Monday, April 6, 2015

And Then it's Spring (Julie Fogliano)

Where I live, we seem to wait a long time for Spring. This book does a great job of telling the story of the long wait for spring.

I loved Donalyn Miller's review:

A boy and his dog patiently wait for spring. Beautiful interplay between the simple text and detailed illustrations. I would like my favorite line on my classroom door, "Please do not stomp here-- there are seeds and they are trying."

Goodreads summary:

Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they've had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way.

Julie Fogliano's tender story of anticipation is brought to life by the distinctive illustrations Erin E. Stead, recipient of the 2011 Caldecott Medal.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wheels of Change (Darlene Beck Jacobsen)

This is a great book to introduce to young students. The history of women and women's rights is fascinating. This story exemplifies well how change is difficult for some and simply takes time. It also requires some people to stand up, speak up and go against the norm.

Goodreads Summary:
Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she's more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she'd never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn't know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.

Favorite Quotes:

  • Emily and her friend, Rose, are talking with Beatrice about the assembly line cars they have heard Henry Ford is building (p. 39):

"Maybe as a toy," I say. I take the tiny automobile from Charlie, turning it over in my hands. Except for the front where Charlie says the engine would be, it doesn't look much bigger than a carriage. Is it possible it can move without a horse pulling it? Who would even want that?

  • The author does a good job of helping the reader understand what words mean. The main character, Emily, often simply asks what a word means:

P. 40 If Miss Carlisle hadn't rung the bell ending recess, I would have given Bea Pea a piece of my mind. Obselete indeed. I wonder what obsolete means.

I ask Papa at supper.

"Obsolete means no longer in use. Out of date. Where did you hear that word, Emily?"

I don't want to hurt Papa's feelings by telling him what Beatrice said. Besides, it was Beatrice after all, and Charlie was right about electricity. "I heard it at school."

  • My favorite moment is when they are having some friends over for tea. The mom says that you just can't trust black people. They're sure to steal from you. Emily is enraged and pours tea all over her lap. Loved it!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Red Rubber Boot Day (Mary Lyn Ray)

Simple words. Beautiful pictures. Really portrayed the feelings of a rainy day - the dreariness and the fun - and the happiness when the sun comes out again.

Some great suggestions on Good Reads:

Kathy Bennett: This would be a great story for a small child who says "I'm bored" on a rainy day. A child lists the activities he enjoys when it is rainy out.

Ginna: This book has amazing illustrations, you could do a whole lesson on senses - What senses the character of the book used during the story, and how do you relate to that? You could ask your students to write a story where they are the main character and what would they do in a rainy day. could use this book and Pete The Cat "I like My White Shoes" and make book to book connections during circle time. Students will use great vocabulary and they might also make personal connections too!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (Steve Sheinkin)

Captivating story of the race to build the atomic bomb. Told in a way that works for kids. The story is quite complicated but very captivating for the right reader. Lots of spies, intrigue, betrayal, secrets and more.

Goodreads summary:

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Bomb is a 2012 National Book Awards finalist for Young People's Literature. 
Bomb is a 2012 Washington Post Best Kids Books of the Year title.

Bomb is a 2013 Newbery Honor book.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Duck! Rabbit (Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lightenheld)

Cute and simple story. Could be a good lesson on perspective.

Also available on Tumble Books.

Goodreads summary:

From the award-winning author of Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink comes a clever take on the age-old optical illusion: is it a duck or a rabbit? Depends on how you look at it! Readers will find more than just Amy Krouse Rosenthal's signature humor herethere's also a subtle lesson for kids who don't know when to let go of an argument. A smart, simple story that will make readers of all ages eager to take a side, Duck! Rabbit! makes it easy to agree on one thingreading it again!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

After the War is Over (Jennifer Robson)

Last year, with book club, we read Somewhere in France. This is the second book in the series. I have never really read a series as it comes out. This has been fun. We really had a wonderful time discussing this book.

It is Spring Break and I had great plans to do a lot of reading. Last week I ended up spending s bunch of time in the hospital and did absolutely no reading. Tuesday we went on a road trip. I didn't do any reading then either. So today I was in a time crunch. I spent the day reading this book in just one sitting. It was a wonderful day!
This was a great book for discussion. Everyone had lots of comments to add to the discussion. I learned a lot about WWI. Sometimes with historical fiction it is hard to know what is true and what is fiction. It seemed like this book had a lot of truth and it was a great way to learn about history. For example, I learned at book club, that apparently Miss Rathbone, the lady that Charlotte worked for, was a real person in history. It seems the author has done a great job researching these books.
I liked that this book leaned a little more towards feminism. In the first book, I realized that they were all just products of their time, but the lack of opportunity women had really drove me crazy. I loved how Charlotte stood up for herself and was strong in this book.
Apparently Jennifer Robson is working on another book. I'll definitely read that one too!
The internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France returns with her sweeping second novel—a tale of class, love, and freedom—in which a young woman must fnd her place in a world forever changed

After four years as a military nurse, Charlotte Brown is ready to leave behind the devastation of the Great War. The daughter of a vicar, she has always been determined to dedicate her life to helping others. Moving to busy Liverpool, she throws herself into her work with those most in need, only tearing herself away for the lively dinners she enjoys with the women at her boardinghouse.

Just as Charlotte begins to settle into her new circumstances, two messages arrive that will change her life. One is from a radical young newspaper editor who offers her a chance to speak out for those who cannot. The other pulls her back to her past, and to a man she has tried, and failed, to forget.

Edward Neville-Ashford, her former employer and the brother of Charlotte's dearest friend, is now the new Earl of Cumberland—and a shadow of the man he once was. Yet under his battle wounds and haunted eyes Charlotte sees glimpses of the charming boy who long ago claimed her foolish heart. She wants to help him, but dare she risk her future for a man who can never be hers?

As Britain seethes with unrest and postwar euphoria fattens into bitter disappointment, Charlotte must confront long-held insecurities to find her true voice . . . and the courage to decide if the life she has created is the one she truly wants.
Lilly and Charlotte regarding Lilly's mother (p. 35):
"How has she been treating you?"
"More or less as she always does - which is to say she ignores me whenever possible, and tolerates me when she cannot ignore me."
p. 139:
Had she ever spent an entire day having fun? She sifted through her memories, but couldn't recall a single instance - not when she was at university, not when she was Lilly's governess, not in all the years with Miss Rathbone, and certainly not during the war. There had been afternoons in the park, evenings out with friends, the occasional lazy hour or two reading a book that was entertaining rather than improving, but she'd never felt she could spend a day simply enjoying life.