Written by Eloise Greenfield ; illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrest (2011)
The Great Migration: journey to the North. New York: Amistad.
ISBN 0-06-125921-7 Page count: 32 Genre: Poetry; History Recommend to: age 5 and up
Set in the American South and the metropolitan cities of the North. Description: From 1915-1930, more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South to find jobs and to escape unfair conditions created by the Jim Crow laws. The poems in this book address the sequential stages of the migration from ”The news”, “Goodbyes”, “The Trip”, “Question” and “Up North”. In a poem about traveling on the train North the words match the cadence of wheels on the track
“Will I make a good life /
for my family, /
for myself? /
The wheels are singing, /
‘Yes, you will, /
you will, you will!’ /
I hope they’re right. /
I think they’re right. /
I know they’re right.”
The artwork is a predominantly mixed media. In a book review in Horn Book Review Smith (2011) writes, “Cut paper, ephemera, paint, and processed photographs create collages, adding the right air of seriousness and history to the poetry”. Curricular Connection: This could be used in a history unit on the Dust bowl, Jim Crow laws, African Americans in the United States, the Underground Railroad or emigration. The poems sounds match the rhythm of the story; it could easily be used as a story time book during African American History Month. Phillips (2011) of School Library Journal recommends “Greenfield’s lyricism and her clear, narrative style make this book a solid choice for independent reading and for reading aloud.” Personal Response: The emotions that people must have felt when they were making the Great Migration are conveyed in the art and poetry of this book. The poems communicate excitement, fear, loss, and hope. This is not to my heritage but reading this book made me pause to think about all of the humans that have ever left home looking for a better life. The hope has to be very strong because the journey is often not easy.
Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. (2007) Living color. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618708979 Page count: 32 Genre: Non Fiction – Animals, Color Recommend to: ages 4- 10
Description: As Jenkins begins this colorful book about animals, he explains animals are colored for a reason. Colors in nature are there to communicate things like “don’t eat me” or “ pick me as you mate”. The book is a rainbow of animals. Each page is dedicated to on one color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) with illustrations of many different animals and a short explanation of the significance of their color. Auger (2008) from Horn Book Review says “The book’s real highlight, though, is Jenkins’s cut-paper collage: his animals are dazzling—vibrantly colored and detailed.” At the end of the book is detailed information about habitat, diet, and size for every animal. School Library Journal (2008) recommends the book for Kindergarten to Grade 5, a wide audience but this book will have wide appeal.
Curricular Connection: This could be used in math for a lesson on scale. It could be used in science for a unit on diversity of life or camouflage. It could also be used in art for a study on the cut paper technique used to make the illustrations.
Personal Response: This book had me on the first page. Beautiful color artwork and accurate science, what more could I ask for in a book? I read Jenkins’s biography on his website His father was a Physics professor and he thought in his youth that he would become a scientist but instead he chose to go into graphic design. He has the perfect background for making amazing books.
Edited by Bill Martin Jr. with Michael Sampson. (2008) The Bill Martin Jr. big book of poetry. New York: Simon& Schuster Books for Young Readers. ISBN 1416939717 Page count: 175 Genre: Children’s Poetry Recommend to: ages 4- 10
Description: Description: The Bill Martin Jr. Big book of poetry is a colorful and whimsical anthology of poetry perfect for any elementary school collection. Rochman (2008) from Booklist agrees, “This is a great gift book as well as a strong library and classroom anthology for browsing and reading aloud. Adults, in particular, will enjoy Eric Carle’s moving introduction”. In the beginning of the book is a note from Eric Carle explaining how Bill learned to read in high school with the use of rhythms and sounds. Poetry was at the heart of Bill’s own literacy experience. Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson organized this collection from Bill’s favorite poems. A selection of poem from both modern and classic poets including: Jack Prelusky, Mary Ann Hoberman, Margaret Wise Brown and Langston Hughes. Each chapter is based on themes common to childhood: animal, people and places, school, family, feelings, nonsense, and Mother Goose. The list of artists is amazing which includes but is not limited to: Lois Ehlert, Chris Raschka, Steven Kellogg, Aliki, Robert Quakenbush, and Ashley Bryan.
Curricular Connection: With over one hundred poems, this book could easily be the beginning of a poem a day curriculum focus. An additional classroom connection could be the teacher reads one of the poems from the book out loud to the class; the students then draw their own interpretation of the poem. Then the class could look at the artwork in the book and compare the two. This would be great time for discussion on how the words we hear have different meanings for different people.
Personal Response: This anthology is beautiful from both a visual and auditory perspective. Poetry is best when it is read out loud. The artwork for each poem is engaging and the poems are perfect for students. I read many of these poems to my son and we both enjoyed the art and the poetry. Lempke (2009) of Horn Book says “This collection will appeal to many tastes, and, with its array of art and subjects, it’s a book parents and grandparents can read to young children without anyone getting bored.” I thoroughly agree with this assessment of the book.
Written By Nancy Krulick; illustrated by John & Wendy. (2003) Drat! You copycat! New York: Grosset & Dunlap ISBN 9780807509104 Page count: 80 Genre: Fiction – Magic, School, Series, Chapter book Recommend to: ages 7- 10
Set in Katie’s school, home, and classroom.
Description: Katie Carew is a normal ordinary third grader with the problems of all kids this age, until a strange wind comes and magically transforms her into someone else. In this installation of the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series, she offers to befriend the new girl in class and it cause problems for Katie with her best friend, Suzanne. Becky, the new girl tries to copy Suzanne in an attempt to fit in at the new school. Her actions earn her the reputation of a copycat to the students in Mrs. Derkman’s class. When it comes time to do the oral reports in class, Katie switches into Becky and the crisis of the copycat problem gets resolved. The consistent theme in this series of book is Katie’s ability to resolve the conflict of the story when she switches with one of the other characters. According to a review in School Library Journal the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo “series could be a feminine contender to rival Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” series”(Bowes, 2002). Clearly, a publishing success the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series has over thirty books and the author keeps writing with the most recent title being, Three Cheers for..Who? (2011).
Curricular Connection: These books could be used on a unit comparing high fantasy with low fantasy. The friendship between Katie and Suzanne is one of the recurrent themes in this series of books. A unit on friendship might include this series. The biggest impact these books will make is that students will develop their love of reading because they love these books.
Personal Response: As one of the reviews I read on Goodreads said, these books are high interest low vocabulary. According to the PBS developmental tracker for children 7-8 years old, children at this age begin to “Choose to read to meet personal needs …To select materials, children rely on their knowledge of authors and different types of texts, as well as their abilities to estimate text difficulty.” These be easy to read chapter books but I can see how young girls would identify with her struggles. Katie Carew lives the life your average third grader with a little more magic and fun. I have also seen how these books fly off the shelves at the two school libraries where I volunteer. If this series of books get readers engaged in reading, then it should be a part of the library collection.
For one of my classes, I get to choose my own reading on current trends in education. One of my choices is Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. I was able to check out the book from the San Jose State library digital book collection. I am only twenty pages in so far but I can tell I am going to like this book.
Duffy,C. (2011) Nursery rhyme comics. New York : First Second.
Graphic novels — Juvenile literature.
Recommend to grade 1 and up.
All of your favorite nursery rhymes with a modern graphic novel twist. Fifty different artists each illustrate a new version of a classic nursery rhyme.
From School Library Journal:
The dizzying variety of mediums, styles, and techniques employed by these artists joyfully demonstrates the range and the limits to which the comics can be pushed. But as pleasurable as it is to survey this art, what really stands out is the way the artists have interpreted the texts.
The boy who harnessed the wind : creating currents of electricity and hope Authors: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer Publisher New York, NY: William Morrow, c2009. Page count: 273 Genre: autobiography/ science/ Africa/ survival/ inventiveness ISBN: 9780061730320 Recommend to: 11 years old and up Lexile: 960 Awards & Honors: ALA Alex Award (2010)
“Before I discovered the miracles of science, magic ruled the world.”- William Kamkwamba
Born in Malawi, Africa William Kamkwamba is an inventive young man who faced starvation and loss but had the drive to invent his own windmill with the help of books from his small local library. During William’s childhood Malawi suffered extreme drought and his family, tobacco and corn farmers, were unable to continue to pay for his school tuition forcing him to drop out of school. A natural tinkerer, William went to his library and checked out an out of date American textbook, Using Energy, to learn how electricity works and how to make a windmill. People in his community thought he was crazy but his dire situation and his need to take care of his family drove William to find some way to get electricity to his family. At fourteen years old, William builds his first windmill. Using scrap metal, a tractor fan and bicycle parts the windmill helps to light William’s home. An amazing feat given that only 2% of Malawian residents have electricity. Eventually, William built a second larger windmill and was able to build his family an electric water pump. Now his family can read at night and farm during the day.
How many people with access to the Internet, a teacher and a Radio Shack can build their own windmill that can generate electricity? When faced with insurmountable challenges William Kamkwamba dug in and plodded forward. This is such an inspirational story about facing adversity and believing in your self. A boy uses books from the library to teach himself about the magic of science, a perfect book for any library. This book could be used in a science classroom, a world policy classroom or a humanities unit on people making a difference today. This is the YouTube interview with William telling his story to a journalist. http://youtu.be/arD374MFk4w
Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect the Planet by Harriet Rohmer
illustrations by Julie McLaughlin ISBN: 9780811867795 Publisher: Chronicle Page Count: 112 Lexile Level: 1070 Harriet Rohmer website Awards & Honors: Booklist Top 10 Books on the Environment for Youth, 2010; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2010, Environment/Energy/Ecology Genre: nonfiction-ecology/science/ environment/ leadership Summary: This book focuses on twelve people, of different ages and backgrounds, who are working to save the environment. Each vignette gives some information about the motivation each person had to make a positive change in the environment. Some of the people profiled make simple changes in their own lives that then snowball into big changes in their community. Other people in the book, face bigger challenges but show incredible resourcefulness in their work to solve the environmental problem that faces their community. Review: A great book to show one person can make a positive impact on the environment. I found the stories to be inspiring and motivational. I would recommend this to any budding environmentalist. Science teachers could use this in their class for Earth day activities. This would also go well with Michal Pollan ‘s The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat or Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life.