A Piece of Home

September 26, 2017

by Jeri Watts
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

From the book jacket: Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia.  He struggles to adjust to his new home, where none of his classmates look like him and he can’t understand anything the teacher says — even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly to him.  Little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English and make friends.  One day, when he is invited to a friend’s house for the first time, he sees a flower he recognizes from his grandmother’s garden in Korea: mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him it’s called in America.  He brings a shoot to his grandmother, who plants the “piece of home” in their new garden.

This picture book is a perfect read aloud for any teacher who has an ELL student in his/her classroom.  The words and pictures describe the struggles the students (Hee Jun and his sister Se Ra) have at school while adjusting to America.

It opens the readers’ eyes to the fact that just because someone doesn’t know English does not mean that they were not well respected in their home country.   In this book, grandmother, is a well-respected teacher, regarded as a “wise and wonderful teacher” and she stands proud with her “shoulders erect.” But when she is in America she knows no English, has no job, and “she does not hold her shoulders erect and her eyes don’t gleam — not at all.” The illustrations perfectly depict these stark differences in emotions.

Use this book in a compare/contrast lesson with Eve Bunting’s One Green Apple.

Other ideas:

–learn vocabulary through context clues and illustrations

–metacognition–How does your thinking change as the book progresses?

 

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Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee!

September 26, 2017

by Andrea J Loney
Illustrated by Keith Mallett

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This picture book biography tells the life of James VanDerZee, a young boy who saved up his money to buy his first camera and who used his hard work and gentle spirit to grow a photography business in Harlem.

This book is great to show entrepreneurial spirit, grit, and perseverance.  It also explores the theme of following your dream.


The Girl Who Ran

September 11, 2017

The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston  Marathon
by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee
Illustrated by Susanna Chapman

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Do you want a book about NEVER GIVING UP?  This is for you!  Bobbi Gibb is a girl in the 1960s.  All she wants to do is run.  But others try to stop her, her father even says “Girls don’t run!”  That doesn’t stop Bobbi.  For her first race, she disguises herself as a boy, wearing boy tennis shoes and covering her hair with a hooded sweatshirt.  Midway through the race, she had been spotted and the men running the race replied “We won’t let anyone throw you out; it’s a free road.”  So Bobbi took off her sweatshirt and finished the race!

An inspiring biography of one person who wanted to change the world, who wanted to follow her heart.

Use this at the beginning of the school year as you build community and discuss hopes and dreams!  Bobbi Gibb will definitely inspire your students to never give up and to follow their dreams!


The Princess and the Warrior

November 21, 2016

by Duncan Tonatiuh

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Looking for a great folktale?

This picture book explains the creation of two volcanoes found 40 miles southeast of Mexico City. Expand your teaching to show where Mexico City is on a map, and show photographs of the two volcanoes.  Itza is known as “la mujer dormida” and is an inactive volcano.  Popo sits next to Itza and has errupted as recently as 2013.

Catalog blurb:  Daughter of the emperor, Izta has no desire to marry a wealthy, powerful man like she’s supposed to. Instead, she has her eye on Popoca, a warrior. Izta’s father agrees to allow the marriage if Popoca can defeat Jaguar Claw, the ultimate enemy.

This book would be great to teach

  • Folktales
  • Problem and Solution
  • Beginning, Middle, and End
  • Context Clues (there are a lot of Spanish words in this book that are not directly defined)

 


We Are Growing AND The Cookie Fiasco

November 16, 2016

We Are Growing by Laurie Keller
The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

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These books are for you Mo Willems fans!  Mo Willems is not adding any more books to his 25 Elephant and Piggie books, but he is working in collaboration with other authors to make similar funny books.  These new books are in the “Elephant and Piggie Like Reading” series.  Each book starts with a brief intro from Elephant and Piggie and then goes into the hilarious tale written by the author.  They still feature dialogue completely in speech bubbles, but each book does offer more than one character.  They are written with the same humor that will get kids laughing.

We Are Growing is a great book to teach comparative (adding -er) and superlative (adding -est) adjectives. (i.e. tall – taller – tallest).  Each blade of grass has a special trait claiming “I am tall! I am the tallest!”  “I am curly! I am the curliest!”  But the last piece of grass cannot figure out what makes him special, what makes him unique.  Well along comes a loud buzzing noise…you know what this is!  And suddenly everyone is back to being the same, but the last blade of grass does determine what his special trait is.

The Cookie Fiasco: How do you share three cookies with four friends?  GREAT FRACTIONS LESSON introduced in such a funny way.  Hippo has a nervous tick of snapping things when he is feeling overwhelmed.  Eventually Hippo has snapped the cookies into enough parts for everyone to share equally.  So funny, and such a great intro to any fractions unit!

Use these books to teach:

  • Adjectives
  • Character Traits
  • Being Unique
  • FRACTIONS!
  • Sharing

We Are Growing might be a good choice when setting goals for the school year — but that may be a bit of a stretch.


Baa Baa Smart Sheep AND I Love Lemonade!

November 16, 2016

by Mark and Rowan Sommerset

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FUNNY!

Sheep is bored.  Sheep comes across something that looks suspiciously brown, but looks delicious. Sheep tries to convince Turkey to eat this substance.  Spoiler alert: Poor Turkey!

But Turkey doesn’t learn.  In the sequel book (I Love Lemonade) Turkey is convinced he will NOT be tricked again and tries to trick Sheep.  But, somehow, Sheep turns it back around on poor Turkey! How clever!

YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS!  They are even better when read aloud!

Great for:

  • Context clues
  • Teaching dialogue with speech bubbles
  • Persuasive writing
  • Character Traits

Last Stop on Market Street

May 4, 2016

Last Stop on Market Street

by Matt de la Peña
pictures by Christian Robinson

Book Blurb: A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.

Award Alert–This book got THREE!

  • 2016 Newbery Medal (for the words)
  • 2016 Caldecott Honor (for the pictures pictures)
  • 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor (given to an African American illustrator)

Needing to teach the life skill of helping others?  This is the book for you.

Needing to get students thinking about being selfless?  This is the book for you.

Just need a book that will get kids thinking?  This is the book for you!