September 10, 2018
Counting on Catherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
by Helaine Becker
Blurb: From Katherine‘s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the story of an American icon who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives.
Want to make a case about precise computing? Read an excerpt of this book to your students about the importance of Katherine’s math being precise or people would die in space!
This harrowing biography of how Katherine Johnson, an unsung hero, helped the Americans in the Space Race shows just how important minorities were to the effort.
My favorite quote, from Katherine Johnson herself, comes from the back papers: “Despite her many achievements, Katherine never liked to take any credit. Her reason? ‘Because we always work as a team,’ she says. ‘ it was never just one person.'”
This book is for:
- space enthusiasts
- biographies highlighting otherwise unsung people of history
- February — Black History month
- Women’s History month
- Context Clues: use the page about “all of the computers were women” to have students figure out what the author means by “computers” (people, not machines)
- goal setting
- reaching one’s potential, despite setbacks
Check it out at your local library! ISBN 9781250137524
September 27, 2017
by Laurie Wallmark
illustrated by Katy Wu
Grace was a curious girl, exploring how clocks work by taking them apart and putting them back together again. That curiosity and tensity continued into college where she took courses in physics and math while other women were taking courses called “Husbands and Wives” and “Motherhood.” She continued to persevere until she convinced the Navy to enlist her even though she didn’t meet the age and weight requirements at the time. Good thing they did, too! Grace went on to write computer code that no one else had done, and fix problems that no one could seem to solve.
BUG! This term is known in the computer science world for a mistake in the program’s code. In this book, the author shows how Grace Hopper and her colleagues actually found a bug inside their computer which cause a switch to malfunction. Even since then, computer glitches have been called bugs!
At one point in the book Grace needs to pass Latin (she had a failing grade) in order to go to college. Briefly, this book shows the hard work she does in order to accomplish something she didn’t like to get to her dream of going to college.
Check out this PDF for some discussion questions and extension activities to do with this book.
*Timeline activity in the PDF link above.
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
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!
November 16, 2016
We Are Growing by Laurie Keller
The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat
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:
- Character Traits
- Being Unique
We Are Growing might be a good choice when setting goals for the school year — but that may be a bit of a stretch.
April 6, 2016
I Wish You More
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
This is a great encouragement book if you notice your students are struggling with too much on their plates. In simple text, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld wish their readers more happiness than sadness, more good times than bad.
Sample from the text:
I wish you more ups than downs.
I wish you more hugs than ughs.
I wish you more Woo-Hoo! than WHOA!
Reading this blurb from Tom Lichtenheld’s blog just made me love him more than I already did!
“When Amy and I work together, it’s impossible (and pointless) to distinguish Artist from Writer. We both come up with words and we both come up with visuals, so a book gets the full benefit of whatever talent we can collectively muster up. This is why our book covers never use designations such as “written by” or “illustrated by.””
For this reason, this book might be a good book to use to discuss collaboration and working together. Share Lichtenheld’s blog post on NerdyBookClub’s blog (linked here)
I Wish You More Activity Kit
Amy Krouse Rosenthal Author Website
Tom Lichtenheld Website