Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | classroom

Back-to-School Favorites

This list was con­tributed by Deb Andries and Mau­r­na Rome, friends, edu­ca­tors, and col­leagues!

Favorites from Deb Andries:

Alma and How She Got her Name by Jua­na Mar­tinez-Neal

Dream­ers by Yuyi Morales

A Qui­et Place by Doug Wood and Dan Andreasen

The Day You Begin by Jacque­line Wood­son and Rafael López

Tru­man by Jean Rei­di and Lucy Ruth Cum­mins

Drum Dream Girl by Mar­gari­ta Engle and Rafael López

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexan­der and Melis­sa Sweet

Why by Lau­ra Vac­caro Seeger

Each Kind­ness by Jacque­line Wood­son and E.B. Lewis

A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts and Hye­won Yum

From Mau­r­na Rome:

Favorite back to school books to encour­age pos­i­tiv­i­ty and com­mu­ni­ty in my class­room:

Courage: Thun­der Rose by Jer­dine Nolen and Kadir Nel­son

Empa­thy: I Am Human, A Book of Empa­thy by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds

Patience: Wait­ing for the Bib­liobur­ro by Mon­i­ca Brown and John Par­ra

Cre­ativ­i­ty: The Secret King­dom: Nek Chand, a Chang­ing India, and a Hid­den World of Art by Barb Rosen­stock and Claire A. Nivola

Humor: Be Qui­et by Ryan T. Hig­gins

Kind­ness: I Walk with Vanes­sa by Karas­coët

Curios­i­ty: What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yama­da and Mae Besom

Growth Mind­set: Drum Dream Girl by Mar­gari­ta Engle and Rafael López 

Per­se­ver­ance: Lui­gi and the Bare­foot Races by Dan Paley and Aaron Boyd

Accep­tance: I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Ketu­rah A. Bobo

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Pairing Nonfiction and Fiction

Non­fic­tion and fic­tion are like peanut but­ter and choco­late. Each excel­lent on its own, but when combined…so sub­lime.

INVITE A DISCUSSION

My non­fic­tion account Samu­rai Ris­ing: The Epic Life of Minamo­to Yoshit­sune (2016, grade 6 and up) describes the dra­mat­ic rise and fall of a 12th-cen­tu­ry samu­rai. One of the joys of research­ing the life of this Japan­ese hero was learn­ing about the under­ly­ing polit­i­cal, social and eco­nom­ic cur­rents that result­ed in the 700-year-long rule of the samu­rai. In Kather­ine Paterson’s Of Nightin­gales That Weep (1989, grade 6 and up), Patterson’s pro­tag­o­nist, Takiko, serves the rival samu­rai fam­i­ly that Yoshit­sune even­tu­al­ly destroys.

A side-by-side read­ing of Samu­rai and Nightin­gales allows read­ers to pon­der how war is expe­ri­enced by those wag­ing it com­pared to those who are its vic­tims.

SPARK A STORY

Lynn Fulton’s new pic­ture book biog­ra­phy She Made a Mon­ster: How Mary Shel­ley Cre­at­ed Frankenstein (2018, grade 1 and up) is based on Shelley’s own account of the inspi­ra­tion for her icon­ic mon­ster. Pair it with an acces­si­ble ver­sion of the clas­sic such as the Step­ping Stones ver­sion of Franken­stein (1982, grade 1 and up).

Ask your young read­er: Have you ever had a strange dream that stuck in your head? We can’t con­trol our dreams, but we can turn them into sto­ries. Try writ­ing one.

EXPLORE ANIMAL MINDS

A straight-up sci­ence book and a nov­el make a great duo. In my book Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Bright­est Bird (2016, grade 5 and up), I look at the extra­or­di­nary abil­i­ties of the tool-mak­ing New Cale­don­ian crow. Team this one up with Kather­ine Applegate’s love­ly Wishtree (2017, grade 4 and up), which fea­tures a crow among its cast of sub­ur­ban wildlife.

Young read­ers may not be famil­iar with the term “anthro­po­mor­phism,” but this pair­ing invites a dis­cus­sion about how ani­mal char­ac­ters in books are often giv­en a mix of char­ac­ter­is­tics that are true-to-life and fan­ci­ful. Based on Crow, how real­is­tic is Applegate’s black-feath­ered char­ac­ter?

Oth­er Pair­ings

Deb­o­rah Hopkinson’s Courage and Defi­ance: Spies, Sabo­teurs, and Sur­vivors in WWII Den­mark (2015, grade 5 and up), and Eliz­a­beth Wein’s Code Name Ver­i­ty (2012, grade 7 and up).

Christy Hale’s Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World (2018, pre‑K and up), and Arthur Dorros’s bilin­gual Isla (1999, pre‑K and up).

Jeanne Walk­er Harvey’s Maya Lin: Artist-Archi­tect of Light and Lines (2017, kinder­garten and up), and Eve Bunting’s The Wall (1992, pre‑K and up).

Now that I’ve shared mine, what are YOUR favorite nonfiction/fiction pair­ings? What comparisons/discussion activ­i­ties does the pair­ing invite? Please add your sug­ges­tions in the com­ments. And then go reward your­self with some­thing involv­ing wine and cheese. Or gua­camole and chips. Or peanut but­ter and choco­late.

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Looking inside

by Vic­ki Palmquist

Today I WillFor sev­er­al years, I have been dip­ping into a book that I keep beside my desk. It’s called Today I Will: a Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promis­es to Myself (Knopf, 2009). Two acknowl­edged mas­ters of children’s lit­er­a­ture, Eileen Spinel­li and Jer­ry Spinel­li, wrote it. They are par­ents and grand­par­ents and one can feel their love and con­cern for future gen­er­a­tions in this book.

When I was grow­ing up, I often received the gift of a day-by-day book that had word def­i­n­i­tions or devo­tions or super-short sto­ries in it. I didn’t have enough patience to read each page on the des­ig­nat­ed day, but I read sev­er­al pages at once, return­ing often for just a few, sat­is­fy­ing min­utes.

This book’s for­mat finds each page with a quote from a children’s book, a thought- and dis­cus­sion-pro­vok­ing state­ment or ques­tions, an illus­tra­tion by Julie Roth­man, and an exam­ple of a promise you could make to your­self (or as a fam­i­ly).

I love books of quo­ta­tions. Do you? This book looks more deeply into the thoughts inspired by the quote.

Once in awhile, the book feels a lit­tle heavy-hand­ed, but I remind myself that I am an adult with many years of expe­ri­ence in my brain. For some­one still in the first decade or two of their life, these are ideas worth con­sid­er­ing. There’s no shy­ing away from the moral com­pass in Today I Will. I find that refresh­ing. Espe­cial­ly now, when all of our wor­ry meters are turned to HIGH, I feel that a book like this is ground­ing.

bk_todayiwill2Eight to 12-year-olds will enjoy Today I Will on their own, but a class­room or home­school or fam­i­ly could use this for a short, dai­ly dis­cus­sion or a writ­ing prompt.

If you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you—you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quiet­ness.” —The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I hes­i­tat­ed before writ­ing about this book, even though it’s a favorite of mine. It’s no longer in print (and that’s a rant for anoth­er day) but it is avail­able as an e‑book. That won’t be near­ly as sat­is­fy­ing as hold­ing this book in your hands (it’s a good size, a good weight, and the paper is real­ly nice) but you can eas­i­ly find this at a used book­seller (I know this—I looked it up).

Not every­thing we read has to be enter­tain­ing. Some­times we want to think and feel and learn to know our­selves bet­ter. This book is a good fit.

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The Magic Valentine's Potato

Big Bob and The Magic Valentine’s Day Potato

Sev­er­al years ago, a mys­te­ri­ous pack­age arrived at our house on Valentine’s Day: a plain brown box addressed to our entire fam­i­ly with a return address “TMVDP.” The pack­age weighed almost noth­ing. It weighed almost noth­ing because the box con­tained four lunch­box serv­ing-size bags of pota­to chips. Noth­ing else. Or at least I thought there […]

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spike-animal-shelter.jpg

Gifted: Spike, Ugliest Dog in the Universe

Spike, Ugli­est Dog in the Uni­verse Debra Frasi­er, author and illus­tra­tor Beach Lane Books, Octo­ber 2013 Ever since I saw my 10-year-old niece pose in front of the tele­vi­sion, try­ing to imi­tate the super­mod­els at the end of the run­way, my aware­ness of the beau­ty cul­ture in this coun­try has been acute. We took her […]

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