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LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOKS
Suggestions for Use
Edited by Chris Blair and Ellen Popit
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award List 2012
Table of Contents
Contributors to Let’s Talk About Books ....................................................................2
Introduction.................................................................................................................3
Auch, M.J. One-Handed Catch..................................................................................5
Broach, Elise. Masterpiece ........................................................................................7
Burg, Ann E. All the Broken Pieces...........................................................................9
Carmichael, Clay. Wild Things ................................................................................11
Clements, Andrew. Extra Credit .............................................................................13
Cochrane, Mick. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies...................................................15
Cody, Matthew. Powerless ......................................................................................17
Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate................................................19
Lin, Grace. Where The Mountain Meets the Moon..................................................21
Magoon, Kekla. The Rock and the River .................................................................23
Mass, Wendy. Every Soul A Star .............................................................................25
O’Connor, Barbara. Greetings from Nowhere.........................................................27
Parry, Rosanne. Heart of a Shepherd.......................................................................29
Paulsen, Gary. Woods Runner .................................................................................31
Philbrick, Rodman. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg.......................33
Prineas, Sarah. The Magic Thief ..............................................................................35
Scieszka, Jon. Knucklehead .....................................................................................37
Smith, Roland. Peak ................................................................................................39
Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl............................................................................................41
Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan....................................................................................43
Page 1
Activity Packet Contributors
Mary Bergman
Highland Middle School
Donna Blackall
Educational Writing Consultant
Chris Blair
Nuttall Middle School/Robinson (retired)
Amber Creeger
Chicago Public Library
Brenda Davis
Jasper County High School
Margie Deffenbaugh
Midland Middle School
Mary Ann Duderstadt
MacArthur Middle School/Prospect Heights
Amanda Kuzminski
Orland Junior High
Cathy Maassen
Skokie Public Library
Andrew Medlar
Chicago Public Library
Kathie Murphy
Plainfield High School (retired)
Ellen Popit
Illinois Heartland Library System
Bonita Slovinski
Lincoln Jr. High School (Naperville)
Connie Steudel
Carbondale Public Library (retired)
Janet Thompson
Chicago Public Library
Jeanne Topic
Gregory Middle School/Naperville
Michele Whisenhunt
Southeast Elementary (Sycamore)
Page 2
Introduction
The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (RCYRBA) is now celebrating its twentyfifth year! Twenty titles are nominated each year, and any students in grades four through eight
in participating Illinois schools and public libraries who have read or heard three books may vote
for the most outstanding book in February. The winner is announced in March. Children are
encouraged to read the books on this list and share their thoughts and reactions with others, thus
making the reading experience more enjoyable.
This packet of materials is meant to be a guide for librarians and teachers to help children enjoy
and interpret what they read. It is designed as a beginning step when looking in depth at the
books on the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Master List for 2012. It is hoped
that the packet will start creative thoughts flowing in librarians, teachers, and children, who are
trying to read books enthusiastically and with joy. All the materials developed are meant to be
used “with” children and not given to them in isolation.
The following suggestions for the twenty titles on the 2012 RCYRBA Master List were
developed by a group of librarians and teachers. Information is provided in nine areas: a
summary, questions for students, journal starters, and activities designed to extend the book into
other curricular areas, reading recommendations, promotional booktalks, related materials, web
sites, and book review citations.
Summary: The summary provides an overview of the book for anyone who has not read a
particular title.
Questions: The questions included are primarily open-ended with neither a right nor a wrong
answer. Since readers’ reactions to stories are different, they should be encouraged to express
different points of view. The questions encourage students to relate reading to their everyday
lives and are designed to promote more questions and discussion as a result. Questions can be
given to students when they begin to read the book so they can think about their responses as
they read and focus on the ideas that the author is trying to convey.
Journal Starters: These questions are designed to engage students in the writing process and to
encourage them to put themselves in situations presented in the books.
Activities: There are a wide variety of activities included to suit different age and interest levels.
Some are designed for groups, others for individuals.
Page 3
Reading Recommendation: The reading recommendation is included to help librarians and
teachers decide whether or not a particular title will be of interest to a group of students or to a
particular individual. The recommendation is only made with consideration for grades four
through eight, which are the grades included in the award. Occasionally, a caution is listed when
a sensitive topic is included that may cause concern in some communities.
Booktalks: Booktalks have been added for the convenience of librarians and teachers who
would like a prepared piece to use for book promotion. They are short, sometimes including a
passage from the book, since hearing the voice of the author is often important when students are
deciding whether or not to read a specific title.
Read-Alikes: A listing of related books that will aid in extending literature activities. Titles
were suggested by teachers and librarians who have had experience with them. This list is not
exhaustive and materials have not been screened for literary merit. These related books are
divided into three general categories: additional books by the same author, topics which are
mentioned in the story and books which are similar. Because of their broad appeal throughout
the curriculum, picture books are also included in this listing.
Web Sites: Sites were selected as a way to expand the activities and learning of the students.
Some sites are for author information and others for organizations, locations or topics related to
the book. The sites were checked on October 3, 2011 and were active at that time. If links to
.pdf files take a long time to load, it is often easier to copy and paste them into your browser.
Book Review Citations: Book review citations have been included to aid teachers and librarians
in case a challenge to any of the books on the list should occur.
This activities packet has been edited with care from materials developed by the contributors.
The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Committee would appreciate comments and
suggestions concerning the packet. Please direct communications to anyone on the committee or
to the editors of the packet.
Developing this packet was a challenging, invigorating experience for the participants. Enjoy!
Page 4
Auch, MJ. One-Handed Catch. Henry Holt and Company, 2006.
SUMMARY:
July 4, 1946, the first big celebration after the end of World War II and everyone is ready to
really celebrate. Norm is called in to help out in the family’s meat market by grinding some
ground beef. July 4th is the day on which Norm Schmidt loses his hand.
Norm’s dreams and talents don’t change much after that; he just has to give them a bit more
planning and a lot more practice. Like his doctor says as Norm leaves the hospital, “The ones
who succeed don’t give themselves the option of failing. And they keep trying until they figure it
out.”
Norm’s talents for art, designing cars, and especially baseball really get a trial through the
following year. Best friend and funny-guy Leon is always there for him, especially as the two of
them make summer league baseball and sixth-grader Norm is called up to pitch against an alleighth-grader team.
Loosely based on the author’s husband’s loss of his left hand as a child, this book is all about
everything, sky’s-the-limit everything that a determined person can accomplish.
QUESTIONS:
Why did Leon sneak into the hospital?
What were some of Norm’s initial frustrations with ADL (Activities for Daily Living)?
Why did Norm think that his real sister had been “kidnapped by gypsies?”
Why did Norm’s father have a hard time talking with him?
Why did Norm’s mother go talk to his teachers before school began?
What role does Norm’s sense of humor play in his recovery?
Norm’s father seemed to want Norm’s life to be easier, his mother pushed him. Which parent do
you think was right?
JOURNAL STARTER:
The most difficult challenge that I have had to face was …..
ACTIVITIES:
Arrange for a professional to do a disabilities sensitivity training for your class.
Invite a physical and/or occupational therapist to demonstrate the rehabilitation process for a
young amputee.
Try to write, eat and throw a ball with your non-preferred hand.
Research Pete Gray, Monty Stratton and Jim Abbott.
Find some pictures of automobiles in 1946.
Learn something about the Challenger Division of Little League.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4-8
Page 5
BOOKTALK
Each of us has dreams and plans for our futures. When Norm’s dream of becoming a baseball
player and an artist seem to be crushed, he finds a way to make them still come true. It’s not
easy and it’s not the way he planned, but baseball and art will always be a part of his life!
READ-ALIKES:
Bauer, Joan. Stand Tall. Perfection Learning, 2005.
Bingham, Kelly. Shark Girl. Candlewick, 2007.
Cochrane, Mick. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Gutman, Dan. The ________and Me series. HarperCollins.
LaFaye, A. Worth. Simon and Schuster, 2004.
Kehret, Peg. Small Steps. Albert Whitman & Company, 2006.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Auch Books: http://www.mjauch.com
Indiana Library Federation…One-Handed Catch Discussion Guide:
http://www.ilfonline.org/clientuploads/YHBA/09-10YHBAResources/17y.pdf
Kids Wings Activities for One-Handed Catch: http://suzyred.com/2008onehandedcatch.html
Pete Gray: http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-15
Jim Abbott: http://www.jimabbott.net/biography.html
Resources to help children understand limb loss:
http://www.amputee-coalition.org/fact_sheets/help_child_understand.html
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Auch, MJ. One-Handed Catch. Henry Holt and Company, 2006.
Booklist 103(October 1, 2006): 51
School Library Journal 52(November 1, 2006): 129
Page 6
Broach, Elise. Masterpiece. Henry Holt and Company, 2008.
SUMMARY:
Marvin the beetle lives with his family in a New York City apartment. The apartment belongs to
the Pompadays and when eleven year old James receives a pen and ink set for his birthday, the
adventures begin. Marvin uses the set to create a miniature drawing and everyone believes that
James is the creator. The Metropolitan Museum of Art takes notice and the plot then involves
the miniature created by Marvin and a lost painting of Albrecht Dürer.
QUESTIONS:
Marvin takes a lot of risks in this book. What’s his motivation for helping James?
James and Marvin become good friends even though they can’t communicate. How would their
relationship change if they could talk to each other?
Why does James take credit for Marvin’s piece of art? How would story be different if James
had told the truth? How does Marvin feel about James lie?
After James lies about being able to draw he’s puts himself into a situation where people now
expect him to draw another perfect piece. What do you think of his solution? What could have
done if Marvin hadn’t of gone along with James plan?
Is James and Marvin’s relationship equal? What does Marvin get from it?
Were you surprised when you discovered who the truth art thief was?
Is there such a thing as a perfect crime?
This book forces you to think about life from another perspective other than human. Since
reading the book have you look at other creatures from the same viewpoint as you had before or
have you wonder what they might be thinking?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
Find a piece of art that you and write a piece of poetry about it.
The biggest lie I ever told was . . .
The best birthday present I ever got was . . .
If I were the bug . . .
ACTIVITIES:
Find an image of a painting you really like and try to copy it.
Research famous art heists in history. What are some of the most expensive paintings ever
stolen? Have they been recovered?
Keep an art journal. Instead of writing your ideas out in words, try drawing your thoughts.
Go to a museum and copy images you like. Then go to the library and research the history
behind the piece and the artist.
Check out a book on drawing.
Hold an art exhibit.
Page 7
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4-8.
BOOK TALK:
Friends come from the most surprising sources. Who would imagine that a friendship would
develop between 11 year old James and Marvin the beetle? But it does! Even more interesting
is that fact that these friends also become involved in an art heist If you’re interested in seeing
how the crime is solved and what parts James and Marvin play---pick up Masterpiece by Eloise
Broach.
READ-ALIKES:
Balliett, Blue. Chasing Vermeer. Scholastic Press, 2004.
Berlin, Eric. The Puzzling World of Winston Breen: the Secret in the Box. Putnam, 2007.
Broach, Elise. Shakespeare’s Secret. Henry Holt, 2005.
Cottrell Boyce, Frank. Framed. HarperCollins, 2005.
Hiaasen, Carl. Scat. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Konigsburg, E.L. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Atheneum, 1967.
Lisle, Janet Taylor. The Art of Keeping Cool. Atheneum, 2000.
Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game. Dutton, 1978.
Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. Little, Brown, 2007.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Elise Broach: http://www.elisebroach.com
DCF Book Reviews and Questions:
http://www.dcfaward.org/Activities/dcfbookreviews&questionss09-10.pdf
Masterpiece Discussion Guide:
http://media.us.macmillan.com/discussionguides/9780805082708DG.pdf
Oregon Reader’s Choice Nominee:
http://www.multcolib.org/talk/ORCA/2011/guides-masterpiece.html
William Allen White Curriculum Guide:
http://waw.emporia.edu/curriculumguides/masterpiece.html
Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org
Albrecht Dürer: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/durr/hd_durr.htm
Art Crime Facts: http://artcrime.info/facts.htm
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Broach, Elise. Masterpiece. Henry Hold and Company, 2008.
Booklist 105(September 15, 2008): 51
School Library Journal 54(October 1, 2008): 140
Publishers Weekly 255(August 25, 2008): 74
Page 8
Burg, Ann E. All the Broken Pieces. Scholastic, 2009.
SUMMARY:
Matt Pin is haunted by nightmares, horrifying dreams of his early years, memories of bombs and
smoke; crippled, scarred people; and ever-present death. His mother is Vietnamese and his
father an American soldier.
In 1975, ten-year-old Matt was airlifted out of Vietnam and adopted by an American family, one
that showers him with love and understanding. Matt, though, is afraid the love is conditional, so
he worries about being sent away.
A baseball coach, a piano teacher, a veterans group, and a teammate's hate that turns to
acceptance, all help Matt understand his feelings and begin to come to terms with his two
different lives.
QUESTIONS:
What would it feel like to lose a family, a country, a language?
How do Vietnam War veterans feel about the war?
How was the Vietnam War different from others wars in which the United States has
participated?
How can a child from a foreign country be made to feel welcome?
What can be done to help a student who is being bullied by classmates?
What could Matt mean by the following statements?
“My Vietnam is
only a pocketful
of broken pieces
I carry inside me.” (p.23)
“Sometimes the words people don’t say are as are powerful as the ones they do.” (p. 56)
JOURNAL STARTERS:
Just as Coach Robeson is honored, I would like to honor...because...
The sport I like to play most is...because...
Some activities I like to do with my brother/sister are...
ACTIVITIES:
Learn about Operation Babylift.
Interview someone who has immigrated to the United States and become an American citizen.
Ask about how this person's life has changed because of these decisions.
Write a short poem about a difficult time in your life.
Interview a Vietnam veteran.
Write a letter of appreciation to someone in the Armed Services.
As a class, send a gift box to someone serving abroad in the Armed Services.
Have a parent/child book discussion.
Write a poem in free verse.
Page 9
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 6-8
BOOKTALK:
“My name is Matt Pin and her name, I remember, is Phang My. His name I will never say,
though forever I carry his blood in my blood, forever his bones stretch in my bones. To me, he is
nothing.” (p 1)
It’s hard to escape your past. It often follows you as Matt discovers. He was born in Vietnam
during wartime. When he was ten years old, his mother sent him to America on a helicopter with
a lot of other children. He was adopted into a loving American family but has nightmares about
landmines, fire, guns, and screaming children.
Matt also has a talent for baseball and tries out for the team at school, but he is often taunted by
some of his teammates. “Hey, Frog-face, where'd you learn to play baseball, in a rice
paddy?....Matt-the-rat, if you make the team, I’ll quit…..My brother died because of you.” (pp.
47-8) How can all these broken pieces inside Matt ever be healed?
READ-ALIKES:
Bauer, Joan. Stand Tall. Putnam, 2002.
Hesse, Karen. Letters from Rifka. Square Fish, 1992.
Kadohata, Cynthia. Cracker: the Best Dog in Vietnam. Atheneum, 2007.
LaFaye, A. Worth. Simon and Schuster, 2004.
Park, Linda Sue. When My Name Was Keoko. Clarion, 2002.
Vanderpool, Clare. Moon over Manifest. Delacorte, 2010.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Ann Burg: http://www.annburg.com/annburg.com/Welcome.html
Video Booktalk: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/collateral.jsp?id=39391
New York State Reading Association Book Blog:
http://charlotteaward.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/resources-for-all-the-broken-pieces-by-annburg
S.C. Junior Book Award Nominees: http://studysc.org/sc-book-award/2011-2012-sc-juniorbook-award-nominees
War Through the Generations: http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com
Vietnam Babylift: http://www.vietnambabylift.org/
Digital History – Learn about the Vietnam War:
http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/modules/vietnam/index.cfm
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Burg, Ann E. All the Broken Pieces. Scholastic, 2009.
School Library Journal 55(May 1, 2009): 101
Publishers Weekly 256(April 13, 2009): 49
Page 10
Carmichael, Clay. Wild Things. Front Street, 2009
SUMMARY:
Following the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Zoë goes to live with her uncle, Henry
Royster, formerly a famous cardiac surgeon and now an acclaimed metal sculptor. Her
cynicism and wariness make it difficult for her to trust him. However, these two, together with
an assortment of eccentric characters including an old feral cat and a wild boy who lives in the
woods form a lasting bond of love and respect far beyond Zoë 's wildest dreams. The story is told
through the eyes of Zoë, but the family history, critical to both plot and theme, comes through
the chapters about the cat.
QUESTIONS:
What is learned from Henry and Zoë's initial shopping outing?
What do Henry and Zoë have in common?
What is irony? What is ironic about the town of Sugar Hill?
Who is Fred? What do he and Zoë discuss when they first meet?
Why doesn’t Zoë trust that Uncle Henry won’t ditch her?
How does Ms. Avery help Zoë adjust to being in school?
Why does Zoë name the cat Mr. C’mere?
Who is Harlan Jeffers, why does he visit on Thanksgiving, and how is he received?
How are Zoë and Wil similar and different?
What is the title of the sculpture that Henry gives to Zoë, and why is it so special?
How does Zoë know that Wil “knows he’s one of us” at the end of the story?
Zoë keeps expressing that she is independent, but does she really believe this?
Who are the Wild Things? Is this a good title for the book? Why or why not?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
I thought I really knew...but I realized I didn't when...
I remember not liking..., but I began liking it when...
I enjoy...so much that I would like to turn it into a career by...
I do/don't like hunting because...
The person I am most like in my family is...because...
ACTIVITIES:
Research the artist Georgia O’Keefe.
Keep a personal journal for a week. What is something new that you learn by doing this?
In Chapter 9, Zoë lists characters from her favorite books. List these characters and the books
from which they come. Read one of the books and discuss it.
Read The Boy Who Drew Cats. Tell its importance to the plot and theme of Wild Things.
Visit a metal sculptor and ask him to explain his craft.
Page 11
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
BOOKTALK:
Zoë is only eleven, but because her mother was mentally unstable, she has pretty much raised
herself. She is independent and lives by her wits and is not eager to give up control. She can’t
believe that not only might there be people willing to care for her, but that they might actually
want to! When she is forced to move in with her Uncle Henry and has to go to school, her life is
forever changed. But it takes her awhile to trust the situation and the cast of characters who
compose her new family.
READ-ALIKES:
Connor, Leslie, Waiting for Normal. Katherine Tegen Books, 2008.
Kelly, Jacqueline, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Henry Holt, 2009.
Leal, Ann Hayward, Also Known as Harper. Henry Holt, 2009.
Urban, Linda, A Crooked Kind of Perfect. Harcourt, Inc. 2007.
Also consider Zoë's favorite books:
Levine, Arthur A. The Boy Who Drew Cats. Dial Books for Young People, 1993.
Barrie, J. M. Peter Pan. Puffin, 2008 (recent reprint)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. Holt, 1987.
DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie. Thorndike Press, 2000.
Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book. Doubleday, 1894.
L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Ariel Books, 1962.
North, Sterling. Rascal. Dutton, 1984.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Collins, 1960. (Contains adult situations)
Pullman, Phillip. The Golden Compass. Thorndike Press, 1995. (see also The Dark Materials
Trilogy)
Various versions of the legend Robin Hood
RELATED WEB SITES:
Clay Carmichael: www.claycarmichael.com
William Allen White Award:
http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/masterlists/list2011-12.htm#sixth
Study Guide Questions: http://www.claycarmichael.com/StudyGuideQuestions.htm
Feral Cats: http://www.aspca.org/adoption/feral-cats-faq.aspx
REVIEWS:
Carmichael, Clay. Wild Things, Front Street, 2009
Kirkus Reviews 77(November 15, 2009): 3
School Library Journal 56(December, 2010): 69
Page 12
Clements, Andrew. Extra Credit. Atheneum, 2009.
SUMMARY:
In February of her sixth-grade year, Abby learns that she is going to pay a dear price for her poor
homework and test scores, ones that are low due to refusal to do the work, not inability. She is
going to be held back! For a chance at being promoted, she is able to strike a three-part bargain
with her teachers: one, doing all her homework in every class; two, earning eighty-five percent
or better on all quizzes and tests in every subject; and three, doing an extra credit assignment.
This project includes writing and receiving at least four letters from a pen pal, doing a bulletin
board, and presenting an oral report.
Through the bargain, Abby not only meets Sadeed Bayat and his sister Amirya, learning about
them and life in Afghanistan, but she also discovers more about who she is and her abilities.
QUESTIONS:
Why does Sadeed's teacher think that writing a letter to America is an important job?
Why does Abby choose to write a pen pal in Afghanistan? If you were to write to a pen pal in a
foreign country, what nation would you choose and why?
What is learned about life in Afghanistan from Extra Credit?
What do Abby and Sadeed lives have in common and how are they different?
How does prejudice play a role in the story?
How do Abby's and Sadeed's opinions of the pen pal project change through the story?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
Just as Abby has the goal of climbing the path with the overhanging ledge, I have a goal of...
Things that I like and dislike about school and life are...
My favorite book is ...because...
Just as Sadeed sent a grain of stone and Abby sent a spoonful of soil to represent their locales, I
would send...to a pen pal from another country because...
ACTIVITIES:
If there is one available in your area, and with proper training and supervision, try scaling a
climbing wall.
Do a pen pal project, going through the four steps (pp. 36-38) that Abby does.
Using the United States Army Manual, plan a project and complete it.
Do research on Afghanistan and give a report with information not included in the novel.
Learn how to say some words in Dari.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4-6
Page 13
BOOKTALK:
“Abby, you're going to be held back!” That's what Abby hears February of her sixth-grade year.
Why? She doesn't like school, except for being with friends, recess, and certain classes, such as
art, music, and gym, especially days when she gets to scale the climbing wall. Other classes,
such as math, English, and social studies, she doesn't like, and, in particular, Abby doesn't like
doing homework, so she hasn't. Therefore, retention is in her future, unless she can keep her part
of a bargain she is able to make with her teachers. It is a very hard one, including doing ALL
homework in ALL classes, earning at least eighty-five percent on all tests and quizzes, and doing
an extra credit project. That assignment includes writing to a pen pal in a foreign country (at
least four letters), doing a bulletin board, and giving an oral presentation. This is a huge
assignment for a girl who would rather be in her woods or tree house and not in her room doing
homework. Is there actually any chance for her to complete sixth-grade in just one year?
READ-ALIKES:
Amato, Mary. The Naked Mole Rat Letters. Holiday House, 2007.
Department of the Army. U.S. Army Survival Manual. Skyhorse, 2011.
Ellis, Deborah. The Breadwinner. Groundwood Books, 2001.
Staples, Suzanne, Fisher. Under the Persimmon Tree. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Woodruff, Elvira. Dear Austin, Letters from the Underground Railroad. Yearling, 2000.
Woodruff, Elvira. Dear Levi, Letters from the Overland Trail. Yearling, 1998.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Andrew Clements: http://www.andrewclements.com/other-letter-extra.html
School Days: A Guide to Books by Andrew Clements:
http://www.grandcanyonreaderaward.org/resources/andrew_clements_books.pdf
Mackin Book Talk: http://www.mackinbooktalk.com/viewBook.aspx?bookId=1111
Simon and Schuster Reading Group Guide: http://books.simonandschuster.ca/ExtraCredit/Andrew-Clements/9780743582049/reading_group_guide
Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book – Afghanistan:
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html
Afghanistan Online: http://www.afghan-web.com/
World Pen Pals: http://www.world-pen-pals.com/
Students of the World E-Mail Penpals:
http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/menu_penpals.php
Dari Lesson 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9DlSChnOsQ
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Clements, Andrew. Extra Credit. Atheneum, 2009.
School Library Journal 55(August 1, 2009): 100
Publishers Weekly 256(June 8, 2009): 43
Page 14
Cochrane, Mick. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
SUMMARY:
Eighth-grader Molly Williams mourns the loss of her father, a man she loves so much and with
whom she shared a common bond – the love of baseball. He was the one who spent hours with
her in the backyard playing catch, and he was the one who taught her how to throw the
knuckleball. When she decides to try out for baseball, instead of softball, and makes that team,
she feels his presence in many ways and moves from feeling antagonism from her teammates to
acceptance.
QUESTIONS:
How can one help a friend who is dealing with grief?
How could Molly's relationships with her mother and father be compared and why are they so
different?
What does Molly consider evidence of her father's existence?
How can people who have very little in common, like Molly and her mother, reach out to each
other and find a better relationship?
Do girls and boys approach sports differently in your school, and, if so, why?
Why are Molly's friendships with Celia and Lonnie so important?
How did Molly and her mother change after the death of Mr. Williams?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
The sport I most like to play is …...... because...
My most special memory with an adult is...
The thing I am most talented doing is...
I had to learn about coping with grief when...
Items that can be considered as evidence of my existence are...
ACTIVITIES:
Research famous knuckleball pitchers.
Try to learn how to throw a knuckleball.
Make a chart displaying the similarities and differences between baseball and softball.
Research famous women baseball players.
Make an album of major league baseball uniforms.
The traditional number for a knuckleballer is 49. Research what other numbers in sports are
connected to particular positions or people.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
Page 15
BOOKTALK:
Life can be most difficult sometimes. For eighth-grader Molly Williams, who is dealing with her
father's death and a tense relationship with her mother, the stress is compounded when she
decides to follow her dream, trying out for the baseball, instead of softball, team, and being
selected for it. Will her friendships with Celia and with Lonnie, the one baseball player who
accepts her, help offset the antagonism from the rest of the team and will she be able to control
her knuckleball, the pitch that makes her so special?
READ-ALIKES:
Berne, Emma Carlson. The Baseball Adventure of Jackie Mitchell, Girl Pitcher vs. Babe Ruth.
Graphic Universe, 2011.
Greene, Michelle. A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Puffin, 2004.
Martin, Ann M. With You and Without You. Holiday House, 1986.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Mick Cochrane: http://www.mickcochrane.com
Wikipedia – Knuckleball: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knuckleball
Wakefield, Dickey Share a Unique Relationship:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?id=3500094
ViewDo – How to Throw a Knuckleball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3tWTKL6xNM
HelpGuide.Org – Coping with Grief and Loss: http://helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm
TeensHealth – Death and Grief:
http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/someone_died.html
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Cochrane, Mick. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. Alfred a. Knopf, 2009
Horn Book Magazine 85(May/June, 2009): 293
Kirkus Reviews 77(January 1, 2009): 100
School Library Journal. 55(March 1, 2009): 142
Page 16
Cody, Matthew. Powerless. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
SUMMARY:
Daniel Corrigan and his family have just moved to Noble’s Green, Pennsylvania, to care for his
ailing grandmother. Daniel dreads being the new kid at school, but is befriended by one of his
neighbors, Mollie Lee, who’s friends all accept Daniel. Daniel learns that this group of six
friends each has a superpower. These kids look over and protect the people of Noble’s Green,
and are very proud of the town’s reputation of being “The Safest Town on Earth.” Daniel learns
that when his superhero friends turn thirteen, their superpower disappears, and so does any
memory of the power they once had. As each of the older superheroes’ thirteenth birthday get
closer, they kids discover that it’s the Shroud, who threatens them, but Noble’s Green is being
threatened by the most powerful man in town. It is up to Daniel, the only person in the group
without a superpower, to save the town and his friends.
QUESTIONS:
What is your definition of a hero?
What are the qualities that a hero might have?
Being the “new kid” in town, Daniel has to decide who to become friends with. What does
Daniel mean when he thinks that “in order to be friends with a bully, you have to become one”?
Daniel makes use of his detective skills throughout the story. What skills should a detective have
to be able to solve a crime?
Why is Daniel actually more powerful than his friends with superpowers? Or is he?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
The superpower I wish I could have is…
I feel powerless when…
Anyone can be a hero…
ACTIVITIES:
Create your own superhero comic strip.
Select an American Legend and rewrite to be more modern day.
Research one of your local heroes.
Create a book trailer.
Read a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
Page 17
BOOKTALK:
Do you like to read comic books or graphic novels? Who is your favorite superhero? When
Daniel moves to Nobel’s Green, Pennsylvania he is worried about being the new kid at school,
and about his grandmother who is sick. On his first day in town, he meets Mollie Lee who saves
his little brother, Georgie, from being hit by a car. The thing is, Daniel didn’t actually she Mollie
rescue him, she was so fast that he wasn’t actually sure she did, but there she was holding
Georgie, right in front of him. Mollie introduces Daniel to her friends, and as it turns out, they all
have special powers. Daniel learns that the super powers that his friends have are powers that a
local legend and comic book character, Johnny Noble had. The superkids follow a set of Rules
telling them how to use their powers. Life for Daniel is not easy as the “new kid.” He is being
picked on by a bully, his grandmother is not well, he can’t stop his friends from losing their
special power on their thirteenth birthday, and there are no special Rules for him to follow.
Daniel simply feels Powerless.
READ-ALIKES:
Cross, Sarah. Dull Boy. Dutton, 2009.
Hansen, Jimmy. How to Draw Superheroes. PowerKids Press, 2008.
Sable, Mark. Superman: Earth One. Image Comics. 2006.
Straczynski, J. Michael. Grounded: Powerless. DC Comics, 2010.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Matthew Cody Author : http://www.matthewcody.com
Powerless by Matthew Cody – You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqzJHw7Vdvs
Create Your Own Superhero: http://marvel.com/games/cyos
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Cody, Matthew. Powerless. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Booklist 106(October 15, 2009): 65
Publishers Weekly 256(November 2, 2009): 52
School Library Journal 56(January 1, 2010): 98
Page 18
Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Henry Holt, 2009.
SUMMARY:
In 1899, eleven-year-old Calpurnia “Callie” Tate is dealing with many problems: the sweltering
Texas heat; being the only girl in the middle of six brothers; the frightening rumor that the world
will come to an end with the turn of the century; and her mother's insistence that she be brought
up as a proper young lady, with cooking and sewing skills. Instead, she would rather be outside,
studying insects, plant life, and animal tracks, and recording her observations of nature in a
notebook. When her grandfather loans her a copy of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, it
is the start of a close relationship with him, a man she never really knew before.
QUESTIONS:
What is a naturalist? Does Callie “become” one, or was she always one?
How does the relationship between Callie and Granddaddy change through the novel?
Describe Callie's relationships with her brothers and her mother.
What observations does Callie make about human behavior?
How would Charles Darwin feel about Callie and Granddaddy's work?
How does the title The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate reflect the story's characters, plot, and
theme?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
If I could be anything in the world, I would be...because...
Of my five senses, I would never want to lose my sense of...because...
I would consider/not consider myself to be a naturalist because...
While Callie is fascinated by nature, I am fascinated by...
ACTIVITIES:
Using a chart similar to the following, keep track of Callie's observations of nature and the
senses she uses during each observation:
Callie's observation
/ Sight / Sound / Touch / Smell / Taste /
Observe plants and animals around your home, making your own naturalist's notebook,
recording the senses you use, and drawing pictures of your sightings.
Make a collage of the plants and animals Callie sees, including both the common name and the
scientific name for each item.
Plant a seed, water it, and watch it grow. Record its changes in words and drawings.
Compare life for a young girl in 1899 with that of today, including the following areas:
education, family, household duties, behavioral expectations, and career choice
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
Page 19
BOOKTALK:
The last thing eleven-year-old Callie Tate wants to be is a lady. She doesn't care for sewing, has
little interest in baking and cooking, and she wishes her mother would quit bothering her about
messy hair and clothes, uneven embroidery, and knitting socks for her six brothers. Instead,
Callie wishes she could roam the prairies and riverbanks near her 1899 Texas home in search of
fascinating insects, wild animal tracks, and new species of plants...like a real naturalist...like her
grandfather...like Charles Darwin. Will she be able to escape the confining existence that is a
girl's turn-of-the-century life long enough to prove that she can be a great observer and scientist
like the famous Charles Darwin?
READ-ALIKES:
Brink, Carol. Caddie Woodlawn. Simon & Schuster, 1935.
Hannigan, Katherine. Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and
(Possibly) Save the World. Greenwillow Books, 2004.
Hausman, Gerald. A Mind with Wings: The Story of Henry David Thoreau. Trumpeter, 2006.
Holm, Jennifer. Our Only May Amelia. HarperCollins, 2001.
Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. Bantam, 1935.
Rinehart, Kurt. A Naturalist's Guide to Observing Nature. Stackpole Books, 2006.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Jacqueline Kelly: http://www.jacquelinekelly.com/
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award:
http://www.dcfaward.org/Activities/dcfbookreviews&questions10-11.pdf
Discussion Questions:
http://media.us.macmillan.com/discussionguides/9780312659301DG.pdf
ATPE Book of the Month Club:
http://www.atpe.org/resources/educators/bookclubfiles/201103Grades6-8Questions.pdf
Discussion Guide: http://infogdss.wordpress.com/?s=calpurnia+tate&searchbutton=Go!
Charles Darwin Foundation: http://www.darwinfoundation.org/english/pages/index.php
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History: http://www.mnh.si.edu/
REVIEWS:
Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Henry Holt, 2009
Booklist 105(May 1, 2009): 80
Publishers Weekly 256(May 4, 2009): 51
School Library Journal 55(May 1, 2009): 110
Page 20
Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Little, Brown, 2009.
SUMMARY:
Raised in poverty at the base of Fruitless Mountain, Minli is inspired by the tales her father tells
to take off alone on a journey to seek the fortune-changing advice of the mythical Old Man of the
Moon. Her journey brings danger, excitement, humor, and friendship in many different forms.
Frequent fascinating tales based on Chinese folklore, both old and new, help to inspire Minli and
move her story along to understanding that satisfaction comes from being grateful and rich in
what one already has.
QUESTIONS:
Minli’s name means “Quick Thinking”. Does that seem to be an appropriate reflection of her
character? What does your name mean? Do you feel it describes your personality well?
What are some tokens that are traditionally reputed to bring good luck? Do you think they may
or may not? Do you have any of your own?
Grace Lin has said that swirls are a trademark element of her illustrations, and these can be seen
prominently on this book. What do you think they add to the cover? Do you have any
“trademarks” (favorite symbols or elements) that you include in things you write, draw, or
decorate?
If you could only take one person and one item with you on a long journey, which would they be
and why?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
What does true happiness mean?
A story that I remember often hearing a family member tell is . . .
The question I would ask the Old Man of the Moon is . . .
ACTIVITIES:
Write your own original folk/fairy tale, perhaps your own variation of the Old Man of the Moon,
either based on Chinese culture or your own (if different).
Create a piece of art depicting your town either based on Chinese art style or your own culture (if
different).
Explore the Chinese Zodiac.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4-8
Page 21
BOOKTALK:
No matter how hard they work, life just doesn’t seem to be getting any better at Fruitless
Mountain, where Minli’s father never stops telling stories and her mother never stops
complaining. So Minli decides that it’s up to her to save her family and sets off to find the Old
Man of the Moon who, growing up, she’s always heard is better than lucky coins or goldfish at
bringing good fortune. The journey isn’t as easy or straightforward as she expects though, so it’s
a good thing that Minli’s name means “Quick Thinking” because that’s exactly what she’ll need
to survive and succeed, along with the trusty help of new and magical friends, such as a dragon
(who can talk, of course). On the path to enlightenment they come across monkeys and tigers
and kings (“Oh, my!”) and have a lot of close calls. Fantastical and wise Chinese stories and
many colorful pictures help to tell this tale about things that are good and things that are bad in
life, and that love is the best of all.
READ-ALIKES:
Baum. L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. many editions.
Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. The Conch Bearer. Roaring Brook, 2003
Fu, Shelley. Treasury of Chinese Folktales: Beloved Myths and Legends from the
Middle Kingdom. Tuttle, 2008.
Stone, Jeff. The Five Ancestors series. Random House.
Wilkinson, Carole. The Dragon Keepers series. Hyperion.
Wrede, Patricia C. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles”. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
RELATED WEB SITES:
Grace Lin: http://gracelin.com
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Educator’s Guide:
http://www.gracelinbooks.com/files/Mountain_Moon_EduGuide.pdf
Oregon Battle of the Books: http://livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=118197
Folktales from China: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/china.html
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Little, Brown, 2009.
Booklist 105(May 1, 2009): 81
School Library Journal 55(July 1, 2009): 87
Page 22
Magoon, Kekla. The Rock and the River. Aladdin, 2009.
SUMMARY:
In 1968, Sam Childs, a thirteen-year-old living in Chicago, finds himself caught between his
pacifist civil rights father and his older brother Stick, who has joined the Black Panther Party.
As tensions grow both at home and in his community, Sam searches for his own identity and his
place in the civil rights movement. He also must face the difficult decision of either obeying his
father or following his brother. An author's note provides background for this novel.
QUESTIONS:
How can the reader tell that Sam and Stick are close?
Does Sam respect his father? How does he show it?
Who or what do you feel strongly enough to defend? What would your defense be?
Is Stick a hero or a villain? Explain.
JOURNAL STARTERS:
I remember having to make a difficult decision, and the way I did it was...
Prejudice hurts everyone because...
It is hard to change what you believe in, because..
ACTIVITIES:
Create a time line of the civil rights movement.
Interview someone over 50 years of age about what it was like growing up in the 1960s during
the civil rights movement.
Research a hero of the civil rights movement, for example: Dr. Martin Luther King, Ralph
Abernathy, one of the Greensboro Four, Fannie Lou Hamer, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Thurgood
Marshall, or Rosa Parks.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 7-8
BOOKTALK:
Growing up isn’t ever easy, but growing up in the 1960's means real challenges! Sam Childs is
thirteen and living in Chicago, Illinois, during these turbulent times. His father is a well-known
local leader passionately dedicated to promoting racial equality through peaceful and non-violent
protests. Sam has a deep respect for his father and has been a part of these peace rallies and
demonstrations. However, his brother and best friend, Stick, has run away from home and joined
the Black Panthers, whose philosophy differs greatly from that of his father’s. Sam has also
recently witnessed an unprovoked attack by police upon a family friend. Is it wrong for the
oppressed to fight for equal opportunities in housing, jobs, and education? What about the ideals
Page 23
of justice and peace for all? Sam begins to question both his father’s pacifist ideals and Stick’s
aggressive approach to achieving equality. He is going to have to make his own choice, and it is
not going to be easy!
READ-ALIKES:
Adamson, Heather. The Civil Rights Movement: an Interactive History Adventure. Capstone
Press, 2009.
Adler, David A. Heroes for Civil Rights. Holiday House, 2007.
Bridges, Ruby. Through My Eyes. Scholastic, 1999.
Burg, Shana. A Thousand Never Evers. Yearling, 2009.
Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. Delacorte, 1995.
Freedman, Russell. Freedom Walkers. Holiday House, 2006.
Parks, Rosa. Rosa Parks, My Story. Dial, 1992.
Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer. Amistad, 2010.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Kekla Magoon: www.keklamagoon.com
The Movement: http://www.bethanyhegedus.com/downloads/Discussion_Guide.pdf
From the National Parks Service: Jim Crow Laws: www.sju.edu/~brokes/jimcrow.htm
Civil Rights Movement Heroes: www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmheroes1.htm
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Magoon, Kekla. The Rock and the River. Aladdin, 2009
Kirkus Reviews 76(December 15, 2008): 306
School Library Journal 55(February 1, 2009): 104
Page 24
Mass, Wendy. Every Soul a Star. Little Brown, 2008.
SUMMARY:
Ally, Bree, and Jack each give their own version of their meeting at Moon Shadow Campground,
the one place in the United States where the upcoming Great Eclipse can be seen in totality.
Twelve-year-old Ally has been home schooled while living at the isolated campground her
parents built in anticipation of this monumental event. Thirteen- year-old Bree, a fashion queen
with the looks and the goal of becoming a model, discovers she is moving to the same camp, far
away from civilization and all she values. Fourteen-year-old Jack has never gotten anything quite
right and recently failed science, so attending the eclipse is a means to avoid summer school.
Each finds something quite different when they discover each other and witness a total eclipse.
QUESTIONS:
Ally, Bree, and Jack each have their own chapters throughout the book so readers discover each
kid’s perspective on the events taking place. Choose one character and describe the initial
reaction to Moon Shadow Campground and how that opinion changes.
Did you feel differently towards Ally, Bree, or Jack as the story progresses?
Whom do you think will have a harder time adjusting to their new lifestyle: Bree far away from
civilization, or Ally navigating the social landscape of school? How do they help each other?
Why does Jack wish he could stay at Moon Shadow Campground?
What is so special about a solar eclipse?
Even though Ryan’s life seems perfect, he’s athletic, smart, and good looking, what isn’t so
perfect in his life and how do his outward successes hide his difficulties?
Ally and Bree’s siblings, Melanie and Kenny, seem to take everything in stride and seem fine
with all the changes to come. Are they realistic?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
If I were giving advice to Ally about going to school, I would tell her …
If I were a nerd, I would know all about …
If I were Jack, I would change my life by…
ACTIVITIES:
Learn about solar eclipses. When and where will the next total eclipse happen?
Moon Shadow Campground has six unusuals: the Labyrinth, the Art House, Panning for Gold,
Alien Central, the Sun Garden, and the Star Garden. Create a plan for an unusual you would
build or would like to experience.
Design a picture on a 12x12 inch square that you would add to the Art House. Display these
images from the entire class together for an Art House experience.
Go outside or online to experience the night sky. Take an expert or a guidebook to try to identify
various constellations. Find the North Star.
Page 25
READING RECOMMENDATIONS: Grades 5-8
BOOKTALK:
Three kids, three totally different life styles, and yet they all meet at the same place, the Moon
Shadow Campground, to see, of all things, a total eclipse. Twelve-year-old Ally's parents built
the campground in anticipation of the event, and she has been home schooled there. Fashionconscious, fourteen-year-old Bree knows more about makeup and the mall than most teenagers
and has never understood her science-nerd parents. Jack, fourteen, has never gotten anything
quite right, recently failed science, so going to the campground is a means to avoid summer
school.
How will these young people learn to get along, and will viewing this total eclipse totally
transform their lives?
READ-ALIKES:
Mass, Wendy. 11 Birthdays. Scholastic, 2009.
Mass, Wendy. Finally. Scholastic, 2010.
Mass, Wendy. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Little Brown, 2006.
Law, Ingrid . Savvy. Puffin Books, 2008.
Perkins, Lynne Rae. Criss Cross. HarperCollins, 2005.
Spinelli, Jerry. Stargirl. Knopf, 2000.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Wendy Mass: http://www.wendymass.com
Educator’s Guide by Hatchette:
www.hachettebookgroup.com/_assets/guides/EG_9780316002561.pdf
William Allen White Children’s Book Award:
http://waw.emporia.edu/curriculumguides/everysoulastar.html
What is Lucid Dreaming?: http://www.dreamviews.com/section/what-lucid-dreaming-7
Learn about Solar Eclipses: http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse
Crossword Puzzle: http://www.wendymass.com/pdf/EverySoulaStarCrosswordPuzzle.pdf
Tell time with a Sun Clock: http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/sunclock.html
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Mass, Wendy. Every Soul a Star. Little, Brown, 2008
Booklist 105(December 1, 2008): 51
Publishers Weekly 255(October 13, 2008): 54
School Library Journal 54(November 1, 2008): 51
Page 26
O’Connor, Barbara. Greetings from Nowhere. Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
2008.
SUMMARY:
The Sleepy Time Motel in Shawnee Gap, North Carolina has fallen on hard times and its
widowed owner, Aggie, is ready to sell. Unexpectedly, people begin to arrive. Kirby and his
mother stop because of car trouble, Loretta and her parents stopped on their way to tour the
Smoky Mountains and Willow and her father, Mr. Dover arrived with the intention of purchasing
the North Carolina property. Aggie misses Harold, Kirby needs to stay out of trouble, Loretta is
looking for her mother and Willow and her father are lonely. All their lives are changed during
their stay!
QUESTIONS:
Why do you think Willow’s father is in such a hurry to move?
Why did Kirby and Willow have a hard time getting to know Loretta’s family and Aggie?
What were the differences between Kirby’s mother and Loretta’s mother?
Why does Kirby take Loretta’s pin? Why does he return it?
What is the significance of Loretta’s charm bracelet?
How does Aggie use the garden to work out the things that bother her?
How are Kirby, Loretta and Willow different at the end of the book from the people they were at
the beginning?
What difference did the residents of the motel make to Aggie?
JOURNAL STARTER:
I would choose _______________ as a place to start a new life, because____________
BOOKTALKS:
Have you ever landed unexpectedly in “Nowhere?” Imagine you are at an old, run-down motel
in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains. You don’t really want to be there, but your father
says you are going to start a new life. Or imagine you are at this same motel, and you are on an
adventure trying to find out what your birth mother was like; and hopefully, seeing some of the
same sights she saw when she was alive. Or a third option is - that at this same motel you are
waiting with your mother, who is trying to take you to a reform school, and her car broke down
and she is waiting for money to get it fix. Or maybe you and your husband ran this little motel all
your married lives and now that he is gone and the interstate has rerouted traffic away from your
motel, you are having trouble meeting your bills and fixing what needs to be repaired. This is
the situation when a group of people find themselves together at the Sleepy Time Motel late one
summer Pick this up and discover just how interesting “Nowhere” can be!
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4-7
Page 27
ACTIVITIES:
Draw Ugly the cat.
Create a box of items that represent your life.
Draw the motel as described in the book.
Explain in pig-latin who you liked best in the book
Make a list of all the people in the book and explain how each changed.
Design a portrait of Dorothy as described by Willow.
Gather some pictures of places in America you’d like to visit.
Ask a motel manager to talk with you about the work (an independent motel would be best).
Research tourism in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Learn a yo-yo trick.
READ-ALIKES
Amato, Mary. Naked Mole Rat Letters. Holiday House, 2005.
Birdsall, Jeannie. The Penderwicks. Knopf, 2005.
Cassidy, Cathy. Scarlett. Viking, 2006.
Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. HarperCollins, 1994.
DiCamillo. Because of Winn Dixie. Candlewick, 2001.
Giff, Patricia. Pictures of Hollis Woods. Wendy Lamb Books, 2002.
Larson, Kirby. Hattie Big Sky Delacorte, 2006.
Ryan, Pam Munoz. Becoming Naomi Leon. Scholastic, 2004.
RELATED WEBSITES:
Barbara O’Connor: http://www.barboconnor.com
Discussion Guide: http://www.barboconnor.com/assets/pdf/teachguide/tg_greetings.pdf
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKj4y_-U2UE
Charms: http://www.mymotherscharms.com/history.htm
The Very First Motel:
http://savvytraveler.publicradio.org/show/features/2000/20000728/motel.shtml i
Book Review Citation:
O’Connor, Barbara. Greetings from Nowhere. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
Kirkus Reviews 75(February 1, 2008): 151
School Library Journal 54(March 1, 2008): 208
Page 28
Parry, Rosanne. Heart of a Shepherd. Random House, 2009.
SUMMARY:
A young Oregon boy comes of age on the family’s sheep ranch when his father must leave for
service in Iraq and his older brothers pick up their lives away from the ranch. It is up to Ignatius
“Brother” Alderman and his grandparents to keep things going. He meets each challenge with
depth and courage, the depth and courage he will need to face the biggest challenge of all.
QUESTIONS:
How can the relationship between Brother and his father be described?
What are some of the beliefs of the Quakers, also known as the Society of Friends?
On pg. 37, “He (Ernesto) leans over the rail and rests a broad, callused hand on my (Brother's)
shoulder. 'Heart of a shepherd,' he says, like he's pronouncing a blessing.” What does Ernesto
mean?
Why are dad’s e-mails to Brother so businesslike?
Describe some of Father Ziegler’s traits that make him an effective parish priest.
Why does Brother have mixed feelings about the return of the Ugartes?
“Don’t confuse the right thing with the easy thing,” Mrs. Ugarte tells Brother. (p. 117) Can you
relate this statement to any other characters and situations you have read about?
Brother refuses to leave his dead grandfather to go for help. Would you have made the same
choice? Why or why not?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
I remember that a lot happened in a minute when…
The best advice I ever got was…
I did the right thing instead of the easy thing when I…
ACTIVITIES:
Research the lives of several prominent Quakers in our country’s history.
Predict what Brother’s life will be like 10 years after the events of the novel.
Write diary entries covering a day in the life of a sheep rancher.
Create a “Fact Book” featuring the latest statistics on Americans serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Learn how to play chess.
Have a chess tournament in your class.
Visit a farmer who raises sheep, and ask him to talk to your class about raising sheep.
Interview a veteran of the War on Terror.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
Page 29
BOOKTALK:
You’re nearly twelve, and it’s up to you to keep things going when your dad and older brothers
have commitments elsewhere. How will you and your grandparents run a sheep ranch? It will
take the community coming together to show you the way and help you grow into the role of
“the man of the house.” For Ignatius (Brother), every day is a challenge---but the challenges
help him make decisions regarding his future.
READ-ALIKES:
DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie. Candlewick, 2000.
Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller. Harper and Row, 1956.
Larson, Kirby. Hattie Big Sky. Yearling, 2006.
Paulsen, Gary. Harris and Me. Harcourt, 1993.
Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan. The Yearling. Simon and Schuster, 1938.
Slayton, Fran Cannon. When the Whistle Blows. Philomel, 2009.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Rosanne Parry: www.rosanneparry.com
Mark Twain Award Nominee:
http://www.thematzats.com/marktwain/resources/Resource_Sheet_Heart_of_a_Shepherd.pdf
Teacher’s Guide:
http://classof2k9.com/drupal/sites/default/files/teacherguides/teacherguide22.pdf
Chess4Kids: www.Chess4Kids.com
Ranching and Raising Sheep: http://www.ranching-with-sheep.com/index.html
Sheep Ranching Photographs:
http://www.knowledgecenter.unr.edu/sheepherders/dufurrena.html
Western Folklife Center: www.westernfolklife.org (keeping the heritage of ranching alive)
Ladder Ranch: www.ladderranch.com (visit a working sheep ranch)
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS
Parry, Rosanne. Heart of a Shepherd. Random House, 2009
Kirkus Reviews 76(December 1, 2008): 1260
School Library Journal 55(March 1, 2009): 150
Page 30
Paulsen, Gary. Woods Runner. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010.
SUMMARY:
Living with his parents in western Pennsylvania, Samuel has learned how to survive in the forest,
tracking and killing game, constructing shelters, and building fires. He knows everything a man
should know to survive far away from the chaos of “civilization.” However, in 1776 when
Samuel is thirteen, the Revolutionary War reaches his family and destroys their idyllic life.
Samuel’s homestead is savagely attacked by British soldiers and Iroquois. His parents are taken
prisoner, and Samuel must use his tracking skills to move silently through the forest, following
them to New York and into the depths of a war more bloody and brutal than he could ever
imagine. Each footstep brings Samuel closer to his parents; each day brings new encounters with
both enemies and allies.
QUESTIONS:
How is living in the wilderness different from living in a town or village?
Why do Samuel’s parents build a life in the wilderness of western Pennsylvania?
Why does news travel so slowly in 1776? How does this affect families on the frontier?
Why do the British employ Iroquois and Hessian (German) soldiers to raid homesteads?
Name and describe the different types of conflict in Woods Runner.
How does the character of Samuel change and develop over the course of the story?
Why are Samuel’s parents taken prisoner, and how does Samuel find and free them?
What is a hero? Is Samuel one? Why?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
If I had to survive on my own in the wilderness, I would…
We are Americans because…
A “hero” is…
Author Gary Paulsen once said, “Read like a wolf eats.” What does this mean to you?
ACTIVITIES:
Before reading the book, list facts you already know about the American Revolution.
Use a T-chart to list the similarities and differences between the American Revolution and the
current war in Iraq. Discuss.
Create a timeline of events of Samuel’s journey to rescue his parents.
Create a secret code for sending covert communications. Write some messages, and then see if a
partner can break your code.
List all the people who helped Samuel along the way, writing a brief description of each and tell
why each helped. What does this say about human nature?
Write Samuel’s diary/journal. Create at least eight (8) entries that describe what Samuel is
experiencing and feeling. Be sure to write from Samuel’s point of view.
Page 31
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
BOOKTALK:
Thirteen year-old Samuel has never lived in a town. He has never attended school. He tracks and
hunts wild game to help feed his family. He and his parents rarely see a newspaper, and so they
must get their news from the occasional trapper or traveler who passes through the western
Pennsylvania wilderness where they live. News is so scarce, in fact, that they don’t even realize
the depth of the bloody and violent war raging in their own country until that war finds them.
One day in 1776 while Samuel is in the forest hunting, British soldiers, accompanied by
Iroquois, attack his homestead and take Samuel’s parents prisoner. Now Samuel must gather all
the courage he can and use his hunting and tracking skills to follow the soldiers and rescue his
parents. Every step of the way brings dangerous enemies, harsh brutalities, bloody skirmishes
and, luckily for Samuel, the help of some brave allies. But even with the help, can Samuel reach
his parents before they are executed by the British?
READ-ALIKES:
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Chains. Antheneum, 2008.
Avi. The Fighting Ground. Harper Trophy, 1984.
Collier, James Lincoln and Chris Collier. My Brother Sam Is Dead. Scholastic, 1985.
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Yearling, 1943.
Rinaldi, Ann. Cast Two Shadows. Harcourt, 1998.
Rinaldi, Ann. Or Give Me Death. Harcourt, 2003.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Gary Paulsen: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/garypaulsen
Gary Paulsen On Woods Runner:
http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6720399.html
Kids Wings Activities: http://suzyred.com/2011_Woods_Runner.html
The Declaration of Independence: http://www.founding.com
Liberty! The American Revolution: http://www.pbs.org/ktca/liberty/chronicle.html
Woods Runner – YouTube interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVl6Q1LP1rU
National Archives – Pictures of the Revolutionary War:
http://www.archives.gov/research/military/american-revolution/pictures/index.html#1776
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Paulsen, Gary. Woods Runner. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010
Booklist 106(January 1, 2010): 72
Publishers Weekly 256(December 21, 2009): 61
School Library Journal 56(February 1, 2010): 122
Page 32
Philbrick, Rodman. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. Blue Sky
Press, 2009
SUMMARY:
After their parents died, seventeen-year-old Harold Figg and Homer, his twelve-year-old brother,
went to live with their uncle Squint Leach in Pine Swamp, Maine. Squint hates them and treats
them cruelly. Then, in 1863, after a rather nasty incident, Squint sells Harold into the Union
army for $300. As Harold is being led away, Homer is put into a root cellar from which he later
escapes. Homer’s mission is to save his brother before Harold is killed in the war. Thus starts a
series of wild, dangerous, and sometimes hilarious adventures involving slaves and slave
catchers, rides on a train and a steamboat, a stint as a carnival attraction, a ride in a hot air
balloon, as well as witnessing the horrors of the Battle of Gettysburg before Homer saves his
brother from being killed in the war.
QUESTIONS:
How are Homer and Harold similar and different?
What are some of the adventures that Homer experiences while trying to save Harold?
How is Homer betrayed throughout the novel?
How does Homer get involved with the Underground Railroad and Jebediah Brewster?
What does Mrs. Bean mean when she says, “Never thought a boy could be good and a liar, too.
But you are...You are.”? (p. 77)
Why does Homer risk his life to save Harold?
Who are the best and the worst people that Homer meets?
How does media coverage of the Civil War differ from coverage of war today?
What does Homer mean by, “We're all of us haunted by yesterday, and we got no choice but to
keep marching into our tomorrow.”? (p. 217)
JOURNAL STARTERS:
Being brothers means…
I would risk my life for my brother, sister (or anyone) because….
On pg. 180, Homer shares what his dreams are. My dreams are...
ACTIVITIES:
Create a timeline of the major battles of the Civil War.
Research Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain or another Civil War military leader and then
write a summary of his career.
Write a tall tale.
Make a diorama of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Draw a scene from the book.
Research the Underground Railroad.
Research newspaper coverage of the Civil War.
Page 33
Compare loss of life in the Civil War with that in other wars. What were the main causes of
death in the Civil War?
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 5-8
BOOKTALK:
Can telling tall tales and some flat-out lies ever lead to something good instead of bad? Well,
young Homer Figg is trying to find out. Ever since his older brother Harold was sold off to the
Union Army by their evil uncle Squint, Homer's stories have grown bigger and more outlandish,
all because he is trying to find his brother and save him from a bullet on some Civil War
battlefield. Is there any way Homer can survive a horse ride at night, when he is scared of the
dark; a balloon ride in the day, when he's the only one in the basket; and a ride across an active
battlefield, where bullets are flying everyplace? With war surrounding him on all sides, will he
ever be able to find his brother?
READ-ALIKES:
Avi. Iron Thunder. Hyperion, 2007.
Beatty, Patricia. Turn Homeward, Hannalee. William Morrow, 1984.
Hamilton, Virginia. Many Thousand Gone. Knopf, 1993.
Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie. HarperCollins, 1957.
Murphy, Jim. The Boys' War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk about the Civil War.
Clarion, 1990.
Reeder, Carolyn. Shades of Gray. Aladdin, 1999
Rinaldi, Ann, The Last Full Measure. Harcourt, 2010
Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman. Doubleday, 1954.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Rodman Philbrick: http://www.rodmanphilbrick.com/
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award:
http://www.dcfaward.org/Activities/dcfbookreviews&questions10-11.pdf
North Carolina Children's Book Award:
http://www.cmlibrary.org/bookhive/NCCBA/NCCBABooklet2011.pdf
The Battle of Gettysburg: http://www.army.mil/gettysburg/flash.html
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Philbrick, Rodman. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. Blue Sky Press, 2009.
Booklist 105(January 1, 2009): 84
Publishers Weekly 255(November 24, 2008): 58
School Library Journal 55(January 1, 2009): 116
Page 34
Prineas, Sarah. The Magic Thief. HarperCollins, 2008.
SUMMARY:
Conn is a thief, pure and simple, a boy living by his wits in the streets of Twilight, his only
intention to survive. But when he picks the pocket of the Wizard Nevery, he encounters more
than change for dinner. The exiled Nevery is equally surprised that Conn even survives an
encounter with his wizard stone: a “locus magicalicus.” Nevery has never taken on an apprentice,
and Conn has no interest in becoming Nevery’s servant, but their shared goal of restoring the
magic of Wellmet brings them together to save their city. Conn’s own intuitions, so opposed to
traditional beliefs, provoke this boy who senses what must be done—but who will believe a
thief? With the events focused on Conn’s experience interspersed with journal notes by Nevery,
readers find themselves rooting for the magic while Conn seeks to find his own locus
magicicalicus and Nevery comes to trust a crook.
QUESTIONS:
Why does Conn refuse to become Nevery’s servant? What convinces Nevery to take him on as
his first apprentice? What does Conn offer to teach Nevery in exchange?
How does Bennet feel about Conn? Can you guess what Conn has done to impress Bennet?
What do you learn about Conn’s relationship with Underlord Crowe? Given their family
relationship, would you trust Conn if you were Nevery?
Why does Keeston help Nevery find Conn after Pettivox has him kidnapped? Can Keeston be
trusted?
What function does the phlister serve? Is it necessary to cause Conn to speak the truth?
Neither Conn nor Nevery knows everything because they are limited to their own knowledge of
events. Discuss the other characters and what their perspective might be. For example: Bennet;
Pettivox; The Duchess; Brumbee; Keeston; Rowan or other students from the academicos.
The Underlord’s minions become rats under the Embero spell, what animals might other
characters become?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
Write a page from the journal of Rowan Forestal about Conn.
If I had a magic stone and could perform magic, I would…
ACTIVITIES:
Conn’s characteristic creature is a cat: black, thin, with a crooked tail. Imagine what your own
creature would be if the embero spell was cast on you—draw and write about your creature and
how its characteristics would be useful.
Make biscuits like Bennet’s and serve them with honey and jam. Recipe on pg. 421
Create your own journal character to write entries from an alternative point of view.
Page 35
Learn about stones and describe what your own locus magicalicus would be like if you had a
magic stone.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4 - 6
BOOKTALK:
On an evening like any other, Conn is seeking a pocket to pick as it has been a long time since
his last meal, and living on his own off the streets of Twilight, he has to take what he can get.
Occasionally he does some labor, but with the Underlord after him, he has to stay out of sight
and that means living as his mother had taught him, with quick hands and a sly manner: as a
pickpocket. He doesn’t know his mark is a wizard, nor a banished one at that. He simply takes
the stone, but the wizard notices immediately when his locus magicalicus was taken. Instead of
chasing or beating him, the wizard Nevery offers Conn a meal. That Conn can survive with this
stone was unlikely, and yet, he has, peaking the wizard’s interest and perhaps changing Conn’s
life forever.
READ-ALIKES:
Carman, Patrick. The Dark Hills Divide, Scholastic 2005. Series The Land of Elyon.
Jones, Diana Wynne. Chronicles of Chrestomanci HarperCollins, 2001
Kerr, Philip. The Akhenaten Adventure. Scholastic, 2005. Series: Children of the Lamp.
Prineas, Sarah. The Magic Thief: Lost & The Magic Thief: Found. HarperCollins, 2010.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter series Scholastic, 1997 – 200 7
RELATED WEB SITES:
Sarah Prineas: http://www.sarah-prineas.com
HarperCollins Children’s:
http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/kids/gamesandcontests/features/magicthief/
Readers Guide: http://www.classof2k8.com/assets/files/ReaderGuides/SarahPrineasRG.pdf
Explanation of POV: http://www.fictionfactor.com/children/viewpoint.html
Learn about mineral and gemstones: http://www.minerals.net/
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Prineas, Sarah. The Magic Thief. HarperCollins, 2008
Booklist 104(May 15, 2008): 59
Publishers Weekly 255(June 16, 2008): 48
School Library Journal 54(June 1, 2008): 148
Page 36
Scieszka, Jon. Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories about Growing
Up Scieszka. Viking, 2008
SUMMARY:
In a series of autobiographical vignettes, Jon Scieszka hilariously tells about being the second of
six brothers growing up together in Flint, Michigan. He shares wild youthful memories, whether
it is playing games from baseball to war or breaking things from furniture to bones. Living with
multiple brothers causes sharing (for example, clothes, chores, bedrooms, and Halloween
costumes) and leading younger brothers, sometimes astray, and other times to activities like Cub
Scouts and choir. School stories are included, and, through it all, Scieszka emphasizes his love
of reading.
QUESTIONS:
The word “Knucklehead” started out as an insult. How did it change over the years?
How were life and school different when Jon was growing up as compared to now?
How did the careers of their parents affect the boys?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of birth order?
Dick and Jane were in early readers when Scieszka was growing up. He found them strange –
why?
Knucklehead is, of course, written through Jon's eyes. How might any of his brothers or his
parents describe these growing up years?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
In class, Jon was asked about what was so funny. (p. 99) If I were asked that, the story I would
tell is...
A special family activity is...
My best vacation was when...
A book that I treasure is...because...
My favorite memory is...
ACTIVITIES:
Read other books by Jon Scieszka.
Have a classroom costume contest with the entries being made from household items.
Sometimes kids say something that makes its way into family lore, such as Jeff's, “Stop
breathing my air.” (p.91) Share some of your own family's classic sayings.
Create a game for family or friends that will keep you having fun for hours.
Write a list of funny, not mean-spirited, nicknames.
Write a humorous story about something you have done.
Share funny family stories in class.
Write one of Jon's stories from another brother's or a parent's point of view.
Page 37
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 4-8
BOOKTALK:
Do you have any brothers or sisters? Jon Scieszka has five of them, brothers, that is, and while
growing up, they could find adventure or trouble in just about anything. For example, when mom
asks the older brothers to watch Jeff, the youngest one, they do watch him - watch him chew
things, like cigarette butts, and they even learn they can charge their friends to watch him do it.
Six brothers must share – bedrooms, clothes, and chores, leading Jon to master the art of trading
off cleaning up after the dog for getting to help cook. Read Knucklehead and laugh your way
through Jon Scieszka's childhood.
READ-ALIKES:
Gilbreth, Frank B. Cheaper by the Dozen. Perennial Classics, 2002.
Kinney, Jeff The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Amulet Books, 2009.
Paulsen, Gary How Angel Peterson Got His Name. Wendy Lamb Books, 2003.
Paulsen, Gary Lawn Boy. Wendy Lamb Books, 2007.
Sachar, Louis Sideways Tales from Wayside School. HarperTrophy, 1978.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Jon Scieszka Worldwide Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges Today:
http://www.jsworldwide.com
Oregon Reader's Choice Award: http://www.multcolib.org/talk/ORCA/2011/guidesknucklehead.html
Interview: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/scieszka
Guys Read: http://www.guysread.com/
Penguin Storytime: The Original Knucklehead:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD1miNeQOw4
Jon Scieszka Official Publisher Page:
http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jon-Scieszka/39548061
Radical Parenting – Parenting Advice Written by Kids:
http://www.radicalparenting.com/2009/01/10/5-funny-stories-adult-logic-is-not-kid-logic
News from Library of Congress:
http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2008/08-001.html
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Scieszka, Jon. Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing up Scieszka.
Viking, 2008.
Publishers Weekly 255(July 21, 2008): 81
School Library Monthly 26(November, 2009): 31
Page 38
Smith, Roland. Peak. Harcourt, 2007.
SUMMARY:
The son of mountain climbing parents, fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a
skyscraper. He avoids juvenile detention when the father he has not seen or heard from in years
takes him to Nepal, where he owns a mountain climbing expedition company. Once there, his
father surprises him by telling him their destination is the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest
mountain in the world. Peak is both thrilled and wary, as he discovers that his father is primarily
motivated by the publicity his company will receive if Peak becomes the youngest person to
summit Mt. Everest. Peak becomes even more concerned when he realizes that his father isn’t
going to climb with him, but instead sends him up an obscure path with a Sherpa guide and his
Nepalese nephew. Peak must face many dangers as climbing up Mt. Everest is literally a life-ordeath expedition.
QUESTIONS:
Why does Peak climb the Woolworth Building in New York City?
Why does the state of New York want to sentence Peak to juvenile detention?
How is Joshua Wood both selfish and caring?
Why does Peak want to summit Mt. Everest?
What do you think of the trash described on Mt. Everest?
Peak’s mother tells him that he needs to be completely selfish in order to be successful on
Mt. Everest. Why do you think she says this?
Peak believes that Sun-jo has a good reason to risk his life. Does Peak also have one?
How are Peak’s sisters, the “two peas,” important to this story?
Why do you think the author has Peak discuss his story in terms of writing a story?
How do you think the Greene Street School has influenced Peak?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
The most risky thing I’ve ever done is . . .
Family members demonstrate their love for one another by . . .
ACTIVITIES:
Identify and learn about the youngest person to summit Mt. Everest.
Research the identity of the first person known in the Western World to summit Mt. Everest.
What is meant by the “Western World” and why is it relevant?
What are the “Seven Summits” in the world of mountaineering?
List the supplies needed for a trip to the top of Mt. Everest.
Create a map of Mt. Everest and the surrounding area, including national boundaries.
Compose a narrative journal of a significant event in your life.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 6 - 8
Page 39
BOOKTALK:
Peak is a fourteen-year old mountain climber, trapped in New York City, so he has taken to
climbing skyscrapers. After climbing the Woolworth Building, he is arrested and is awaiting
juvenile detention. He is saved when his father, who Peak has not seen or heard from in years,
shows up to bail him out and whisk him off to Thailand. Once there, Peak learns that his dad has
a plan for him, to be the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the
world. Peak is thrilled, but a climb up Mt. Everest is literally a life-or-death expedition, as
evidenced by the corpses that lie along the path to the top. If he doesn’t fall into a deep ice
crevasse, oxygen deprivation could kill him. Is the goal of making it to the top of the world
worth the risk of death?
READ-ALIKES:
Chester, Jonathan. Young Adventurer’s Guide to Everest:. Tricycle Press, 2004.
George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain. Puffin, 1959.
McCaughrean, Geraldine. The White Darkness. HarperTeen, 2005.
Korman, Gordon. Everest series. Scholastic, 2002.
McKernan, Victoria. Shackleton’s Stowaway. Laurel-Leaf, 2005.
Mikaelsen, Ben. Touching Spirit Bear. HarperCollins, 2001.
Myers, Edward. Climb or Die: A Test of Survival. Hyperion, 1997.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Simon & Schuster, 1987.
Pfetzer, Mark, and Jack Galvin. Within Reach: My Everest Story. Puffin, 1998.
Skreslet, Laurie, and Elizabeth MacLeod. To the Top of Everest. Kids Can Press, 2001.
Venables, Stephen. To the Top: The Story of Mt. Everest. Candlewick, 2003.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Roland Smith: http://www.rolandsmith.com
Isinglass Teen Read Award, Booktalks inPodcast, 2008-09:
http://home.metrocast.net/~blibrary/teenindex.htm
Nat. Geographic Everest: http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/everest
Everest News: http://everestnews.com
Cleaning up Mt. Everest: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0530/p07s01-wosc.html
Christian Science Monitor -- Jordan Romero: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/GlobalNews/2010/0523/Jordan-Romero-13-summits-Everest-How-young-is-too-young
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Smith, Roland. Peak. Harcourt, 2007
Booklist 103(April 1, 2007):49
Publishers Weekly 254(June 4, 2007): 51
School Library Journal 53(June 1, 2007): 160
Page 40
Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl. Putnam, 2008.
SUMMARY:
Ida Mae Jones shared her father’s dream of flying and her plan was to attend flight training
school in Chicago. When World War II began, that plan changed and her dream was to enlist
and serve in the Women’s Airforce Service Patrol. At that time, African American Women were
not admitted to that branch of the service and Ida Mae made the difficult and frightening choice
to “pass” as a white woman. After going through the cadet training, Ida Mae enters the war
effort with all its challenges and pain.
QUESTIONS:
What were the consequences of Ida Mae’s decision to “pass.”
During the time Ida Mae “passed,” how do you think she felt about herself?
What did Grandy have to say about “passing?”
What were the high and low points of Ida Mae’s experience in the WASPS?
What opinions did Ida Mae’s mother have about Ida Mae and the WASPS?
Flying gave Ida Mae a sense of freedom. What gives you that same sense?
What do you think of the relationship between Jolene and Ida Mae? How is it different from the
relationship Ida Mae had with Patsy and Lily?
What was going on when Ida Mae visited the hardware store to purchase an awl?
JOURNAL STARTER:
My biggest dream is to _________
ACTIVITIES:
Discuss the scene in the book when Mrs. Jones comes to tell Ida Mae that Thomas is missing in
action.
Describe the training program that Ida Mae went through to become a WASP
Research crop dusting.
Collect pictures of planes used during W.W. II
Learn about the lives of Bessie Coleman and Jacqueline Cochran
Discuss the role of African Americans in the service during World War II.
Compare the role of women in the service during World War II and today.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 7-8
Page 41
BOOKTALK:
Ida Mae wants to fly more than anything else in the world. She’s got the willpower and she can
earn the money for training. The biggest obstacle is the color of her skin. When World War II
begins, women pilots are being hired for the Women’s Airforce Service Patrol—white women.
Ida Mae makes the decision to “pass” as white and is accepted as a pilot trainee. She’s a stellar
pilot and makes good friends but holds her secret tight. Follow the story of women aviators at
this time in history and learn the story of this particular “Flygirl.”
READ-ALIKES:
Borden, Louise. Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman. Margaret McElderry, 2001.
McKissack, Patricia. A Friendship for Today. Scholastic, 2007.
Nathan, Amy. Yankee Doodle Girls. National Geographic, 2001.
Peck, Richard. The River Between Us. Dial, 2003.
Rodman, Mary Ann. Yankee Girl, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004.
Verges, Marianne. On Silver Wings. Ballentine Books, 1995.
RELATED WEBSITES:
Sherri Smith: http://www.sherrilsmith.com
Flygirl Discussion Guide:
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/penguin/flygirl_dg.pdf
Women Aviators in World War 2: Fly Girls
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/women-aviators-world-war-ii-fly-girls#sect-introduction
WASP: Women Airforce Service Pilots: http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us
The 99s Inc: http://www.ninety-nines.org/index.cfm/women_in_aviation_article.htm
American Experience---Fly Girls:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/flygirls/peopleevents/pandeAMEX02.html
The History of Jim Crow:
http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/resources/lessonplans/hs_es_passing_for_white.htm
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl. Putnam, 2008
Booklist 105(January 1, 2009): 76
Publishers Weekly 255(December 8, 2008): 59
School Library Journal 55(February 1, 2009): 110
Page 42
Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan. Simon Pulse, 2009.
SUMMARY:
In pre-World War 1 Europe two very unlikely children meet. Prince Alek, whose parents have
just been assassinated, and Deryn, a girl disguised as a boy so she could become an airman.
Prince Alek is escaping in a machine called a Stormwalker. Deryn is working on a whale airship
named Leviathan. When both vehicles crash near the same location, they must work together for
their survival.
QUESTIONS:
Why didn’t Alek believe that Count Volger was acting on his father’s orders?
Why does Alek want to get away from the Darwinists?
Why does Alek call Deryn a “real soldier?”
What do you think is in the eggs that Dr. Barlow has on Leviathan?
Which group could identify with more, the Clankers or the Darwinists?
Which beast or invention did you find the most interesting?
Did the illustrations add anything to your reading experience? Could you have imagined this
world without the images?
Who was your favorite character and why?
Would you like to live in this world? Why or why not?
Is it credible that Deryn is able hide the fact that she is a girl?
Which character do you think is the bravest?
How does Alex’s character change throughout the book?
What do you think will happen next in the story?
JOURNAL STARTERS:
Deryn was the best airman on board the Leviathan because
Alek was not (or is) a very good leader
ACTIVITIES:
Design your own Clanker or Darwinist machine.
Write your own steampunk story.
Research Charles Darwin.
Make your own illustration of Leviathan.
Create a timeline for the events in Leviathan and compare it to a timeline of WWI.
Research Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
READING RECOMMENDATION: Grades 6 -12
Page 43
BOOKTALK:
In this Steampunk alternative history, Scott Westerfeld creates a tense pre-war Europe.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and only remaining family
member of Arch Duke Ferdinand, is running for his life. Escaping from his father’s assassins in a
Clanker Stormwalker, a steam-driven machine made of iron, Alek must make it to a place his
father has prepared as a safe place for his family. Deryn Sharp is a girl disguised as a boy so she
can join the British Air Service. The British Darwinists, have fabricated animals as weapons for
the British Air Service. Leviathan, is such a weapon, a whale airship on which Deryn is
stationed. When the airship and the Stormwalker both crash near each other, Alek and Deryn
must team up to serve and protect each other from the dangers of a pre-war world.
READ-ALIKES:
Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. Dial Books, 2010.
Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn. HarperCollins, 2004.
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass, Knopf, 1995.
Nix, Garth. Keys to the Kingdom (series)
Reeve, Philip. Fever Crumb, Scholastic Press, 2010.
Reeve, Philip. Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of
Space. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2009.
Verne, Jules. 20,000Leagues Under the Sea. E. P. Dutton. 1966.
Wells, H.W. The Time Machine. 1895.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Scott Westerfeld - Author Homepage http://scottwesterfeld.com/
Leviathan Book Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYiw5vkQFPw
Leviathan Webquest https://sites.google.com/site/leviathanwebquest/for-teachers
Keith Thompson – Illustrator Homepage http://www.keiththompsonart.com/index.html
Steampunk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk
The Great War: http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/resources/lesson1.html
Maps of the Great War: http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/maps
Technology, Weaponry and Communications in 1918:
http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/1918/technology
Archhduke Franz Ferdinand http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/ferdinand.htm
BOOK REVIEW CITATIONS:
Westerfield, Scott. Leviathan. Simon Pulse, 2009.
Booklist 105(August 1, 2009): 58
Publishers Weekly 256(August 24, 2009): 62
School Library Journal 55(September 1, 2009): 176
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