My Great-Aunt Arizona
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My Great-Aunt Arizona

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  772 ratings  ·  74 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...more
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...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
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
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.
Cheryl in CC NV
Intensely moving. Smiles, joy, sunshiny colors, rhythmic text - about a woman who lives to be 94 years, teaching children for 57 of them, and never going to the faraway places of which she dreams. I'm all torn up inside.
This book is about a girl named Arizona who grows up and becomes a teacher. It is set in the past when schools were one room buildings where all ages were grouped together all day. It talks about what she did on a daily basis as a child and how she wanted to visit a lot of places when she grew up. Later it shows how she became a teacher and what she did everyday while teaching but she never went to all those places she wanted to go, so she told her students that they could always go to those pla...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.
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...more
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.
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...more
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...more
Natalie Weber
One of my favorite stories. I think this would work well to read at the end of the year.
Erika Donahue
What an awesome book for teachers! Every teacher should read this book and strive to be the kind of teacher Arizona is!
Jamie Tedesco
This wasn't overly exciting but it had a good message, especially for teachers.
Angela Hollen
This book was boring to me. But you might use it for schema.
Macy Morrison
awesome book for teachers. A good pick me up book.
Ashlee Vanasse
So sweet and a great encouragement to future teachers!
The author shares the story of her great-aunt's life, from her days as a student in a one-room schoolhouse to her long career as a teacher. Arizona touched the lives of many children in her profession, just as this book provides a touching look at the way that teachers can influence and live on with their students. The illustrations feature beautiful Appalachian scenery and rosy-cheeked schoolchildren to complement the simple story of appreciation for a pillar in the community. This book will be...more
This book was one of my mothers favorites. She read it to me frequently as a child and I too grew to love it. The story is told through the perspective of a niece or nephew I can't quite rememmber. Arizona was the teacher in town. She taught reading, writing and arithmitic. (Forgive my spelling) This is a great story to show family love and friendhsip and how your family can be the biggest positive influence of all. This is a wonderful book that is enjoyed by most of its readers. I would suggest...more
My Great-Aunt Arizona is a story that reads like a non-fiction account of a woman’s humble yet important life; set in the rural American plains during the early eighteen hundreds The illustrations are stunning and add greatly to the warm classic feel of the narrative. The story also shines a spotlight on the importance of passionate teachers whose efforts are spread far and wide. This would be a wonderful book to share anytime but particularly during teacher appreciation week.
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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...
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile Mountain Valor Bright Freedom's Song: A Story of the Underground Railroad But No Candy

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