Fly Away Home is recommended for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. This book is about a homeless boy and his father who live at the airpo...moreFly Away Home is recommended for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. This book is about a homeless boy and his father who live at the airport. They move from terminal to terminal, sitting and sleeping in chairs, washing up in the bathroom, and eating in the food court, hoping not to get caught. They are given hope that they will be able to escape the airport to freedom and live in their own home when they see a trapped bird who finally finds its freedom.
This heartwarming and touching book takes a realistic look into the lives of the homeless. The author successfully presents a difficult subject in picture book format, as the text and illustrations work well together and complement one another. A small child narrates the facts of being homeless, sleeping, washing up in the bathroom, and avoiding being noticed. The simple text runs through all of the child’s emotions from a matter-of-fact acceptance to a fierce longing and anger that he does not have a home. However, he realizes it could be worse and he could be living on the street without a roof over his head. Soft watercolors are used and this helps show the impersonal spaces through which he and his father live. The author often places them at the back or edge of the pictures, implying their need to be unnoticed. This story is grim and serious, and a solution is not given, but there is a sense of hope. However, there is a definite strength, togetherness, love, and determination between father and son shown. The book focuses on giving the child's-eye view of homelessness in a unique way, making this a great and heartwarming book. This book can be used in the classroom when discussing job loss, the economy, strength, determination, and family. (less)
Speak is intended for high school students in ninth through twelfth grade and has won the National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (1...moreSpeak is intended for high school students in ninth through twelfth grade and has won the National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (1999), Golden Kite Award for Fiction (1999), Horn Book Fanfare Best Book (2000), BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (1999), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000), and the Printz Honor (2000). Melinda, a high school freshman, has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud. It seems like this is due to the fact that her only form of communication with her parents are post-it notes or that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the senior party. However, towards the end of the book, the reason why she has been mute, a reason that she has known deep down all along is revealed, she was raped.
This novel is a realistic and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. It deals with the topics of depression, rape, and finding ones voice. Even though this book deals with serious topics, it has many humorous parts. The main character is very relatable as well, which adds to the appeal of the book. The ending is heartwarming and has a triumphant feel. Melinda finally finds her voice, and this is cause for celebration. This book is a perfect read for students who feel like outcasts and can cause other students to look at “outcasts” with compassion and understanding. It can also give students who feel like they have been silenced, a voice. (less)
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is recommended for students in 6-8 grades and is a Newbery Honor book. This story is about Joey, the main character who h...moreJoey Pigza Swallowed the Key is recommended for students in 6-8 grades and is a Newbery Honor book. This story is about Joey, the main character who has ADHD. He constantly disappoints his mother and teachers. Joey has trouble paying attention and controlling his mood swings when his prescription meds wear off and he starts feeling “wired”. One mishap after another like swallowing his house key and cutting the tip of a classmates nose with scissors leads Joey first from his regular classroom to special education classes and then to a special education school. Finally, with medication, counseling, and positive reinforcement, Joey triumphs, and is allowed to return to the regular education classroom.
This story is a heartwarming, realistic, and compassionate story about the feelings, emotions, and struggles or a boy living with ADHD. The way this disorder affects his family, relationships, behavior, and schoolwork is also realistically and emotionally shown. Joey’s big, kind heart and the good intentions of everyone around him shine throughout the book. It is a very funny book, but heartbreaking at the same time and while reading, the reader may feel as much energy and as wired as Joey does. This book will leave readers pulling for Joey to get his emotions, feelings, and behaviors under control so he can once again be a part of his classroom. Not only does this book accurately describe what individuals with ADHD must feel like, it also gives insight into the struggles all special education students must feel on a daily basis. It is a great book about family, determination, and success. (less)
This story is recommended for students in grades third through sixth and has won the Kids Picks award in 2000. In the story Frindle, the reader meets...moreThis story is recommended for students in grades third through sixth and has won the Kids Picks award in 2000. In the story Frindle, the reader meets a boy named Nick who loves to think up and carry out great ideas. Of all of Nick's ideas, the frindle is his most successful, which is a pen, or what used to be called a pen before Nick began his brilliant campaign. Soon, frindles become very popular, and are the source of lots of money for Nick. For years, many people are crazy about frindles, except for Mrs. Granger, Nick's teacher. However, she is the inspiration for the idea of the frindle because Nick wanted to see if the people decide which words are printed in the dictionary. Eventually, after many years, the word frindle was published in the dictionary.
Dictionary lovers will love this modern classroom fantasy. Many students can relate to Nick the main character who has a reputation for devising clever, time-wasting schemes guaranteed to distract even the strictest teacher. When Nick is assigned an extra report, his research provides him with the idea to coin his own new word. Themes of determination, writing, and literacy are present throughout the book. This is a simple story in which the two sides (teacher vs. student) finally agree concerning the power of language, it is a win, win situation. This book is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, makes a great read aloud, and shows the true power of words and language This imaginative story is about creative thought and will have readers inventing their own words. This book definitely supports the importance of writing and writers workshop within the classroom. (less)
Make Way for Ducklings is for students in preschool through third grade and has won the Caldecott Medal (1942). I read this book on CD. This book is a...moreMake Way for Ducklings is for students in preschool through third grade and has won the Caldecott Medal (1942). I read this book on CD. This book is about duck parents who want to find a safe place to bring up their ducklings, which is not easy. They finally find that the Boston’s public garden may be the perfect spot because it has no creatures which are harmful to them, plenty of peanuts, and even police. Mother duck’s love and protection of her loved ones are definitely shown throughout the book. The reader on the CD was very enjoyable and had appropriate phrasing and inflection. Sounds true to the setting of the book (water, ducks quacking, and traffic) also added to the audio book.
This story was heartwarming and has themes of love, family, and protection. Readers can relate to the mother duck’s love, caring nature, and protection of her ducklings. When reading the book, many comparisons can be drawn between the mother duck and her ducklings and a mother and her child, which may be what makes this book so appealing. In addition, those with fond memories of Boston will enjoy familiar sights, such as Beacon Hill. The illustrations are soft and are done in brown tones. They also depict the life of a duck from a duck's-eye view. The combination of the text and illustrations work well together, and make the world of a duck come alive in a gentle, exciting, sweet, and effective way. Listening to this book on CD was a treat because it was quite an interactive read aloud. The reader was enthusiastic and exciting, and had appropriate tone and inflection in his voice. Background sounds true to the setting and various voices of different characters also added to the book. (less)
Notes from a Liar and Her Dog is intended for 6-8 grade students. I read this book on CD. This story is about Antonia MacPherson, and the lies that sh...moreNotes from a Liar and Her Dog is intended for 6-8 grade students. I read this book on CD. This story is about Antonia MacPherson, and the lies that she tells all the time. According to the main character, no matter what she does, her mother thinks she's wrong and she does not get along with her sisters. Instead, they take notes on her bad behavior. The people that are most important to her are her best friend Harrison and her dog Pistachio, who is the only family member she admits being related to. Antonia is a clever, resourceful and very humorous liar. Antonia gives her dog and best friend Harrison precedence over all other living creatures. However, when a concerned Art teacher sees the truth behind Antonia's humor, lies, and adopted fantasies, it seems that she and her mother may be in for a showdown.
As an audio book, this story is ok, but not great. The reader has appropriate pausing and inflection, as well as different voices for various characters. However, the voices for the male characters do not sound believable and sound more like deep female voices. This takes away from the appeal and enjoyment of the format of the book. However, the story is funny and heartwarming. It is relatable and appealing for all who feel like they do not fit in with their family or that they are not loved. This story is about affirmation, cries for attention, and feelings of misunderstanding and sadness. This book is the perfect read for any child who is middle child, or children who have trouble getting along with their parents because it will definitely bring enjoyment and understanding. (less)