Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A: Kira-Kira
B: Kadohata, Cynthia
D: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004
E: Realistic Fiction, Novel, Multicultural, 2005 Newbery Medal winner
F: 5-6
G: This book starts with the main charter (Katie) being taught her first words (kira-kira) by her older sister Lynn. They are a Japanese family that is living in Iowa in the 1950’s. They own a small Japanese grocery store, but are forced to sell it and move to Georgia because they are not making enough money. When they move to Georgia, their father goes to work at a chicken hatchery and their mother goes to work at a processing plant. The working conditions at both places were horrible. The hatchery requires long hours and the processing plant did not allow bathroom breaks, so they had to wear dippers. After they have been in Georgia for a while, Katie’s parents have a son named Sammy. She became Katie’s new companion when Lynn made other friends and did not want to hang out with Katie any more. About half way through the book Lynn gets sick. The doctors do not really know what is going on, but they thing she has Anemia. One day when she was feeling better she went on a picnic with Sammy and Katie on the land of their parents boss. While they were there Sammy got his leg caught in a trap and had to be taken to the hospital. It is not long after that when Katie finds out the Lynn has Lymphoma. She dies shortly after Katie finds this out. On the day that she dies, Katie’s father goes to the house of his boss and smashes the windshield of his car to pay him back for the trap that Sammy got caught in. The book ends with the family taking a vacation to California, the place that Lynn wanted to live, but never got to see.
H: I had mixed feelings going into this book. I did not know what to expect or what would happen. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. This story is told from the first person, Katie’s point of view. This is such a realistic piece of work about the trouble faced by not only a little girl, but by a Japanese family living in a segregated south. There in one point in the book that really moved me. Katie tell us that in the restaurants there are signs that say colored in the back, the whites sat in the front, and they did not know where to sit so they always got theirs to go. This is really sad for me to read because things like this happened every day and it was accepted in society. I was not shocked by the ending however. I could see Lynn’s death coming from the first time she got sick. Her sickness still does not stop us from being able to see the struggle between siblings and how no matter how bad they treat each other, they still love each other. This would have to be my most favorites novel I have read this semester and I recommend it to everyone.
I: This would be a wonderful book for the upper elementary classrooms. I would use this book to teach civil right in the south in the ‘50s and discrimination. I also think it would be a wonderful book to teach diversity and it would allow students to see that Japanese Americans are no different than themselves. It would also be a good book to teach the writing style of first person; Katie tells us the whole story. This is a wonderful book that would be invaluable in a classroom.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A: Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent
B: Child, Lauren
D: Hodder Children’s Books, 2004
E: Picture Book
F: 1-3
G: A very rich couple decides to have a child. This child is Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent. He turns out to be a boy genius. He learns how to do things at a young age such as use the telephone, read, swim, really everything. Hubert has a friend named Stanton Harcourt III. Together they do everything, Stanton was a genius also. Hubert’s parents loved to party and the always had plenty of money, but one night they ran out of food and Hubert discovers that his parents are broke. He came up with a plan to make money and did everything from selling paintings to winning tournaments to giving tours of their house. It finally came down to Hubert and Stanton having to sell the house. Hubert thought this would make his parents very sad, but it turns out to be a good thing and they live very happily after that.
H: This book is one of my most favorite books by Lauren Child. I love that this book is so well written that you could almost think it was based on a true story. It also contains a lesson that more people that ever need to learn. I also love the creative use of artwork throughout this book. The use of so many different forms of media is very refreshing.
I: This book would be a great book to read to introduce a first or second grade lesson on money. It teaches how spending habits can lead to lots of troubles, but that you don’t need money to be happy. This is a real life lesson offered in a real life story. I also think that this would be a great silent reading book for children.

A: I Want a Pet
B: Child, Lauren
D: Tricycle Press, 1999
E: Picture Book
F: K-1
G: This little girl really wants a pet. She asks her mother if she can get one. Everyone in the house has something to say about it including Dad, Granny, and Grandad. She then goes through all the different types of pets and finds that she needs to avoid pets that will eat you, copycats, animals that howl, animals that leave lots of footprints, pets that squeeze, and ones that wont make mom mad. She ends up with an egg, she does not know what it is, but we can imagine what it will be.
H: This is a very creative book. As with all Lauren Child books, I love the artwork. I also love the story. It is a great tale of something that is faced by almost all kids; I think that this will help a lot of children relate to this book. This is overall a very cute book.
I: This book has a lot of potential in the classroom. First off, it could be used to teach different types of animals and some things about them. I also think that this book would be a great book for beginning readers because it has minimal text and the story can almost be told with the pictures alone. I would also let the children predict what they think the egg with hatch into and have them draw a picture.

A: Clarice Bean, Guess Who’s Babysitting?
B: Child, Lauren
D: Orchard Books, 2000
E: Picture Book
F: 1-3
G: Clarice’s uncle Ernie got hurt and her mother must go see him. He dad has to go to work, grandad is to old, her older brother will not, and someone must take care of her little brother. This causes her mother to resort to uncle Ted. Clarice loves uncle Ted. Mom did not want to do this because there is always trouble when Ted comes, but she has too, so she leaves lots of rules. All is fine for the first two days, the guinea pig gets out and Minal (her little brother) get hurt and has to go to the hospital. It all ends with Clarice getting her head stuck in a fence, the fire department shows up, but Mom come to the rescue and fixes everything.
H: I really liked this book. I think that it is a bit predicable, but that is needed in a book for young readers. I like this book for its entertainment value and the artwork. Lauren Child is a wonderful artist and it shows in all of her books, especially this one. I also liked this book because this is a story that is real life and can appeal to children based on this.
I: This would be a great book for little girls in the first, second, or third grade. It offers a real life story that is used to teach a lesson. This book can be used to teach about families and some of the problems they face. It can also be used to teach responsibility. This, like all of Lauren Child’s book could be used in an art lesson to teach about different way of creating a picture or the use of different materials.

A: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
B: Child, Lauren
D: Hyperion Books For Children, 2003
E: Modern High fantasy, Picture Book
F: K-3
G: This book starts by telling about how much Herb loves to read. Even though he is not the best reader, he loves to read and look at the pictures in scary stories. One night when he has a friend over, he cannot fall asleep, so he finds a book to read. This book turns out not to be his favorite, it is a fairy tale. After he falls asleep, he is startled awake and is in the book! He is right in the middle of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. He meets the Bears on his way out and passes Hansel and Gretel, Repunsul, and Puss in Boots on his way to find a way out. Herb then finds himself in front of a large door. He went in to find a ball without a prince. Herb finds himself in trouble when the King and Queen blame him for all of their problems (which he did cause!) He escapes to find himself with the ugly stepsisters and then with Cinderella. She helps Herb out by calling her fairy godmother. As she is trying to help, Goldilocks runs in and screams and this jolts Herb out of the book. The book ends as Herb and his friend Ezzie fix everything that Herb had previously done to deface the book.
H: I think this book is very unique. I really love the used of visual art and word art to covey the message of the book. Lauren Child changes text size and style to emphasize different parts of the story and make different things stand out. I was also drown in by the unusual conflicts of this story. It is not a normal children’s story. It breaks all of the rules, and that makes it even more entertaining.
I: This would be a great book to read aloud in kindergarten or first grade. This is another book that might defy convention a bit too much for children to read when they are just learning to read. I do, however, think that you could use this story to introduce other stories or to lead into a lesson about respect. Herb did not respect his book, and that made the characters in the book mad. This book could also be used in an art lesson and you could have your students create a modern picture of a story they know.

A: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
B: Scieszka, John
C: Smith, Jane
D: Penguin Books, 1992
E: Modern High Fantasy, Picture Book. This is also a Caldecott Honor Book.
F: K-1
G: This book starts with the Red Hen trying to tell her story. She is interrupted by the title page. The pages of this book do not follow the normal order, and the narrator, Jack, is talking directly to you for the entire book. Jack introduces himself and then we are led into the story of Chicken Licken. Chicken Licken thinks the sky is falling, but it turns out to be the table of contents. The Princess and the Bowling Ball is next. It takes the Princess and the pee and uses a bowling ball instead. Then The Really Ugly Duckling in up next. This one ends with the really ugly duckling growing up to be a really ugly duck. In The Other Frog Prince, the frog tricks a princess into kissing him, but he does not turn into a prince, he just wanted the kiss. Little Red Running Shorts is next, but gets interrupted by non other than the Red Hen. She complains at how Jack is telling the story and the author is lazy. The Giant steps in next with Jack’s Ben Problem. The Giant tries to tell his side of thinks, but the story makes no sense. Jack finally tells his story, but the text gets so small that you cannot read all of it. Cinderumpelstiltskin, The Tortoise and The Hair, and The Stinky Cheese Man are the last three stories with the Red Hen to end it. She ends up waking up the Giant and getting eaten.
H: This has always been one of my favorite books. I love that the story does not follow the normal form. I also think that the way the narrator talks directly to you is amazing. The illustrations are also a big part of the appeal of this book. They are unlike anything in any other book. I guess you could describe them as a form of abstract or modern art, they just defy the norm. I think this is a wonderful book.
I: This would be a great book to read for entertainment in K-1, but it is not a book I would require them to read due to the fact that it does not follow convention. I think that some of the book would confuse them if they tried to read it by their self. However, I think some students could handle it so I would not remove it from the book bins. This book could also be used to discuss why you should not be boastful.

Baseball Saved Us

A: Baseball Saved Us
B: Mochizuki, Ken
C: Lee, Dom
D: Lee and Low Books Inc, 1993
E: Multicultural Picture book
F: K-2
G: This book starts inside of a Japanese interment camp. A boy and his father are looking at an empty lot and his father decides that they need a baseball field to keep their sanity while in the camp. The boy then has a flash back to life outside of the camp and how they got to the camp. Once at the camp, the children started to act with disrespect, even his older brother started to act bad towards his father. The story then catches up to the future and picks up the men of the camp building the baseball field and the women making uniforms. They then played baseball on the field and the main charter started out bad, but started to get a lot better. In the final game he hit a home run to win the game. The book ends with the boy back at home after leaving camp. He had no friends, but was on the baseball team. He hit another homerun to win the game.
H: This book was a very well planned out book. I also feel that it would be a great way to introduce interment camps to younger students. On the surface this book would not be as moving unless you were aware of the conditions faced by the Japanese during the war. I thought the illustrations were unique. They were very vivid, but they also left a lot to the imagination. I really liked this book, the whole feeling of it has the same feeling of Weedflower; a novel about the Japanese interment camps.
I: This book would be a great book the teach children in K-1 about baseball and the importance of acceptance. About how you should not single someone out because they are different. I would also use this book in the second grade to teach what internment camps were and why they were wrong. I think that this is information that more students should have contact with.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1 The Field Guide

A: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1 The Field Guide
B: DiTerlizzi, Tony and Black, Holly
D: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003
E: Fantasy Novel
F: 3-4, or 5-6 for slower readers
G: This books starts as Jared, Simon, and Mallory are moving into a new house. It is old and run down, but their Dad left them so they are going to live in this house because it belongs to on of their relatives. The three children hear things running through the walls, and strange pranks are happening to all of them but Jared, and this leads them to find a secret room. Jared finds a riddle in this room, that is a lab of Author Spiderwick, which leads him to the attic where he finds a book, Author Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fanatical World Around You. This book tells them about what is causing the trouble in the house, it is a Boggart. At the end of the book, they are in the secret room when they meet the Boggart, who warns them to get rid of the book and that it will bring them harm if they do not.
H: This book was overall a wonderful book for me. It started very slowly and I only kept reading because I really wanted to read the books before I see the movie. After I got into the story however, I found it to be fascinating. I like how the author uses situations that are faced by many children and makes them into extraordinary events. I did like the ending because I feel like I have to read the next book because it left me hanging. This book had some connection to my life with the sibling interaction. I fought with my brothers a lot and it was a lot like in the story. I have also been blamed for things that I did not do. The dark feeling of this book is a lot like Harry Potter for me.
I: This book would be a great resource to teach sibling interaction and how to deal with family issues. It is better to talk through them rather than fight. I also think that in my classroom, this book will not be used as part of a lesson but rather it will just be used to get kids interested in reading. I feel that this is a book that appeals to many students and will get them excited about reading. I would like to set up book reviews in my future classroom, I would offer a review of this book as part of that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free verse

I sit here looking out my window
The world seems to be passing by
My body is revolting against the world and me
I sweat and feel hungry, but can't eat
An ache in my neck and back also
Time to dream, let the world slip away
Its getting dark, the sickness fades.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where I am From

I am the first,
Actually second,
Not the last.

I am from gumbo,
Crawfish etouffee,
Tater salad.

I am from a family far away,
Speaking only French,
Not knowing a word.

I am from Bluegrass,
And honeysuckle.

I am from cars,
G.I. Joe,
And H.A.D.A.

I am from music and soccer,
St. John’s,
And the snowman.

I look back,
Wish I were there,
Glad I’m not.

Monday, February 4, 2008


A: Moses, When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
B: Weatherford, Carole Boston
C: Nelson, Kadir
D: Hyperion Books for Children, 2006
E: Picture Book (Multicultural)
F: K-3
G: This book starts with Harriet praying for freedom, she is a slave in the south. She then hears God whisper to he with nature, and she makes up her mind to run away. Harriet faces many hardships on her journey to the North. She must sleep in the woods, run from dogs, hide in barns, and she must be careful of who she trusts. She finally reacher the north and decided to go back and help other slaves run away.
H: I will admit that I was a bit anxious to read this book. I know that teaching about slavery in elementary school is a very touchy subject. This book, however, pulls off teaching about this subject with the up most care. The story is very well thought out and follows many factual events. I think that this will allow students to get an idea of what people really felt about slavery, from the slave's eyes. The illustrations in this book also add to its creativity. The use of colors and two page spreads really set this book apart. The pictures and not like other picture books where the pictures are drown to look cute and happy. Kadir Nelson did a good job creating illustrations that look very realistic and add to the factual information presented in this story. I think that this book is the best piece of work I have ever seen to present the touchy subject of slavery to children.
I: The most obvious teaching implication is the teaching of the touchy issue of slavery in history. I would read this book with my young students and then have a class discussion about how they think it would have been to live and slavery and if they would have wanted to run away also. This book could also be used teach diversity to young students.

What do you do with a tail like this?

A: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
B: Jenkins, Steve and Page, Robin
D: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005
E: Picture Book
F: K-2
G: This book starts by talking about how animals use their sense organs. Then the book shows pictures of each organ (noeses, tails, eyes, ears, feet, and mouths). After the page of eyes, ears, etc... the book shows you which part goes which animal, it also tell the reader a little bit about how each animal uses the body part. At the end of the book, there is a section that gives more detail about each animal, for the readers that would like to learn more about them.
H: What do you do with a tail like this is the type of picture book I would have loved in school. The factual knowledge offered in this book is a great way to present science to young children. I was also drawn in by the wonderful illustrations. The ripped and cut paper used to create the animals is something that I have never seen. It add a unique affect that I do not think could by mead with anything else. I also like that Steve Jenkins and Robin Page included a section containing more information on all of the animals used in the story. Overall I think that this is a wonderful book and it will defiantly have a place in my classroom.
I: The teaching ides with this book are vast, but I would most likely use it in K or 1st grade science. This book would be great to teach different parts of the body and explain what they do. I also think that many students would read this book on their own during reading time.