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My Great-Aunt Arizona
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My Great-Aunt Arizona

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  994 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Arizona was born in a log cabin her papa built in the meadow on Henson Creek. She grew to be a very tall little girl who liked to grow flowers, sing, and square dance to the music of the fiddler on Saturday night. But what she liked most of all was to read - and dream - about all the faraway places she would visit one day.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Perfection Learning (first published January 1st 1992)
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Sep 17, 2010 Ronyell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ronyell by: The Picture-Book Club
"My Great-Aunt Arizona" is a biography about the inspirational life of Arizona which is written by Gloria Houston along with illustrations by Susan Condie Lamb and it is about the inspirational life of Gloria Houston's great aunt Arizona's career as a teacher. "My Great-Aunt Arizona" is truly one of the most inspirational books about teaching that both children and adults will for many years!

Basically, this is about the life of Arizona and about how she was interested in learning new things as a
Loved it! I was thinking four stars, right up until the end when I had to bump it to five stars. It really "got" me ;-) I thought it was just a lovely, lovely book. I really enjoyed word choice and illustrations, both created such a sense of atmosphere and warmth. And Arizona seemed like an amazing teacher! I read this for the Back-to-School Theme over in Children's Books and, like other members, I was very impressed that Arizona was able/allowed to keep teaching after she married and I love tha ...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 25, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy stories about teachers and beautifully illustrated picture books
This theme for the month of September for the Picture Books Club at the Children's Books group is “Back-to-School” and this is one of the books selected. It’s one of only two I hadn’t read before its selection. I’m still waiting for Nareen’s Secret School. (The book for this month are The Junkyard Wonders, My Great-Aunt Arizona, Chrysanthemum, My School in the Rain Forest: How Children Attend School Around the World, Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, and, as an alternate ti ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Brenda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers looking for inspirig stories
Recommended to Brenda by: The Picture Book Club
Shelves: picture-books
My Great Aunt Arizona was a wonderful book to read. The author’s story is about her great aunt Arizona, a teacher from the Applachian Mountains of North Carolina. It really took me back to watching episodes of Little House on the Prairie as a child. The petticoats, straw hats, bonnets, pigtails and overalls how adorable. I guess you could say I got caught up in the illustrations. It certainly portrayed the time period very well. I think this story may pique childrens interest if it was coupled w ...more
This book is an absolutely beautiful tribute to a kind and loving woman who surely must have been an outstanding teacher. What an amazing accomplishment to have taught for 57 years and touched so many lives. How interesting that she dreamed of seeing many faraway places, but in the end came back to her home to encourage her students to go.

The illustrations were beautifully done, and gave a good feel for the country village that Arizona grew up in, the one-room school house, and the lovely plants
"My Great Aunt Arizona" is a really good historical fiction book that can be used to a teach lesson on not letting dreams deter you from a goal but rather using those dreams to push you to do something greater. Although this may seem a little awkward to understand at first, I'll be happy to elaborate more on this idea. Arizona spent her life learning, going to school, and dreaming of the far away places that she would be able to visit one day. She worked hard to read books and even ride a mule t ...more
Crystal Marcos
This is a wonderful book. The illustrations were lovely I had images of “Little House on the Prairie” pop into my mind. My 15 month old liked looking at this book too. I especially loved the dedication to “the most influential profession in the world”. Teachers certainly are influential. I enjoyed reading the details about Arizona’s life. Imagining making snow cream and maple-sugar candy was fun. I found it interesting to read that she and fellow students carried their lunches in lard buckets to ...more
I'd read this book to many classes of students. The heartwarming story of a lifelong teacher has always been a pleasure to read. Today I reread it several times as I was writing a series of lessons based upon the close reading of this text. I was reminded of a conversation I had with the author during my doctoral studies. I asked Dr. Houston what she would most like classroom teachers and students to do with her books. Her answer was simple and profound. "Just read the books and enjoy them!"
Feb 01, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful book, telling a bit of history by describing one woman's life story. It seems more like a true biography than a bit of fiction. And the illustrations are colorful and help tell the story. We really enjoyed reading this story together.

This book was featured as one of the selections for the September 2010: Back-to-School reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books group here at Goodreads.
Charming story for elementary school students about Arizona Hughes, an amazing educator who, I felt, prepared her students, from a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to travel the world. "She taught students about words and numbers and the faraway places they would visit someday." I found this book to be quite touching and think that it could be used with students to give them a brief look into life in the past. This story could be tied in with a social studies unit and before a class might ...more
Ciara Plackett
Personal Reaction:
I loved this biography. It made me think back to my favorite elementary school teacher and her passion for being an educator. I feel like I can really relate to Arizona because I love travel and I love teaching. This is a wonderful read.

Read Aloud:
In fifth grade I went on a field trip to a one room school house where we pretended we went to school for the day. If this were a field trip that my kids would go on, I would absolutely introduce the topic by reading this book
Hyeonjeong Lee
Personal Reaction - i love this book because it shows me what's the impact of teachers on students. Her aunt, Arizona, tried to make her students dream going to big outer worlds. She makes the classroom cozy and beautiful by putting flowers near all windows. It helps students feel comfortable and involved in the classroom.

Read aloud to fourth graders of elementary school for several potential purposes:
- This book would help children who want to be teachers learn the important meaning o
This is the story of the author’s great-aunt, who taught the author and the author’s dad in 4th grade, as she did numerous generations. It’s a beautiful story from Appalachia, about one-room schoolhouses and one teacher who went to school in one, and returned to teach there also. The author showed just enough details of this wonderful aunt’s life to bring many ideas of discussion out for young students. Nice book to have for primary classrooms.
I loved reading this book. It had beautiful illustrations that made me want to keep reading the story just to look at the pictures. I liked how this book was all about Arizona (the woman.) It discussed her early years with her brother, and how her mother passes away so she has to stop going to school to take care of her brother and father. When her father finds a new wife she has the opportunity to go to school and become a teacher. When she is finished she returned to her hometown and taught a ...more
Linda Bassett
Oct 26, 2007 Linda Bassett rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any teacher
I tear up every time I read this book aloud to my class. It is a touching story about teaching and dreams. It is a great book to compare with Miss Rumphius.
Scotlyn Carpenter
This book was really inspiring. It was well written and had great illustrations but I loved how it taught us that we will go so many places in life. Arizona didn't necessarily have the easiest childhood after her mom died and she had to take care of her father and younger brother, but she didn't let her trials get in the way of her dreams. She worked hard to reach her goals and become a teacher where she inspired and changed the lives of so many young children. It is important that we teach our ...more
If you've ever wondered why people become teachers, this book might give you some insight.
As and educator, this book inspires me each time I read it.
Book Title: My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston

Story Description: In this story, Gloria Houston describes her great aunt Arizona's life and her commitment to teaching.

Focus: Narrative Features I would use in a mini-lesson:
1.Narrative structure: Houston uses a traditional beginning, middle, and end to tell her story. However, she sequences her story by using big sweeps of time. She uses phrases like, "In the winter,..." " When Arizona's mother died..." to show that time has past. This stor
This is a sweet book about a teacher growing up and then teaching in the prairie. Myself in particular, I love little house on the prairie type books so of course this book was entertaining for myself. I liked that the book told the events in sequential order and took the reader through the life of the young girl. These types of books are nice to have in the classroom for students who enjoy prairie books too.
This book was heart-warming for me because it's about a teacher. I think children who are discovering their talents, gifts and desires would also enjoy this book. Some children may be finding a desire in their heart to be a teacher, perhaps. I would use this in my classroom as an independent reading book. This book would be a good read for girls, especially girls who have lost an older female relative. The photos in this book give a really good depiction of what is happening in the story.
I was captivated completely, both words and illustrations. Lovely biography of a smart, selfless girl who goes on to impact hundreds of children's lives as a dedicated, beloved teacher. Her dreams of travel struck a chord with me since I've traveled so much and I want that opportunity for every person, especially my own daughter. Perfect ending too.
April Smith
This is a great book because it shows the way things have changed and how we have grown as a society. This is a really good book to show children how the schools were when children were first made to go to a school. Some children may have schema for this if the have an aunt or grandma that reminds them of this story based on memories they have shared.
Shelby Royalty
This book was very touching. It talks about the wonderful places we can "travel" to in books, as well as the power of a teacher and the lasting influences we can leave on students. Would definitely recommend, and would love to find a way to use it in the classroom.
Gloria Houston captures beautifully a story within her own family, the life of her great aunt Arizona. This book is filled with the beauty of a woman whose imagination and exuberance opened the door of learning to her many students in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I didn't realize that Gloria Houston had also written The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, one of my all-time favorite children's books. I have always been so enamored with the illustrator of that particular book that I didn't take the t
I hold this book very dear. It displays what a teacher should strive to become. I love to read this to my students so as to show them just what teachers do. I would then want them to write about a favorite teacher or how they may view themselves as teachers if they were one.
What lovely story tribute to great aunt who was a learner and also taught many children. The illustrations depict what life was like in the mountains and the colors are beautiful in muted tones. Beautiful, beautiful.
Megan Staten
This is a cute story about a teacher and how they always care about their students. I would use this in my classroom at the beginning of the school year.
Nov 09, 2013 Relyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: Debby Miller
Shelves: lawsonland
This is one of those "Little House" stories. It is so old fashioned and simple that you are a little bit surprised when modern children love it and relate to it.

Classroom Connections
~ I used this as a read aloud / think aloud for making deeper connections. Kids connect to everything in a book. This one was perfect for demonstrating how to filter connections to get to the ones that help you form deeper understanding.
~ You could incorporate this into a memoir discussion in a biography and/or gen
Danelle Spicer
A very encouraging book for anyone going into teaching. As a teacher you want to be just like Arizona
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Gloria Houston, like her great-aunt Arizona, is both a teacher and a native of the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Ms. Houston taught students of all ages—from kindergarten through twelfth grade—for over fifteen years. Ms. Houston has written several books for children, including the best-selling My Great-Aunt Arizona, illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb; The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tr ...more
More about Gloria Houston...

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