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!


Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure

April 6, 2016

Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure: A Woman and a Dog Walk to the North Pole

by Sally Isaacs, illustrated by Iva Sasheva

Use this when teaching:

  • Biographies
  • Women’s History Month (March)
  • Compare/Contrast — Compare the adventures of Helen Thayer from this book to Betty Skelton in the book Daredevil
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Inspiration for creating Hopes and Dreams.
    • Helen Thayer had a specific goal in mind: she wanted to trek to the magnetic North Pole.  Nothing was going to get in her way.  She trained; she studied; she prepared.  She worked toward her Hope and Dream of becoming the first woman to travel alone to the magnetic North Pole.
  • Problem Solving
    • Many things did not go as planned for Helen Thayer on her trek to the magnetic north pole.  She had to think on her feet to solve many problems only using the supplies she packed along with her.
  • Theme: Perseverance

Polar Dream Classroom Guide


A Boy and A Jaguar

March 14, 2016

A Boy and a Jaguar
by Alan Rabinowitz

Book blurb from the catalog: Presents a picture book featuring the true story of Alan Rabinowitz, who loved the animals at the zoo and hated that they were kept in cages. Wanting to speak out, Alan found he couldn’t keep himself from stuttering, except when talking to animals–a fact he used to his advantage in championing animal rights.

This book would be great to help teach:

  • Empathy (understanding Alan’s stuttering)
  • Building Classroom Community (how do we treat others who are different than ourselves)
  • Biographies (and even a unit on writing autobiographies — picking out a watermelon seed moment instead of one’s entire life)
  • Setting goals (Alan says that if he ever gets “his voice” he will speak for the animals, who cannot speak for themselves.  This is a lofty goal for a stutterer, but once he does get his voice he follows through with his promise.)
  • Research famous people who stutter

This book has a website!



March 3, 2016


by Kevin Henkes

Awards: Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor

Book Blurb from the catalog: An owl, puppy, bear, bunny, and pig wait for marvelous things to happen.


Lesson Ideas:

Using illustrations to infer what happens.

Making predictions: What is the rabbit waiting for?

Writing prompt: What are you waiting for?
This book would be a great mentor text to get students writing about their hopes and dreams at the beginning of the year.  What are they waiting for this school year?

A definite must-read for an author study of Kevin Henkes


Don’t Throw it to Mo

March 3, 2016

Don’t Throw it to Mo

by David Adler

***Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award 2016*** (Best book for young people)

Book blurb from the catalog: Even though Mo Jackson loves football, he is kind of clumsy, and no one will throw the ball to him. Mo will have to find a way to help his team in spite of no one throwing the ball to him.

Teaching growth mindset to your students?  Mo is a great example of a boy who simply doesn’t give up.  Mo is the smallest player on his football team.  Coach Steve uses him as a decoy for most of the plays.  But, Mo doesn’t complain; he just runs down the field and no one throws him the ball.  That is, until the final play of the game!  Spoiler alert—Mo wins the game with an amazing catch!

Use this book when teaching goal setting, growth mindset, analyzing character traits (there are some bully players in this book as well), and when setting up a classroom community of diverse learners.

Flight School

December 11, 2015

Flight School

by Lita Judge

Penguin has the soul of an eagle and wants to fly.  But, as we know, penguins cannot fly.  Penguin shows up to Flight School anyway and listens to the lessons of Teacher.  All of the other birds learn how to fly, but Penguin does not.  Teacher figures out a way to make Penguin fly and he tethers Penguin to himself and allows Penguin to feel like the wind.  Penguin is ecstatic; he got to fly!  The funny ending has Penguin bringing his friend Ostrich to Flight School and says “My friend Ostrich has the soul of a swallow” to which Teacher responds “Gulp”. 🙂

Building classroom community?  Setting goals?  This is the book for you!  Help teach your students that even though others are different, or say that you can’t do something, teamwork can produce amazing results!  A quick read, Flight School is bound to delight your students and inspire them to work together to achieve great things!

Flight School is also great for Beginning, Middle, and End.

Or if you are looking for a book that makes the reader infer what is happening through the illustrations, this is the book for your lesson!

This book could also be a jump off point researching about different birds.  The reader can infer that penguins and ostriches do not fly, while other birds at flight school could.  Students could research birds on PebbleGO and tell whether or not their type of bird can or cannot fly.

A lesson idea found from!delivery/cl1h


1. Read “Flight School” to the class.

2. Discuss. What did the penguin demonstrate in this story (perseverance, effort, hard work, never giving up, etc.)?

3. Discuss. What are some things that you have done in the past that you never gave up on (i.e., maybe tying your shoes, riding a bike, writing my name, etc.)?

4. Relate this discussion and theme to academics and everyday life. What are some ways that we can we persevere in school?

5. Pass out the “Easy vs. Difficult” Worksheet. Have the students list things that are easy for them to do and difficult for them to do.

6. Discuss that everyone has strengths and weaknesses; if the child continues to work hard and persevere on their “Difficult” list, then they can eventually achieve it!

7. Use the list as an exit pass and a plan to achieve some of the tasks in the “Difficult” section.

8. At the end of the year/in a few weeks or months, follow up on any progress that the students have made in the “Difficult” section.

Fish in a Tree

December 9, 2015

Fish in a Tree

by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree

Book Blurb: Ally has dyslexia, and can no more read like everyone else than a fish can climb a tree. Tired of being called slow and a loser, Ally finds that in her latest new school her teacher understands her limitations and actually sees in her a creative, intelligent side. New friends with their own learning disabilities help Ally see that she can achieve success and find happiness.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s website that has TONS of resources for extension.  Fish in a Tree was chosen as the 2015 Global Read Aloud (a chapter book that is chosen to be read by as many people around the world as possible).  To facilitate the Global Read Aloud, Lynda Mullaly Hunt has YouTube videos of her reading aloud select chapters and answering readers’ questions.


Other Resources you may find helpful:

Teacher’s Guide to help with lesson plans and activities–

Ally’s Sketchbook of Impossible Things