Vardell, Donna Woody
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Zevin, Gabriel. 2007. MEMOIRS OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374349462 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
High school junior Naomi is one of the incoming co-editors of the school newspaper and although it is summertime, she has been to school for a meeting. As she is leaving, she remembers that she has left a very expensive new cameral, so she hurries back to retrieve it. She saves the camera, but in the process, she falls on the school steps and suffers a head injury that results in amnesia. She cannot remember anything that has happened since sixth grade and has no idea why she has birth control pills, why her parents split, and why she was keeping a food diary. In fact, she wonders if “the former Naomi Porter had been, in all likelihood, a complete and total jerk, someone that I probably wouldn’t have wanted to know.”
The book is an amazing journey of self-discovery for Naomi, both discovering whom she was as well as what she has a chance to become. Sometimes funny, often poignant, and always enthralling, the story is thought-provoking and satisfying.
This is the perfect book for a high school book club in that it explores so many issues, is fast paced, has an unusual plot, and is highly entertaining.
In addition, invite those teens who’ve worked on school newspapers or yearbooks to share their experiences.
Teen readers may also find it interesting to research factual information regarding amnesia.
Books dealing with overcoming “bad breaks:”
Aronson, Sarah. HEAD CASE. ISBN 9781596432147
Bingham, Kelly. SHARK GIRL. ISBN 9780763632076
Koertge, Ron. STRAYS. ISBN 9780763627058
By Janet Hilbun
Zarr, Sara. 2007. STORY OF A GIRL. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 0316014532 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
One single moment can have a defining impact on one’s life, even if that moment happens at the young age of thirteen. When Deanna Lambert’s father caught her having sex in the backseat of a car, she had her moment. The moment that caused her father to stop looking her in the eye or speaking any real words to her, the moment that caused the other kids to refer to her as the school slut. Three years later and everything is still defined by that moment.
With the secret intention to eventually move out of the house with her brother, his girlfriend, and their baby, Deanna gets a job at Picasso’s Pizza. The same pizza place where Tommy, the boy from the backseat of the car, works. The moments spent at work with Tommy, at home with her permanently angry father, and in between with her girlfriends, all help Deanna begin to take control of her life. STORY OF A GIRL is rich with heartfelt emotions, realistic characters, honest relationships, and defining moments.
Ask readers to share if they have had a defining moment in life. Additional questions could include: How did it affect you initially? How is it still affecting you? If given the opportunity, would you change the moment? What other moments stand out in your life?
Other books about teenage girls dealing with the consequences of their actions:
Reinhardt, Dana. HARMLESS. ISBN 0385746997
Wittlinger, Ellen. SANDPIPER. ISBN 1416936513
By Mary D. Buckalo
Yaccarino, Dan. 2007. EVERY FRIDAY. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805077243 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
From Dan Yaccarino’s prefatory note, we know that this picture book celebrates the special ritual he and his young son observed “every Friday”: eating at the corner diner. By telling it from his son’s point of view, he makes this a story about bonding without sentimentalizing it. Yaccarino’s cartoon-influenced style and slightly retro stylings (men wear suits or uniforms and hats; women wear dresses or pedal-pushers; and dig that beatnik with the bongo in front of the sporting goods window!) create a timeless feel. This could as easily be the story of the author and his father instead of his son—and very well might be.
The strong parental bond depicted in EVERY FRIDAY is reassuring. It allows the young boy the freedom to be excited by all the small wonders of his urban landscape—people-watching, progress at a construction site, ordering his own pancakes at the familiar diner. Yaccarino has created a tempting challenge for all families to make time to be together on a regular basis.
Ask participants to discuss their own family rituals. Do they have anything in their family that happens weekly? What special holiday rituals do their families observe?
Other books about by Dan Yaccarino:
Yaccarino, Dan. THE BIRTHDAY FISH. ISBN 978-0805074932
Yaccarino, Dan. GOOD NIGHT, MR. NIGHT. ISBN 078680579X
Yaccarino, Dan. OSWALD. ISBN 068984252X
By Julie Brinker
Worth, Valerie. 2007. ANIMAL POEMS. Ill. by Steve Jenkins. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0374380570 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
In this poetry collection, we see a new format for Valerie Worth’s free verse poetry, a large picture book illustrated in full-color art with Steve Jenkins’ distinctive collages. In addition, the focus is entirely on animals, including the spider, whale, bat, groundhog, penguin, minnow, kangaroo, porcupine, jellyfish, cockroach, gorilla, and more. These animal poems are also a wonderful introduction to Worth’s gift for description and metaphor. She incorporates factual details about each animal as well as a sense of its nature and character. With his use of textural details and his gift of capturing the subject’s essence in the deceptively simple layering of colored paper, Jenkins has created illustrations that perfectly complement these well-crafted poems.
Match Worth’s writing in Animal Poems with Douglas Florian’s wordplay in Mammalabilia (Harcourt, 2000) or other animal poetry anthologies. What factual details about animals can children glean from these poems? Gather nonfiction books about animals and contrast both the art and photographs and the poetry and prose. Guide children in discussing how information about animals is communicated through words and pictures. Children could create their own collage or cut-paper animal pictures and write or choose animal poems to accompany them.
Other collections of animal poetry:
Harley, Avis. LEAP INTO POETRY. ISBN156397438X
Lewis, J. Patrick. A HIPPOPOTAMUSN’T: AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS. ISBN 0803705182
Prelutsky, Jack. (Ed.) THE BEAUTY OF THE BEAST. ISBN 067987058X
By Sylvia M. Vardell
Willems, Mo. 2007. THERE IS A BIRD ON YOUR HEAD. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423106869 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
Piggie and Elephant are back again and Gerald the elephant is discovering that there is something worse than having a bird on his head—and that is having two birds on his head. The question is—can his best friend Piggie rescue him?
Piggie and Elephant continue to delight emerging readers in Mo Willems’ latest addition to their continuing saga. Told with a marvelous sparcity of language and simple illustrations, THERE IS A BIRD ON YOUR HEAD is a pleasure to share with a child or have a child share with you.
Whether for a group read aloud or shared time with one or two special children, the Pig and Elephant adventures are fun to share. Use in a group setting or at home with those students who are just beginning to become independent readers or with those children to whom you want to introduce the magic of the printed word. Read aloud with a small stuffed bird on your own head, just for fun!
Other Piggie and Elephant books by Mo Willems:
I AM INVITED TO A PARTY. ISBN 9781423106876
MY FRIEND IS SAD. ISBN 9781423102953
TODAY I WILL FLY. ISBN 9781423102953
By Janet Hilbun
Willems, Mo. 2007. KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO: A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423102991 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
Trixie is excited about starting Pre-K and showing off her one-of-a-kind Knuffle Bunny to her teacher and her new friends, but when she gets to school, she discovers that Sonya also has a Knuffle Bunny, just like hers. The two girls are instant enemies, not even agreeing on how to pronounce “knuffle,” and the bunnies are put in time-out. Finally, school is over and the girls and their bunnies go home, but once she is in bed, Trixie realizes she has the wrong Knuffle Bunny and a middle of the night exchange is made. The two girls and two bunnies are both happy again.
Willems, Trixie, and Knuffle Bunny are once again delightful in a romp that both parents and kids can relate to and enjoy. My story? A pink “Baby Baby” stuffed doll left in the airport in Amarillo, Texas, a very unhappy two year old, and finally an exact replacement doll that was never quite as loved, but was almost as good.
For a preschool or kindergarten class, children can bring their favorite “lovies” or “transitional objects” and read both of the KNUFFLE BUNNY stories. For older students, even middle schoolers, share the book and have them write stories of a favorite toy they remember from their “childhoods.” Have them share their stories or publish them in a class book. For older students, compare with THE VELEVETEEN RABBIT or other stories about beloved childhood toys.
Other books by Mo Willems:
DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS. ISBN 078681988X
KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE. ISBN 9780786818709
Other books about loved objects.
Henkes, Kevin. OWEN. ISBN 0688114490
Williams, Margery. THE VELVETEEN RABBIT. ISBN 9780689841347
By Janet Hilbun
White, Ruth. 2007. WAY DOWN DEEP. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374382513 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
Ruby June has lived in Way Down Deep, West Virginia for ten years. She showed up on the steps of the courthouse when she was three years-old and unable to tell anyone where she came from. The whole town adopts her, but she lives at the boarding house with the shy Miss Arbutus Ward, loved and cherished by everyone. Peopled with eccentric characters, Way Down Deep is a community of caring people who accept each other as they are and even extend their kindness and empathy to a clumsy bank robber.
Ruby June is the heart of the story, the orphan that, although loved, still wonders about her own mother whom she cannot remember. The town extends their generosity to the depressed bank robber and he is able to provide the clue that reveals Ruby’s past. She acts on this new knowledge because she must know what happened to her parents and why she ended up in Way Down Deep.
Ruby June shares the stage with the town itself. The book is filled with interesting characters who have small secrets that we are curious about. The kindness that comes from the community is enough to motivate one of the hateful people to try to let kindness change them. There is a touch of magical realism about the book, but it feels right – an organic extension of this wonderful place.
Compare this novel to other books by Ruth White. Does she use magical realism in any other novels? Why or why not?
Books by the same author:
White, Ruth. BELLE PRATER’S BOY. ISBN 9780374306687
White, Ruth. TADPOLE. ISBN 9780374310028
By Cay Geisler
Wells, Rosemary. 2007. MAX COUNTS HIS CHICKENS. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780670062225 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK–2]
Max and Ruby are back in this Easter adventure and large format counting book. The Easter bunny has hidden pink marshmallow chicks and the bunny brother and sister are hunting high and low with Ruby having all the luck. Max can’t seem to keep up with Ruby, but he is making a mess while on the hunt. Don’t count Max out, as he gets the last laugh. Each brightly colored page shows Ruby finding the goodies with the corresponding numeral and a line-up of the pink prizes as well as Max’s messes. Young readers can empathize with Max as he tries to keep up with his older sister. Once again Wells has captured in a warm and simple way the antics of the rabbit siblings. This is a counting book sure to please Max and Ruby fans.
Compare counting books. How are they alike? How are they different? Look at each book’s purpose. Allow the children to work together to create their own counting books.
Other counting books:
Anno, Mitsumasa. ANNO’S COUNTING BOOK. ISBN 9780690012873
Ehlert, Lois. FISH EYES: A BOOK YOU COUNT ON. ISBN 9780152162818
Walsh, Ellen Stoll. MOUSE COUNT. ISBN 9780152002237
Selected Max & Ruby Books by Rosemary Wells
BUNNY MONEY. ISBN 9780140567502
MAX’S DRAGON SHIRT. ISBN 9780140567274
MAX & RUBY IN PANDORA’S BOX. ISBN 9780140564150
RUBY’S BEAUTY SHOP. ISBN 9780142401941
BUNNY PARTY. ISBN 9780142501627
By Jane H. Claes
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2007. BIRMINGHAM, 1963. Honesdale, PA: Boyd Mills. ISBN 9781590784402 [Suggested Grade Levels 4–7]
Carole Boston Weatherford follows up DEAR MR. ROSENWALD with a series of poems used to tell the true story of the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing of 1963. She uses a fictional 10-year-old witness to tell the story of the day that four young girls died in an explosion planted at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Archival photos are paired with free verse to give young readers a true sense of a time they never knew. A hooded Ku Klux Klansman stands with his rifle shouldered while the accompanying text reads, “The day I turned ten someone tucked a bundle of dynamite under the church steps, then lit the fuse of hate.” Powerful, but not overly graphic photos and text are well suited for younger readers, and the subject matter is presented sensitively without becoming maudlin. Small mementos serve as a photographic background on the text pages to remind readers what a 10-year-old should really be thinking about; a heart shaped locket, a Barbie doll jacket, a ball and jacks, rather than the horror that was Birmingham in 1963. Poignant memoriam pages feature pictures of each of the girls who died, with characteristics of their all-too-short lives.
Have students create a collage piece using magazine or newspaper clippings of a current traumatic event and write a short poem to go with it.
Other books by Weatherford:
DEAR MR. ROSENWALD. ISBN 0439495229
FREEDOM ON THE MENU, THE GREENSBORO SIT-INS. ISBN 0803728603
By Tammy Korns
Watson, C.G. 2007. QUAD. New York: Penguin. ISBN 1595141383 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
QUAD has multiple narrators and a non-chronological framework. The premise is simple: one of these students, one of the narrators' classmates, has decided to take revenge on classmates. Someone is out for vengeance and they've brought a gun. How does this become complex? Each narrator, each circle of friends, has a motive. All of them are angry, most are bitter. All see high school labels and social hierarchies as evil for the most part. The "bad guys," the popular kids, come across as true villains. While not all narrators are equally likable, most are portrayed as human—fallible, but likable just the same. The suspense of who lives, who dies, and the unveiling of the identity of the shooter and victim(s) will keep the reader hooked until the very end.
QUAD dissects the minute details of high school society and examines the concept of cause and effect showing how daily interactions can be perceived and received either negatively or positively. Actions have consequences as this book shows. Watson’s characters are authentic because of their flaws—their weaknesses. She has a gift for capturing teen humanity at its best and worst.
One of the messages of QUAD is that words—that actions—have consequences. Choose an example from the book and show how that one act had an impact on another person.
Other books about troubled teens:
Alexie, Sherman. THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN. ISBN 0316013684
Asher, Jay. THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. ISBN 1595141715
Garsee, Jeannine. BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN. ISBN 159990022X
Harazin, S.A. BLOOD BROTHERS. ISBN 038573364X
Zarr, Sara. STORY OF A GIRL. ISBN 0316014532
By Becky Laney
Urban, Linda. 2007. A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 0152060077 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]
A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT is a gem of a book. Our heroine, Zoe Elias, is ten-going-on eleven. She has one dream--a very big dream. She wants to play the piano. The first line of the novel: “I was supposed to play the piano. The piano is a beautiful instrument . . . Elegant. Dignified. A piano is glamorous. Sophisticated. Worldly. It is a wonderful thing to play the piano.” Now here is her description of her reality, “I play the organ. A wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag organ. The Perfectone D-60.” Zoe’s life is far from perfect. She wants to play piano, but she's stuck with an organ. She wants to be playing real music. She's stuck with beginning level songbooks like “Television Themesongs” and “Hits from the Seventies.” Not only are her musical dreams not taking off, but she’s losing her friends as well.
A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT is a book about hopes and dreams, family, and finding friends in unexpected places. Linda Urban has created memorable, authentic characters. The book has it all--moments of happiness, frustration, disappointment, loneliness, and joy-- and plenty of humor.
Zoe has a dream to play the piano. What is your dream? What are you willing to do to make that dream come true?
Choose a scene from the novel and write a monologue or dialogue to perform.
Other books about kids with big dreams:
Blume, Lesley M.M. THE RISING STAR OF RUSTY NAIL. ISBN 0375835245
Kennedy, Marlane. ME AND THE PUMPKIN QUEEN. ISBN 0061140228
Kerley, Barbara. GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH. ISBN 0439802032
Murphy, Pat. THE WILD GIRLS. ISBN 067006226X
By Becky Laney
Taylor, Peter Lane and Charles Nicola. 2007. THE SECRET OF THE PRIEST’S GROTTO: A HOLOCAUST SURVIVAL STORY. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben. ISBN 9781580132602 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-12]
There are many amazing stories about the courage and resourcefulness of Jews and their protectors during the Holocaust and this book chronicles one of the most amazing. Set in the Ukraine, the book tells the story of a group of families who spent a year and a half living in caves directly under the feet of the patrolling Nazi soldiers. When it became obvious that they would be sent to concentration camps, members of eight families found safety in a maze of underground caves and lived there for almost a year and a half. Almost caught once, most of the group survived and only left the caves after the Nazis were defeated.
The story was largely a rumor until the co-author Nicola, a caving expert, began to ask questions about some finds he had made in an earlier exploration of the cave—old shoes, buttons, a millstone, and stone walls. It took him over ten years to put the pieces together and to track down the survivors who shared with him their amazing stories.
This book would be appropriate for units on the holocaust or on survival. For younger students, it could be paired with Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET for a survival unit or with Lois Lowry’s NUMBER THE STARS for a holocaust unit. For older students, use with THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK or THE HIDING PLACE.
Other survival tales:
Frank, Anne. THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL. ISBN 9780553296983
Lowry, Lois. NUMBER THE STARS. ISBN 9780395510605
Paulsen, Gary. HATCHET. ISBN 9781416925088
Ten Boom, Corrie. THE HIDING PLACE. ISBN 9780800794057
Zusak, Marcus. THE BOOK THIEF. ISBN 9780375831003
By Janet Hilbun
Tarshis, Lauren. 2007. EMMA-JEAN LAZARUS FELL OUT OF A TREE. Ill. by Kristin Smith. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780803731646 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
Emma-Jean’s quirkiness is observed early on. The first page explains her awareness of middle school criers and that “…Emma-Jean had no intention in participating in such a barbaric and unhygienic activity.” When she is taunted by classmates about being “strange,” she and her mom look it up and find the second definition to be “extraordinary, remarkable, singular.” They agree this is an accurate description of Emma-Jean, and furthermore, a compliment.
Even though Emma-Jean is an outsider, she is a keen observer. When Colleen is crying in the bathroom, Emma-Jean knows this is not her style and something must be wrong. In her logical, mathematical way, she sets out to solve the problem, even though the straightforward path includes forgery and deception. Through the process and fallout, both Emma-Jean and Colleen go through a ‘self actualization’ because of the experience.
The mother’s understated but skilled support for her daughter and the intertwined relationships of the characters give an enlightening lesson on appreciating the gifts of others, even those who are different than ourselves.
Readers can discuss pivotal moments in their lives that changed them.
Other books about independent girls solving problems:
Fitzhugh, Louise. HARRIET THE SPY. ISBN 9780440416791
Hannigan, Katherine. IDA B. ISBN 0060730242
By Susie Demarest
Tan, Shaun. 2007. THE ARRIVAL. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439895294 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-12]
Tan’s sophisticated picture book is nearly a graphic novel in its elaborate in-depth visual story—without any text whatsoever. It received numerous awards when originally published in Australia and has a premise and execution that crosses all cultures and boundaries. The idea of the book focuses on the experience of a newcomer or immigrant in a strange land. Everything seems weird and awesome and Tan depicts a world that has familiar smokestacks and crowds, but is not an identifiable place. How he creates a sense of time and place that feels familiar, and yet also makes every reader feel uncomfortable and lost is quite remarkable. The various shades of sepia colors, and the way he breaks up the space for illustrations in various sized boxes, all work together to keep us turning the pages, immersed in this visual journey, full of tension and anticipation. The book blends the fantastical and the realistic with confidence and elegance. There will be much to pore over and discuss with readers of all ages in this masterpiece.
Readers who want to take this story further may enjoy creating their own multi-media adaptation with slides of favorite scenes and/or a musical soundtrack. How might they convey the dream-like tone of this story through music, sound effects, or additional selected visuals?
Other books illustrated by Shaun Tan:
Tan, Shaun. THE LOST THING. ISBN 1894965108
Crew, Gary. THE VIEWER. ISBN 1894965027
Other sophisticated picture books about immigration:
Sis, Peter. THE WALL. ISBN 0374347018
By Sylvia M. Vardell
Sullivan, George. 2007. HELEN KELLER: HER LIFE IN PICTURES. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439918152 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-8]
Most biographies rely on text to tell the story of a life in words. Biographies for younger readers often rely on illustrations—the more brightly colored, the better—to give life back to the life being presented. This biography of the indomitable Helen Keller is organized around photographs, many published for the first time, that show her spirit and intelligence even as they clearly document her lack of sight.
Photographs, depicting Miss Keller’s parents, her childhood home, and of Helen at various stages of her life, appear on each page, leaving less than a third of each page for text. This generous sizing allows the reader to study the details and contrasts of each picture, and coincidentally makes the book easier to share with a larger group. Each page number is represented in Braille as well as Arabic numerals; extensive back matter includes a chronology, bibliography, photo credits, index, Braille chart, and sources for further reading. This is an excellent introduction to the life of Helen Keller.
The name “Helen Keller” is presented in raised Braille lettering on the book jacket; have the participants feel this and discuss it. Where else have they encountered Braille lettering?
If you feel comfortable with the activity, pair children for a “blind walk” with one person guiding his/her blindfolded partner. Switch roles, then discuss.
Other books about Helen Keller:
Dolan, Sean. HELEN KELLER. ISBN 0516252690
Gibson, William. THE MIRACLE WORKER. ISBN 0743457587
Miller, Sarah Elizabeth. MISS SPITFIRE. ISBN 9781416925422
By Julie Brinker
Stead, Rebecca. 2007. FIRST LIGHT. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375840173 [Suggested Grade Levels 4–8]
Peter is an inquisitive 11-year-old who accompanies his parents on a scientific exploration to Greenland. While exploring, he finds a circle of twisting scarlet strands imbedded in the glacier. The strands resemble a drawing his mother has made of the mitochondrial DNA that they are supposedly searching for, but Peter wonders if his mother is really searching for something else.
Thea is a headstrong 12-year-old whose ancestors were nearly driven to extinction who has only known life at Gracehope, a settlement built entirely under the ice in Greenland. Thea’s mother Mai died trying to reach the surface, and the story surrounding her death is altered to keep others in Gracehope from knowing the truth. When Thea is given a map, she discovers that a tunnel exists, and embarks on a quest to reach the surface.
Suspense builds as the chapters alternate between Peter and Thea as they get closer and closer to the entrance of the tunnel, where they finally meet. Stead explores the concept of fear of outsiders, and the price paid by a society that lets history get lost and lets fear control their actions. FIRST LIGHT is a suspenseful, intriguing story about a hidden society living in fear of the outside world, and readers will be glued to the pages leading up to a satisfying twist that connects Peter and Thea.
Encourage a writing exercise where readers create a fictional society existing in an isolated environment – what would their lives be like?
Other polar region adventures:
McKernan, Victoria. SHACKLETON’S STOWAWAY. ISBN 0375826912
Taylor, Theodore. ICE DRIFT. ISBN 0152050817
White, Andrea. SURVIVING ANTARCTICA: REALITY TV 2083. ISBN 0060554541
By Tammy Korns
Sonnenblick, Jordan. 2007. ZEN AND THE ART OF FAKING IT. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439837071 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]
Nerdy new kid San Lee experiences new-found popularity and attracts the attention of cute girl Woody when he reinvents himself as a Zen master after he arrives in his new middle school. However, San must face the music when his classmates discover his fabrications.
Sonnenblick creates an identifiable plot, sympathetic characters, and a realistic ending wrapped up with a strong dose of humor. Middle schoolers looking for their place in the world may identify with San’s attempts to find a place in his and understand the fallibility of his efforts at self-discovery.
Readers may want to study the art of Zen and learn more about the history of this Buddhist tradition of meditation and study.
Other humorous books about middle school boys:
Mackey, Weezie Kerr. THROWING LIKE A GIRL. ISBN 0761453423
Yoo, David. GIRLS FOR BREAKFAST. ISBN 0385731922
By Donna Woody
Siy, Alexandra. 2007. SNEEZE. Ill. by Dennis Kunkel. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781570916533 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
Ah – Ah - Achoo! From the first tickle of the nose to the mighty explosion of the sneeze, Siy describes in excruciating detail what happens all along the way. The labeled microphotography keeps the reader engaged with the complexity of the subject. Siy alternates between simple almost lyrical text to capture a younger audience, to explicit scientific explanations of each action taken by the body during a sneeze. The first part describes and illustrates nine possible scenarios of coming in contact with irritants – either physical or allergen and the corresponding micrograph with a fact about the specific irritant. The second half starts by defining a sneeze.
Starting with the neuron, defining its parts and how it’s connected to the central nervous system, continuing the path of the signals back and forth through the spinal cord, Siy takes us on the journey of the sneeze. This book made it onto ‘The World’s Grossest Booklist’, and a wide range of ages will be intrigued by the treatment of this topic with the contrasting black background setting off both text and pictures.
Make a ‘Did You Know’ Poster about sneezing.
Explore microphotography in art. The Web site http://www.denniskunkel.com has an image library in thirteen different science categories including bacteria, insects, and protozoa.
Other books by the same author:
MOSQUITO BITE. ISBN 9781570915918
FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON. ISBN 0613493168
By Susie Demarest
Sitarski, Anita. 2007. COLD LIGHT: CREATURES, DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS THAT GLOW. Ill. by Kwon, Yoon-duck. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781590784686 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-12]
This book engages both children and adults with captivating photos and intriguing facts about the history and future of cold light. This is the chemistry that enables various rocks, fish, and some insects give off light without heat.
Sitarski conveys more than the facts about luminescence. She also depicts the way scientists evolved in their process of researching cold light from their first mistaken ideas about this phenomena to current information, inventions and a teaser as to what impact it may have on our very near future. Initially, an Italian scientist tried to make gold from a stone, but it glowed in the dark, instead. Through observation of a glowing chicken, scientist Robert Boyle began research into luminescence. Other scientists observed the “glow” of creatures under the sea and the research continued to include genetics, biochemistry and electronics. Information boxes, the bold pictures, and the easy to read text make for a book to share with everyone who has ever been a “twinkle bug” collector.
Identify the things that have cold light that are observable in home and school environments. Or work with children to research the inventions mentioned in the book, such as the use of cold light in medicine and car lights.
Other picture books dealing with science research:
Jenkins, Steve. LIVING COLOR. ISBN 9780618708970
Sayre, April Pulley. SECRETS OF SOUND. ISBN 9780618015146
By Susie Demarest
Sís, Peter. 2007. THE WALL: GROWING UP BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374347017 [Suggested Grade
Sís presents a riveting autobiographical narrative about a young child growing up in a Communist controlled country. Spare in text and using pen and ink drawings highlighted with red, the author imparts a fable in graphic form. Journey with the author as he portrays what it was like for a child who liked to draw, wear proudly his Young Pioneer red scarf, and believe what he was told to believe. The inevitable questioning comes about in his teens when he discovers the Western World including the Beach Boys. The story unfolds through the use of storyboards, timelines, and personal photos all mixed together to reveal the intensity of the author’s journey. The book requires time to explore and appreciate the detail of the drawings and illustration. Younger readers will likely require an adult to help explain some of the events depicted. Winner of the Sibert Medal and a Caldecott Honor.
By the author’s own admission, he likes to study people who dared to question authority. Compile other books he has written and explore the theme of daring to question in each subject’s life.
Other books written and illustrated by Peter Sís:
STARRY MESSENGER: GALILEO GALILEI. ISBN 978037440272
THE TREE OF LIFE: A BOOK DEPICTING THE LIFE OF CHARLES
DARWIN: NATURALIST, GEOLOGIST, & THINKER. ISBN 9780374456283
FOLLOW THE DREAM: THE STORY OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
TIBET: THROUGH THE RED BOX. ISBN 9780374375522
By Jane H. Claes
Sidman, Joyce. 2007. THIS IS JUST TO SAY: POEMS OF APOLOGY AND FORGIVENESS. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618616800 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-7]
Apologizing to friends and family is difficult for young and old alike. Mrs. Merz thinks that her sixth-grade students need to learn how to do just that, so she assigns her students to write apologies in poetic form. The result is a class collection of poems that expresses sorrow for things trivial (stealing a hunk of from the middle of a pan of freshly-baked brownies) and things more serious (upsetting a father so much that he leaves home). Paired with the recipients’ responses, also written as poetry, this set of verses becomes an entertaining and thoughtful take on forgiveness.
Overall, the scrap-book style illustrations help maintain a light mood throughout the apologies and responses. In the end readers feel hopeful for the classmates. The communications have helped to resolve hard feelings and have helped to build relationships. Upon finishing this collection, one should find that crafting the next apology is just a bit easier.
Reflective writing comes easy after reading this book. Readers may want to construct their own poems of apology and regret. Or they can choose one of the apologies, and write a different response.
Examine historical misdeeds and public apologies. Discuss how forgiveness has played a role in history, in politics, in social settings.
Poetry books with multiple voices or different perspectives:
Grimes, Nikki. DANITRA BROWN LEAVES TOWN. ISBN 0688131565
Thomas, Joyce Carol. A MOTHER’S HEART, A DAUGHTER’S LOVE: POEMS FOR US TO SHARE.. ISBN 0060296496
Whipple, Laura. IF THE SHOE FITS: VOICES FROM CINDERELLA. ISBN 0689840705
By Rebecca McKee
Shusterman, Neal. 2007. UNWIND. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1416912045 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
Imagine living in a world where—if you're a teenager—your life is constantly in danger. If you anger your parents just one time too many, you could be on the next bus out of town heading to a Harvest camp or the "chop shop" as it's called in slang. Your organs—every single part of you, stripped away and “donated” to make someone else's life better. This scenario is about to become terrifyingly real to three teenagers. UNWIND by Neal Shusterman is dystopia at its best. Connor and his friends are born into a new world, one set after the Heartland Wars. The fight was between people in the pro-life camp and those in the pro-choice camp. The compromise? The Bill of Life, which states “human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively “abort'” a child…on the condition that the child's life doesn't “technically” end. (Prologue/1) Now three teens must fight to survive to the age of eighteen.
Told through many narrators, UNWIND is a suspenseful, fast-paced read. While the premise is fascinating in and of itself, Shusterman manages to make this story resonate with strong characters.
Discuss the ethics of “The Bill of Life” and its ongoing implications regarding the value of life and its impact on Shusterman’s society.
Script a fan video for the novel. How would you “sell” this book to others?
Hautman, Pete. RASH. 068969045
Lott, Tim. FEARLESS. 0763636371
Malley, Gemma. THE DECLARATION. 1599901196
Westerfeld, Scott. EXTRAS. 1416951179
By Becky Laney
Shea, Bob. 2007. NEW SOCKS. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013574. [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]
Sometimes the most pleasurable things in life are the simple things – like a new pair of socks! Likewise, the simple illustrations and frank conversational text of this exciting picture book make for a highly pleasurable reading experience. No character has ever been more fun than this bright yellow, kidney-shaped chicken with black horned-rim glasses. From “waving” the socks across the page, to descending down a slide sock-footed, to phoning the President about the new socks, the chick’s excitement over his new footwear is highly contagious for readers and listeners.
Using black, white, and three colors, the author-illustrator has created a character that speaks to the reader in a second-person style that encourages interaction with the text. The bright orange and yellow of the socks and chicken mingle distinctly with the light aqua highlights and the black-and-white text. Full-page spreads of the socks and the bird lure youngsters to the page whether reading alone or enjoying a read-aloud. Phrases like, “Orange must be my size!” and, “Hey, New Socks, I’d like you to meet someone…. Wood Floor!” delight youngsters with intended silliness. Shea has masterfully connected to children (and adults) by relating the enjoyment felt by anyone donning new clothing, and translating that enthusiasm to the page with pure fun.
To share in the chicken’s experience, readers and listeners would do well to shed their shoes and don their own sets of new socks. Waving new socks in response to portions of the book, slipping and sliding on hard surfaces, and mimicking a phone call to the President would provide great physical fun.
Other picture books about socks:
Munsch, Robert N. SMELLY SOCKS. ISBN 043964948X
Seuss, Dr. FOX IN SOCKS. ISBN 0394800389
By Rebecca McKee
Shaskan, Kathy. 2007. HOW UNDERWEAR GOT UNDER THERE: A BRIEF HISTORY. Ill. By Regan Dunnick. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525471783 [Suggested Grade Levels 4–7]
With a book flap festooned with tiny underwear, bras and panties that reads “I see London, I see France, here’s a book about UNDERPANTS!” what young reader could resist this “brief history”? Humorous illustrations coupled with straightforward text make the book factual enough to write a report, funny enough to warrant reading from cover to cover, and subtle enough to keep readers from blushing – maybe!
Shaskin divides the history of underwear into chapters detailing the why, what and how of this most unmentionable subject. Protection, warmth, modesty, cleanliness, support, shaping, exaggeration, status, making a statement, and future undies are chapter topics too intriguing to pass up. Exaggeration? Using one’s underwear to exaggerate body parts has probably not occurred to this book’s target reader, and the concept of a codpiece will no doubt enlighten. “By the time King Henry VIII came along, the codpiece was padded to enormous proportions and even decorated with jewels!” This visually appealing choice will engage, entertain, and educate readers.
Readers could search for other historical references to underclothes, and discuss which they think are most outrageous and which they would most dislike wearing.
Other fun books about unmentionables:
Goodman, Susan E. THE TRUTH ABOUT POOP. ISBN 0670036749
Harper, Charise Mericle. FLUSH!: THE SCOOP ON POOP THROUGHOUT THE AGES. ISBN 9780316010641
By Tammy Korns
Sharenow, Robert. 2007. MY MOTHER, THE CHEERLEADER. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061148965 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
New Orleans, 1960, and first grader Ruby Bridges is jeered and harassed every morning as she enters school under court-ordered integration. The group hurling the vicious racial insults every morning includes Louise’s mother Pauline, one of the “cheerleaders” of the group. When an editor from New York, Morgan Miller, comes to stay at the boarding house Pauline runs, Louise begins to see another side of the picture. She had always felt sorry for Ruby Bridges, but now she begins to really think about what she believes rather than what she feels. Things come to a head as Morgan, a Jew, and even a possible Communist, raises the ire of the Ku Klux Klan and everything Louise thought she knew about her life begins to change.
This year there have been very strong books written about school integration and the civil rights movement and several of them are included in the 2007 LIBRARIANS’ CHOICES. Sharenow, a television producer, in his first young adult novel, has focused on the roll of ordinary people in the turbulent times and presents a different point of view from most authors dealing with the subject.
Teachers are always looking for new ways to present information during Black History Month. Pairing MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER with books about Ruby Bridges or with Draper’s FIRE FROM THIS ROCK would make for an interesting lesson. Students could research school integration in their town and compare it with the fictional accounts.
Other books about school integration:
Bridges, Ruby. THROUGH MY EYES. ISBN 9780590189231
Fradin, Dennis Brindell and Judith Bloom Fradin. FIGHT ON!: MARY CHURCH TERRELL’S BATTLE FOR INTEGRATION. ISBN 9780618133499
By Janet Hilbun
Selznick, Brian. 2007. THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439813785 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-9]
Twelve year old Hugo, an orphan, lives in the walls of the Paris train station in the 1930s. He makes sure that the clocks keep running and steals enough food to survive. Hugo’s dead father, a clockmaker who worked in a museum, was obsessed with an automaton he had found and had spent his life trying to make it run again. Then one day, Hugo has a run-in with the bitter, eccentric man who runs the toy booth at the train station and meets an unusual girl and finds that their futures are inextricably combined in this satisfying and mysterious novel.
But the plot is only part of this magical book that defies categorization. It is not really a picture book, not really a graphic novel, and certainly not a traditional novel. It is a remarkable blend of narrative, illustration, and cinematic technique. It is a book that is not only read, it is experienced. In a bold and unusual move, it was awarded the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 2007.
For the many teachers and librarians who have Caldecott units each year, Selznick’s novel will add an interesting and added dimension. For high school students who are studying film and film making, this novel could bring a new perspective to the study of cinematography. On top of that, it is a good read for many ages of readers.
Other books written or illustrated by Brian Selznick:
Kerley, Barbara. THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS. ISBN 9780439114943
Selznick, Brian. THE HOUDINI BOX. ISNB 9780679814290
By Janet Hilbun
Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. 2007. FIRST THE EGG. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596432727 [Suggested Grade Levels P-K]
This deceptively simple book is about transformations of all types. From the cover art, where repeated opening, “First the,” children will revel in being able to predict the next step in each process. The words appear along with an egg in a nest created by cutting out an egg-shaped piece from the cover, revealing the white color from a chicken under the book jacket. The story comes full circle when the egg/chicken in the first pairing leads to a chicken/egg in the last pairing.
Seeger’s illustrations are richly colored yet simply shaped, with strong contrasts in color. The shape of each “first” item is determined by a cutout in the page; on the overleaf, the cutout becomes a part of an illustrated median period; the final transformation on the facing page allows the reader to flip back to the “first” illustration to discover how the final transformation was designed to show the primary color which filled in the earlier cutout. This is spectacularly shown in the middle of the book, where the green color of the caterpillar cutout transforms into a drab chrysalis, and then the brilliance of a butterfly with just a hint of green in its wings.
Illustrate your own pairs of “First/Then.” Create a display.
Gather other books by Laura Vaccaro Seeger to share. Discuss which are favorites, and why.
Other books by Laura Vaccaro Seeger:
BLACK? WHITE! DAY? NIGHT! A BOOK OF OPPOSITES. ISBN 9781596431850
THE HIDDEN ALPHABET. ISBN 0761319417
LEMONS ARE NOT RED. ISBN 1596430087
By Julie Brinker
Scott, Elaine. 2007. WHEN IS A PLANET NOT A PLANET? New York: Clarion. ISBN 9780618898329 [Suggested Grade Levels 3–6]
On August 24, 2006, a group of astronomers announced Pluto would no longer be considered a planet. This picture book explains in simple, understandable terms why and how that happened. The author takes the reader through the history of astronomy and the great discoveries of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo among others. Then she brings the reader up to date with the more contemporary astronomers and their findings. Finally, she details process behind the decision to “demote” Pluto to dwarf planet status and presents the controversy surrounding both this decision and the discovery of Pluto’s moon, Charon. Clearly and concisely presented, the information is illustrated with photographs, paintings, and charts. The captions provide additional detailed information. Back matter includes additional readings, Web sites, and a glossary. A timely addition to the solar system shelf, this book documents how science changes and evolves with time.
Science changes and evolves with each new theory and discovery. Use this book as a springboard to discuss the scientific method or academic debate.
Other books about the planets:
Landau, Elaine. BEYOND PLUTO. ISBN 9780531125656
Scagell, Robin and Jacqueline Mitton. NIGHT SKY ATLAS. ISBN 9780756628390
By Jane H. Claes
Schrag, Ariel, ed. 2007. STUCK IN THE MIDDLE: SEVENTEEN COMICS FROM AN UNPLEASANT AGE. New York: Viking. ISBN 978067062218 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-9]
Remember being 13? For most of us, it is a time to forget. Sixteen graphic novel cartoonists have contributed to this angst-riddled volume about the trials and travails of being in middle school “when you are too old to play with toy cars but you’re too young to drive a real one; the years when your best friend suddenly decides you’re not cool enough for her, or vice-versa; the years when you think no on—no one—has ever felt this way before.”
The topics and styles of drawing and writing are varied, and to be honest, at times uneven, but this is a collection that is not only for the middle schooler, but for anyone who has survived middle school. Note that some situations and language in the book are definitely are young adult.
With many middle schools having “home room” or other times during the school day where the teacher is supposed to deal with issues other than curriculum, this book could be an excellent discussion starter. All stories deal to some degree with peer pressures and peer relationships which are major concerns to middle schoolers. Parts of the book would also work for discussion in health classes/ self-esteem workshops.
Art teachers could use the book to look at styles of illustration and cartooning. An integrated unit between art and writing classes would also work with students writing and illustrating their own “stuck in the middle” stories.
Other books about surviving middle school:
Choldenko, Gennifer. IF A TREE FALLS AT LUNCH PERIOD. ISBN 9780152057534
Holm, Jennifer. MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF. ISBN 9780689852817
By Janet Hilbun
Schmidt, Gary D. 2007. THE WEDNESDAY WARS. New York: Clarion. ISBN 0618724834 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
As the lone Presbyterian in his classroom, Holling Hoodhood is the only student left in the classroom on Wednesday afternoons. With the Catholic half attending Catechism class and the Jewish half going to Hebrew school, Holling has an afternoon a week alone with Mrs. Baker, his seventh grade teacher who seems to hate him. “Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with heat whiter than the sun. Me. And let me tell you, it wasn’t for anything I’d done.”
The Wednesdays begin with Holling simply doing chores around the classroom, washing the chalkboard and taking care of the class pets, but Mrs. Baker soon decides to use their Wednesday time teaching Holling about Shakespeare. The extra time helps Holling appreciate Shakespeare and become closer to the teacher who may not hate him as much as he originally thought. While the adventures that Holling gets himself into, often with the help of Mrs. Baker, will have readers laughing out loud, other scenes in the book are heartbreaking. Schmidt weaves the events of the 60s, the Vietnam War, the “flower-child,” and the death of Martin Luther King Jr., seamlessly into THE WEDNESDAY WARS. With this coming-of-age tale, readers will not only be thoroughly entertained, but will gain new knowledge of this time period.
THE WEDNESDAY WARS would make a great addition/introduction on a study of the 60s. To learn more about the Vietnam era, have readers interview a family member or family friend about the events of that decade.
Other books by the same author:
Schmidt, Gary D. LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY. ISBN 0553494953
By Mary D. Buckalo
Schlitz, Laura Amy. 2007. GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! Ill. by Robert Byrd. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 0763615781 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-9]
This Newbery award winning book echoes Canterbury Tales, a bit of Shakespeare, and the children’s classic, CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY, all rolled into one. Twenty-three different young villagers introduce themselves to readers through poetic monologues and dialogues. They share details about their daily lives, whether they’re at the top of the social class structure with the lord or near the bottom with the villeins. In addition, their relationships with each other are referenced and developed as we come to understand the challenges of village life. Tiny sidebars help explain key terms and concepts in clever ways that are playful and helpful. Occasional factual inserts offer “A Little Background” on the three-field system, pilgrimages, the Crusades, falconry, and more. Robert Byrd’s illustrations throughout help us visualize each character as well as the village context, all in a style reminiscent of an illuminated manuscript. This poetic book is carefully researched, beautifully written, clearly organized, and sure to come alive when young readers give voice to these words.
The author originally wrote this book as a set of monologues and dialogues for her fifth grade students to perform. So, invite children to choose their favorite excerpt to practice and read aloud. They may want to learn more about this fascinating time period through resource books such as the Eyewitness book, MEDIEVAL LIFE (DK, 2004) or HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE IN THE MIDDLE AGES by Fiona MacDonald and David Salariya (Franklin Watts, 1997) or Web sites such as http://www.themiddleages.net/.
Other historical books for young people with poetic monologues:
Fleischman, Paul. BULL RUN. ISBN 0064405885
Hesse, Karen. WITNESS. ISBN 0439272009
Lester, Julius. DAY OF TEARS. ISBN 0786804904
By Sylvia M. Vardell
Sandell, Lisa Ann. 2007. SONG OF THE SPARROW. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439918480 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]
In the midst of war and political upheaval, one young woman comes of age: Elaine of Ascolat--the Lady of Shalott. Elaine's story is bittersweet. She's saddened by the loss of her mother, yet surrounded by her family--two brothers and her father. Plus she's been adopted by the whole camp of soldiers--Arthur, Lancelot, Tristan, Gawain, and Gareth--all of whom call her friend and look upon her as a sister. But therein lies the problem. Elaine is a woman whose counsel, healing acts, and mending are sought out by all, yet she feels overshadowed when the beautiful Gwynivere arrives at camp. How can she ever hope to compete with a woman who has everyone entranced? SONG OF THE SPARROW is a story of a young girl finding out the difference between infatuation and real love, make believe and reality.
SONG OF THE SPARROW retells the story of Elaine the Lady of Shalott. While the literary tradition has Elaine beautiful but weak, Sandell's Elaine is strong and brave. While she is lovesick about Lancelot, she is not that desperate. The poetry is powerful and effective in communicating the behind-the-scenes emotions and capturing the sights and sounds of camp and war.
Read Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” that inspired this story. Discuss and compare the two.
Choose a poem or a sequence of poems from the SONG OF THE SPARROW and do a dramatic reading.
Other Arthurian books for young adults:
Bradley, Marion Zimmer. THE MISTS OF AVALON. ISBN 0345350499
Stewart, Mary. MERLIN TRILOGY. ISBN 0688003478
White, T.H. THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING. ISBN 0441003834
Yolen, Jane. SWORD OF THE RIGHTFUL KING. ISBN 0152025278
By Becky Laney
Sabuda, Robert and Matthew Reinhart. 2007. MEGA-BEASTS. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 978763622305 [All ages]
Noted engineered book artists, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart turn their attention to prehistoric beasts in this third installment of Encyclopedia Prehistorica. Providing not only an eye-popping visual feast of the giants that once roamed the world, the book presents a wealth of information about the various prehistoric eras and their inhabitants.
Beginning with “Sky Lizards,” the reader is taken on a chronological tour tracing the rise of mammals and a look at some of the amazing species of the various ages. Predators and prey are examined concluding with primitive human hunters. Eye-catching animals spring from the center of each double page spread in amazing pop up art. In each corner is a “mini-book” containing more pop ups and additional information. This is a book that requires browsing and exploring all the various nooks and crannies from which the beasts pop. Wide-range in scope, it may also encourage further exploration of the subject.
Young people are fascinated with pop up or engineered books. How are they created? Study the process and let readers experiment with making their own.
Explore these books about the creation of pop up book art:
Carter, David and James Diaz. ELEMENTS OF POP UP: A POP UP BOOK FOR ASPIRING PAPER ENGINEERS. ISBN 9780689822247
Irvine, Joan and Linda Hendry. HOW TO MAKE SUPER POP-UPS, VOL 1. ISBN 9780688106904
By Jane H. Claes
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse & Tom Lichtenheld. 2007. THE OK BOOK. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780067752559 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
A simple picture book with an important message for parents and their children, THE OK BOOK tackles the subject of children trying new activities and being okay at them –not perfect-- and still having fun. When the letters “O,K” are turned on their side, they produce a basic stick picture with the O as the head. The OK kid works wonderfully well as the main character.
The story begins, “I like to try a lot of different things.” The picture on the opposite page is the OK kid juggling three balls. On the next two-page spread, the text is “I’m not great at all of them, but I enjoy them just the same.” The OK kid is shown dropping the balls. The story continues with simple statements of what the OK kid enjoys, but we also see the mistakes he makes as well. He’s an “OK left fielder,” but the illustration shows a ball coming down behind him. The simple text and simple drawings are amazingly effective at presenting a child trying many new things, making some mistakes, and realizing that some day, when he’s grown up, he’ll be excellent at something.
Invite children to imagine what they might like to be when they grow up. Next, brainstorm everyday activities they like to do and whether or not they are “OK” at them. Create a group list of things we can do “OK.”
Other books by the same author:
COOKIES. ISBN 9780060580827
ONE OF THESE DAYS. ISBN 9780399243653
By Cay Geisler
Resau, Laura. 2007. RED GLASS. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385734660 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
Living just across the Mexican border in Arizona, Sophie's house has often been an unscheduled rest stop for immigrants struggling through the desert to the United States. A phone call one night from border patrol reveals the sole survivor of a group attempting the crossing is a six year old boy with Sophie's stepfather Juan's business card in his pocket. Pablo, or "Principito" as Sophie calls him, doesn't speak at first, but after months with Sophie's family, he reveals the name of his village, which sets in motion an effort to find his relatives and a trek through Mexico and into Guatemala. The trip is set in motion by great aunt Dika, a Bosnian war refugee whose larger than life personality has graced Sophie's house for the last six months, Dika's new boyfriend, Mr. Lorenzo, and his teenage son Angel. Along the way, Sophie realizes that her long list of fears (car wrecks and sharp rocks, to name a few) pale in comparison with the issues faced by each member of their ragtag group.
Bringing together unusual characters into a setting both heartwarming and heartbreaking, Resau forces the reader to ponder what constitutes a family. Does a family have to be related by blood, or can it be the people that provide love and support no matter what? What does it take to overcome past tragedies? Through Sophie's eyes, readers will see that having the courage to follow your heart is a great reward.
Encourage readers to write a passage about a traumatic event in their lives and what they did to resolve the situation.
Other books about border crossings:
Broach, Elise. DESERT CROSSING. ISBN 0805077626
Lopez, Jack. IN THE BREAK. ISBN 0316008745
By Tammy Korns
Peterson, Cris. 2007. CLARABELLE: MAKING MILK AND SO MUCH MORE. Photos by David R. Lundquist. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781590783108 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]
Informative books about farm animals have been gracing the shelves of children’s libraries for decades. This “biography” of Clarabelle the cow is exceptional, however, due mostly to the vividly clear and close-up photographs of Clarabelle’s home farm in Wisconsin. Food production is a timeless subject of curiosity for youngsters. This book addresses that interest with modern, realistic text and vibrantly appealing photography.
Boys Sam and Josh host the tour of Norswiss, their family’s dairy farm where Clarabelle lives. Readers learn that Holsteins do more than make milk -- they are actually “four-footed factories.” After the birth of a calf, Clarabelle is guided to the milking center where she is mechanically milked, while enjoying her cud to the sound of music. The text then follows her milk (and waste) along their routes toward becoming viable products. Josh and Sam pose with the newly-born calves, the specialized equipment, and even the glossary of terms at the end of the book. Their presence lends a field-trip feel throughout the book.
Besides the obvious science lessons of food production and farm animals, the style of this text provides an example of cooperation between humans and nature. The collaboration necessary to run an effective dairy farm could be translated to the shared effort required to run any successful business or classroom.
Books about cows and milk production:
Aliki. MILK: FROM COW TO CARTON. ISBN 0329131613
Flanagan, Alice. RAISING COWS ON THE KOEBELS’ FARM. ISBN 0516211331
Gibbons, Gail. THE MILK MAKERS. ISBN 0027366405
Books about life on other farms:
Bial, Raymond. PORTRAIT OF A FARM FAMILY. ISBN 0395699363
Purmell, Ann. CHRISTMAS TREE FARM. ISBN 0823418863
By Rebecca McKee
Perkins, Mitali. 2007. RICKSHAW GIRL. Ill. by Jamie Hogan. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580893084 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
Mitali Perkins’ RICKSHAW GIRL is a chapter book for younger readers that interweaves family dynamics, the principles of microfinance, and the burgeoning power of women in contemporary Bangladesh. Ten-year-old protagonist Naima walks the fine line between childhood and the greater responsibilities and cultural expectations of young adulthood. When Naima’s well-intentioned attempt to help the family income—by dressing as a boy to pilot the family rickshaw—ends in near-disaster, Naima is able to redeem herself with the help of a local woman, who encourages her artistic abilities.
The day-to-day life in a village in modern Bangladesh is presented matter-of-factly, with many details interesting to Western readers regarding meals, transportation, and clothing. Jamie Hogan’s pencil illustrations are simple but help bring the story to life. The author’s note at the end of the book makes it clear that Ms. Perkins is writing truthfully about her own heritage, and clarifies the principles of microfinance that have become so important for development in traditionally underdeveloped countries. This is fictionalized non-fiction at its best, and should appeal to a wide range of intermediate readers.
Look at the illustrations in the book, and then design your own alpana. Display.
Find Bangladesh on a map, and make up a “fun facts” page based on research from an encyclopedia or the Internet.
Other books by Mitali Perkins:
FIRST DAUGHTER: EXTREME AMERICAN MAKEOVER. ISBN 9780525478003
MONSOON SUMMER. ISBN 0803730942
NOT-SO-SPANGLED LIFE OF SUNITA SEN. ISBN 9780316734530
By Julie Brinker
Pennypacker, Sara. 2007. THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE. Ill. by Marla Frazee. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9780786838707 [Suggested Reading Levels 2-5]
Clementine’s second adventure centers around her school talent show, and the difficulty Clementine encounters in trying to find a suitable talent to display. Clementine is gifted in several areas, but none of them lend themselves to performance. When her good friend Margaret offers to teach her to tap dance, Clementine cobbles her own tap shoes by super-gluing beer bottle caps to the soles of her sneakers, with typically disastrous results. But Clementine’s gifts for problem-solving and empathy save the day—and the talent show—in the end.
Pennypacker gives Clementine an irrepressible voice, beginning with the very first line: “I have noticed that teachers get exciting confused with boring a lot.” Marla Frazee’s pen-and-ink illustrations are equally fresh and funny. Even the copyright page is interesting; Frazee shows Clementine dropping under the weight of her to-the-point-of-exploding backpack in two funny sketches. This early chapter book will be a favorite of young readers.
Put on an instant talent show!
If the children in your group know one another well, have them identify at least one talent about each other, and make certificates or a chart classifying all the different talents.
Other books about spunky young girls:
Cleary, Beverly. RAMONA THE PEST. ISBN 0688217214
Gifford, Peggy. MOXY MAXWELL DOES NOT LOVE STUART LITTLE. ISBN 9780375839153
Pennypacker, Sara. CLEMENTINE. ISBN 9780786838820
By Julie Brinker