I have not yet had the opportunity to share this book with a class of fifth graders, but I predict they will relish the suspense and enjoy the story, while also learning many true and important facts about this historical time period.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
An American Plague; The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, by Jim Murphy
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Here are some comments from two former students of mine about this book:
"I really enjoyed Naomi Leon. Because it gave a lot of different stages that she went through. For example she became less shy, and came to her senses. She was a more opened person at school and at home. I also enjoyed it because it gave a lot of details, it had sad parts and happy and in the middle parts. And it was very interesting."
"This book was really good, because I think it had a good plot. I liked that it had a lot of details. I liked the author a lot so I decided to read other books from her. The plot was good because it was about a young girl who found herself. The details that were good was when they explained her soap carving of the animal family."
When I shared this book with my class I was delightfully surprised to see that my fifth grade boys were just as into this lively story as were my girls. They were all cheering for Esther and were quick to connect her struggle for equality to other familiar movements, such as the one championed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A sixth grade boy named Percy Jackson is on a field trip when he suddenly discovers that he has some freaky, incredible super powers. It turns out that Percy is actually a demigod: a being who is half god and half human and that he must go to
This story has plenty of references to Ancient Greek mythology and is told in a spunky, adolescent voice. In an email to Rick Riordan, after enjoying this book with my class last year I wrote: "Several of my boys were begging for more 'action and adventure' books and Percy Jackson provided us all with a perfect adolescent hero. I'm already having trouble keeping track of who has my two copies of [the sequel], The Sea of Monsters. Thanks so much for the excellent books. Thanks for helping me cultivate strong, thoughtful readers."
The Lightning Thief is one of those rare, wonderful finds that has enough action, fighting, and adventure to hook video-game addicts, but also has plenty of character development, fabulous word choice, a unique and interesting narrative voice, and many surprising plot twists. The third book in the series is scheduled to be released in May 2007. I am planning to host a "Percy Party" with my class to celebrate.
When I started this book as an assignment for my Children's Literature class, I predicted that I wouldn't like it. I wasn't much interested in the setting---Okalahoma during the 1940s---and I anticipated that the poetry form would be full of abstract metaphors and difficult imagery. I certainly didn't think I would discover a stunning, tragic, beautiful, and powerful story; one that I would want all of my fifth grade students to have the opportunity to enjoy.
Billie Jo, the 14-year-old main character and narrator of this story, lives with her family in the arid, dusty, broken land that was
I haven't had the chance, yet, to use this book in my classroom. I am hopeful, however, that I will get the chance and that my students will understand the themes, become attached to the characters, and be transformed by the story. I hope, in short, that they will have an experience with this amazing book, that is similar to my own.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The pacing of this book, along with plenty of pictures, both historical and contemporary, kept my fourth and fifth grade readers very engaged. The book's baseball lingo and its historical context required that several of my students be given additional background information to support their comprehension. Sidebars tell the story of Roberto Clemento, the first Latino player to be elected to the hall of fame, and the story of Satchel Paige, a hall of fame pitcher who spent most of his career in the Negro Leagues. The final pages are a recent interview with Jackie's daughter Sharon, which makes immediate the fact that this story may be accompanied by many black and white photos, but it was only two or three generations back that countless sports fans watched in admiration as Jackie Robinson played major league baseball.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Harry Sue is planning to become a con so she can join her mom in prison. She speaks con-speak, has a repitoire of con-looks, and has a crew she runs with, including a best friend who is also serving "hard time." She lives with an extremely abusive guardian and is all set for her life of crime--but try as she might, Harry Sue can't quite turn her tender heart evil.
The interacial couple composed of a 30 year old Sudanese man who cooks and his wife, a wild-spirited white woman was only icing on the cake of this wonderful story. Harry Sue's love of the book even made me want to read the original Wizard of Oz. Thank you Madame Esme, for the rec.
In this story old, blind Mr. Chickee gives young Steven a very large bill that looks like genuine US mint. The ensuing cascade of events take Steven, his family, and his friends on a wild adventure that ends in tragic comedy. The plot could be a comic book for all its wild turns and exaggerated characters, including a talking dictionary. There's also some very fascinating clues centered on true information about James Brown, The Godfather of Soul.
Can't wait for the paperback edition so I can assign it to reading groups!