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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Archive | Bookstorms

Bookstorm™: Giant Pumpkin Suite

Giant Pumpkin SuiteCompetition is a part of young people’s lives: art, sports, music, dance, science, cup-stacking … many children spend a good part of their day practicing, learning, and striving to do their best. Giant Pumpkin Suite is about two types of competitions, a Bach Cello Suites Competition and a giant pumpkin growing competition. Rose and Thomas Brutigan are twelve-year-old twins … but their personalities and interests are quite different. It’s a book set within a neighborhood that pulls together when a serious accident changes the trajectory of their summer. We meet so many interesting people, children and adults, in this book. It’s full of hold-your-breath plot turns. 

The book is written at a level for 5th to 8th grade readers (and adults) and it has many ties to popular culture, mathematics, gardening, and the nature of competition. It’s an excellent choice for a book club discussion.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, articles, websites, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests.  

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more information about Melanie Heuiser Hill on her website.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Johann Sebastian Bach. Rose Brutigan focuses on an upcoming Bach Suites Competition by practicing … a lot. Who was Bach and why is his music still with us 260 years after his death? Resources include books and videos of our best cellists playing the Bach Cello Suites.

The Cello. More about the instrument Rose plays, with a number of videos you can share with your class or book club.

Charlotte’s Web. This book is a favorite of Rose and her neighbor Jane. Charlotte’s Web provides a major turning point in Giant Pumpkin Suite. Learn more about the book and its author, E.B. White.

Giant Pumpkins. Thomas and his neighbors work together to grow a giant pumpkin. Today, these pumpkins (not grown for eating) can way over 2,000 pounds—more than one ton. Books, videos, and articles share stories and how-tos for growing giant pumpkins competitively.

Japanese Tea Ceremony. Mrs. Kiyo shares this beautiful ceremony with Rose. The Bookstorm suggests a video for your students to watch.

Mathematics and Bach. Are you aware that Bach used math and physics when creating his compositions? Your students can delve into this fascinating aspect of the composer!

Movie Musicals. The music from musicals of the 1940s and 1950s is very important to Jane and Mrs. Lukashenko—they sing and tap dance at the least suggestion. We provide three suggestions for watching these movies.

Music Competition (Fiction). There are a number of excellent books about young people preparing for, and playing in, music competitions! 

Music in Middle Grade Books. And more novels in which music is an important part of the plot. 

Neighborhood Books. We suggest books in which the people and places of a neighborhood are integral to the plot of a book. Perhaps you’ll find your favorites.

Tap Dancing. Who can resist a good tap dance? Another strong plot point, we suggest books and videos to share with your students.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Creekfinding

Creekfinding Bookstorm

CreekfindingWe were very excited to read Creekfinding: a True Story because it tells the story of restoring a long-ago creek in an Iowa prairie setting. Just imagine: bringing back the burbling waters, the fish, the insects, the grasses … everything that makes up the health and character of the land. It took bulldozers and determination, partners and imagination, but it was a project that brought ecological success!

Our Bookstorm will take you into further exploration, studying ecosystems, water conservation, community action, fish, and more.

We trust you will find inspiration and resources aplenty within the Bookstorm to accompany your study of Creekfinding: a True Story. We know you’ll share our appreciation for Dr. Michael Osterholm, who conceived of the project, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, the author, Claudia McGehee, the illustrator, and the University of Minnesota Press, which understood how much readers and innovative thinkers need this book.

Downloadable

Bookology interviewed the author, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and the illustrator, Claudia McGehee, about their work on this book.

You’ll find more information about Jacqueline Briggs Martin on her website. And read about illustrator Claudia McGehee on her website.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

  • Dr. Michael Osterholm (who conceived of the Creekfinding project)
  • driftless region
  • ecosystems
  • fiction
  • fish
  • prairies
  • preserving and restoring our natural world
  • think globally, act locally
  • urban farming, restoring greenery and growth to the city
  • water

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Giant Squid

Giant Squid Bookstorm

Giant SquidGiant Squid provides an excellent opportunity to teach about one of the most mythical, unknown, and yet real creatures on earth, the Giant Squid. The incredible illustrations by Eric Rohmann help the reader’s perception of how large this deep sea creature is and how mysterious. Found so deep within the sea, there is very little light. How did Eric Rohmann create the sense of this water darkness and the release of ink, a defense mechanism? How did Candace Fleming write with spare text and yet tell us so many fascinating details about the Giant Squid?

Our Bookstorm will take you into further exploration, studying bioluminescence, other deep sea creatures, ocean ecology, oceanographers, and more.

There are excellent resources in the back matter of the book as well. We trust you will find inspiration and resources aplenty within the Bookstorm to accompany your study of Giant Squid. 

Downloadable

You’ll find more information about Candace Fleming on her website. And read about illustrator Eric Rohmann on his website.

There’s a Teaching Guide available for Giant Squid, written by naturalist Lee Ann Landstrom.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

  • Bioluminescence
  • Deep Sea Creatures
  • Fiction
  • Giant Squid, in particular
  • Oceans
  • Relative Size
  • Scientific Exploration

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Presenting Buffalo Bill

Bookmap Presenting Buffalo Bill

Presenting Buffalo BillPresenting Buffalo Bill provides an excellent opportunity to teach differentiation between fiction and nonfiction, mythology and fact, as well as the discernment, research, and discussion skills that are naturally born out of this type of close reading. Buffalo Bill’s life and Wild West Show are exciting and the author makes them all the more vivid and engaging with her writing. In her sections on “Panning for the Truth,” the differences between myth (or storytelling or marketing) are called out for further examination.

Our perceptions of the Wild West have changed as we have listened to voices from many cultures, sharing their experiences, opening our eyes, communicating in ways those who immigrated to America didn’t have available. Westerns, movies and books set in the “Old West” can now be looked at with different eyes and more understanding minds. Thoughtful papers on then and now can encourage heightened awareness. A Tall Tale Contest might point out how exaggeration and deception work in marketing and internet articles.

We’ve included books on truth and lies, mythology versus authenticity, as well as fiction and nonfiction written at various points in our history. There are excellent resources in the back matter of Candace Fleming’s book as well. We trust you will find inspiration and resources aplenty to accompany your study of Presenting Buffalo Bill. 

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more information about Candace Fleming on her website.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Buffalo Bill. He was once one of the most famous men in the world. Hundreds of dime novels were written about him. Several versions of his autobiography are available. Many authors have chosen to chronicle his life and his Wild West Show. We’ve chosen a few that will provide a means for students to contrast and compare. Online resources will add depth to research.

Art of the 19th Century. Buffalo Bill’s most famous portrait was painted by the French artist Rosa Bonheur. Hundreds of posters from the Wild West Show can be studied to reveal how they tell a persuasive story or influence the audience to attend the shows.

Exaggeration, Lies, and Storytelling. One of the most thought-provoking aspects of Presenting Buffalo Bill is the attention Candace Fleming pays to the veracity of the stories Will Cody told and others told about him. We’ve included current books about truth, lying, deception, and marketing. An in-depth study that caroms off Candace’s book will fascinate your students.

Mythology versus Authenticity. Comparing other myths to that of the Wild West, including folk heroes of the same era such as Davy Crockett, and modern-day myths such as Star Wars and Star Trek, will help with comparative analysis.

Native Americans. Buffalo Bill employed hundreds of American Indians in his Wild West shows. He interacted with famous chiefs and brought entire families into his show encampments. We’ve included biographies of heroes such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud, as well as contemporary novels and nonfiction.

The West During Bill Cody’s Lifetime. Fleming sets the Wild West Show and Bill’s life within the context of geography, history, and politics. The Bookstorm includes books about the children, women, men, and politics of Bill’s life, those who lived in the authentic West.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Let Your Voice Be Heard

Bookmap Let Your Voice Be Heard

Let Your Voice Be HeardWhether you include social justice, community service, activism, or social action in your curriculum or at your library, this is the ideal book for you. A biography of Pete Seeger, recipient of our National Medal for the Arts, and champion of the people for his 94 years, our Bookstorm this month, Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, celebrates his life while it inspires each reader to carry on his work. At once informative and entertaining, Anita Silvey has written a book that looks at Seeger’s childhood, his evolution from singer to worldwide change leader to deeply admired man. Eminently readable, this would be a good book to share with students as  you lead into deeper discussions about involvement and service in your own community.

The book is written at a level for 4th to 6th grade readers, so you can use this with these students, but we also encourage you to use the book in middle school, high school, and with adult groups. It’s an excellent choice for a book club discussion.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, articles, websites, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books about the ways in which Pete Seeger influenced our world. 

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more information about Anita Silvey on her website.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

About Pete Seeger. To supplement the information Anita Silvey has included in her biography, we’ve suggested a few other books that offer another perspective.

Written by Pete Seeger. He was remarkably prolific in writing books, or introductions, or collaborating on quite a few books. You’ll certainly recognize Abiyoyo but there are more books for study, enjoyment, and for singing!

Pete Seeger’s Music. He’s so well-known for his music and he recorded a great number of folk songs for children and all ages. We’ve pointed you in the direction of some of the best that you can share in your classroom or library. 

Civil Rights. Well-known for his efforts on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement, for over  70 years, we offer recommendations so you can gather a shelf full of paired books including fiction, true stories, and poetry.

Labor Movement. September is the month when we honor the hard work of those who have fought for workers’ rights, outlawing child labor, ensuring health and vacation and sick leave benefits. Pete Seeger was a tireless proponent of this work. You’ll find a number of recommendations to support this aspect of his biography, certainly engendering discussion. We’ve included recommendations for songs to accompany this study.

Folk Music, Collecting, Playing, Singing. Do you know the work of Alan and John Lomax, Woody Guthrie, Charles and Ruth Seeger, Smithsonian Folkways, and other musicologists? This is a fascinating aspect of Pete Seeger’s life that can lead to discussions of preserving culture, the intrinsic place of music within a culture … and more singing! Suggestions are made for further study of many individuals important to the preservation of folk music.

Politics: Under Suspicion and Blacklisted (Censorship). During those times of the year when your classroom or library is focusing on censorship, Anita Silvey focuses on the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s, Communism, and blacklisting. All of these can be compared to the political climate in contemporary America. We have included a variety of fiction and nonfiction recommendations.

Protesting War (Vietnam). The protests of the 1960s and 1970s in America left an indelible change on the country that a number of anthropologists argue continues to affect America today. Pete Seeger was active in this protest movement. Books on the war, its aftermath, and songs of protest are a part of this Bookstorm.

Think Globally, Act Locally. Pete Seeger’s social action with The Clearwater Project, gathering communities to clean up The Hudson River in New York, was accomplished through song, community gatherings, fundraising, and hard work. We provide quotes, videos, websites, and a lot of books for students to use for learning more and making their own plans for involvement.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: No Monkeys, No Chocolate

No Monkeys Bookmap

 

No Monkeys, No ChocolateWe are pleased to feature No Monkeys, No Chocolate as our August book selection, in which author and science writer Melissa Stewart, along with Allen Young and illustrator Nicole Wong share the interdependent ecosystem that creates the right conditions for cacao beans to be grown and harvested so we can produce chocolate.

This ecosystem is set in the rainforest of the Amazon, but there are interdependent ecosystems all over the world, vital animals, reptiles, birds, insects, humans, and plants that are necessary for our lives to continue on this earth. We all rely on each other. We all have a part to play in preserving a healthy Earth. We are grateful to authors and illustrators like Melissa, Allen, and Nicole who bring these connections to our attention so we can share them with children who will become the stewards of this planet.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, articles, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books about American lighthouses, lighthouse keepers, and biographies of female heroes. 

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more information about Melissa Stewart on her website. Illustrator Nicole Wong’s website will show you more of her portfolio.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Chocolate. I know there are people who don’t like chocolate, but surely they are a small percentage of people in the world! As we move between descriptions of decadent chocolate pleasures to news that it’s healthy for us to fountains and personalized chocolate … these books share facts, stories, and tantalizing photographs.

Ecosystems. Our featured book is an excellent description of an ecosystem in which plants, animals, and insects work together to create the bean that creates chocolate. There are a number of good examples of ecosystems throughout the world in the books we’ve included.

Growing Food. We appreciate and thank the people who work so hard to grow our food. From urban farms to rural ranches to rainforests, the foods we tend and grow and harvest are essential to all life on earth. We hope that teaching children about the sources of their food, the people who grow it, and the care given to the stuff of life will encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Monkeys. Monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, apes … primates have been fascinating people, especially children, since time began. And now we now they’re essential for chocolate! We’ve included books that will start discussions, answer questions, and entertain young readers.

Pollination. The process of pollination, and all the ways it happens, is incredible. These books are guaranteed to interest young readers.

Rain Forest Preservation. It’s vital for all the people of the earth to support efforts to keep the rain forests of our world healthy. The more we know and understand about their role in our climate, our air, our ability to breathe, the more we can commit to doing our part as individuals. 

Author’s Website Resources. Author Melissa Stewart created a writing timeline that is useful in teaching writing, especially expository writing, to your students. She has a reader’s theater, teaching guide, and several more teaching aids to offer. We’ve provided links.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Jazz Day

Bookmap for Jazz Day

 

Jazz DayThis month we’re featuring Jazz Day, a book that’s all about jazz and a photograph that recorded a moment in time, people at the top of their musical careers and people who were just getting started. Author Roxane Orgill is familiar with the jazz culture; she’s written several books about the music and the people. Illustrator Francis Vallejo took elements of photography, graphic design, acrylic, and pastels to illustrate his first book. This powerful team has received no fewer than six starred reviews for the picture book biography they’ve created together.

In Jazz Day, each story is told with a poem, among them free verse, a pantoum, and a list poem. There are poems about the photographer, the musicians, the young neighborhood boys who showed up for the photograph out of curiosity, the jazz life, and the process of taking the photo, Harlem 1958, which is famous for capturing a large number of musicians in their time, their clothing, their community, but without their instruments (except for one guy, Rex Stewart, but it earned him a poem).

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, websites, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books about jazz, music, singers, and photography. 

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more information about Roxane Orgill on her website. The illustrator’s website will show you more of Francis Vallejo’s portfolio.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Jazz Musicians in Picture Books. Here you’ll find excellent picture books about jazz musicians including Trombone Shorty, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Louise Williams, Melba Liston, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman. Many of these books help us understand how the childhood of these renowned musicians launched them into their careers.

Jazz Singers. Ella Fitzgerald? Scat. Josephine Baker? Showmanship. Civil rights. The Sweethearts of Rhythm? Swing musicians who rose to prominence during the war. Exceptional books about exceptional singers.

Jazz for Older Readers. From Roxane Orgill’s own book, Dream Lucky, one of the best books about jazz musicians, to highly respected books like Jazz 101, and The History of Jazz, and Marsalis on Music, there’s a lot of information here to get you talking proficiently about, and teaching, jazz.

Photography. Art Kane wasn’t a photographer but he took one of the most famous photographs, Harlem 1958. But there are children’s books about famous photographers such as Gordon Parks and Snowflake Bentley. You’ll find more suggestions in the Bookstorm.

The Music. Your students who are already interested in rap or jazz rap or hip-hop or pop music, will be fascinated to listen to the different genres of jazz music that came before … and we’ve included URLs where you can find excellent examples. Or perhaps you’re a jazz aficionado and you have your own music to share.

Websites. There are helpful websites such as the Jazz Education Network and Smithsonian Jazz that will help you put together a multimedia set of lesson plans for exploring jazz, our most American form of music.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Miss Colfax’s Light

Bookmap Miss Colfax's Light

 

Miss Colfax's LightWe are pleased to feature Miss Colfax’s Light as our June book selection, in which author Aimée Bissonette and illustrator Eileen Ryan Ewen tell the fascinating story of a woman who served as the Michigan City Lighthouse keeper from 1861 to 1904. Captains and navigators on Lake Michigan relied on her lighthouse to keep them from foundering on the rocks or crashing onto the shore in rough weather.

Every day heroes. That’s how author Aimée Bissonette refers to the people in history who intrigue her. She traveled to research her chosen subject, Harriet Colfax, talking with people in Indiana who could proudly provide information. Miss Colfax faithfully kept a log, so Aimée was able to read about Harriet’s work and her daily life in Harriet’s own words. Illustrator Eileen Ryan Ewen painted a wealth of accurate, time-appropriate details into the pages of the book, helping readers visually understand the time in which Miss Colfax lived. We think you’ll be inspired by Miss Colfax’s story as much as we are.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, articles, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books about American lighthouses, lighthouse keepers, and biographies of female heroes. 

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more information about Aimée Bissonette on her website. The illustrator’s website will show you more of Eileen Ryan Ewen’s portfolio.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

About Lighthouses. For background information as you prepare to excite students, library patrons, or your family members about American lighthouses, these books will help you locate these beacons of safety, learn more about their operation, and understand the science and math that are an inherent part of the workings of lighthouses around the country.

Brave and Extraordinary Women. From picture book biographies to short-article anthologies, you’ll find a variety of inspiring stories from oceanographer Sylvia Earle to educational activist Malala Yousafzai.

How Lighthouses Work. From the Fresnel lens to the Chance Brothers engineering to the improvements in fuel, increases in the range of light, and Edison’s invention of the lightbulb, you’ll find books to inform your presentations and discussions about Miss Colfax’s Light.

Lighthouse Books. There are a number of good books to pair with our featured Bookstorm. Compare the true story of Miss Colfax with that of Abbie Burgess, who took her lighthouse keeper father’s place during an ice storm, or the Maine Flying Santa program, or the Little Red Lighthouse near the George Washington Bridge in New York City, among many others.

Protecting Our Waterways. In addition to our lighthouse keepers, the U.S. Coast Guard is on duty protecting water travelers and shipping vessels during all types of weather and in hazardous situations. These books will extend readers’ understanding of the work done by highly skilled patrols.

Water. Before and after reading Miss Colfax’s Light, it’s a good time to have a discussion about the importance of water in our lives. From our Great Lakes, to our coastal waters, to the rivers and lakes throughout our country, to the water that falls from the sky, to the water that is pumped up from underground aquifers, water and water conservation are essential to our everyday lives. 

Whether you choose to focus on every day heroes, water, science, Great Lakes commerce, or inspiration women, there are many directions you can go and many subjects you can support with Miss Colfax’s Light.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Turn Left at the Cow

 

Turn Left at the Cow

Turn Left at the CowWho doesn’t love a mystery? Whether your find them intriguing puzzles or can’t-wait-to-know-the-solution page-turners, a good mystery is engrossing and a little tense. Throw in a little humor, a detailed setting, and well-drawn characters and you have a book you can confidently hand to young readers who are already hooked on the genre and those who have yet to become fans.

We are pleased to feature Turn Left at the Cow as our May book selection, written by the expert plotter Lisa Bullard, replete with her characteristic humor.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, articles, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books for middle grade readers with mysteries, humor, and bank heists. 

Downloadables

 

 

Don’t miss the exceptional resources on the author’s website. Try your hand at butter carving with “Butter Head Beauties,” engaging science, art, and language arts skills. Re-create the book’s chicken poop bingo with “Chances Are,” calling on math and language arts. Lisa Bullard’s Pinterest page has more great ideas that you’ll find useful as you incorporate this book into your planning.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Middle Grade Mysteries. There are amazing books written for this age group. We’ve included a list that would help you select read-alikes or companion books, drawing on titles first printed in 1929 (yes, really) to 2015.

Butter Heads and Other State Fair Strangeness. A butter head is one of the attention-worthy objects in the book. Begin an online research assignment with a few articles about butter heads around the country.

Fish Out of Water. Travis lives in southern California. When he runs away to his grandmother’s cabin in northern Minnesota, it walks and talks like a different world, one that Travis has to learn to navigate if he’s going to solve the mystery.

Missing Parent. Even though Travis left his mother behind with her new husband, Travis is most interested in finding out about his dad, who died before he was born. Books for this age group often revolve around a parent or parents who are not present. We’ve recommended a few of them. 

Robberies and Heists. Travis has trouble believing his father could have robbed a bank but the townspeople seem to think so. We’ve included books that delineate bank or train robberies, some of them true.

Small Town Festivals. One of the most exciting scenes in Turn Left at the Cow takes place in Green Lake, Minnesota’s annual summer festival where chicken poop bingo is a tradition. We’ve found articles about other small town festivals that would make good writing prompts, research projects, or PowerPoint projects.

Mysteries offer a special pleasure to many readers, both children and adults. They provide an excellent opportunity to talk about plot and how that plot is reinforced by intriguing characters (and good writing!).

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: A River of Words

 

Bookmap for A River of Words

A River of WordsAuthor Jen Bryant and illustrator Melissa Sweet have teamed up on a number of picture book biographies about creative artists. We’ve chosen to feature their very first collaboration during this month in which poetry takes the spotlight. By telling us the true story about poet William Carlos Williams’ childhood and growing up, with his clear poetry surrounding the pages, they awaken interest in young people who may think this no-longer-living, ancient (he was born in 1883 and died in 1963) poet is not within reach. They’ll be surprised by how his poetry will touch them. And he made a career for himself as a poet while he was being a country doctor! What an interesting fellow.

We trust you will find this month’s Bookstorm useful for teaching poetry, teaching writing, units on nature, talking about nonfiction and biography … and enjoying the quieter moments when reading poetry is one of life’s pleasures.

For more information and discussion guides, visit Jen Bryant’ website.

You can learn more about Melissa Sweet, the illustrator

Downloadables

 

 

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Picture Book Biographies of Poets. From Shakespeare to Woody Guthrie, from Dave the Potter to Pablo Neruda, you’ll find top-notch biographies of poets with whom kids find connection. Several of these are excellent mentor texts as well.

Biographies of Poets for Older Readers. If you’d like to use A River of Words with older grades, we’ve included a few biographies that pair well. For instance, you’ll find Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (Monica Brown and Julie Paschkis) on the picture book side and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Dreamer, also about the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, for the more comfortable readers.

Revolving Around William Carlos Williams. We’ve recommended a biography written for adults, a collection of Mr. Williams’ poems for children, and a book that was inspired by his poem, “This is Just to Say.”

Kids and Nature. Nature-deficit disorder is on many educators’ minds. William Carlos Williams had a significant connection to nature. He wrote about it often. We’ve included books with terrific ideas for enthusing children about going outdoors, both unplugged and plugged-in.

Collage and Mixed-Media Illustrations. Do the types of illustration confuse you? We’ll have an interview with Melissa Sweet this month that we hope will make you feel more comfortable discussing the art in A River of Words. We’ve suggested a few books that also use a mixed media style.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Little Cat’s Luck

 

Little Cat's Luck

Little Cat's LuckMany people love cats. You might be one of them. Many children consider their cat or their dog to be one of the family. Marion Dane Bauer understands that. She wrote Little Cat’s Luck, the story of Patches, a cat, and Gus, the meanest dog in town, out of her deep affinity for both cats and dogs. You can tell. These are real animals who have adventures, challenges, and feelings that readers will avidly follow … and understand. Written as a novel-in-verse with charming use of concrete poetry, Little Cat’s Luck is a book that will interest both avid readers and those still gaining confidence.

We are pleased to feature Little Cat’s Luck as our March book selection, written by the perceptive Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by the playful Jennifer A. Bell, storytellers both.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books for primary grade readers. We’ve included some books for adults with background information about cats, information texts, narrative nonfiction, and plenty of memorable cat characters. 

Downloadables

 

 

Don’t miss the exceptional resources on the author’s website. There’s a book trailer, a social-emotional learning guide, and a teaching guide that you’ll find useful as you incorporate this book into your planning.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Memorable Cat Characters. You may know and love these books but have your readers been introduced to Macavity, Pete the Cat, the Cat in the Hat, Atticus McClaw? From picture books to early readers to middle grade novels, there’s a wide range of books here for every taste.

Friendship. There have been excellent books published about animals who are friends, many you wouldn’t expect, both as fictional stories and true stories.

Smart Animals. Do you know the true story of Alex the Parrot? Or how smart an octopus is? Do you know what animals think and feel? There are books here that will amaze you and deepen your appreciation for animals and birds.

Caring for Animals. These fictional books are good discussion starters for the responsibility of having an animal pet, especially a cat. 

Spirit of Adventure. Animal adventures have been favorites ever since Jack London published Call of the Wild. These are some of the best stories, just like Little Cat’s Luck and Little Dog, Lost.

Animal Mothers and Their Offspring. How do animals care for their young? We’ve included a couple of books that will fascinate young readers.

The Truth about Cats. From The Cat Encyclopedia to How to Speak Cat, these are information texts filled with facts. Good choices for your students’ book bins.

Best of all? There are so many good books about cats!

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Chasing Secrets

 

Bookmap for Chasing Secrets Bookstorm

Chasing SecretsDon’t you love a good mystery? Set it in an exotic but familiar city like San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. Create a main character who’s a smart and adventurous young girl with interests frowned upon during that time: science, mathematics, and pursuing a college education. Provide a family and friends who are immensely interesting because they’re so vivid that you’d like to know each one of them. Research the history of the times so that these people are believably living in the midst of impending disease, short tempers over immigration, and the clash between the very wealthy and the very poor … and you have this exciting story. When our Bookologists read it, we couldn’t put it down!

We are pleased to feature Chasing Secrets as our February book selection, written by the talented Gennifer Choldenko.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books for middle grade readers. We’ve included some books for adults with good photographs of the era and more information to help you set context for your students. 

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BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Women in Science. There are exceptional fiction and nonfiction books about the women in many fields such as botany, astronomy, chemistry, and zoology who have applied their interests, hard work, and creativity to change the world. 

Early Women in Medicine. Female medical practitioners were frowned upon until recently. Some of them found ways to tend to their communities without degrees, by being midwives and herbalists. Others fought their way into medical school and set out to establish themselves as valued doctors and scientists. We’ve suggested a mixture of fiction and nonfiction you and your students will find enlightening and engrossing.

Infectious Diseases. Plagues, fevers, influenza … they’ve wreaked havoc with various populations up to the present day. The authors of these books have written compelling narratives to inspire future scientists and doctors, nurses and aid workers.

Chinese Immigration. San Francisco was the major port for Chinese immigrants coming to “Gold Mountain” in the 1800s and early 1900s. As with so many ethnic groups arriving in America, they were not welcomed with courtesy and kindness, but with suspicion and resentment. There are a number of books for both children and adult readers included.

Chinatown. Along with a fine book by Laurence Yep, we recommend two books for adults to give you background and photographs as you prepare to discuss Chasing Secrets in your classroom or book group.

Detective Fiction. Our Bookologists put their heads together to recommend their favorite books in this genre, some of them classic and some of them brand new. Mystery readers will settle in for several weeks of page-turning!

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Princess Posey

 

Princess Posey Bookmap

Princess Posey and the Crazy, Lazy VacationThere have been many papers written about why children, teens, and adults like to read books that are published as part of a series. From The Bobbsey Twins to Nancy Drew to the Boxcar Children to Encylopedia Brown to Goosebumps to The Babysitters Club to Redwall to Warriors (drawing in a long breath) … okay, you get the idea. These books are popular. We like reading about characters who are familiar to us in settings that we feel we could walk through. Sometimes they’re involved in stories that we might feel are predictable, but that’s been found to be part of the charm.

This month, we are pleased to feature Princess Posey and the Crazy, Lazy Vacation, written by Stephanie Greene and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson. The tenth book in their series, this one follows our favorite first-grader, she who wears a pink tutu for confidence, through spring vacation, a staycation replete with unanticipated adventure. Full of gentle humor and situations your own kids this age will find familiar, Posey has good friends, helpful adults, and a developing sense of self to rely on for a satisfying story in each volume.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Princess Posey and the Crazy, Lazy Vacation, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books for this particular age group, a little younger, a little older, but primarily picture books, easy readers, and early chapter books. 

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BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Bicycles. Learning to ride a bicycle, being afraid of it, and then overcoming that fear, is one of the storylines for Posey this time around. We’ve suggested other books about bicycles.

Courage. Trying unfamiliar activities and foods, meeting new people, all of these take courage. Talk about these books with your family or classroom or storytime group. Start the conversation about stepping outside our comfort zones.

Doing Nothing. Sometimes vacations—and life—are fully programmed. No chance to be bored. We’ve listed a few books that revel in kicking back and letting imagination take over.

Early Readers for and About First and Second Grade. Long subtitle, but books that are fun to read. We’ve even included a joke book!

Frogs. Yes, there’s a frog among the characters in Posey’s vacation so you’ll find a few more frog books to read out loud.

Missing Mom. Because the series takes place during first grade, Posey frequently examines her feelings about missing her mother while she’s at school. She has a younger brother and a caring grandfather, but it’s that mom connection that the Stephanies handle so well. 

Sleep-Overs. Has your child been on their first sleep-over yet? There’s almost as much anxiety as there is in going to school! An unfamiliar house and staying up past bedtime … here are a few more books to read.

Teeth. How much can happen during one spring vacation? Well, Posey has a loose tooth. Here are some books about that tooth-losing experience, including one of our favorites, Throw Your Tooth On the Roof.

Tutus. Posey’s pink tutu is one of her trademarks. When she first sets off for school, she won’t leave home without it.

Vacations. What will we do on vacation? Kids can be simultaneously excited and fearful about leaving home for this length of time, venturing to an unknown place. A little reading about other kids’ vacations will help.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Firekeeper’s Son

Bookmap Firekeeper's SonFirekeeper's SonThis month, we are pleased to feature Firekeeper’s Son, written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Julie Downing. Set in Korea in the 19th century, it’s a book about an historic system of signal fires that served as national security … and one family who is responsible for lighting a bonfire each and every night. 

The young boy at the center of the book dreams of seeing soldiers, but it’s his father’s job to advise the king that all is clear. Soldiers are not needed. What happens when the boy must fill in for his father? Will he call the soldiers to satisfy his dreams? With luminous, compelling illustrations, this is a memorable book about honor, loyalty, and discipline.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Firekeeper’s Son, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. The book will be comfortably read to or by ages 4 through adult. We’ve included fiction and nonfiction, picture books, poetry, middle grade books, and books adults will find interesting. 

Korean Culture. The people and places of Korea, the alphabet and language, proverbs and folktales … there are books to familiarize your classroom with the ancient and fascinating culture of the Land of Morning Calm.

Fiction: Books Set in Korea. From picture books to middle grade novels, many books have been set in Korea, both historical novels like Kite Fighters and picture books about American immigrants like The Name Jar. Linda Sue Park’s Newbery Medal novel A Single Shard fits within this category and so does Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi. Good stories!

Fire and Light. Sang-hee’s family works with fire. Having a reliable way to light the signal fire each evening is vital. How does fire work? We’ve selected interesting websites and a DK Eyewitness book for “sparking” an interest. 

Poetry. Are you familiar with the Korean sijo form of poetry? Tap Dancing on the Roof is filled with this precise poetry with a twist.

Websites, Videos, and Films About Korea. We’ve selected websites from the Korean Art Association, the BBC, The New York Times and more to fill in answers for some of the questions you will have about Korea when you read all of these books.

Codes and Signals. From storm codes to signal fires to secret writing and ciphers, codes have fascinated people for thousands of years.

Korea–Books for Adult Readers. You’ll want to fill in the gaps in your knowledge about Korea. We’ve found some highly recommended books, including one of the books Linda Sue Park used for her research for Firekeeper’s Son.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

Untamed Bookstorm

Untamed: the Wild Life of Jane GoodallThis month, we are pleased to feature Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, written by Anita Silvey, with photographs and book designed by the incredible team at National Geographic. This book is not only fascinating to read, it’s a beautiful reading experience as well.

It’s not often that a book offers us a glimpse into the childhood of a woman who has followed a brave, and caring, career path, but also follows her through more than 50 years in that chosen profession, describing her work, discoveries, and her passion for the mammals with whom she works. I learned so much I didn’t know about Dr. Goodall and her chimpanzees, Africa, field work, and how one moves people to support one’s cause.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Untamed, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. The book will be comfortably read by ages 9 through adult. We’ve included fiction and nonfiction, picture books, middle grade books, and books adults will find interesting. A number of the books are by Dr. Jane Goodall herself—she’s a prolific writer. We’ve also included books about teaching science, as well as videos, and articles accessible on the internet.

Jane Goodall and Her Research. From Me … Jane, the picture by Patrick McDonnell about Jane Goodall’s childhood, to Jane Goodall: the Woman Who Redefined Man by Dale Peterson, there are a number of accessible books for every type of reader.

Primate Research. We’ve included nonfiction books such as Pamela S. Turner’s Gorilla Doctors and Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wick’s Primates, a graphic novel about the three women who devoted so much of their loves to studying primates: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas.

Chimpanzees. Dr. Goodall’s research is specifically about chimpanzees so companion books such as Michele Colon’s Termites on a Stick and Dr. Goodall’s Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours are suggested.

Fiction. Many excellent novels have been written about primates and Africa and conservation, ranging from realism to science fiction and a novel based on a true story. Among our list, you’ll find Linda Sue Park’s A Long to Water and Eva by Peter Dickinson and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

World-Changing Women and Women Scientists. Here you’ll find picture book biographies, longer nonfiction books, and collections of short biographies such as Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh, Silk & Venom by Kathryn Lasky, and Rad American Women: A to Z by Kate Schatz.

Africa. The titles about, or set on, this continent are numerous. Learning About Africa by Robin Koontz provides a useful and current introduction to the continent. We also looked for books by authors who were born in or lived for a while in an African country; Next Stop—Zanzibar! by Niki Daly and Magic Gourd by Coretta Scott King Honoree Baba Wague Diakiteare are included in this section.

Animal Friendships. Children and adults alike crave these stories about unlikely friendships between animals who don’t normally hang around together. From Catherine Thimmesh’s Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships to Marion Dane Bauer’s A Mama for Owen, you’ll be charmed by these books.

Animals In Danger of Extinction. We’ve included only two books in this category but both of them should be stars in your booktalks. Counting Lions by Katie Cotton, illustrated by Stephen Walton, is a stunning book—do find it! Dr. Goodall contributes a moving book, Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink.

Teaching Science. If you’re working with young children in grades K through 2, you’ll want Perfect Pairs by Melissa Stewart and Nancy Chesley. For older students in grades 3 through 6, Picture-Perfect Science Lessons will inspire you.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Bulldozer’s Big Day

Bookstorm-Bulldozer-Visual_655

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

written by Candace Fleming 
illustrated by Eric Rohmann 
Atheneum, 2015

It’s Bulldozer’s big day—his birthday! But around the construction site, it seems like everyone is too busy to remember. Bulldozer wheels around asking his truck friends if they know what day it is, but they each only say it’s a work day. They go on scooping, sifting, stirring, filling, and lifting, and little Bulldozer grows more and more glum. But when the whistle blows at the end of the busy day, Bulldozer discovers a construction site surprise, especially for him!

An ideal book for a read-aloud to that child sitting by you or to a classroom full of children or to a storytime group gathered together, Bulldozer’s Big Day is fun to read because of all the onomatopoeia and the wonderful surprise ending.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Bulldozer’s Big Day, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. The book will be comfortably read to ages 3 through 7. We’ve included picture books, nonfiction, videos, websites, and destinations that complement the book, all encouraging early literacy.

Building Projects. There have been many fine books published about designing and constructing houses, cities, and dreams. We share a few books to encourage and inspire your young dreamers.

Construction Equipment. Who can resist listening to and watching the large variety of vehicles used on a construction project? You’ll find both books and links to videos.

Birthday Parties. This is the other large theme in Bulldozer’s Big Day and we suggest books such as Xander’s Panda Party that offer other approaches to talking about birthdays.

Dirt, Soil, Earth. STEM discussions can be a part of early literacy, too. Get ready to dish the dirt! 

Loneliness. Much like Bulldozer, children (and adults) can feel let down, ignored, left out … and books are a good way to start the discussion about resiliency and coping with these feelings.

Surprises. If you work with children, or have children of your own, you know how tricky surprises and expectations can be. We’ve included books such as Waiting by Kevin Henkes and Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne.

Friendship. An ever-popular theme in children’s books, we’ve selected a few of the very best, including A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by the Steads.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Bookstorm™: Chasing Freedom

Bookstorm Chasing FreedomIn this Bookstorm™:

Chasing FreedomChasing Freedom

The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts
written by Nikki Grimes
illustrated by Michele Wood
Orchard Books, 2015

As Nikki Grimes writes in her author’s note for this book, “History is often taught in bits and pieces, and students rarely get the notion that these bits and pieces are connected.” Bookology wanted to look at this book for a number of reasons. We hope that you will consider the remarkable stories of freedom fighters Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony and the moments in history that the author reveals. We hope that you will study the illustrations by Michele Wood and discuss how each spread in the book makes you feel, how African motifs and quilt patterns are made an integral part of the book’s design, and how the color palette brings strength to the conversation between these two women. 

This conversation between these two women never took place. The subtitle reads “inspired by historical facts.” Nikki Grimes imagines a conversation that could have taken place between these two women, solidly drawn from the facts of their lives. Is this a new form of fiction? Nonfiction? You’ll have a meaningful discussion about the differences between fact, fiction, information text, nonfiction, and storytelling when you discuss this with your classroom or book club.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Chasing Freedom, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes, interests, and reading abilities. The book will be comfortably read by ages 7 through 12. We’ve included picture books, nonfiction, videos, websites, and destinations for the plethora of purposes you might have. There are many fine books that fall outside of these parameters, but we chose to narrow the selection of books this time to those that followed the fight for women’s right to vote from the 1840s to 1920 and those that followed slavery in America until the Emancipation Proclamation and a few years beyond. These are the major concerns behind the work of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony.

AFRICAN AMERICANS’ RIGHT TO BE FREE

Celebrating Freedom. Two recent books are included, one dealing with the Emancipation Proclamation and the other with how freed people lived in New York City in Seneca Village, which would eventually become Central Park.

Harriet Tubman. We’ve chosen a few of the many good books about this freedom fighter, trail blazer, and spiritually motivated woman.

History. From Booker T. Washington’s autobiographical Up from Slavery to Julius Lester’s To Be a Slave through to Kadir Nelson’s Heart and Soul: the Story of America and African Americans, you’ll find a number of books that will fascinate your students and make fine choices for book club discussions.

Underground Railroad. One of our truly heroic movements in American history, we’ve selected books that chronicle the work, the danger, and the victories of these freedom fighters, of which Harriet Tubman was a strong, dedicated member. 

WOMEN’S RIGHT TO VOTE

Susan B. Anthony. Often written about, we’ve selected just a few of the many books about this woman who understood the hardships women faced and the necessity for them to be able to vote, to have a voice in government.

More Suffragists. Many women around the globe fought for their right to vote and the fight continues in many countries. We’ve selected several books that fall within our time frame.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your discussions, classroom inclusion, or send us a photo of your library display.

(Thanks to Marsha Qualey and Claire Rudolf Murphy for sharing their considerable knowledge and insight about books for this Bookstorm™.)

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Bookstorm: Catch You Later, Traitor

Catch You Later Traitor Bookstorm

In this Bookstorm™:

Catch You Later, TraitorCatch You Later, Traitor

written by Avi
Algonquin Books for Young Readers, 2015

The early 1950s in the United States was a time when soldiers and medical personnel had returned home from the two theaters of World War II, Communism was talked about as something to be feared, and colleagues and neighbors were asked to testify against people who were suspected to be Communists in America. The nation was caught up in reports from the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy. The Federal Bureau of Investigations was concerned about citizens who were disloyal to America. The air was heavy with suspicion and people were encouraged to fear intellectuals, immigrants, and Hollywood.

It was a time when baseball soared. The Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants, and the New York Yankees were the most famous teams of the day. Radio was the primary source for news and entertainment. Televisions weren’t yet a part of every household. 

In Avi’s novel, 12-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid who loves Sam Spade detective books and radio crime dramas, but when an FBI agent shows up at Pete’s doorstep accusing his father of being a Communist, Pete finds himself caught in a real-life mystery. Could there really be Commies in Pete’s family? This look at what it felt like to be an average family caught in the wide net of the Red Scare has powerful relevance to contemporary questions of democracy and individual freedom.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Catch You Later, Traitor, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes, interests, and reading abilities. Catch You Later, Traitor will be comfortably read by ages 10 through adult. We’ve included picture books, novels, and nonfiction for the plethora of purposes you might have. This Bookstorm™ has a few more books for adults than usual, believing that a background in the era will be helpful for educators who weren’t alive during, or wish to brush up on, the time in which this book takes place.

McCarthy Era, also known as the Red Scare. Surprisingly, there aren’t very many books written for young readers about this intense time in history, but we’ve selected a few that will align well with Catch You Later, Traitor.

Nonfiction. There are a greater number of nonfiction books available about the early 1950s, including lifestyle books, the Cold War, fashion, the Hollywood Ten, and spies.

Communism, Socialism in the United States. Were you aware that a group of Finnish-Americans moved to Russia to set up a Utopian community based on promises from Russian leader Joseph Stalin?

Witch Hunts. A classic book, a classic play, and a fascinating look at an incident of the “Red Scare” in children’s books.

Mid-Century United States. Superb recommendations for books, both fiction and nonfiction, set in the 1950s. Reading several of these along with Catch You Later, Traitor will give students an excellent flavor of the time, which offers a mirror for other periods in history as well as the present.

Baseball in the 1950s. It was the most talked-about sport in the country, claiming headlines and tuning radios in to listen to “the game.” We’ve gathered a wide-ranging set of books that will include something for every reader, from picture books to books for adults.

Noir Detective Fiction. We mentioned Sam Spade, but what exactly does “noir” mean? Here are good examples, spanning early chapter books such as Chet Gecko to a graphic novel like City of Spies to Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon.

Old-Time Radio. There are whole radio programs online to be shared with your classroom, along with a series on YouTube that depicts the workings of a radio studio, and Avi’s own novel about the heyday of radio serials.

Techniques for using each book:

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Bookstorm: The Shadow Hero

Bookstorm-Shadow-Hero-Diagram-655px

In this Bookstorm™:

Shadow HeroShadow Hero

written by Gene Luen Yang
illustrated by Sonny Liew
First Second, 2014

As we become a culture adapted to screens, visuals, and moving pictures, we grow more accustomed to the storytelling form of the graphic novel. For some, their comfort with this combination of visuals and text telling a story satisfies a craving to “see” the story while they’re reading. For others, the lack of descriptive detail and measured, linear momentum through the story feels like a barrier to understanding. With the variety of graphic novels available and the inventive ways in which they’re assembled, we encourage you to keep trying. Find a story that intrigues you and persevere … we believe you’ll grow accustomed to this form. In time, you’ll add graphic novels to the depth of offerings you eagerly recommend to students, patrons, and friends.

We selected Shadow Hero for our featured book this month because the superhero has been present in comics since the early 1900s and current films and television have reawakened an interest among children that we believe can easily transport them into reading. Yang and Liew have given a back story to a superhero, The Green Turtle, originally created by talented comic book artist (and fine artist) Chu Fook Hing in the 1940s. There’s plenty of action, humor, mystery, and suspense in this new book … all the right ingredients for the best reading.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Shadow Hero, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes, interests, and reading abilities. Shadow Hero will be comfortably read by ages 10 through adult. We’ve included picture books, novels, and nonfiction for the plethora of purposes you might have.

Graphic Novels About Superheroes. With the popularity of The Avengers and X-Men, Iron Man and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there are a number of graphic novels about superheroes available for different ages. Some have mature content. Many are accessible for younger readers. Whether or not they’re wearing capes, superheroes are appealing because of the possibilities.

Graphic Novels About Mythology. The Green Turtle is a part of Chinese mythology. We hear a lot about Greek and Roman mythology, but there are compelling myths around the world. Graphic novels make those traditions and stories available to readers who might have trouble with straight text.

Fiction about Superheroes. Longer texts, without illustrations, often hold as much attraction for comic book readers if the stories are engaging. And there are picture books that are just right for the readers who are too young for graphic novels but have the interest.

Comic Books, Nonfiction. Whether it’s learning how two boys came to invent Superman, the superhero from Krypton, or examining infographics and statistics, or listening to a podcast with Gene Luen Yang on public radio about his inspiration, The Green Turtle, there’s a lot of research and learning to be done with superheroes.

Drawing. For those kinetic and visual learners, telling a story through drawing, populating a page with characterization and setting and voice is a way to use comic book art for developing writing skills.

Chinese History. There are many, many books, some of them quite scholarly, about Chinese history. We’ve selected just two, both of which are also visual histories.

Chinese Art. China is such a large country, with a civilization that is thousands of years old, that these books organize the information in order to present the diversity of arts in a way that makes sense.

Chinese Immigration. There are fine books about the immigration of Chinese and Asian Pacific people to America, the Golden Mountain. We’ve selected a few, from picture books to novels to memoir. 

Chinese Food. Readers learn a great deal about different cultures from the food they eat, their traditions for preparing food, and the ways they share it with their community. We’ve found cookbooks for both learning and eating, for adults and for children.

Chinese Geography. It always helps to have a good map to reinforce the visual knowledge of a country. You’ll find suggestions for maps, downloads, photos, and facts about this large country in Asia.

Techniques for using each book:

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Bookstorm: Scaly Spotted …

In this Bookstorm™:

Scaly Spotted Feathered FrilledScaly Spotted
Feathered Frilled:
how do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?

written by Catherine Thimmesh
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013

No human being has ever seen a triceratops or velociraptor or even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. They left behind only their impressive bones. So how can scientists know what color dinosaurs were? Or if their flesh was scaly or feathered? Could that fierce T. rex have been born with spots?

In a first for young readers, Thimmesh introduces the incredible talents of the paleoartist, whose work reanimates gone-but-never-forgotten dinosaurs in giant full-color paintings that are as strikingly beautiful as they aim to be scientifically accurate, down to the smallest detail. Follow a paleoartist through the scientific process of ascertaining the appearance of various dinosaurs from millions of years ago to learn how science, art, and imagination combine to bring us face-to-face with the past.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book, Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled. You’ll find books for a variety of tastes, interests, and reading abilities.

Dinosaur Digs. There are some very cool dinosaur digs throughout the United States in which you and your children can take part.

Dinosaur Nonfiction. It’s difficult to assign a reader’s age to these books. High interest levels can raise proficiency and the graphics can be read even when the words can’t be. You may need to give these books a try to see if they’re within the skills of your reader. Enjoy Gilded Dinosaur to read about two competing paleontologists who tried to outwit each other. Prehistoric Life from DK Publishing looks at all elements of the earth at the time of the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs: a Concise Natural History manages to be funny and informative.

Drawing. From Audubon to Charles R. Knight on animal anatomy to step-by-step instructions for drawing dinosaurs, there are books here that will inspire artists-in-the-making to learn more about dinosaurs while they draw them as particularly as the paleoartists do.

Fiction. From picture books to novels, from the youngest children to adults, dinosaurs are favorite subjects for writers because they’re much loved by readers. You’ll enjoy books such as Danny and the Dinosaur, Jurassic Park, and Okay for Now.

Fossil Hunters. We recommend books that range from Mary Anning’s discovery of the first complete ichthyosaurus fossil to Bob Barner examining dinosaur bones to determine what they ate to Anita Silvey’s daring plant hunters.

Graphic Novels. Dinosaurs are a favorite topic for cartoonists. Some of their graphic novels, such as Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs Aliens are epics.

Paleoartists. In addition to the work of the paleoartists featured in Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled, you’ll read about Charles R. Knight, Waterhouse Hawkins, Julius Csotonyi, and others. These scientist-artists are larger than life!

Paleontology. Ladies and gentlemen! Step right up! You’ll be amazed by the feats and discoveries of the paleontologists in these books. Whether it’s Mr. Bones, Barnum Brown, or The History of Life in 100 Fossils or Jessie Hartland’s How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum or Joyce Sidman’s Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors, there are books here that will enthrall you.

Techniques for using each book:

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Bookstorm: Lowriders in Space

Bookstorm: Lowriders in Space

In this Bookstorm™:

Lowriders in SpaceLowriders in Space

written by Cathy Camper
illustrated by Raul the Third
published by Chronicle Books, 2014

“Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria love working with cars. You name it, they can fix it. But the team’s favorite cars of all are lowriders—cars that hip and hop, dip and drop, go low and slow, bajito y suavecito. The stars align when a contest for the best car around offers a prize of a trunkful of cash—just what the team needs to open their own shop! ¡Ay chihuahua! What will it take to transform a junker into the best car in the universe? Striking, unparalleled art from debut illustrator Raul the Third recalls ballpoint-pen-and-Sharpie desk-drawn doodles, while the story is sketched with Spanish, inked with science facts, and colored with true friendship. With a glossary at the back to provide definitions for Spanish and science terms, this delightful book will educate and entertain in equal measure.”

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book, Lowriders in Space. You’ll find books for a variety of tastes, interests, and reading abilities.

Car Mechanics. An assortment of books offering details and infographics about how cars work and how to build a car, suitable from primary to middle school.

Drawing Cars. A lot of learning takes place when you draw a car. A reader thinks deeply about how the car works, how the parts inter-relate, and you are tempted to look up the details to verify that you’re getting it right.  

Graphic Novels. There’s a rich history of space exploration and science fiction in graphic novels. We include a few stellar (ahem) examples that are sure to intrigue your readers. 

Lowriders. The lowrider culture and the artistic, mechanically-inventive cars are an intrinsic part of life in some parts of the US. You’ll find websites and books that explain more.  

Novels. Science fiction for young readers isn’t plentiful, but there are excellent books in this genre. Our recommendations include a classic and several new books. 

Outer Space. For some readers, the facts about outer space are paramount. Books with an overview, sticker books, up-to-date books about what we currently understand … these will interest those truth-seekers.

Picture Books. Cars and stars are favorite subjects for picture book authors and illustrators. You’ll want to discuss some of these in your classroom and offer suggestions for others as books for independent reading.

Science. Studying the skies is a lifetime of work for many scientists, and their fields of endeavor are broad and touch upon other areas of science. Their discoveries change lives. From books looking at the constellations to those answering science questions, we recommend a few gems to get you thinking.

Women Changing the World. Dolores Huerta, Sonia Sotomayor, Rad American Women A-Z … Lupe Impala is inspirational. She will naturally lead to questions about other women who have set their sites on the stars.

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Bookstorm: Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine Called Birdy Bookstorm

In this Bookstorm™:

Catherine, Called BirdyCatherine, Called Birdy

written by Karen Cushman
published by Clarion Books, 1994
Newbery Honor book

“Corpus Bones! I utterly loathe my life.”

Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man–any rich man, no matter how awful. But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call–by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all. Unfortunately, he is also the richest. Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, pig-like lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father? Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!” 

Arranged Marriages. From the beginning of Catherine, Called Birdy, our heroine is aware that she will be married off to a man who can bring her father more land and more worldly goods, an alliance, something of monetary value. She is particularly determined not to let this happen. We recommend other books written for teens about arranged marriages. 

Birds. Catherine has many birdcages filled with winged friends in her bedroom. They bring her peace of mind and she treasures them. From true stories about birds, field guides, to alarm over the disappearance of songbirds, there are bird books to introduce to your readers. 

Crusades. With many eyes focused on the Middle East, it is likely that you’re finding interest in the history of the conflicts there. Catherine, Called Birdy is set at a time when religious and military warriors are returning to England from the Crusades. We recommend several excellent nobels and biographies set during this time. 

Embroidery. The women in Birdy’s home embroider. They couldn’t go out and buy ready-made clothes so the only way to make clothes prettier was to decorate them with patterns of thread. Does someone in your class already embroider? Will you schedule an embroidery demonstration for your classroom? You’ll find some books with patterns that will appeal to the crafters among your students. 

Fleas. Hygiene wasn’t as well-known in Birdy’s day. House were not as protected from the elements. Fleas were a fact of life. They caused personal discomfort but they also caused plagues and changed politics. Certainly there will be those students in your classroom who will be intrigued. 

Illuminated Manuscripts. Birdy’s brother works at a monastery where they are illuminating manuscripts. We recommend several websites that will help you demonstrate this forerunner of the printing press. 

Journals/Diaries. Catherine’s story is told in first person in the form of a diary she’s keeping. Many students are asked to keep journals. Here are several favorite books told in this format. 

Judaism: the Edict of Expulsion. Few people realize that Edward I ordered all Jews to leave England forever on July 18, 1290. Birdy meets a group of Jews who are departing and finds it hard to understand how they are any different than she and her family. We reference articles that will give more background on this topic. 

Medieval Life. Novels, picture books, and true stories for young readers have often been set in the medieval world. We offer suggestions for a number of them, ranging from Adam of the Road, published in 1943, to Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections Castle from 2013. 

Peerage and Nobility. Whether you’re fascinated by the titles used in England or you find them confusing, here are a few guides to enhance your students’ understanding. 

Saints Days. Birdy prefaces each of her journal entries with the reflection of a saint whose day was celebrated on that day. We’ve found a few references that will explain who these people were and why they became saints from an historical viewpoint. 

Women’s History/Coming of Age. At the heart of Birdy’s story is the fact that she is leaving childhood behind and becoming a young woman. We’ve included recommendations for books on this theme that include fictional and true stories over a wide span of years..

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Bookstorm: Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

 

In this Bookstorm:

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up. Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Book 1.

Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.
Candlewick Press, 2014

“Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse — until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters — Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone’s favorite porcine wonder, Mercy — for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.”

Early Chapter Books. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is written in a way that beginning readers will find approachable and satisfying. There are chapters, each one a short tale. The vocabulary is accessible. In beginning readers, there are illustrations for children who are most familiar with picture books but the emphasis shifts toward reading. You’ll find a number of complementary titles in the Bookstorm, some of which focus on horses.

Friendship. Whether it’s unlikely friendships between animals, good friends old and young, or comforting a fearful friend, we recommend books that will pair well with Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, in which inseparable friends Leroy and Maybelline find joy.

Cowboys. Leroy Ninker abandons his life of crime to work in a drive-in theater, but being a cowboy appeals to him. You’ll find true stories about cowboys in this section of the Bookstorm™, including Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, about families who work hard to be their best on the rodeo circuit.

Horses. Leroy Ninker loves Maybelline, his horse unlike any other. You’ll find recommended picture books and chapter books about horses, fiction and nonfiction, including Marguerite Henry’s classic, Misty of Chincoteague.

Drive-In Theaters. There are very few left in the country, but Leroy works at one and many adults remember the fun of watching a movie in your PJs, tucked inside your parents’ car, slapping at the mosquitoes, and eating food from the concessions stand. We recommend a website that brings the experience to life.

Spaghetti. It’s Maybelline’s favorite food and a wonderful way to engage your students in discussions about science and math. We recommend cookbooks for those who enjoy nonfiction best.

Size. Leroy is on the short side and Maybelline is on the tall side. Books such as Actual Size by Steve Jenkins will have your students comparing and contrasting with ease.

Kindness. The book inspires discussions about being kind and accepting others. We’ve recommended books that will add to the discussion, including The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.

Weather. A storm is an important plot element in Leroy and Maybelline’s story. Several books about weather, ranging from picture books to beginning readers, from fiction to nonfiction, are included for your inspiration.

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