In 1856, John Price, his cousin, and a friend risked their lives to cross the Ohio River in hopes of finding freedom on the other side. As slaves, leaving Kentucky and making their way into Ohio was the only way to even hope for freedom. However, the real goal was to get to Canada since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 stated that slaves could still be returned to their owners if caught in a free state. On his way to trying to get to Canada, John was lucky enough to come across the town of Oberlin, Ohio. A town that did not believe in slavery and even embraced runaway slaves as one of their own. But what would happen when slave hunters came to town looking for John? What is the town willing to do to save their own?
I love how this book was put together. The best way to teach nonfiction, in my opinion, is to make it into a narrative that catches readers' attention and makes them want to learn more. The narrative in Price of Freedom was put together very well- a perfect plot arc- yet leaves you wanting more. It starts out with just enough prior knowledge (not too teachy yet makes sure that it teaches enough that the reader will understand) and takes us through what happens to John Price as a story and finally the end is a bit of a cliffhanger that makes you want to research more. My favorite type of nonfiction. And to add to this the watercolor illustrations bring the story to life and are so very well done adding even more depth to the picture book. This book puts the reader straight into a tense situation and invites them to take part of a historical situation that does not appear in history textbooks. While I'd been taught about the Fugitive Slave Act and realized that there were oppositions to the act, but I had never read a narrative like this one.
In the classroom, I think this nonfiction picture book is important to start conversations about the two sides of the civil war. It would also be a great jumping off point to start talking about people who stood up against laws, the Underground Railroad, and the transition into the civil rights movement: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, etc. The authors even gave websites that are perfect to use as an extension.
Why do you think that the people of Oberlin and other Underground Railroad risked their lives to help escaped slaves?
What do you think happened to John Price? Do some research and see if your hypothesis was correct.
"Oberlin student William Lincoln was in his room when some classmates pounded on his door. He was the man to rescue John Price, they told him, offering him a gun. Lincoln hated slavery, but he also hated violence. Unsure what to do, he knelt on the floor with his Bible and asking himself: "if it were your own brother, what would you do?" His answer? "Rescue him or die!" Lincoln grabbed the gun and raced to Wellington." p. 23(less)
After reading Dallas Clayton's An Awesome Book, I knew that I wanted to read more of his work. He had a way of preaching goodness in a way that wasn't overly bearing but still definitely got the point across. So, when I saw that Candlewick had published an anthology of his poems with his illustrations I was very excited and I was not disappointed. Make Magic is filled with fun yet thought provoking poems (some rhyme, some free verse) accompanied by quirky (done in "two parts positive vibes and three parts watercolor rainbow sprinkles) this anthology will bring a smile to anyone's face who readers it. As a read aloud this summer, during summer school, I am going to bring Make Magic and read one or two daily so we can discuss them. Each poem teaches a lesson without being always obvious and are funny and weird enough that students will love them. (less)
Jill Cochran’s introductory poem starts this book off perfectly: with using a butterfly leaving its cocoon to symbolize daring to dream. Within the anthology, I learned about historical figures who did amazing things such as Sylvia Mendez who helped desegregate Mexican students in California to Jonas Salk who discovered the Polio vaccine, modern day heroes such as Nicholas Cobb who as a child started a nonprofit organization to Chad Hurley, Steven Chen, and Jawed Karim who are the co-founders of You Tube, as well as artists who fought to stand out like Michelle Kwan, Steven Spielberg, Georgia O’Keefe, Martha Graham, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. All corners of heroes are represented. What I loved about who was chosen to be in this book is that although they are all extraordinary people, all of what they did is within the reach of anyone reading. It definitely pushes the readers’ mind when thinking about what is possible. In Dare to Dream, you not only learn about these people through the poetry, but Jill Cochran also included biographical text boxes for each dreamer to share what they did to change the world. Many different kinds of poetry are also part of the anthology. Most are narrative, telling us the story of the life of inspirational person, while others are lyric or acrostic. Some rhymed while others didn't. One included quotes and another was written completely inspired by a quote. Not two poems are alike. Another beautiful aspect to this book are the illustrations by J. Beth Jepsen. It is amazing how she was able to change her style based on the poem/person. Anne Frank’s pages are filled with a depression while Father Gregory Boyle’s pages are filled with hope. Each page represents the dreamer in such a beautiful way. Would be a wonderful book to do a visual analysis on. (less)
This book definitely brought back memories! I loved the idea of summer camp and many of the activities, but I hated the bugs and the food and the changing in front of other people. There are many times when I was away that I just wanted to go home; however, there were things that saved me- specifically, like Eleanor, the animals. I loved working in the barn with the horses and it is what saved me and then got me going back year after year. I remember walking into the barn and being able to be part of these horses' lives and the scene where Eleanor meets Cornelius the goat brought me right back to that moment. This book would be a wonderful read aloud for right before summer because even if students are not going to summer camp, there is probably something new and scary that they will try this summer and this book will definitely cause discussion about how something new may be scary, but that doesn't mean you won't like it eventually. Julie Sternberg's writing also lends itself to some amazing discussions about free verse poetry and, in this one, letter writing. Maybe use the letter writing part of the book to segue into writing a letter to next year's class. Finally, I love the idea of the Wall of Feelings! The Wall of Feelings is where the campers put up how they feel about camp; however, Eleanor is given the job of writing about how she used to feel about camp and then how she feels about camp now. What a great way for students to express themselves! This would be a great formative assessment for looking at how students feel about reading or school or some other topic at the beginning of the year vs. the end. (less)
What a fun story! During the day the horses do as normal horses do: eat, play, run, socialize; however, at night time, the real lives of the horses are shown with dancing, comedy, and more! It reminds me of Toy Story and other stories where you find out about the secret life of animals/objects.
The most amazing part of this book is that it is written and illustrated by a 12-year-old. I think if nothing else, this can be how teachers use it in the classroom. Who says a 12-year-old cannot write a book and get published? Although it is definitely an early ed book for read alouds, it could be used in a middle grade classroom to promote hope and the need for writing, imagination, and believing in yourself.(less)
I'm a big fan of this book. I thought is was extremely clever, funny, and a good story. (Though I am a sucker for fractured fairy tales :D) What a fun...moreI'm a big fan of this book. I thought is was extremely clever, funny, and a good story. (Though I am a sucker for fractured fairy tales :D) What a fun way to introduce or connect with nursery rhymes! It also would be great to use to have students write their own versions. There is also quite a fun mystery at the end. (less)
This book would be a great addition to a lesson on theme as well as compare/contrast (and it has some math in it too!). Oh, and the fluffy bunnies wer...moreThis book would be a great addition to a lesson on theme as well as compare/contrast (and it has some math in it too!). Oh, and the fluffy bunnies were so cute!(less)
This collection of 'nonsense' stories, poems, riddles, & rhymes is actually much deeper than it seemed at first read. I'll be honest, I was not impressed with the first story so I did not have high expectations for the rest of the book; however, the second poem hit the ball out of the park and sucked me in. The book is broken into four sections (Breakfast, Seaside, Doctor, Bedtime) and within each section Rosen includes a variety of stories and poems. There are a few that weave their way throughout the book- "What If..." and "Nat and Anna". I, personally, loved the "What If..." poems the best because I think it is a wonderful way to have children not only think about amazing possibilities, but also is an easy format to duplicate to help students write their own poems. It would be so much fun to have students write their own "What If..." poems based on the unit's theme. It could also be pushed a little bit farther- it'd be a great way to discuss essential questions or to do an anticipation guide. The "Nat and Anna" stories also allow for a chance to discuss narrative elements as, with 4 short stories, you have quite a nice collection of stories about these two siblings. The characters have quite a dynamic relationship which could definitely lead to some great characterization conversations. One of the most surprising aspects, for me, were the more serious poems that are scattered throughout the book that are filled with imagery and alliteration: "Over my toes goes the soft sea wash..." (p. 25) "Outside after dark, trains hum and traffic lights wink, after dark, after dark." (p. 65)(less)