Children and Young Adult Bibliography 2013
1. Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale
Deedy, Carmen Agra. MARTINA; THE BEAUTIFUL COCKROACH: A CUBAN FOLKTALE. Atlanta, Georgia:
Peachtree Publishers, 2007. Print.
ISBN 13: 978-1-56145-399-3 ISBN 10: 1-56145-399-4 (Book); 38 pp; picture book for elementary;
Cuban Folktale; Para Belpre’ Honor Book; ill created with acrylic in bright Cuban colors by Michael Austin.
A humorous retelling a Cuban folktale about a cockroach who interviews suitors to see who will become
her husband. She listens to her Abuela about how to choose the best candidate with the “Coffee Test” as
each suitor tries to “woo” her.
Vivid pictures which sets the mood and reminds me of New Orleans.
*Discuss and gain an understanding of the Spanish words.
*Colors are very vivid and have a Caribbean feel
*Great book to look at acceptance
*Good tie in book for social studies unit on cockroaches/beetles
*Great choice to look at different folklore from different cultures
*Read and discover different types of folklore from different cultures which speak Spanish and compare
*Dramatize the book
*Create own story of Martina if one of the other suitors had passed the “coffee test”, how would the story
*Discover traditions of the students and create a poster
*Science Unit of cockroaches
2. Pirates Don’t Change Diapers
Long, Melinda. PIRATES DON’T CHANGE DIAPERS. New York, New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2008. Print.
ISBN 13: 978-0-545-08106-1 ISBN 10: 0-545-08106-8; 38 pp; picture book for elementary;
humorous fiction; ill by David Shannon in acrylic using bright colors and conveying a sense of movement
A very humorous tale of a little boy babysitting his little sister as his Mom goes to the store to get milk.
The little boy used to be a pirate and his pirates friends come back to claim their treasure and find the
little boy babysitting his sister. Instead of treasure they wake up his little sister from her nap and have to
suffer the consequences. With the help of the little sister (she eats the map) they find the treasure that
they are seeking. Moods and emotions are shown with different sized texts and large, bold illustrations
that are larger than life.
*Bright humorous illustrations
*Font is different size to convey tone and level of excitement
*Phrases that may have to be explained, such as “caterwalin’”
*Illustrations tell the story
*background knowledge of pirates
*create own pirate map
*write journal entries of a pirate’s life
*illustrate and list all the things pirates don’t do
*math activity with longitude and latitude/maps
*translate all the pirate phrases
*celebrate “International talk like a pirate day”
3. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub
Wood, Audrey. KING BIDGOOD’S IN THE BATHTUB. New York, New York: Harcourt Brace and Company,
ISBN 10: 0-15-242-730-9; 30 pp; picture book for elementary; humorous fiction; Caldecott honor book;
ill by Don Wood using oils in muted colors reminiscent of Italian Renaissance painters.
A funny tale of a King who wants to rule his kingdom from his bathtub. All of his court try and remove
him from the bathtub. Lots of repetition of phrases and the movement of time are shown through dark
and bright colors. Very vivid and detailed illustrations.
*passage of time is told through the changing colors of illustrations
*mood is dictated through golden undertones, rich, detail illustrations and muted red, golds, blues and
*illustrations are modeled after Renaissance paintings
*Caldecott Honor Book
*Social studies unit on the Renaissance
*Fun introductory book on fairy tales
*Compare and contrast other fairy tales about Kings
*Change ending of the book. The King never leaves the tub.
Giovanni, Nikki. ROSA. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2005. Print
ISBN 13:978-0-8050-7106-1 ISBN 10:0-8050-7106-7; 32 pp.; picture book for older elementary;
biography; Caldecott Honor book; ill. by Bryan Collier using watercolor and collage; illustrations
reminiscent of woodcuts
This retelling of one of the bravest women of recent history, Rosa Parks and the events that occurred as
she refused to give up her seat on that Alabama bus. How her arrest and actions spurred on a nation and
the city of Montgomery to take action against segregation. Bryan Collier uses watercolor and collage in
yellows and dark hues to create a feeling of foreboding, “an uneasy quiet before the storm”
*2006 Caldecott Honor Book and the winner of the 2006 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.
*Yellow dark hued illustrations so the reader may “feel in that …a foreshadowing, an uneasy quiet before
the storm” – Bryan Collier, illustrator’s note.
*Rosa Parks looks as though light emanates from her
*Historical background of the bus boycotts should be discussed
*Many references to historical events or news events of the time will need to be discussed. Examples-
NAACP, Emmitt Till, Dr King, etc.
*Some references to the horrific happenings of the time, such as a lynching. May need to gauge age of
*Wonderful introduction to civil rights unit.
*Unit on Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement.
*Journal write about standing up for something they felt was the right thing.
*Have everyone in the classroom write a tribute letter to Rosa Parks and create a classroom book
*Unit on influential women in history who stood for change
*Draw an illustration or write a persuasive letter to change the laws of the segregated South.
*Compare and contrast other books about Rosa Parks to Giovanni’s version.
Zelinsky, Paul O. RAPUNZEL. New York, New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 1997. Print.
ISBN 978-0-14-230193-7; 48 pp; picture book for elementary; retelling of fairytale; The Caldecott Medal
Award; ill. by Zelinsky in watercolor, reminiscent of Renaissance painters.
This retelling of the Germanic fairytale Rapunzel of a beautiful girl locked in the tower by an evil sorceress.
Beautifully detailed illustrations, many full page illustrations in muted hues, also included is a detailed
history about Rapunzel.
*Beautiful detailed illustrations in the Renaissance style
*Readers may be upset by prince falling out of window and his blindness
*Note from Zelinsky about history of “Rapunzel”
*Compare and contrast other version of Rapunzel
*Science project growing rampion herb
*Create own Renaissance Art
*Perform the play version of Rapunzel
*Create a poster/ad to encourage others to read Rapunzel
6. Mufuro’s Beautiful Daughter’s:
An African Tale
Steptoe, John. MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE. New York, New York: Scholastic,
ISBN 0-590-42058-5; 32 pp.; picture book for elementary; retelling of African folktale; Caldecott honor
book; ill. by Steptoe in oils; detail illustrations.
This picture book is an African folktale about the two daughters of Mufaro. Both very beautiful; however,
one is kind and considerate while one is spiteful and selfish. Both are asked to come to the capital city to
appear before the King, so he may choose his new bride. Both are tested by the king in different forms as
they travel to the capital city. As they travel their “true colors” show through and good triumphs evil.
Cinderella story. Ill. Inspired by the ancient ruins of Zimbabwe and the flora and fauna of this region.
Very detailed ill. With many full page plates.
*Inspired by a folktale by G.M. Theal
*Illustrations inspired by an ancient city in Zimbabwe
*Introduction to the African names and words from the Shona language
*Caldecott Honor book
*Activity using other Cinderella stories from different cultures
*Social studies unit on Africa
*Create a play about the book
*count the miles it took to get to the capital city
*Rewrite the end of the book if the spiteful and selfish sister where to marry the King.
7. The Rough Faced Girl
Martin, Rafe. THE ROUGH-FACE GIRL. New York, New York: Scholastic, INC, 1992.
ISBN 0-590-46932-0; 32 pp.; picture book for elementary; Native American Algonquin Cinderella story; ill
by David Shannon.
This retelling of Cinderella in the Algonquin tradition is a wonderful story of good triumphing over evil.
The Rough Face girl has to suffer abuse by her two evil sisters and watches as they try and marry the
Invisible Being. Goodness prevails as the Rough face girl passes the test given by the Invisible beings
sister and achieves the coveted position of the wife of the indivisible being. Beautifully ill by David
*Author’s note about the different versions of Cinderella
*Algonquin version of Cinderella
*Includes Algonquin Indian traditions/lifestyles
*Beautifully detailed full page illustrations using pastels
*Some vocabulary may have to be discussed
*Discuss and read other versions of Cinderella
*Reader’s Theatre - http://www.bedford.k12.mi.us/~mre/Book%20of%20the%20Month%20pdfs/2010-
*Native American unit on the Algonquin tribe
*Introduce other Trickster tales
*Create own Cinderella story
8.Pig Boy: A Trickster Tale From Hawaii
McDermott, Gerald. PIG BOY: A TRICKSTER TALE FROM HAWAII. New York, New York: Harcourt
Children’s Books, 2009.
ISBN 978-0-15-216590-1; 32 pp.; picture book for elementary; Hawaiian trickster tale.
This trickster tale from Hawaii is about a pig boy that always manages to get out of trouble just as his
grandmother told him too. Ill done in bright colors primarily using green, yellow purple and red. Drawn
from stories of the trickster Hawaiian hero, Kamapua’a, who is a shape-shifter. “human form he is a
warrior...in pig form, he is a trickster who provokes the powerful.
*Author gives background information about Pig Boy
*illustrations give the book a magical feel
*Bold bright colors in purples green and golds
*Hawaiian elements that students may not be familiar with such as pronunciation of Hawaiian language,
gods and goddess, and shape-shifters, etc
*great example of an obscure trickster tale/folktale.
*Compare this tale with numerous other trickster tales and discuss the importance of trickster tales in
*Unit about native Hawaiian culture
*Create their own trickster tales and create class book
*Discover other Hawaiian trickster/folktales
Wiesner, David. FLOTSAM. New York, New York: Clarion Books, 2006.
ISBN: 0618194576; pp. 40, almost wordless picture book, age 4 – 8, written and ill. By David Wiesner; Caldecott Winner
2007; watercolor media; fantasy
This wonderful wordless book from David Wiesner tells the story of a curious boy at the beach. He finds a treasure
washed upon the shore, an old barnacled covered Melville underwater camera. He takes the camera and gets the film
inside developed. He discovers a wondrous underground world filled with unexplainable events-mechanical fish, magical
worlds, puffer fish hot air balloons, and magical pictures of others that have found the camera. Excited about his
discoveries, he takes a picture of himself and returns the camera to the ocean.
*beautifully rendered realistic watercolor illustrations
*even through it is wordless illustrations, they tell a detailed story
* colors set the light and airy mood of a day at the ocean
*images jump of the page
*Students create their own fantasy world under the ocean
*Have students collect pieces of flotsam from Flathead Lake
*Science project where students bring in an item from nature and observe and record pertinent
information about it
*Compare to other wordless book by David Wiesner
*Write captions about each picture
10. How Rocket Learned to Read
Hills, Tad. HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ. New York, New York: Schwartz & Wade books, 2010.
ISBN: 978-0-375-85899-4 (Hardcover), picture book for elementary school, pp. 40; ages 3 – 7; parents
choice silver honor
A cute little yellow bird teaches Rocket the dog to read. The reluctant Rocket just wants to take a nap.
The little yellow bird is persistent. She begins her teaching with the “wondrous, mighty, gorgeous
alphabet” Finally as she reads a book aloud she finally gets Rocket’s attention. He arrives the next day to
class and he and the little bird have a great time spelling and learning about all the things in Rocket’s
world. The little bird goes south for the winter, but Rocket continues to practice his spelling and as spring
arrives so does the little bird to an eager ready to learn Rocket.
*Bright bold illustrations
*Enthusiastic positive characters, especially the little yellow bird
*Humorous illustrations in oil and pastels that show all the emotions that Rocket is feeling
*Great book to introduce reading
*Introduce the alphabet and how to spell words that Rocket spells throughout the book
*Use the Random House app for Ipad to read the story interactively
*Mud paint the words that Rocket did onto a large piece of butcher paper and display in the classroom
*Use shaving cream to practice spelling words on the student’s desks
* For children who already can read, have them write to a student that is just learning to read. They can
write how they learned to read and give other students tips on how to learn to read.
11. *How I Learned Geography
Shulevitz, Uri. HOW I LEARNED GEOGRAPHY. New York, New York: Farrar, Starus and Giroux, 2008.
ISBN: 0-374-33499-4; watercolor and ink; Caldecott honor book; ages 4-12; refugees, maps, WWII;
historical fiction account of authors experience of early life.
In war torn land a boy and his family must flee to a new country. As they survive as refugees in an
unknown country, the boy’s father brings home a map instead of a loaf of bread to eat. The map allows
the young boy to escape the bleakness and misery of refugee life as he creates his own maps and
discovers new worlds. Based on the author’s life during WWII.
*illustration in folk style of Russian artists – Babuska dolls
*Based on Uri Shulevitz early childhood experiences during WWII
*Notes by author about his personal experience of WWII and how he fled Poland
*Moving story about family dealing with war, refugee experience
*Create a map of your town
*Write about and create a map of your favorite place
*Follow the travel of the author’s family as they moved from country to country and discuss positives and
*Calculate how much food one person consumes in one week
*Discuss the topic of hunger
12. The Gingerbread Girl
Ernst, Lisa Campbell. THE GINGERBREAD GIRL. New York, New York: Dutton’s Childrens Books, 2006.
ISBN: 0-525-47667-9; treasure state award (2009); preschool – 2nd
; pp. 32; twist on the folktale the
gingerbread boy; vibrant, fun illustrations; repetitive phrases.
After the first gingerbread boy was eaten by the fox, the older couple decides that they want to try again.
They decide that they will create a girl, because she will be too sweet to leave home. Wrong again. She
runs away and gathers a crowd of animals and people that follow her along the way. She outfoxes the fox
and leads the fox and the crowd back to the little old man and women’s home where they are never lonely
*colorful whimsical illustrations
*funny twist on the original
*use of the word dumber and airhead in a derogatory way
*activity using the rhyming pairs found in the book
*Compare and contrast to The Gingerbread Boy
*Look at many different versions of the Gingerbread Boy/Girl
*make gingerbread cookies
*change the main character in the book to be a gingerbread animal and rewrite the story.
13. The Sea Chest
Buzzeo, Toni. THE SEA CHEST. New York, New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. 2002. Print.
ISBN 0-8037-2703-8; historical fictional account of a lighthouse keeper’s daughter; pp. 32; illustrations
in oil; preschool – 4th
This beautiful book is a story within a story. It begins as Auntie Maita and her great niece wait for a
special delivery of a new brother or sister. Auntie Maita passes the time and tells the story to her great
niece of her childhood as a lonely lighthouse keeper’s daughter off the coast of Maine. She tells her the
story of a special sea chest that was washed ashore that changed her life forever. For in the chest was
found a baby girl that would be raised by the lighthouse keeper and his wife and become her sister.
Wonderful, poignant story.
*Fabulous oil illustrations that show characters moods
*Poetic, moving, lyrical text
*Author’s note about the legend of the sea chest
*Muted colors in gold warm hues that represent safety and peacefulness.
*May have to give background information on how isolated a lighthouse and its keeper were from the
*Compare and contrast other legends or myths of the sea
*Research if a true account of a baby being found by a lighthouse has occurred in history.
*history project on lighthouses in Maine
*Have students write about a time that they yearned for something important
*Discuss aspects of being kind and compassionate to your fellow man
14. Rosie Sprout’s: Time to Shine
Wortche, Allison. ROSIE SPROUT’S: TIME TO SHINE. New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2011.
ISBN 978-0-375-86721-7; empathetic story about a little girl named Rosie; pp. 36; illustrations are
pencil sketches painted digitally, preschool – 2nd
Rosie’s rival, Violet, outdoes everyone in Rosie’s class. She can jump higher, run faster and look the
“fanciest on picture day”. She was the best, and she told everyone that would listen that she was the
“best”. Rosie did not feel that she could do any of those things better then Violet. Rosie hated that. In
school, the science experiment was to grow a pea plant. Rosie tries to sabotage Violet’s pea plant and
begins to feel bad about what she did. Her feelings compound when Violet gets sick and can’t take care of
her pea plant at school. Rosie then takes care of both her plant and Violet’s to her delight Ms. Willis
notices what a fabulous job she has done and a thank you from Violet.
*Sweet, fun illustrations that grab the reader’s interest
*Great read aloud book
*Message about treating others like you would want to be treated
*positive take on a child that could be perceived as a bully (Violet)
*Change ending of the story to look at what would have happened if Rosie had not of did the right thing
and uncovered the pea plant
*Activities on friendship
*Grow your own pea plant
*Compare to other books about “little” gardeners, such as Weed, Water and Wait by Edith Hope Fine and
Colleen Madden; The Little Gardeners by Margaret Wise Brown and Edith Thatcher Hurd.
*Activities on acceptance and that understanding that being the “best” is often tiresome and stressful.
15. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
Goble Paul. THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster Books for
Young Readers. 1978. Print.
ISBN 0-02-736570-0; A Native American tale about a girl who loves to live free among wild horses; pp.
36; illustrations are full color pen and ink and watercolor, preschool – 4
This is a traditional tale of a young Native American girl who loves the tribe’s horses so much that she
eventually becomes part of the herd.
*beautiful illustrations by Paul Goble. Woodcut in appearance.
*Included are songs by the Oglala Sioux and Navaho tribes about horses
*Caldecott Award winner 1978
*May have to give background information about the Horse People
*Teach about the different tribes of Plains Indians
*Look at the modern wild Mustangs and how they are being rescued
*Compare and contrast other traditional Native American tales of the Plains Indians
*Discover traditional tales of Native tribes in your state.
*Understand the importance of nature and its impact on the Plains people.
16. Hattie Big Sky
Kirby, Larson. HATTIE BIG SKY. New York, New York: Yearling, 2008. Print.
ISBN: 0385735952; 304 pp., 8 and up; historical fiction; homesteading in Montana; life in early 1900’s;
WWI, Newberry Honor Book; novel.
Sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks moves from Iowa to Vida Montana to prove up her Uncles homestead
claim. She has been shuttled between many relatives after both her parents died. She is tired of it all
and wants to prove herself in Montana. She braves many hardships and tragedies and learns about life
along the way. She has the help of many, but becomes very close to her neighbors, the Muellers.
However, the Muellers were German and anyone of German descent was seen as un-American, Hattie had
to face this obstacle to understand the meaning of family and true friendship.
*True to life hardship’s of life alone on a homestead in Eastern Montana in 1918.
*Based on accounts of Larson Kirby’s grandmother homesteading alone. True accounts of homesteading in
Montana during this time period
*Positive, uplifting account of this hard life
*Realistic account of the discrimination that German immigrants faced during WWI.
* Chapters begin with letters that Hattie writes for the newspaper, letters to her friend Charlie in France
(fighting in WWI) or to her Uncle Holt in Iowa that show her humor and never ending optimism
*Unit on homesteading and “proving up” on your claim in Montana
*Unit on WWI
*Unit on immigrants coming to the American west.
* Compare and contrast to the Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie Series.
*Create a story about students homesteading in Montana during the 1920’s
*Student’s research their own family history and discover if any relatives had homesteaded, immigrated,
etc, to another country.
17. A Breath of Eyre
Mont, Eva Marie. A BREATH OF EYRE. New York, New York: Kensington Books, 2012. Print.
ISBN-10: 9780758269485; 352 pp.; YA Historical Fiction novel; time-travel; Jane Eyre. 13 yrs and up.
Emma Townsend is a teenager who has everyday struggles as she tries to find her niche at a prep school.
She attends on a scholarship and is seen as part of the out crowd. She chooses Jane Eyre as her subject
for her English essay and as she read strange things begin to happen. She is an avid reader and reading
is her escape from a lonely life at the prep school. Soon through a freak electrical storm she is stuck in
the world of Jane Eyre. Lives Jane’s life, and comes to love the life of Jane. As she travels between both
worlds, she must discover and decide which life hold’s her fate. Told in the 1st
person by Emma. Fabulous
*May need to provide background knowledge of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
*Emma deals with depression issues and bullying
*Some older youth/adult themes – depression, drinking, suicide.
*part of a three part series of time travel books
*Read the classic Jane Eyre and compare
*Research paper on Jane Eyre
*Compare characters from A Breath of Eyre and Jane Eyre. Similarities/differences.
*Create a cast list of modern actors/actresses that could be cast in a movie adaption of A Breath of Eyre
* Choose a favorite classic novel and adapt it to modern times. What changes would need to be made?
*Keep a journal like Emma did
Anderson, Laurie Halse. WINTERGIRLS. New York, New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
ISBN-10: 014241557X; pp. 300; contemporary realistic fiction about eating disorders and self mutilation;
grades 9-12; best friends, parental relationship; death, eating disorders, self-mutilation.
Lia and Cassie are best friends and have a pact on who can become the thinnest. Cassie loses her battle
and dies – alone. Racked with guilt, Lia struggles with her recovery while she fights her demons as she
tries to understand her friend’s death, and her guilty conscience at not trying to save her friend.
*Very emotional and adult topic
*Text is written in the 1st
person with different sized text, italics and crossed out words; blank pages and
repetition relate to the reader the often very dysfunctional irrational thoughts of the main character Lia
and her inner turmoil. For example filling two pages with the mantra - Must. Not. Eat. Must. Not. Eat.
Must. Not. Eat.
*Very poetic and lyrical text
*Very realistic descriptions may be too real and make some reader uneasy
*Critics say it may be a catalyst for those with eating disorders
*Explore the website http://www.bradley.edu/thebodyproject/
*Students will write a positive poem about themselves
*Students will create a positive self image letter about a peer
*Create a poster using both good and bad self images in magazines and compare and contrast
*Discuss and research why a “skinny” image has been the norm. Has the trend become “healthy” instead of an
unattainable skinny image in the last 10 years?
Spinelli, Jerry. STARGIRL. New York, New York :, Knopf :, Distributed by Random House,, 2000. Print.
ISBN: 0679886370 ; realistic contemporary fiction; age 10 & up; pp. 186; popularity, nonconformity,
bullying, being eccentric.
This is the sweet story of a girl named Stargirl who changed Mica High School forever. Narrated by Leo
Borlock who is a junior at the school. Leo is both enamored by Stargirl and repulsed by her. She is so
wonderfully strange that Leo can’t not help but fall in love with her quirky ways; however, he also wants
to fit in with the “right” crowd. Which Stargirl definitely does not. Stargirls extreme popularity is
extinguished and Leo must decide between being true to himself or going with the crowd.
*Wonderful book to look at being true to yourself
*Excellent book to discuss acceptance
*Easy to understand concepts that relay feelings and depth of the characters
*At times both funny and humorous
* A great way to show there are still good people in the world like Stargirl
*Discuss different stereo types in the school
*Write a paper using the perspective of a friend you are close too.
*Create a character sketch of Stargirl
*Compare and contrast the personalities of Stargirl and Leo
*Unit on bullying and changing perspective
20. After Tupac and D Foster
Woodson, Jacqueline. AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER. New York, New York :, Puffin Books, 2008
ISBN-10:978-0-399-24654-8 ; pp. 151; contemporary realistic fiction about three girls in New York in
1996; grades 7-12; best friends, parental relationship; coming of age, music, foster care.
A coming of age story about three 12 year old girls in Queens, New York beginning in 1996. All from
different backgrounds and family experiences. However, they all have one thing in common, they all love
Tupac Shukar’s music. Set in a difficult neighborhood in New York about how a little adventure in the
form of D Foster shook up Neeka and the narrator of the story and how she touches their lives for the
better. This is a great look at how when those leave our lives how they touch us.
*Many tough adult topics – prison, homosexuality, drugs, tough lives, fatherless children, throwaway
*Has references that are outdated and may be unknown to students
*Students from rural areas may have difficulty connecting with characters
*May have to give background information on Tupac Skakur
*Strong Characters and dialogue
*Newberry Honor winner in 2009
*Research the life of Tupac Shukar. Write a report on his life.
*Look at poetry of Tupac Skukar. Write your own poetry
*Compare life in a small town to life in Queens, New York.
*Research Queens, New York
*listen to audio version of book. Does this add to the experience?
21. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
Coombs, Kate WATER SINGS BLUE: OCEAN POEMS. San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2012. Electronic
Resources - ebook.
ISBN-10: 9781452113807; pp. 36; Contemporary poetry about the ocean, grades prek-4, sea poetry, ocean,
Celebrate the ocean in all its glory in this gorgeous book of poems by Kate Coombs. Each fun and lyrical
poem is beautifully complimented with Meilo So’s vivid, alive watercolor prints. Each makes you feel like
you are enjoying life under the sea.
*Wonderful read aloud for any age
*Amazing watercolor illustrations that breathe life into the poems
*Comparison between life below the sea and our world above. Ex: a jellyfish is a "prim bell jar with
*lyrical, flowing verse
*many awards for this gorgeous work - 2013 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, 2013 National Council of
Teachers of English (NCTE) Notable Book, American Library Association 2013 Notable Children's Books,
Kirkus's Best Books of the Year—Children's Books, 2012, and Cybils Finalist for Poetry 2012
*create own poems about the creatures in the sea
*Use as an introduction to an Ocean Unit
*Research the Shetland Island where Meilo So gained inspiration for her beautiful illustrations.
*Discover other poets and compare and contrast
*write a report on illustrator, Meilo So.
22. Turtle in Paradise
Turtle in Paradise
Holm, Jennifer L. TURTLE IN PARADISE. New York, New York: Random House, 2010. Electronic
Resources - ebook.
ISBN-10: 9780375893162; pp. 191; contemporary realistic fiction about Key West ,Florida during the
Depression; grades 4-12; family relationships, parental relationship; Great Depression, Key West, life
changes, life in south.
Turtle is an 11 year old who has become tough and smart as she finds herself as her mother goes from
job to job and boyfriend to boyfriend. She is not a stranger to hard life and hard times. As her mother
finds another job, this one happens to be one that does not allow kids, Turtle must go and live with her
aunt (her mother’s sister), her uncle and her rambounctious boy cousins that she has never met. She is
not surprised when she arrives in Key West that her aunt Minnie is not aware that she is coming to live
with them. Turtle must adjust to family, people, creatures, family secrets and fun adventures that are all
new to her. But through it all she finds a family that loves and accepts her. Fabulous book!
*Author note on the Great Depression
*2010 Newberry Honor Book
*Inspired by Holm’s great-grandma stories
*Phrases and words that are unique to the Depression era – Shirley Temple, Terry and the Pirates
*Great book to introduce the Great Depression and life in rural Key West in 1935
*Author combines historical figures and facts with family history to portray an accurate view of Key West
*Filled with humor, action and drama in a light hearted way
*History Unit on the Great Depression
*Compare and Contrast real people and places in the book with people and places that are created by the
author throughout the book.
*Read Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool and compare and contrast both books. What is the same
and what is different.
*Interview and report to the class someone who lived during the depression.
*Create or purchase a readers theatre adaption of the book
Palacio, R.J. WONDER. New York, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2012. Print.
ISBN-10: 978-0-375-96902-7; pp. 315; contemporary realistic fiction about a boy with severe facial
deformities; grades 5-12; family relationships, friendship; facial abnormalities, self-esteem, self-worth,
Middle School, life changes.
Uplifting story of ten-year-old Auggie Pullman as he struggles with the transition from home schooling to a
private middle school, Beecher Prep. Auggie is a well-adjusted, happy, guy with a great sense of humor;
all he has to do is get everyone at Beecher Prep to recognize this. He was born with severe facial
abnormalities that make people look away in horror. His looks have prevented him from attending
mainstream school. All Auggie wants is to be a normal boy and part of the school, but most of his
classmates cannot get over what he looks like. He has many struggles throughout the year and gains a
few close friends, but he is truly accepted when he receives the coveted Henry Ward Beecher at the end of
the year. In the beginning, it is told in Auggie’s voice, switching to his sister’s, friends, and other
community members as they reveal the story of Auggie. Truly an awe inspiring book.
*Draws the reader in with the controversial subject
*Deals with some tough issues – bullying, acceptance, being an outcast and unworthy
*Wonderful way to understand how to stay upbeat and positive even under extreme circumstances
*Kids will easily relate to the topic - most have felt at times that they were awkward and did not belong
*Great for reluctant readers
*Students pretend that they are Auggie. How would they cope?
*Write a week of journal entry of their struggles and accomplishments during a week of school
*Look at how humor is used throughout the book.
*Students create 10 precepts of their own to live by
*Watch Star Wars and write a paper about how the characters inspired Auggie
24. One Crazy Summer
Williams-Garcia, Rita. Wonder. New York, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2012. Print.
Identifying Information: ISBN-10: 978-0-06-076088-5 historical fiction;, grades 4-8; family relationships,
parental relationship; abandonment, California, Black Panthers, African Americans, racism, mother and
daughters, civil rights, poets.
This adventure set in 1968 about three sisters, Fern, Vonetta and Delphine, who travel from Brooklyn, NY
to Oakland to live with their estranged mother for the summer. They have not laid eyes on their mom,
Cecile, for over 6 years. Unsure of what to expect they find a mother that is distant and send them to a
summer camp sponsored by the Black Panthers. They have a summer they will never forget.
*Realistically portrays the relationship between sisters
*Gives an accurate historical account of the late 60’s
*Rita Williams-Garcia portrays the political group the Black Panthers with sensitivity
*Williams-Garcia has been awarded many accolades for this fabulous book. These include: National Book
Award Finalist, Scott O’Dell Award, Newberry Honor Book, and the Coretta Scott King Award winner
*Teaches about forgiveness and unconditional love
*Unit on the Civil Rights Movement and how the Black Panthers impacted this movement
*Discover how the experience in California affected each of the girls. How where they changed?
*Does Williams-Garcia’s portrayal of the Black Panthers accurate to historical accounts? Investigate.
*Write about 4 historical events that changed history in 1968.
*Research the meaning of your name, just as Delphine did.
25. Trickster : Native American Tales A
Dembicki, Matt. Trickster: Native American Tales : a Graphic Collection. Golden, CO: Fulcrum
Publishing, 2010. Print.
ISBN: 9781555917241; 231pp; late elementary-high school readers; graphic novel; Native American
Trickster Tales; various authors and illustrators; graphic/comic layout; animals, Indians of North
America, tricksters, fantasy, comic books, folklore.
A graphic anthology of over 20 Native American trickster tales from different Native traditions all in
graphic novel form. The anthology encompasses many “tricksters” – coyote, raven, raccoon to rabbit told
by different artist and illustrator’s that each give their unique style to the trickster tale. Graphics
encompass the realistic to impressionistic.
*Vibrant, engaging illustrations
*Keeps Native American traditions new and fresh
*All 20 story are told by modern Native American writers
*Wide array of illustration styles – often adding to the feeling of the story.
*Create your own trickster tale
*Pick and choose your favorite tale and analyze why it is your favorite.
*Compare to a pourqoui tales. Similarities and Differences to Trickster tales.
*Look at trickster tales from other traditions and compare – such as Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little
Pigs, and Rumpelstilskin.
*Choose a trickster tale from Africa, North America, Europe, or South America and list the similarities to a
Native American trickster tale
26. Northward to the Moon
Horvath, Polly. Northward to the Moon. New York, New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010. Print.
ISBN: 978-0-375-86110-9; 245pp; age 10 and up; contemporary realistic fiction; family relationships,
ranch life, Nevada, grandmothers, Massachusetts, travel.
Jane and her family are living in Saskatchewan Canada after moving from Massachusetts with their
stepfather Ned. Ned is fired from his teaching job as a French teacher – since he does not speak any
French. They pack up and head out to travel to Nevada to visit Ned’s mother. During their visit Ned’s
mom has an accident and Jane and her siblings get to meet Ned’s siblings. As they stay in Nevada, Jane
hopes that they will eventually travel to their family beach home in Massachusetts. During their
adventure Jane finds that there are many ways that a family becomes a family.
*Sequel to My One Hundred Adventures
* Distinct, wonderfully eccentric individuals
*Instability and disordered family relationships
*Horvath writes with sensitivity and humor
*Readers will sympathize and relate to the main character, Jane.
*Read My One Hundred Adventures
*Write about how Jane has changed since the beginning of My One Hundred Adventures to the end of
Northward to the Moon.
*Create a week of journal entries from Jane’s perspective
*Research a destination that you would like to go to. Where would you go, what would you do?
*Share a story about a family vacation
27. The Fairy’s Mistake
Levine, Gail Carson. The Princess Tales: The Fairy’s Mistake. New York, New York: Harper Collins Books,
ISBN: 0-06-028060-3; 88pp; age 6 and up; fairytale; sisters, France, Charles Perrault, folklore.
In this humorous retelling of Charles Perrault’s fairytale Toad’s and Diamond’s about gifts given to two
sisters, one that is kind and one that is wicked, by a witch. In Levine’s adaption the fairy Ethelinda
bestows on the kind Rosella the gift of jewels that drip from her mouth when she speaks and to punish the
wicked sister, Myrtle snakes, insects and toads come out of her mouth when she speaks. Things however
do not turn out as Ethelinda plans. Instead of a reward, Rosella is exploited by her husband the prince and
Myrtle gets everything she desires.
*Fun and lighthearted fairytale
*great for reluctant readers- filled with humor and easy, quick read
*line drawn illustrations that are often seen in traditional fairy tales
*Teaches about not being greedy and to be kind and thoughtful
*Part of The Princess Tales series
*Create your own mixed up fairytale
*Create a reader’s theatre about The Fairy’s Mistake
*Write the next chapter in the book. How would you change the outcome?
*Compare to Charles Perrault’s fairytale Toad’s and Diamond’s
28. *The Book Thief
Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print.
ISBN: 9780375831003; 552pp; late middle school to high school; historical fiction; WWII, death,
Jewish life, foster families, storytelling, Germany, books; many accolades and awards including – Michael
L. Printz Honor Book Award, National Jewish Book Award, ALA Notable Book and many publishers “best
book of the year”
In a unique story of Nazi Germany in 1939 (narrated by Death) about a young girl, Liesel Meminger and
her life living with a German foster family, Hans and Rosa Herbermann, during the WWII. She begins her
thievery of books at her brothers funeral she finds a book at his graveside, The Grave Digger’s Handbook.
She is illiterate and with the help of her accordion playing foster father she learns to read and write. To
cope with the horrors of war she continues to steal books selectively. She shares her stolen books with
Max the Jewish man who is hidden in the basement who she becomes close too. He writes her a book
called The Standing man about Max’s life growing up. She receives a journal to write her own
experiences of her life with the Herbermann’s. A gripping, moving novel.
*Very thought provoking, life changing book
*Excellent novel, written in a unique point of view (Death) and side notes by Death
*Novel could be very dark and disturbing; however, Zusak creates a richness of characters and
descriptions that have an uplifting feel
*Many accolades and awards - Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award, National Jewish Book Award, ALA
Notable Book and many publishers “best book of the year”
*Powerfully written. Shows the struggles of not only the Jewish population but the struggles of the
*Watch the movie version and compare and contrast
*Explore 5 quotes from the book and how are they unique and representations of great writing
*Has this changed your opinion of the German people during this period in history?
*Research the Nazi Party, the Hitler youth or the Mein Kampf.
*Choose a book about an account of another child’s experience during the holocaust and compare to
29. Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks
Fuller, Anne. Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks : a Novel. Omaha, Nebraska: Fuller Minds, 2010. Print.
ISBN: 9780982743010; 132pp; grade level middle to high school; historical fiction; coming of age, Civil
War, brothers and sisters, Confederate army, the South, women soldiers.
Samantha Anne disguises herself as a male solider and joins the Confederate army to search for her
brother, Johnny after her family discovers that he is missing in action. Samantha Anne bravely fights as
she continues to search for her brother. In the end she does not find her brother, but does get to go
home after the Confederate Army surrenders. There she finds something very unexpected.
*Students may need some background information about the Civil War
*Author is from Missoula, Montana.
*Great novel to include in a unit about the Civil War
*Unique perspective from a women’s point of view on battle and war
*Students may not agree that she would be fighting in the Confederate Army.
*Include in a unit on the Civil War
*Visit either a Civil War battle field virtually and/or a local battle field
*Write a letter as if you were Samantha back to her family
*Write the next chapter of the book
*Research a historic figure in the Confederate army. Create a PowerPoint/webpage or blog about the
30. Esperanza Rising
Ryan, Pam Munoz.᷉ Esperanza Rising. New York: Scholastic Press, 2000. Print.
ISBN: 0-439-12041-1; 262pp; middle school and high school; multicultural historical fiction; Mexico,
Mexican Americans, agriculture, California, unions, strikes, immigration, death, racial issues.
After the death of her father, Esperenza and her mother are forced to leave their life of privilege and
wealth in Mexico and move to California where they are to work in a farm labor camp during the
Depression. Esperenza’s Abuelita (her Grandmother) must stay in Mexico to get well and Esperenza saves
every penny she earns to send for her Abuelita. Finally, Abuelita comes to California with the help of the
friends of Esperenza’s and surprises both Esperenza and her mom with her appearance. Through all the
change and new experiences, Esperenza learns to come to terms with her new life and find happiness
*Insight into how life can change and grow
*Based upon experiences by Munoz’s Grandmother
*Author’s note about the basis for the novel
*Chapters are written around what crop would be harvested at that time of the year
*Research and discover more about the Great Depression and its effects on migrant workers
*Journal write about how this experience changed Esperanza for the better
*Read another novel of your choice about immigrants journey’s to the United States.
*Research your own history. Where are your roots.
*Grow or enjoy the fruits and vegetables that Esperanza and her family harvests.