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My Great-Aunt Arizona
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My Great-Aunt Arizona

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,280 Ratings  ·  106 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-stories
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
A biographical sketch of the author's great aunt, this is an inspiring and simply gorgeous gem of a story. Gloria Houston narrative has a wonderful rhythm and cadence to it, a rhythm much removed from the stressful and at times frenetic pace of the modern world. My Great Aunt Arizona is sweet, caressing, even calming, and nevertheless manages to easily communicate much information and important messages (combined with Susan Condie Lamb's bright and descriptive illustrations, My Great Aunt Arizon ...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pic-books
My great-aunt Arizona
was born in a log cabin
her papa built
in the meadow
on Henson Creek
in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What follows is a brief but meaningful description of life in the late 1800s, which made me wish that kids could still have those hands-on experiences. But surely life wasn't all play! I wish that Houston had acknowledged some of her aunt's childhood chores.

At recess they played games like
tag and William Matrimmatoe.

William Matrimmatoe? I turned to the internet. Apparently, it a "cho
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
One of my favorites - I love the part about "Miz Shoes" because I have been "Miz Shoes", too! Reminds me so much of Christy by Catherine Marshall - could be paired together.
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!"
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.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
If you've ever wondered why people become teachers, this book might give you some insight.
Linda Bassett
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any teacher
Shelves: children-s-books
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.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As and educator, this book inspires me each time I read it.
Erin Swinson
My Great-Aunt Arizona is a wonderful biography about the author's great aunt growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Like another review I read it takes me back to when I would read books about Laura Ingalls Wilder or watch Little House on the Prairie. The writing and the illustrations made me want to be in that school-room with the teacher who "wore long full dresses and a pretty white apron. She wore high-button shoes and may petticoats too.". I would recommend this book to K ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Kind of like a picture book version of Laura Ingalls Wilder + Anne of Green Gables.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Arizona is a teacher and it’s really relatable to me. I hope to become a teacher like Arizona some day. She affected so many students just because she was a caring teacher. The illustrations in the story are gentle. Light colors are used. I give this story 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book in 1996 when I was student teaching. I was fortunate to work with a team who loved reading and made stories come alive for their students. This book remains a favorite. Like Arizona’s, my life as an educator took a different path than I expected, but I am thankful for the unexpected bends in the road.
I loved the illustrations in this book. I could use them
to show a class the lifestyle in that day of age. I also liked the plot, however, at the end if talks of Arizona passing away and I'm not sure of that's a topic I should be bringing up in class.
Brooke Norman
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was very inspiring!
I liked Arizona because she was a nice teacher.
The story tells how Arizona never stopped dreaming.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, children, women
A wonderful book about the author's great-aunt Arizona. The love she feels for her comes through clearly and you glimpse what an amazing woman she was.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great children’s book dedicated to the authors Great Aunt! Very heart warming!
Natalie Mayur
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Great-Aunt Arizona is a touching story of Arizona’s life in the early 1900s. Arizona loved reading as a child, and after caring for her papa and brother when her mother passed away when she was young, she decided to become a teacher in her small hometown of Henson Creek. She taught for 57 years and loved her school children as if they were her own. She enjoyed teaching her students of the places they may one day travel to, and although Arizona Hughes never traveled to these places, she stayed ...more
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
Alex Hobart
Book Level: 4.0
Summary - Arizona lived many years ago when time was very different. Places were much further away then they are now, entertainment was much different, and school was much different. Arizona dreamed of being a school teacher, she went to school in a one room school house with her little brother, it was very loud and there was a lot of activity in there, Arizona even read every book in the school house. When Arizona became a teacher she taught in the school house where she had gone
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
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Mini Lesson 4: Ideas 1 1 Oct 22, 2017 01:53PM  
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  • Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds
  • Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning
  • The Wall
  • Something Beautiful
  • She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!
  • The Raft
  • When Jessie Came Across the Sea
  • Hazel's Amazing Mother
  • One World, One Day
  • That Book Woman
  • Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman
  • Different Like Coco
  • Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride
Gloria Houston was a teacher and a native of the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Ms. Houston taught students of all ages. Ms. Houston wrote several books for children, including the best-selling My Great-Aunt Arizona, illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb; The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, illustrated by Barbara Cooney; and LittleJim. She lived in Asheville, North Carolina.
More about Gloria Houston...