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  1. 1. Rebecca Holtsclaw Picture Books: 1. Bradford, Wade. Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? New York: Tricycle Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-58246-327; 31 pp; Age 3 – 7; historical fiction; housekeeping, mothers and son, Egypt, Greece, ancient civilizations; picture book w/ watercolor illustrations; illustrated by Johanna van der Sterre Summary: A mother tells her son why he has to make his bed even though he has already done other chores. She tells him about ancestors who have asked the same question going back farther in time. The story goes all the way back to prehistoric times. The pages use phrases and vocabulary set in each time frame. The watercolor illustrations add details about the time period including the approximate dates. The end of the book includes one to two paragraphs about each time period and what it may have been like for the kids who lived during that time. Analytical Comments: Old vocabulary and terms used which will need to be explained; example papyrus scrolls Uses similes on each page which may need to be explained Illustrations show stereotypical scenes from ancient civilizations that may or may not be accurate Could be used to support/introduce 6th grade social studies theme of ancient civilizations Good resource for having students compare and contrast different time periods including present day Teaching Ideas: Do a webquest on different ancient civilizations to learn about what life was like for kids Research to see if the images and ideas presented are accurate or not Create a Venn diagram to show how different eras are similar and different Create a picture book of chores students have to do today Interview grandparent or older individual to learn how chores are different now and in the past 2. Cole, Henry. On the Way to the Beach. Greenwillow Books, 2003.
  2. 2. Rebecca Holtsclaw ISBN 0-688-175-155; 32pp; Ages 4 – 8; realistic fiction; seashore animals, nature, movable books; picture book w/acrylic paints Summary: The story follows an unseen child narrator through several habitats. In each place the reader is asked to stop and observe the different plants and animals that can be found. Every other page folds open to reveal an I-Spy type of illustration that invites readers to identify plants and animals in their natural habitats. The end challenges students to sit still, listen and watch in their own environments. The last page includes a key to show where each animal and plant are at. Analytical Comments: Technical vocabulary will be hard for students to read/decode; example: tanager Students may not be familiar with the plants and animals mentioned and therefore would have a harder time identifying them Fold out pages can increase engagement and interactivity, but may get damaged easily Key at the back will support adults and students who are not familiar with the organisms mentioned in the book Illustrations add great detail showing the living beings in realistic form and color Teaching Ideas: Observe their natural surroundings Research/discover living organisms that can be found in their neighborhoods/local area Photograph/draw living creatures from their own area or other habitat Create I-Spy book or PowerPoint to display plants and animals from a specific area Visit museums, ponds, or other local displays habitats Research about pollution and what students can do to help preserve nature 3. Gower, Catherine. Long-Long’s New Year. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-8048-3666-3; 28pp; Grade Level: 1st ; historical fiction; holidays, traditions, New Year, China; picture book w/ painted illustrations; illustrated by He Zhihong
  3. 3. Rebecca Holtsclaw Summary: Long-Long rides into the big city with his grandfather to help sell cabbages. They are trying to earn enough money to buy the supplies needed for their family’s New Year celebration. While in the city Long-Long helps out different citizens and encourages people to buy his grandfather’s cabbages. Analytical Comments: Long-Long does a lot to help out other citizens, this can be used to teach about Chinese culture and the importance of the group Illustrations add many details to the setting and show cultural details about the New Year festival There are several Chinese words used throughout the book; they are explained on the last page of the book The author included a retelling of the first Chinese Spring Festival which helps explain why certain traditions exist Could be used with 6th grade world cultures social studies curriculum Teaching Ideas: Take a field trip to Nagasaki China-town to learn about the history of Chinese culture in Japan Brainstorm ways students can help in their own communities and then as a class pick a volunteer activity to participate in Create a bulletin board to compare and contrast how New Year’s is celebrated in different cultures/countries Draw pictures of their family celebrating New Year’s or another holiday/celebration Take a field trip to a retirement home to learn about what life was like for them when they were growing up 4. Ho, Minfong. Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 2004. ISBN 0-7636-2041-6; 30pp; Grade Level: Kindergarten; realistic fiction; hide-and-seek, fathers, daughters, animals, Thailand, rhyme; picture book w/ illustrations in watercolor and cut paper collage; Illustrations by Holly Meade
  4. 4. Rebecca Holtsclaw Summary: A father and daughter couple plays hide-and-seek around their house and yard. As the father searches for her he comes across a different animal on each page. Each animal makes a different noise that the father thinks could be his daughter. He finally finds her at the end. Analytical Comments: Each page repeats the same phrasing changing slightly for each animal; “Jut-Ay, peek-a-boo,” The pages use onomatopoeia to describe each animal The daughter is hiding in each illustration so readers can find her There is a pair of rhyming lines on each page which can be used to reinforce rhyming skills The animals and the noises they make are specific to Thailand so students may not be familiar with them or may know other sounds that the animals make Teaching Ideas: Create a page for a class picture book by drawing an animal and using the repetitive lines to write the words for Japan (or the place where the students are from) Use the same technique (paint paper and then cut it out into shapes) to create animals for a bulletin board Take a field trip to the Bio Park or other zoo; discuss how the animals are the same or different and the sounds that they make Use Frames to create an animation of one of the pages – animals and other characters could move in and out of the hiding places, while the students read the book aloud for the audio Make masks for each of the characters and act out the story 5. McDermott, Gerald. Pig-Boy. New York: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009.
  5. 5. Rebecca Holtsclaw ISBN 978-0-15-216590-1; 29pp; Grade Level: Kindergarten/1st Grade; Folklore – Hawaii; trickster, Pele, shape shifter; picture book w/ gouache, colored pencil and pastel on heavy watercolor paper Summary: Pig-Boy gets himself into trouble many different times. Each time he comes up with a clever way to escape. His escapes require him to change into another form. Grandmother protects Pig-Boy and reminds him to always escape if something goes wrong. The illustrations use repetitive color to provide continuity throughout the book. There are also references to other Pig-Boy tales in the illustrations. Read the introduction by the author to learn more about the folktale history of Pig-Boy. Analytical Comments: Shape shifting was not explained so some students may not be familiar with this idea or may be confused by it References Hawaiian gods and goddesses which students may not be familiar with Includes Hawaiian flora and fauna Great tool for comparing and contrasting folktales (especially trickster talks) from different cultures Mood created by illustrations is magical and whimsical Teaching Ideas: Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast different trickster tales Introduce Hawaiian mythology which students can then research more in depth Write and illustrate their own trickster/shape shifter tale Create story board or frieze of Pig-Boy’s different forms Create state brochure using Microsoft Publisher 6. McDermott, Gerald. Raven: A Trickster Tale for the Pacific Northwest. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1993. ISBN 0-15-265661-8; 29pp; Grade level: 2nd ; folktale; Northwest
  6. 6. Rebecca Holtsclaw Indians, Pacific Indians, legends, trickster tales; picture book w/ gouache, colored pencils and pastel illustrations Summary: Raven sees that the people of the world live in darkness so he goes in search of light. He finds light in the Sky Chief’s house. He changes into a pine needle so that the Sky Chief’s daughter will drink him. Then he is reborn as a boy. In the Sky Chief’s house he finds a ball of light and takes it away. He places it high in the sky to light the whole world. Now people feed Raven as a thank you for bringing the light. Analytical Comments: Students may have questions about Raven changing forms and the Sky Chief’s daughter getting pregnant Great to use with 4th grade social studies standards on regions of the U.S. Illustrations depict Raven in red, blue, green, and black geometric patterns in his different forms The author uses page breaks to show movement in the story, shows different scenes on the same page The author includes background information about Raven and the Pacific NW on the title page Teaching Ideas: Create a picture book about how something came to be Compare and contrast this with other trickster tales Write to historical sites and/or Native American tribes in the Pacific NW to get more information about the region and the people who live there Create a totem showing traditional animals, colors and styles Invite a traditional story teller to come in and share oral stories 7. Moniz, Michael. Wazzyjump. Simply Read Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1-897476-58-1; 36pp; Grade level: 1st ; fantasy, trickster tale; forest animals, fox, lion, friendship, magic; picture book w/ watercolor illustrations Summary: Of all the forest animals Wazzyjump is the most mysterious and magical. Lion, the king of the forest, wants Wazzyjump’s powers for himself. He convinces the animals to find
  7. 7. Rebecca Holtsclaw Wazzyjump. The animals look, but can’t find him so they give up, except for Fox. Fox continues to search for Wazzyjump with plans to keep his powers for himself instead of give them to Lion. When Fox does find Wazzyjump they become best friends. Lion finds out and goes to get Fox and Wazzyjump. When he finds them he learns to have fun and becomes friends with them as well. Analytical Comments: Modern day folktale Includes Fox as a trickster character Teaches readers to be friends, not be greedy or bossy, and to not gossip Watercolor illustrations add detail to each character The illusive Wazzyjump can be found on each page in the margins; look for light colored printing Teaching Ideas: Write and illustrate their own trickster tale Create a mask for one character in the book Act out how the animals responded when Bear told about Wazzyjump or how the animals became friends Make a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting with another trickster tale Research animals that live in your area (use these to help write folktale) 8. Myers, Tim. Basho and the Fox. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2000. ISBN 0-7614-5068-8; 30pp; Grade Level: 3rd ; fiction; Matuso, Basho, 1644 – 1694, foxes, haiku, poetry; picture book w/ watercolor illustrations; illustrations by Oki S. Han Summary: The great poet Basho lives alone in the mountains. One day he meets a fox eating his cherries who challenges him to write a poem better than foxes can write. Basho works on poems throughout the seasons, but the fox keeps saying he wants a better one. Finally Basho delivers a poem that the fox likes. Basho and the foxes share the cherries from then on.
  8. 8. Rebecca Holtsclaw Analytical Comments: The author includes a preface that tells a little history about haiku poetry and Basho, one of Japan’s most famous poets Three of Basho’s haikus are included in the book The illustrations beautifully show the seasons changing as is typical in much of Japanese art Great to use as an introduction to haiku poetry and the yearly haiku contest The illustrations show incredible detail; they are some of my favorite illustrations because of the mood they create in the story Teaching Ideas: Research Basho and other famous Japanese poets and artists; create a PowerPoint presentation sharing about the person’s life and work Write and illustrate your own haiku to enter into the annual haiku contest Take a walking field trip to the local art museum; look for traditional Japanese art themes in the works there Compare and contrast fox as a trickster in stories from other cultures Go on a nature walk and observe; take photos and use the experience to inspire our own writing and illustrations 9. Pinkney, Jerry. Puss in Boots. New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 2012. Left: Winter Above: Summer
  9. 9. Rebecca Holtsclaw ISBN 978-0-8037-1642-1, 30pp; Grade Level: 2nd ; fairy tales; folklore, France, king, cats, tricks; picture book w/ graphite, color pencil, and watercolor illustrations Summary: There was a miller who had three sons. When he passed away he left his youngest son his cat. The cat is very clever and works to make his new master’s life better. He tricks the king into believing that his master is a Count. He also tricks the evil sorcerer to gain land and a house for his master. His plans work in the end and he is rewarded with a job working for the king. Analytical Comments: Illustrations show great detail especially with the clothing of the time period; there is one fold out page in the center The author included information about the research he did to write the book, this could be shared with students to help them understand how much research goes into writing Students may feel uncomfortable with the part where the master is bathing in the river – the illustrations show him without a shirt and the story discusses that he does not have any clothes Puss is very clever and gains success through trickery, students may get the wrong idea or wonder why this worked Jerry Pinkney has several other retellings of fairy tales that could be used in conjunction with this one to create unit study Teaching Ideas: Compare and contrast with other versions of Pussy in Boots; why do you think the authors created it the way that they did? Write an alternative ending to the book or the next part in the story; what could happen next? With a partner write an interview for one of the characters in the book including the response, act out the interview for the class – you can include props and costumes if you like Create a board game showing all of the challenges that Puss had to overcome to help the miller’s son reach success at the end Use Google Earth to create a tour showing the different places where this story and other Puss in Boots or cat stories came from
  10. 10. Rebecca Holtsclaw 10. Polacco, Patricia. The Junkyard Wonders. New York: Philomel Books, 2010. ISBN 978-0-399-25078-1; 45 pp; DRA 38; Grade level: 2nd ;realistic fiction; Special Education, teaching, making friends, self-esteem; picture book w/color mixed media illustrations Summary: Polacco recounts her time in a special education class that the school dubbed the “junkyard.” She tells about how the students worked together to create wondrous objects out of scraps and junk. Her group rebuilt a model airplane that stood for the students’ unique abilities and possibilities. The class is guided by Mrs. Peterson who helps these misfit kids believe in themselves and achieve great wonders. At the end Polacco tells where all of her junkyard tribe members ended up (including NASA and Paris as a fashion designer). Polacco’s illustrations are mixed media of pencils and markers. Analytical Comments: Some higher level vocabulary such as Tourette’s One character passes away; students may need support after hearing about a student their own age dying Background knowledge about differences including learning paces, non-communicable diseases and families may be needed Great to use for teaching about differences, acceptance, anti-bullying, and believing in yourself (use during Bully Prevention Month) Illustrations capture the mood of each page through facial expressions, body language and color Teaching Ideas: Visit a junkyard; use items to create own masterpieces Create self-portraits that show/explain how the student is unique Create skits about a time when they are someone they know was bullied or picked on Brainstorm ideas for standing up to and getting help if bullied Write a poem about why the student is special and important 11. Ritchie, Alison. Duck Says Don’t! Intercourse, PA: Good books, 2012. ISBN 978-1-56148-745-5; 24 pp; Grade Level: 2nd ; fantasy; pond animals, bossiness, ponds, friendship; picture book w/ mixed media illustrations of paint and colored pencil; illustrations by Hannah George
  11. 11. Rebecca Holtsclaw Summary: Goose is in charge of the pond. When she leaves for vacation she lets Duck be in charge. Duck bosses all of the other pond animals around and makes signs telling them what they cannot do. The other pond animals leave. Duck gets lonely and decides to apologize and ask the other animals to come back. He creates a special sign to send his message. The other animals forgive Duck and move back to the pond just in time for Goose’s return. Duck decides he does not want to be left in charge next time. Analytical Comments: Illustrations move story line along; many details (such as signs) are only found in the illustrations and not in the text Introduces students to different pond animals which they may not be familiar with Cut away scenes and split illustrations help to move action along Students may relate to being bossed or bossing other around Great story to use if students are having trouble with being bossy Teaching Ideas: Create signs about school rules to put up Write and perform skits about being bossy or scenes from the book Research about pond habitats and create a bulletin board display Discuss a time when they were bossy or got bossed around; brainstorm other ways of handling these situations Go on a field trip to a pond/river/lake and study the animals there 12. Sheth, Kashmira. Tiger in My Soup. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-1-56145-696-3; 29 pp; Grade level: 1st ; imaginary realistic fiction; reading, siblings, babysitter, tigers; picture book w/ illustrations in acrylic on 100% rag watercolor paper; illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler Summary: The main character is being babysat by his older sister. He keeps asking her to read to him, but she is too busy. He decides to read by himself. He imagines the tiger from the book coming to life at his house. All the while his sister is too busy
  12. 12. Rebecca Holtsclaw listening to her music to notice. Finally she agrees to read the book to him while he is eating lunch, but watch out now the tiger is somewhere else! Analytical Comments: Stunning illustrations that convey plot often more than the text Texture is clearly seen in illustrations due to heavy paper used Encourages students to use their own imagination Students learning to read may relate to this book as will students who have to babysit younger sibling or who get babysat by older siblings Illustrations have great detail that can be used with ELLs or non- readers to help discuss what is happening in the story Teaching Ideas: Create their own tigers using paints and/or ripped paper Write an imaginative story about something coming alive in their own house Put together a babysitting kit to help keep younger kids entertained Cook soup: find recipe, gather materials, measure, follow directions, enjoy Cover words and let students write their own captions; share 13. Shulevitz, Uri. How I learned Geography. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008. ISBN 978-0-374-33499-4; 28pp; Grade Level: 3rd ; historical fiction; refugees, maps, geography, childhood, 1935, hope; picture book w/ pen, ink, watercolor and collage illustrations Summary: The young boy and his family must flee from their home because of the war. They end up in another city with little food and must sleep on the floor. One day that boy’s father comes home with a map instead of food. The son is unhappy that he has to go to bed without food. Soon he learns to love the map and uses it as an escape. He visits many different places around the world through the map and understands why his father bought it. Analytical Comments:
  13. 13. Rebecca Holtsclaw Mentions real life struggles such as war, hunger, and poverty which may make students uncomfortable or which may bring up difficult questions The author included his own history in the back of the book including some of his drawings from when he was a kid Several Japanese cities are mentioned in the book which may help students to connect with the story The illustrations help depict the mood of each scene with the use of color; the illustrations when he is travelling in the map have a magical feel to them Great to use with geography lessons for intermediate grades Teaching Ideas: Create a Google Earth tour to show the different places where Shulevitz family moved to or where he visited on the map as a kid ResearchWWII and what it was like for kids during that time (could read books like Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes) Choose a place you would like to visit in another country – research it and create a poster encouraging others to visit Visit the Nagasaki Peace Park and Bomb Museum to learn about how Japan was connect to WWII Put together a food drive for kids in our area or around the world; put together boxes with toys, books, etc… that we can send to kids who are less fortunate than us 14. Yashima, Taro. Umbrella. New York: Puffin Books, 1958. ISBN0-14-050240-8; 33pp; Grade Level: Kindergarten; realistic fiction; umbrella, rain, growing up, Japanese, immigrants; picture book w/ colored pencil and ink illustrations Summary: Momo receives an umbrella and rain boots for her third birthday. She waits and waits for it to rain so she can use her new gifts. She tries to convince her mom to let her use the umbrella to block the sun and the wind, but her mom says no. Finally it rains and Momo can use her new gifts.
  14. 14. Rebecca Holtsclaw Analytical Comments: Includes several Japanese words and characters – does a good job of explaining what they mean or including English translations Illustrations use rough lines to show shape; there are very few straight solid lines Kids may relate to the fact that Momo is Japanese and lives in the U.S. Caldecott Honor Book Students may relate to times that they got a special present or did something for the first time like Momo did Teaching Ideas: Write a story about an important gift or object that you have at home; bring it in to share with the class Create drawings on the sidewalk like Momo did in the story Write a page to a class book using Japanese and English – work together with the Host Nation teacher to find out what Japanese words the students should be familiar with Make a rain storm using our bodies – rub hands together, snap, pat legs, pat legs harder and stomp feet, then back down to rubbing palms together Use a projector to outline each student’s head and shoulders then students can use colored pencils to draw pictures of themselves similar to Yashima’s illustrations 15. Zelinsky, Paul. Rapunzel. New York: Puffin Books, 1997. ISBN 978-0-14-230193-7; 32 pp; Grade Level: 3rd ; fairytale/fantasy; folklore, Germany, witch; picture book w/ realism painted illustrations Summary: A married couple has to give up their daughter when the husband is caught stealing rapunzel from a witch’s garden. He was stealing the herb because the wife was craving it so badly. The witch raises the girl. She locks the girl in the tower with the only entry at the top so she has to climb Rapunzel’s hair to get in. When a prince figures out how to get in he and Rapunzel fall in love. When the witch finds out she casts Rapunzel out into the wilderness and the prince falls from the tower. After years of wandering he finds Rapunzel again and they live happily ever after.
  15. 15. Rebecca Holtsclaw Analytical Comments: Caldecott Award winning book Illustrations are extremely detailed with a Renaissance feel Students may make connections with other versions of Rapunzel that they have seen/read/heard Some students may have questions about feel uncomfortable when the parents give up the child and/or when the prince falls from the tower Promotes families with a mom and a dad Teaching Ideas: Use Pixie to create a cartoon movie version of the story Use storyboards to retell the story Compare and contrast this version with other versions of the story Discuss elements of art found in the illustrations Visit an art museum to discuss the similarities and differences between the art found in the book and other styles Novels: 16. Allen, Crystal. The Laura Line. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-0-06-199274-2; 328pp; Grade Level: 7th ; contemporary realistic fiction; school, self-perception, popularity, grandmothers, African Americans, overweight, slavery, friendship, family heritage, coming of age, baseball, modeling, military; young adult novel Summary: Laura dreads having to stay with her grandmother for two weeks while her parents are at National Guard training in part because of the slave shack on her grandmother’s property. Throughout the stay she learns about her family history, how to accept herself as she is, and how to make new friends. She learns about her family history through the ledger that is kept in the slave shack and from the stories her grandmother tells. Analytical Comments:
  16. 16. Rebecca Holtsclaw The Amistad story is referenced and explained briefly; it is an important part of the story so students may want to learn about it before or after reading the book Could be used with a bullying unit as Laura gets picked on because of her size Has a very empowering message: you can do anything no matter your gender, size, or race Talks about crushes, dating, and kissing Mentions going to church and the author writes explicitly about Jesus Christ in the Acknowledgements Teaching Ideas: Research your family history and put together a presentation to share with the class/school; find out if anyone from your family tree was interested in the same jobs/activities that you are Take a field trip to local historical sites especially ones about first settlers and/or slavery (if possible) Laura loved pitching and modeling and Sage is a fantastic photographer; What is one of your passions? What resources/classes are available to help you practice that passion? Draw a family tree showing important people in your family Create a skit showing either one way that Laura dealt with the bullies or one way she could have dealt with them 17. Berk, Josh. Strike Three You’re Dead. New York: Random House, 2013. ISBN 978-0-375-87008-8; 250pp; Grade Level: 6th ; mystery; baseball, murder, Phillies, best friends, detective stories; young adult novel Summary: When Lenny and his best friends, Mike and Other Mike, suspect that a famous baseball pitcher is murdered they decide to investigate on their own. Throughout the summer the enter contests, confront old ball players, uncover secrets, and make new friends. This trio learns a lot about themselves as they discover who killed the young pitcher. Analytical Comments: Target audience: baseball fans/players There are many baseball references that students may not get if they are unfamiliar with the game Two very strong female characters that help the boys out – good literary role models
  17. 17. Rebecca Holtsclaw Crime aspect is very mild – no blood or gore The main character, Lenny, does sneak out of his house and deliberately disobeys his parents several times in the story which could send the wrong message Teaching Ideas: Go to a local baseball game, learn the rules and play outside Use proper calculations to figure out pitching and batting averages Research a less well known baseball player and create an Animoto video about him/her Create a crime lab and use forensics to analyze different data Write a persuasive essay about which sports team is the best 18. Dembiki, Matt. Trickster: Native American Tales. Golden: Fulcrum Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-55591-724-1; 222pp; Grade Level: 10th -11th , folktales; Native American, trickster, Indians-North America, folklore, comic books, strips, etc., coyote, rabbit, raccoon; young adult graphic novel Summary: This is a collection of Native American trickster tales told from around different parts of North America. Each tale is accompanied by a different form of illustration in graphic novel style. Most of the stories include animal characters and teach a lesson or explain why something is the way it is. Analytical Comments: The illustrations vary greatly in medium and target audience with some being very primary/child centered and others being much more realistic and mature Some illustrations include half naked or naked people – no private parts are shown, but some students may feel uncomfortable with these pictures Short biographies are included in the back of the book about the different authors and illustrators Several of the contributors are Native Americans These comics follow the Western style of reading (front to back, top to bottom and left to right) Teaching Ideas:
  18. 18. Rebecca Holtsclaw Create a Google Earth tour showing where the different stories came from Write and perform a skit retelling one of the stories Compare and contrast reoccurring characters or themes in the stories Research trickster tales from tribes or groups in your area – compare these to the ones found in the book Write and illustrate a comic retelling a traditional story from your childhood or culture 19. Friesner, Esther. Sprit’s Chosen. New York: Random House, 2013. ISBN 978-0-375-86908-2; 475pp; Grade Level: 11th ; historical fiction/fantasy; Japan, sex role, shaman, clans, magic, spirits, slavery, History to 645, friendship, family roles, polygamy, relationships; young adult novel Summary: Himiko is returning to her tribe as a shaman. When she gets home she finds out that her village has been attacked by another tribe. Many of her family members have been killed as they were the royal family of her clan. The village has been mostly destroyed and many of her people have been carried off as slaves, including her younger brother Noboru. Her mother has fits of insanity from being forced to watch her husband and older sons murdered and her youngest son taken away. Himiko sets out to free her brother and bring him home. She learns much along the way and helps to set all of the tribes on the right track. Analytical Comments: This is the sequel to Spirit’s Princess by Esther Friesner and is part of Friesner’s rebel-princess books There are references to sex and threatened rape several times in the story Communicating with the dead, spirits, and gods is references many times as that is what Himiko’s job is There are several violent and semi-graphic explanations of injuries and death throughout the story including combat The author has included notes at the end about her own visits to Japan Teaching Ideas:
  19. 19. Rebecca Holtsclaw Take a field trip to Yoshinogari Historical Park to see how Japanese people lived during this time period Research which parts of the story are true to what we know about the Yayoi people and other ancient Japanese tribes Write a letter to Esther Friesner about your research and experience at Yoshinogari since she expressed interest in going there; send photos and other information that you learned in this unit Compare and contrast Himiko’s role with Kaya’s or another woman character that you’ve read about Write the next chapter; what will happen after Himiko becomes chieftess? Will she be able to convince the other tribes to get rid of slavery? How will the tribes help each other? 20. Fuller, Anne. Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks. Omaha: Fuller Minds, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9827430-1-0; 132pp; Grade Level: 9th grade; historical fiction; Civil War, South, disguise, coming of age; young adult novel Summary: When Sammie Annie finds out that her brother goes missing in action she decides to disguise herself as a boy and join the Confederate Army. While joining does not lead her to her brother it does lead her on a journey of self-discovery. She learns what it means to be a soldier and makes important friendships along the way. In the end Sam and the rest of the Confederate Army surrender and Sam gets to go home where an unexpected surprise awaits her. Analytical Comments: Students may not be familiar with details about the Civil War so they may want to research before or after reading; the author does include a note at the beginning explaining some details Wounds and battles are described in some detail; not very graphic The author lives in Montana – students may be able to contact her and or get her to come visit Sam fights for the South which may be frustrating or confusing for students; discussions about all of the reasons behind the Civil War (not just slavery) might help students understand her choice better There is some mild information about relationships, kissing, and body parts (i.e. Sam binds her chest) Teaching Ideas:
  20. 20. Rebecca Holtsclaw Create a Google Earth tour of all the places Sam went Research a battle, event, or person from the Civil War and create a blog about it/him/her Write the next chapter in the book – what happens now that Johnny and Sam are back home (use detail from the book to support your choices) Write a letter or journal entry as if you were Sam or one of the other characters in the book Take a field trip to a historical Civil War site in real life or digitally; visit the Civil War Trust for lessons and ideas 21. Gewirtz, Adina. Zebra Forest. Somerville: Candlewick Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7636-6041-3; 200pp; Grade Level: 8th grade; contemporary realistic fiction; prison, outdoors, classic literature, family, growing up; young adult novel Summary: Annie and her younger brother, Rew, live with their Gran on the edge of a forest. Their mother left them and their father was killed by an angry man. One night an escaped convict shows up at their door. He holds the family hostage. Annie soon discovers that the escaped convict is none other than her father, who is the angry man from Gran’s story. The family learns how to live together again in the face of many trials. In the end Annie’s dad turns himself back into the prison. Analytical Comments: There are several intense scenes where Annie’s father threatens to hurt the family and/or restrains them; nothing bad happens to them, but students may feel uncomfortable with these scenes Annie and Rew are often visited by a social worker since Gran does not always make them go to school; this may be a new idea to students or it may give the wrong impression Annie and Rew read several classic novels (especially Treasure Island) and the author references them a lot: students may not be familiar with these and so may need the references explained The author includes a lot of descriptions of nature and the forest Makes reference to the Iran hostage crisis which students may not be familiar with Teaching Ideas: Create a poster that shows how the Zebra forest changes in the different seasons and how Annie and Rew change throughout the book using descriptions from the story
  21. 21. Rebecca Holtsclaw Have a parole officer or security guard come in to speak about the realities of prison life Research one of the books, news items, or plants mentioned by the author create a PowerPoint describing your item and why you think the author included it in the book Write a sequel (about one chapter) showing what life could be like once Annie’s father is out of prison Gewirtz used a lot of setting descriptions to mirror how the characters were feeling and/or changing; find one example and draw a picture to show the connection between the setting and the character 22. Kadohata, Cynthia. The Thing about Luck. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4169-1882-0; 556 itouch pages; Grade Level: 8th ; contemporary realistic fiction; farming, Kansas, Grandparents, siblings, illness-malaria, Japanese Americans, luck; young adult novel Summary: Summer is left in the care of her grandparents when her parents fly back to Japan to help with a family emergency. Summer and her younger brother accompany their grandparents as they travel around the mid-west to harvest wheat. Summer learns about luck, family ties, and her own abilities while on harvest. Analytical Comments: Simple sketches are included to give the book a journal like feel as well as to help explain some of the technical aspects of harvesting Several of the subjects may be new to students such as malaria and the harvest lifestyle – the author does a good job explaining new terms in the book and includes information about different experts who helped her while she was writing the book Several Japanese words are used throughout the story – they are italicized, but not always explained The story blends traditional Japanese culture with American culture which may make it more relatable to Japanese-American students Summer’s younger brother, Jaz, has trouble making friends as he is an intense kid – students may relate to his struggles Teaching Ideas:
  22. 22. Rebecca Holtsclaw Research about harvest workers, migrant workers, gypsies, or other groups of people who travel for their jobs; how are their lives similar and different from yours? Why are their jobs important? Choose one type of insect – research what it looks like and draw an anatomically correct picture of it to the best of your ability; for extra credit research an expert to mail your drawing to Write a journal entry from Summer’s point of view about what happens next in the story Use gravel or other small objects to create a lace pattern like Jaz’s does Interview your grandparents or someone who is over 60; how is life different today than it was when they were growing up? How might life change by the time you are a grandparent/over 60? 23. Paulsen, Gary. Vote. New York: Random House, 2013. ISBN 978-0-385-74228-3; 131pp; Grade Level: 7th grade; contemporary realistic fiction; politics, middle school, interpersonal relations, humorous stories, babysitting; young adult novel Summary: Kevin decides that he will run for 8th grade class president to impress his girlfriend, Tina. During the campaign he works with different kids at school, his family, and Markie, the four year old that he babysits to become the best possible candidate.In the end he learns what it really means to be a leader and sets up a volunteer opportunity for the 8th grade class trip. Analytical Comments: This is the 4th book in a series about Kevin; the other books are Liar, Liar, Flat Broke, and Crush The cover art and length of the book give it a younger feel, but the vocabulary is more of a 7th or 8th grade level Discusses politics and uses a lot of political vocabulary Great to use as a character study since it focuses on Kevin so intently, also Kevin shows character flaws, but does not realize them in himself Kevin shows a lot of growth from earlier books in which he was less than honest Teaching Ideas: Set up and participate in a real debate about issues that are important to the students Plan a fundraiser or volunteer opportunity for the class/school
  23. 23. Rebecca Holtsclaw Participate in the student government elections – run for office, be campaign managers, set up debates, make poster, take poles, tally ballots, etc… Take a field trip to city hall, a town hall meeting, or other political location near school to learn about the city’s elected officials and their jobs Write a journal entry from another character’s point of view, how would Tina, JonPaul, Markie, etc… feel? Research Gary Paulsen and put together a bulletin board to encourage others to read his books 24. Sakurakoji, K. Black Bird Vol. I. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4215-2764-2; illustrated by Kanoko Sakurakoji; Grade Level: 12th; fantasy; Japan, demons, high school, relationships; young adult manga Summary: Misao is a high school student who can see demons. She learns that very powerful demons are seeking her out to either drink her blood, eat her or marry her all of which will give them great powers. Kyo becomes her protector and offers to marry her. She soon finds out this is because he is a demon too. Kyo gets a job as a math teacher at her school so he can protect her all the time. He can heal her wounds by licking them. Misao must decide if she should marry Kyo or not as he continues to save her from more demon attacks. Analytical Comments: Manga is read from back to front, top to bottom, and right to left – it may take students some time to adjust to reading this way; there is a diagram included at the end of the book to show students how to read it The format and sentence structure is very different from typical books; the action is fast paced and reads more like a TV show than a novel; the illustrations are used to move the story along and add to it instead of only show what is happening in the text The author includes several asides throughout the book that explain how she wrote the story and why she made certain choices, there are also descriptions of different characters periodically There are several traditional manga formats and art used for example text may be in bubbles showing that some is speaking, not separated from the pictures showing that this happened in the past, in smaller
  24. 24. Rebecca Holtsclaw print to show thoughts, etc… As students read more manga they will become more familiar with these structures There are many graphic photos and language used in the book including sexual references Teaching Ideas: Compare and contrast manga with other forms of graphic novels; which do you prefer? Why? Write your own chapter for a manga story, make sure to include proper formatting and structures Research how manga started and why it is gaining so much popularity; share your findings with the class through a blog or internet presentation Research the Japanese demons mentioned in the story, how do they incorporate into Japanese culture? Discuss how traditional gender roles are portrayed in the story; what might this say about Japanese culture? What did you learn about your own role and culture while reading the book? 25. Senzai, N.H. Shooting Kabul. New York: Scholastic, 2010. ISBN 978-0-545-30726-0; 260pp; Grade Level: 8th ; historical fiction; Afghanistan, immigration, middle school, photography, family roles, September 11, 2001 – terrorist attacks, bullying, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; young adult novel Summary: Fadi’s family must escape from Afghanistan after the Taliban pressure his father into working for them. During the escape, Fadi’s six-year-old sister gets left behind. Fadi and the rest of his family must continue on to California while entrusting family members and friends to search for Mariam. While in California Fadi must adjust to middle school life. He enters a photography contest in hopes of winning plane tickets to India so he can resume the search for his sister. When the terrorist attacks of 9-11 take place, Fadi must deal with bullies at school too. Read to learn how things don’t always go how Fadi would like, but how they end up working out in the end. Analytical Comments: A much needed book that shares how many Muslim families reacted to 9-11 Includes a lot of details about Afghanistan and the political climate there over the years
  25. 25. Rebecca Holtsclaw There are many Arabic words used throughout the book, the author has included a glossary at the back that defines each of these words There is a detailed author’s note explaining how this story compares to her husband’s own story and goes into more depth about Afghanistan There is section at the back that includes suggested books for more reading about Afghanistan, other fiction books about the area, and helpful websites Fadi is bullied during the book so it would be a good one to use during Bully Prevention Week Teaching Ideas: Use as a read aloud with the class – discuss what students thought about Muslims before reading, during, and after; what other groups might student know little about that they could learn more about? Create a photography club or contest for students to enter – display photos throughout the library and school Have students create digital stories telling the tale of their moves to Japan or another location – student can incorporate photos, original art work, maps, text, and voice (could use Google Earth, Little Bird Tales, etc…) Research the different cultural groups in Afghanistan that the author mentions; how do these groups compare with each other? Why would Fadi think students at his school from other groups might not like him? Discuss bullying using Fadi and the other characters as examples; do you think how they solved the problem was ok? Why or why not? What can you do if you see some being bullied or are bullied? 26. Snicket, Lemony. “What Could That Be at This Hour?”: All the Wrong Questions. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012. ISBN 978-0-316-12308-2; 258pp; Grade Level: 7th grade; mystery; middle school, friendship, reading, vocabulary, stolen items; young adult novel Summary: Lemony Snicket is a 13 year old detective who has just received his first assignment along with his incompetent chaperone. As he tries to figure out who stole the statue, why, and who the true owner is he meets many interesting characters and finds that there may be more to this mystery than he first thought. Analytical Comments:
  26. 26. Rebecca Holtsclaw This book is clearly written to be the start of a new series, the ending is a bit unsatisfying as it prepares the reader to continue reading the series, there are more questions left unanswered than answered Higher level vocabulary is often explained with the phrase, “which in this case means,” Snicket has a very unique writing style and sarcastic sense of humor that might take some students time to get used to The few black, white, and blue illustrations add good details to the story This series may be a good one to hook reluctant readers because of the vocabulary support, interesting story, and it looks like a higher level book Teaching Ideas: There are many questions left unanswered at the end of the book – write your own answers and share them with the class Lemony Snicket is a pseudonym; research this author or another author that has used a pseudonym. Why would an author choose to use a pseudonym? Use this story with a mystery unit: practice using detective techniques like finger printing, use a how to host a murder, have guest speakers come in such as police detectives Create an illustration to go along with the story using India ink and one other color Describe your own town using Snicket’s writing style; What would he say about where you live and the people who live there? 27. Woodson, Jacqueline. After Tupac and D Foster. New York: Puffin Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-14-241399-9;151pp; Grade Level: 8th – 9th ; realistic fiction; coming of age, friendship, Tupac Shakur, African-Americans, Queens, New York, prison, foster care, homosexuality; young adult novel Summary: Two best friends have their lives changed when they meet a new girl, D. The three become best friends and grow up together over two years. They deal with issues like Tupac’s hospitalization, hearing, and death, gaining independence, and family issues. At the end the girls learn more about each other and life in general. Analytical Comments: Newbery Honor Book
  27. 27. Rebecca Holtsclaw Students may not be familiar with Tupac or some slang used in the book – background information may need to be gathered or explanations given D is in foster care which may bring up difficult issues especially if students are or were in foster care or are adopted Discusses homosexuality – students may have different opinions on this topic so rules for fair discussions will need to be presented The story brings up race issues such as profiling, unfair/biased court hearing, poverty, etc… Teaching Ideas: Take a field trip using public transportation to a concert or other cultural experience Research foster care and orphanages; set up a debate discussing which is better and why Create a bulletin board or other presentation to share information about a famous person who is important to you Discuss what makes a good friend. Make a picture book explaining how to be a good friend Make a movie recreating one of the most important scenes in the book; explain why you chose this scene and why it was important to the story 28. Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 978-0-375-84220-7; 550pp; Grade Level: 11th Grade; historical fiction; Germany, history 1933-1945, books and reading, storytelling, death, Jews, World War, rescue; young adult novel Summary: Liesel, a young illiterate foster child, starts stealing books. With the help of her foster father she learns to read them too. While learning to read and survive in her foster parents’ house WWII is brewing up around them. Liesel’s world becomes more unique when her father decides to hide a Jewish man in the basement. Liesel learns about love, friendship, life, and death. Analytical Comments: Some mild language which may be upsetting to some readers Includes German words and phrases most of which are explained in the text
  28. 28. Rebecca Holtsclaw Unique and unusual text and writing style – the author uses different fonts to show different breaks and information in the story; there is a set pattern that is easy to pick up Great book to use along with a history lesson about WWII; it shows a very personal connection to the events happening during this time Includes discussion questions, information from the author, recommended books and websites Teaching Ideas: Create a Glog about one aspect (person, event, etc…) of WWII Visit the Nagasaki A-bomb Memorial and Museum – How was Japan connected to WWII? Create a Fakebook account from Liesel’s (or another character’s) point of view; what comments, photos, etc…would she post? Research countries that have a high rate of illiteracy; How can being illiterate affect someone’s life? What is being done or not being done in these countries to help increase the literacy rate? How has being able to read affected your life? Write another chapter to this story or a chapter to another story about the Holocaust from Death’s point of view; why do you think the author chose to write the story this way? How did it add to the book? Literature Alive Events: 29. Multicultural Read Aloud - Japanese; Friday, July 12, 2013; 1:00pm; Sasebo Main Base Library; Children age 0 – 10 Description: A Japanese story teller read aloud traditional Japanese folktales. She had accompanying illustrations, which she checked out from the Sasebo City Public Library. She re-told the stories The Peach Boy and The Bamboo Princess. The accompanying illustrations are in the traditional Japanese style of big books where the pages are separate. Each photo has the words on the back so that the reader can see them, but the audience only sees the picture. The story teller had translated the story into English for this presentation. The goal of this presentation was to introduce traditional Japanese folktales and encourage more families to come to the library. Analytical Comments: The kids who were present were between three and seven. The youngest child had trouble sitting still for the whole story so it may be better for four to seven year olds. This would be a great way to learn about folktales or stories from other cultures at school. Kindergarteners and first graders would really enjoy an event like this. Story tellers from other
  29. 29. Rebecca Holtsclaw cultures could present as well. This would be a great way for students to see role models from their own culture and help give a voice to minority groups in our area. The stories that were read would easily be transformed into skits that students could practice or improvise. Students could learn stories from different cultures and then present them to their class, other classes and/or their parents. This could also be a good way to share similar stories (like Cinderella stories) from different cultures. 30. Jack and the Beanstalk Theatre Production; Saturday, July 13, 2013; Harbor View Club, Sasebo, Japan; Missoula Children’s Theatre; Age to perform – 5 to 18, all ages welcome to watch final showing Description: The Missoula Children’s Theatre came to base for one week. The kids auditioned for parts on Monday, rehearsed all week and then performed on Saturday. The purpose was to expose students to participating in and watching live theatre. Students practiced singing, dancing, acting, speaking, listening, and fluency skills. The play was designed for children to act in and watch. There were several overly cheesy parts about eating healthy and being friends mixed into the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Analytical Comments: Students in kindergarten through high school could perform in the play. It is an ideal set up for an afterschool club or local theater. I would take elementary students, first through fourth grade, to go see the show. This type of event could be set up in many different ways. Middle and high school students could use what they learned from watching and participating in the show to write their own play based on a fairytale or folktale. They could put together their own shows to perform for younger students. Elementary students could compare and contrast this version with others that we have read or seen. They could also perform simpler versions of this story or other folktales. Reading plays can sometimes be confusing and less meaningful than actually seeing it performed, so this experience could help students connect to plays read in class. It could also help prepare them to act in their own show as a discussion about different aspects of acting such as volume, tone, rate, facial expressions, etc… could be held after watching the performance.