American Library Association Notable Book for Children 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2006
In our changing world, it is so important that all tyAmerican Library Association Notable Book for Children 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2006
In our changing world, it is so important that all types of families be seen in children’s literature. And Tango Makes Three is a book about two male penguins who care for an egg in need of a home. They take turns sitting on the egg and turning it so each side stays warm. They are dedicated to the egg and sit on it morning, noon and night for more than a month. One day, they hear the egg begin to crack and baby Tango is born. Tango is the only penguin in the zoo with two daddies. Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell do an excellent job demonstrating the love that exists within all types of families. ...more
American Library Association Notable Book (2002) Caldecott Medal (2002) Notable Book of the English Language Arts (2002)
This humorous and delightfullyAmerican Library Association Notable Book (2002) Caldecott Medal (2002) Notable Book of the English Language Arts (2002)
This humorous and delightfully illustrated new version of The Three Little Pigs, begins with no surprises. However, when the wolf huffs and puffs and blows the straw house down, the pig is literally propelled out of the story. David Wiesner retells this classic fairy tale and lets the pigs decide their own fate. After finding themselves off the pages of their infamous story, they choose to use the paper to make a plane and fly to another adventure. Wiesner’s unique and varied illustrations earned him the Caldecott Medal in 2002. He uses combinations of techniques and styles throughout the book. In the beginning, a comic strip style is used to convey the common version of the original tale. Once the story twists, the illustrations take new form. As the pigs enter the “Hey Diddle Diddle” part of the text, his illustration completely changes to depict that they have entered that particular story. My favorite illustration is the rear view of the pigs as they fly off to find a new venture. Wiesner keeps the entire next page blank in order to portray a vast journey. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its extraordinary illustrations. I appreciate the fact that this text challenges children to question books and author’s decisions. This book encourages children to ask if books could or should begin or end differently. It empowers children and promotes the understanding that when they write their own stories, they can decide what adventures their characters will experience.
Jazz by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers won the 2007 Coretta Scott King Honor. This beautifully written and illustrated book p Jazz by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers won the 2007 Coretta Scott King Honor. This beautifully written and illustrated book promotes an appreciation of jazz and the African-American culture. Jazz is both informative and entertaining. It pays tribute to the history and unknown complexity of this American art form. Because of this, Jazz meets the Coretta Scott King Honor criteria. Honored as a Notable Book of the English Language Arts (BELA) in 2007, Walter Dean Myers masterfully tells the story of jazz through 15 poems. The (BELA) award is given to books that demonstrate uniqueness in the use of language and style. Myers skillfully uses rhythm and rhyme throughout the book and engages readers with each poem. The musical images reinforce the sounds heard as one reads. Children are invited to respond and participate with the text. For these reasons, Jazz qualifies for the (BELA) award. I thoroughly enjoyed Jazz and can see many instructional uses for this outstanding piece of children’s literature. The introduction and timeline in the back of the book provide historical information about the genre. I was surprised to learn as much as I did. For example, I did not know that jazz relies so much on improvisation. Jazz musicians often begin with a familiar song and create something new using their “own personality and musical training.” According to the introduction, many early jazz musicians from the slave states played by “ear” because they had been forbidden to learn to read and write. Clearly Jazz informs and captivates readers at the same time. Jazz lends itself to a multitude of lessons including poetry, music, history and cultural understanding. ...more
Dona Flor, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colon, is a Latino-themed tall tale that brings big smiles to children. Flor is such a giant s Dona Flor, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colon, is a Latino-themed tall tale that brings big smiles to children. Flor is such a giant she can sleep in the clouds and hug the wind. She can reach up and touch the estrellas, stars. At one point, she jumps up and bruises the sun in the eye. Not only is Flor’s body big, her heart is enormous. She reads to the children in her village every day. She makes huge tortillas that can be used as roofs for homes and rafts for children. When Flor sings, birds come and build their nests in her hair. Flor loves animals and can speak every language. One day, Flor’s neighbors and friends are afraid to come out because they hear a loud roar. They believe it is a mountain lion, el puma!! Flor doesn’t want her animal and people friends to be afraid, so she sets off to find the lion and protect her village. As I read this wonderfully written and illustrated tall tale, I felt as if Flor symbolized all the strong Latino women. I am not sure if that was the intention, but that was my perception. She cooks, reads, makes the home welcome to all and has a beautiful, big heart. Dona Flor is an excellent picture book to include in a classroom library. It positively portrays the Latino culture. Beautiful cultural images and messages are found throughout the story. In addition, I appreciate the fact that the heroic protagonist is female. Flor is not a tiny, dainty woman who needs protection from the world. She is large in every way and readers can’t help but love her. Colon’s illustrations are remarkable. He uses a combination of watercolor washes, etching and colored pencils. Flor’s full-sized physical features are superbly depicted. The Pura Belpre Award was given to Dona Flor in 2006. The award goes to the piece of children’s literature which best exemplifies authentic cultural experiences. Readers are immersed in the Latino culture as they read this creative, light-hearted and entertaining tall tale. Dona Flor was also awarded the Golden Kite Award given to the outstanding children’s book written and illustrated by members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Once again, Jack Prelutsky uses his poetic talents to engage young readers. In IF NOT FOR THE CAT, Prelutsky writes 17 haiku poems that are in a riddlOnce again, Jack Prelutsky uses his poetic talents to engage young readers. In IF NOT FOR THE CAT, Prelutsky writes 17 haiku poems that are in a riddle format. The reader can use the illustrations and words to guess what animal the haiku is about. I am struck by the high-level of vocabulary in this book. I love the fact that instead of using simple everyday language, Prelutsky challenges the young audience to gain an understanding of words such as scarcity, nasturtium, undulate and gelatinously. Children love a challenge and these excellent words promote higher level thinking and better writing skills. I really enjoyed this book....more
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book (2006) American Library Association Notable Book Award (2006)
This story about eight-year-old Garang is basedCoretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book (2006) American Library Association Notable Book Award (2006)
This story about eight-year-old Garang is based on the real events and stories of The Lost Boys of Sudan. According to the author’s note at the beginning of the book, Sudan suffered from a civil war which raged on and off since the 1950’s. Mary Williams reveals the fact that more than two million people, mostly from southern Sudan, died in this war. Additionally, in the mid-1980s, approximately thirty thousand Sudanese children were forced on a perilous journey of nearly one thousand miles in search of refuge. Most of the children were boys because they tended to the animals and were not with the adults and girls at the time of attack. These children became known as The Lost Boys of Sudan. This story is written in a remarkably simple way considering the complexity of the topic. The use of first-person engages readers and allows for forthright descriptions of intense circumstances. Christie uses greens, yellows and oranges in his acrylic paintings to depict the various terrains in the story. In addition, his illustrations convey the vast amount of young refugees seeking food and shelter. As an educator, I found many aspects of this book insightful. First, the story needs to be told and the courage of these boys needs to be honored and celebrated. In addition, the part about the boys going to school was especially poignant. Garang knew that education was the only way he could make his life better. His teacher told him that education can be, “like your mothers and fathers. It can speak for you in the future when your parents cannot.” I believe this is an important message for our students who take education for granted. Not all children receive an education. It is important to teach our students the value of education and this particular part of the book does an excellent job sending that message. Brothers in Hope: The Story of The Lost Boys of Sudan is a survival story of courage, triumph and the human spirit.
American Library Association Notable Book (ALAN) 2004 Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) 2004 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor (BGHBH) 2003 Coretta Scott KinAmerican Library Association Notable Book (ALAN) 2004 Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) 2004 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor (BGHBH) 2003 Coretta Scott King Honor (CSKH) 2004
LOCOMOTION is a novel in verse that tells the story of Lonnie Collins Motion or “Locomotion.” Locomotion’s family tragedy is revealed in the poems throughout the book. Four years earlier, Lonnie’s parents died in a fire. Since that time, Locomotion has lived in several foster homes away from his sister, Lili. Locomotion is currently living with Miss Edna. Miss Edna is kind and Lonnie begins to understand that she cares for him. Lonnie’s teacher helps him sort through his feelings of loss by writing poetry. LOCOMOTION brings the reader on a personal journey of healing for a young boy who has lost the family he once knew. In one poem, Lonnie remembers his mother describing his birth. He was born premature. He remembers her telling him that when he was “not even two months old and already a survivor.” His mother’s description supports the already formed impression that Lonnie is a strong boy who has experienced more pain than most. It is no surprise LOCOMOTION was honored with so many awards. Jacqueline Woodson brings Lonnie to life resulting in deep empathy for his character. The character development is rich and layered. The use of poems allow for a deeper view into Lonnie’s thoughts and feelings. Woodson uses several poetic formats such as free verse, haiku, nonsense verse and limericks. The poems combine to form a powerful and uplifting story. This book would make an excellent read-aloud for older students. It may be used during a poetry unit. Because various forms of poetry are used throughout the book, it may be used as a resource for students. LOCOMOTION has social implications. Lonnie still has a family, but it isn’t one that is traditionally defined. Different types of families are all over our country and the world. This book allows students to understand that Lonnie now has a foster mother, foster brother and sister. His teacher and friends are also a significant part of his support system. Students can explore their thoughts about different types of families and what a family actually is. Discussions and written response, poetry in particular, would be excellent ways for students to respond to this piece of literature. I also appreciated the fact that the protagonist, a boy, is sharing his inner feelings and emotions through poetry. He writes his thoughts and never once shares that it is not “cool” to do so. I enjoyed the fact that Woodson created this male character who reveals his deep feelings yet he remains a typical, young boy we can all relate to. I believe boys reading this book may feel encouraged about writing and sharing their own feelings. ...more
This book was on my to-read list. On Wednesday, a colleague handed it to me and strongly suggested it. After reading the book, I quickly decided to shThis book was on my to-read list. On Wednesday, a colleague handed it to me and strongly suggested it. After reading the book, I quickly decided to share it with my class as a read-aloud. My students were completely engrossed in this story. They asked relevant questions which led to a rich discussion.
In The Other Side, a large fence separates Clover and her family from white people on the other side of town. Clover doesn't understand why there needs to be a fence. Her mother warns, "Don't climb over that fence when you play." She tells Clover it isn't safe. A white girl, named Annie looks over the fence at Clover. One day, they decide to sit on the fence together, since their parents never said anything about sitting on the fence. Eventually, Clover's friends join the two new friends and Annie says, "Someday somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down."
This beautifully written story has political and social implications. I believe this book is an excellent choice for any grade level. Older students can discuss the symbolism of the fence. It can be compared with other physical structures that have been torn down like the Berlin Wall. Students may study segregation after reading this book. Younger students find The Other Side to be an excellent read-aloud. Young children are concerned about what is fair and what is not fail. My students were appalled that these two girls couldn't play together at the beginning of the book.
The Other Side was an American Library Notable Book Award (ALAN) winner and a Notable Social Studies Trade Books Award (NSSTB) winner in 2002. The Other Side is a literary contribution that enhances our ability to teach students. Woodson's ability to write about a such a complex topic in a simple way that children can understand is remarkable. The illustrations by E. B. Lewis depict the feelings of the girls as they find their way to the other side of the fence. ...more
Winner of the 2008 Coretta Scott King Award, We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson is a tribute to the men who establis Winner of the 2008 Coretta Scott King Award, We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson is a tribute to the men who established and played in the Negro Leagues beginning in the 1920s. Nelson portrays the personal stories of these African-American heroes who never received the fame and notoriety as the Major League players. Nelson’s oil paintings beautifully depict the strength and courage of these men who loved the game of baseball. The Coretta Scott King Award is given to an inspirational and educational literacy contribution. We are the Ship clearly meets this standard and provides accurate information about a group of men who shaped our national pastime. Although the illustrations can be appreciated by children of all ages, We are the Ship is definitely written for children in the intermediate grades. There is so much information and reading the text told from a player’s point of view would be challenging for younger children. This book can be used in countless ways for instructional purposes. Students can research some of the players like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Buck Leonard. It would be interesting for students to learn more about Rube Foster. I cannot help but wonder how he was able to organize a Negro Baseball League during that time in American history. He must have been an exceptionally intelligent and resourceful man. I find the Author’s Note at the end of the book particularly interesting because Kadir Nelson explains that his interest in this topic was piqued when he watch Ken Burns’s documentary Baseball. I remember being completely mesmerized by that documentary which was surprising to me because prior to that I did not have a deep affection for baseball. I believe Baseball and We are the Ship superbly link history and culture with our national pastime. We are the Ship teaches readers about the character of these individuals as well as the journey they took in order to pave the way for the African-American Major League players of today. ...more
American Library Association Notable Book for Children 1996 Caldecott Medal 1996 Horn Book Fanfare 1996
The illustrations tell this humorous story aboutAmerican Library Association Notable Book for Children 1996 Caldecott Medal 1996 Horn Book Fanfare 1996
The illustrations tell this humorous story about a police officer who visits schools and presents safety information. The children are bored with his presentations until one day he brings his new partner, Gloria the dog. Officer Buckle does not realize that while he is talking Gloria is entertaining the audience with wacky stunts. Children laugh out loud at this book while it teaches them safety lessons. The illustrations are worthy of the Caldecott Medal....more
I enjoy most of Kevin Henkes' books. His talents offer a wide range of writing techniques and illustrations vary greatly dependingCaldecott Medal 2005
I enjoy most of Kevin Henkes' books. His talents offer a wide range of writing techniques and illustrations vary greatly depending on his intended audience which can be primary students all the way up to a more mature young adult audience. Kitten's First Full Moon is a beautifully illustrated book written for young children. The playful part of the story is the fact that the kitten believes the moon is a bowl of milk and desperately tries to drink it. ...more
“Once there were two towers side by side.” This first sentence in The Man Who Walked between the Towers immediately elicits an emotional response for“Once there were two towers side by side.” This first sentence in The Man Who Walked between the Towers immediately elicits an emotional response for readers old enough to have witnessed the events of September 11, 2001. This brilliantly illustrated and written book relates a story about the World Trade Center towers that is uplifting, courageous and inspirational. Mordicai Gerstein skillfully chronicles the adventure of Philippe Petit, a street performer, who walked on a tight rope between the Twin Towers in 1974. The text and illustrations combine perfectly and immerse readers into the dangerous and astonishing risk Philippe took that day. Two gorgeous foldout pages produce amazing views of Philippe from the ground looking up and from a bird looking down towards him. Gerstein’s ink and oil paintings create his Caldecott winning and deserving illustrations. American themes are found throughout this book. A bald eagle soars across the cover. Philippe’s character parallels the American spirit in many ways. Gerstein describes Philippe as feeling “free” as long as he stayed on the wire. Philippe was alone and “not afraid.” Gerstein describes Philippe as brave, independent and free. He is a risk-taker who perseveres and seizes the moment. Since these traits are revered by Americans, I believe Gerstein intentionally portrays Philippe this way in order to honor the Americans who died in the towers. Besides the Caldecott Medal (2004), The Man Who Walked Between the Towers also received the American Library Association Notable Book Award (ALAN), the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (BGHBA) and the 2003 New York Times Best Illustrated (NYTBI) Award. Clearly, this piece of literature pays tribute to the American spirit and the memory of World Trade Center towers. Extraordinarily written and illustrated, The Man Who Walked between the Towers, allows readers of all ages to experience this wondrous and uplifting true event. I believe this book can be used with students of all ages. Many younger children do not know about the tragic events that took place at the World Trade Center. These students can appreciate the book at face value. Older students can have rich discussions that go beyond Philippe Petit and include the subtle symbolism found throughout the book. I personally appreciate the book because it allows readers to remember something uplifting that took place at the World Trade Center and respectfully pays tribute to the lives lost on September 11, 2001.
Coretta Scott King Award (2006) American Library Association Notable Book Award (2006) Best Book for Young Adults Award (2006) Notable Social Studies Coretta Scott King Award (2006) American Library Association Notable Book Award (2006) Best Book for Young Adults Award (2006) Notable Social Studies Trade Book (2006) Notable Book of the English Language Arts (2006)
In 1859, Pierce Butler sold more than 400 slaves on his Savannah, Georgia plantation. It was the largest slave auction in American history. In DAY OF TEARS, Julius Lester tells the story of that devastating day using fictionalized dialogue. He uses symbolism and compares the downpour of rain with the grief and tears of those impacted by the auction. DAY OF TEARS allows readers to learn about the dehumanizing and devastating outcomes of slavery that classroom textbooks do not teach. The character development throughout the book, especially with Emma, engrosses readers by producing the feeling of pain and suffering caused by the perpetrators. After Emma is sold to a woman from Kentucky she thinks about her mother. “At least the other slaves knew what was going to happen to them. They had time to say good-bye, but my mama is at the plantation expecting me to come back and help her prepare the supper and serve the table tonight. She don’t know she ain’t never going to see me again.” Lester gives voices to his characters that immerse the reader into the experiences and emotional pain of that horrifying day. Lester’s writing is brilliant and worthy of the honors and awards. He shifts time throughout the book and has characters looking back and reflecting on that gruesome day in interludes. His use of dialogue through monologue is superb. DAY OF TEARS should be used in the classroom. It can be a read-aloud for older students. It lends itself to rich discussion and reflection. Although the characters are fictional, the story is based on true events from American history. Any unit about The Civil War and slavery would be enhanced by this heart-wrenching portrayal.
What is a picture book? Prior to reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret, my answer to that question would be a beautifully illustrated and hopefully we What is a picture book? Prior to reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret, my answer to that question would be a beautifully illustrated and hopefully well-written short story with bright, bold colors and captivating language. Brian Selznick redefines this genre of children’s literacy with his Caldecott Medal winning, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. With over 500 pages of written text and black and white drawings, The Invention of Hugo Cabret has forever expanded our perceptions of picture books and children’s literacy. It is easy to understand why The Invention of Hugo Cabret was selected for the Caldecott Medal. Selznick’s monochromatic illustrations are brilliant. Using a sequence of illustrations, Selznick reveals large portions of the story with no words. The intricate illustrations have movement leading the reader closer to the scene with each page. Selznick tells a story of an orphan living in a Paris train station. The boy, named Hugo, is keeping secrets. He has a mechanical man, or automaton, that his father discovered in a museum. After his father dies in a fire, Hugo finds the automaton and hides it in the train station. Hugo believes he can get the mechanical man to write a message from his father and he is driven to fix the machine with the help of his father’s notebook. In order to eat and fix the automaton, Hugo has to steal supplies from a toy booth owned by George Melies. One day, George Melies catches Hugo stealing. It is then that Hugo’s life becomes interwoven with George’s life. Before long, he discovers more and more information leading to George’s past life in the world of cinema. The story is captivating and the illustrations are a masterpiece. This distinguished picture book provides a visual, movie-like experience. It is clearly a significant achievement marked by eminence and individual distinction. Fascinated with both the story and the illustrations, I had a difficult time putting this book down. It was an easy read due to Selznick’s writing style and the phenomenal illustrations. In spite of this, I do find myself wondering how many children under 14 would actually read this book. The physical size of the book may be daunting to most readers, even though a vast amount of the book is illustrations. In addition, the lack of color may prevent younger readers to give this outstanding piece of literature a chance. Students who do take the time to thoroughly read the text and illustrations will be greatly rewarded. ...more