The Day You Begin

October 17, 2018

by Jacqueline Woodson
illustrated by Rafael Lopez

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Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.

Discussion questions and activity from the Teacher Guide:

Dive in & Discuss
1. Have you ever walked into a room full of people who seemed different than you? How did you
feel? What made you feel that way? Discuss your feelings and how they changed as time passed.

2. What is something that makes you unique? Is it a positive or negative trait? How can you turn
this trait into your new beginning?

3. What is diversity? Create a kid-friendly definition and post it in the classroom. Why is it important
to have conversations about diversity? How might people with differences in ability, culture, race,
gender or wealth/money feel when they are in a group that seems different from them?

Who’s in the Room?
This would be a great first day of school activity or one to use any time your class is entering a new
situation and meeting new people. After reading The Day You Begin, lead the class in a discussion
about what information is important to know when you meet someone new. What things do you learn
about each of the characters in the book as they reveal themselves to one another? What would you ask
someone when you meet them for the first time? Generate a list of questions that the class feels will
help them get to know their classmates. Encourage them to think of a few questions that will help them
dig a little deeper when they interview their peers during the activity. Partner students and ask them
to interview each other. Have them list all of the answers that they have in common as well as their
differences. A Venn diagram is a great graphic organizer to use with this activity. At the conclusion of
the interviews ask students to introduce their partner to the class. They can choose the most interesting
parts of their conversation to share. Finally, ask the class if there is a character from the book that they
relate to and, if they are comfortable sharing, to explain why.

 

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My Beautiful Birds

March 1, 2018

by Suzanne Del Rizzo

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Syrian Civil War.

Bombs.

Fleeing.

Will there be safety?

 

Sami’s Syrian town is bombed and his family flees to a refugee camp.  They have to walk night and day and night again before they get to the tents of the refugee camp.  There they remain while Sami struggles with his emotions and continuously fearful for his pet pigeons, which his father says escaped the bombed city.

Read to find how Sami deals with his inner turmoil as he and his family lives at the refugee camp.

 

For further discussion questions, check out this link:

http://pajamapress.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/MyBeautifulBirds_ReadingGuide.pdf

 


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

Image result for the girl who ran bobbi gibb

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!


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!


My Teacher Is a Monster

March 16, 2016

My Teacher is a Monster
written and illustrated by Peter Brown

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Book blurb from the catalog: Bobby is convinced that his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is a monster, until he runs into her at the park one day and realizes she has another side to her as well.

Lesson ideas directly from PeterBrownStudios.com
http://www.peterbrownstudio.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/TeacherMonster_kit.pdf

Add this book to your Peter Brown Author/Illustrator study.  Add Peter Brown to your author/illustrator studies that you do if he isn’t already one of your featured authors/illustrators!

Lesson Germs from Judy Freeman:

  • What would you like your teacher to know about you so he/she understands you better
  • Make your own paper airplanes, test the aerodynamics (incorporate into a science unit)
  • End of Year project: Write My Favorite Teacher was _______________ because _____________.  Fold the note into a paper airplane.  Have students throw their paper airplanes at their favorite teachers.  Make sure the outside of the airplane clearly states to OPEN BEFORE THROWING AWAY.  Teachers will then be filled with joy from the note as opposed to being angry from having a paper airplane thrown at them.

 


Coming Home

March 16, 2016

Coming Home
by Greg Ruth

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In this nearly wordless picture book, the boy waits and watched until finally being reunited with his mother, who is coming home from her deployment.

Add this book to your list of wordless picture books.

Need ideas on what to do with wordless picture books? Read this from Scholastic.

I will definitely be using this book to introduce the concept of Veteran’s Day next year! It is a great discussion starter for young students to talk about military personnel and the emotions that go along with a deployment.


Wild About Us!

March 14, 2016

Wild About Us
Written by Karen Beaumont
Illustrated by Janet Stevens

Book blurb from catalog: A group of animals at the zoo share the unique characteristics they like about themselves and one another.

This book would be great to help teach:

  • Differences
  • Acceptance
  • Building a Classroom Community
  • Positive Body Image

Excerpt from the book: “I’m Warty Warthog!  Can’t be who I’m not.  I am who I am and I’ve got what I’ve Got.  I have tusks!  I have warts!  But5 I like what I see!  In my own special way, I’m as cute as can be.  Yessirree!  We are all the way we are all meant to be!”