Monday, June 4, 2012

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

File:Diary of a wimpy kid.jpgIn the story Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney, it follows the life of a 6th grade boy.  The book is a fictional biography about the life of Greg Heffley.  He really hates school because none of the girls in his class like him, and all of the boys bully him.  He has a best friend named Rowley who he gets into a lot of trouble with.  Greg goes through several mishaps during the year.  Find out if Greg can survive the 6th grade. 

This has to be one of the most relatable books that I have ever read.  There are several experiences that the characters go through that are similar to those that normal students would go through.  Something that is really nice about this book is the cartoons that are in the story.  It helps the students gain an understanding of what is happening while also putting a fun twist to the story.  This is one of those books that I would just have in my classroom library for the students to read on their own.  There are several books that belong in this series, so it would be a good idea to have a few of them in the classroom.  I highly recommend this book. 


File:Frindle cover.gifIn the story Frindle, by Andrew Clements, it follows a boy that is creating a new meaning to words. At the start of fifth grade, Nicholas "Nick" Allen is unhappy because his English teacher is the much-disliked Mrs. Granger. One day, to stall for time in class, Nick decides to question where each word comes from. After hearing Mrs. Granger's explanation, and having to write an essay about it for homework, he creates a new name for the pen: "frindle".  Soon, every child in school is using the word, and it gains national attention. Mrs. Granger dislikes this new word because she thinks it is not respectful to the word pen, which has a long history. Find out what happens when the new word gets national exposure.

This is a great book to have in the classroom for students to read.  There are several people in the book that students can relate to.  This is also an experience that many students would like to do, but know that they can't.  This book could be used either as a read aloud during any free moments in the class, or the students could read it on their own.  It is a very funny book that I highly recommend for every classroom.   

Eyes on Nature Dangerous Creatures

Genre Presentation Book 2

Storms and People

Genre Presentation Book 1

The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane

Content Related Picture Book 4

I Face the Wind

Content Related Picture Book 3


Wind (First Starts)

Content Related Picture Book 2

Wonderworks of Nature Storms: Nature's Fury

Content Related Picture Book 1

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior

 In the story Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior, by Ed Clayton, it follows the incredible life of the great Martin Luther King Jr.  This story describes many of the key moments of his life, providing facts about him that not everyone may have known.  It follows him from the way that he was brought up, all the way to his death. 

This is an incredible story to have in the classroom.  There are just so many different things that it could be used for.  In the story, it will give students a better insight on who Martin Luther King Jr. was, and the influences he had on the United States.  This book is a very quick and easy read that several students would enjoy reading.  I would definitely have this book in my classroom library. 

Waynetta and the Cornstalk

In the children's book Waynetta and the Cornstalk, by Helen Ketteman, it follows one girl's journey to support her family.  Waynetta is a girl that comes from a poor family.  Her mother sends her to sell one of the cows so that they can support the family, but she instead trades the cow for some magic corn.  After Waynetta plants the corn, she wakes up to find a giant cornstalk in her field.  Find out what happens when Waynetta goes on a journey to find out what is waiting for her on top of the cornstalk. 

This is an excellent picture book to have in the classroom.  It is about a third grade level, and most students could either read it to themselves, of it could be used as a read aloud.  What is really nice about this book is that it is a contemporary version of Jack and the Beanstalk. The students could read both of the stories, and then compare and contrast the two versions of the story.  The vocabulary in the story is vocabulary that the students will be able to read, and they should also be able to comprehend the story.  What my reading buddy really liked about this story was all of the pictures.  The illustrator uses bright colors that everyone will enjoy.  I highly recommend this book. 

Roughing it on the Oregon Trail

Read Aloud

The Hunger Games

Book Club 3

Miracle on 49th Street

Book Club 2

Walk Two Moons

Book Club 1

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Wide Window

File:The Wide Window USA.PNGIn the story The Wide Windo, by Lemony Snicket, it follow three siblings on an adventure that will never seem to end.  Sunny, Klaus, and Violet arrive to meet their new guardian Aunt Josephine.  Their aunt is a woman that is afraid of everything.  After her husband got eaten by leaches, she won't touch anything.  Later in the story, they find that a hurricane is coming, so they need to go into town for some supplies.  This is where they run into Count Olaf.  He is still after the siblings fortune, but Aunto Josephine doesn't believe them.  Find out what happens when the Sunny, Klaus, and Violet deal with yet another series of unfortunate events. 

This is an excellent book to have in the classroom.  The book is part of a series, so I don't think that it would be a good book to read out loud.  I would have this story in something like a classroom library for the students to read on their own.  The story includes many different things that students would enjoy.  There is humor, action, suspense, and many other things that go on.  There are also qualities in the characters that students will relate to.  I have seen both boys and girls read books from this series.  This is one of those stories that once you read one, you have to read the next one, and it continues until you read them all.  If you were to have these in your classroom library, you would need to have most of the series as well so that the students can continue to read them.  In most cases, this series can be found in elementary libraries, so if you don't have the in the classroom, they can find them there.  I highly recommend this story.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Charlotte's Web

File:CharlotteWeb.pngIn the story Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White, follows the journey of a great pig.  Wilbur is a pig that when he is born he is the runt of the litter.  The farmer is about to kill him until his daughter Fern wants Wilbur to live.  Wilbur is very hyperactive, and really likes exploring new things.  Wilbur is then sold to Fern's Uncle.  After Wilbur becomes very lonely, he meets a spider named Charlotte.  After Wilbur is told that he is going to be eaten for Christmas dinner, he turns to Charlotte for some help.  They decide that if Wilbur becomes famous, then they won't kill him.  Find out what happens when Wilbur tries to not get butchered.

This is a story that any teacher could read in just about any grade.  I have heard of teachers that have used it as a read aloud during work time, or some teachers just have it in their classroom library.  That is how I got a hold of it.  It is a very good story that all of the students would really enjoy.  When I started my practicum, the teacher had just finished the story, and all of the students were listening from start to finish because they wanted to know what would happen next.  This is a very fast read, so it could be read either while the students are working on something, or if there is a time during the day where the class is starting to relax.  Something that is very nice about this book is that there is also a movie about it.  After the class is done reading the story, they could then watch the movie.  I highly recommend this book to every teacher. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

In the story The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, follows the adventure of a boy on a great adventure.  Percy Jackson is a twelve year old boy, diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, who has been expelled from six schools.  While he is on a class field trip, one of his teachers turns out to be one of the three furies, and attacks him.  In the middle of the night, his best friend tells him that the Furies are going to attack him, so Percy, his friend, and his mom leave.  Percy’s mother is taking him to Camp Half-Blood.  This is a camp for demigods.  When they get there  Percy’s mother is kidnapped by a minotaur.  While at the camp, Percy finds out that he is the son of Poseidon.  Zeus believes that Poseidon and Percy have stolen his lightning bolt, and so Percy must go on a quest to find it.  Find out what happens on Percy Jackson’s great adventure to find the missing lightning bolt. 
This is one of the books that all of the students in my class have told me how good the story was.  I had seen the movie, but I really wanted to read it.  This is one of those times where the book is way better than the movie.  This book could be used as either a read aloud or as an independent read.  There is a lot of references to Greek mythology, so this would be a great book to read if there is a unit on it.  There is also a great message in this story.  It is all about overcoming adversity, and so there is a lot of aspects that students could really relate to.  When the class is done reading the story, they could even watch the movie.  This would even be a good way to have a writing assignment.  Since the book and movie are so different, they could compare and contrast the two.  I highly recommend this book for every classroom.  

Artemis Fowl

In the story Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer, follows a twelve-year-old through a magical journey.  Artemis Fowl is the son of an Irish crime lord.  He believes that he has confirmed the existence of fairies.  Artemis tracks down a sprite and tries to find a Fairy Holy Book.  He is able to crack the code of the book by using one of his computers.  It also states the proper Ritual in which one buries an acorn to regain his or her powers. Apart from Artemis and his bodyguard, no humans are said to have seen the Book.  Artemis tries to find more information on the ritual, and watches Captain Holly Short as she tries to do the ritual.  He then kidnaps her, and asks for gold in exchange for her.  Find out what happens in the incredible journey of Artemis Fowl.

This is a great story to have in the classroom.  I could really see this book being used as either a read aloud or just to have in the classroom library for independent reading.  There is a lot of action, suspense, and magical elements.  There is something in the story that numerous students will enjoy.  This book is pretty long, so I don’t know if I would use it as a book club book.  Artemis Fowl is extremely descriptive, and once the students start reading the story, they won’t want to stop.  This book is part of a series, so if students enjoy the first book, they can read the second.  I highly recommend this story!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride

In the story Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride, by Pam Munoz Ryan, follows the lives of two heroic women.  The story starts off by two friends talking on the phone about going to a dinner party hat Eleanor's house.  It turns out that these two women are Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart.  The two women are going to have dinner and talk about what is going on in their lives.  The biggest topic of conversation is about what it is like to fly at night.  This leads to a suggestion that really sets the tone for the rest of the story. 

This is a really good story to have in the classroom if you are teaching about American heroes, Amelia Earhart, or Eleanor Roosevelt.  This book gives some brief details about what they are interested in, along with what they are most know for.  It will show a side to these women that most people wouldn't know from just reading history books.  What is kind of interesting is that their is even a recipe for one of Eleanor Roosevelt's favorite desserts in the back of the book.  The best part is really in the authors note.  In this section it goes into more detail about these two women, so if the students want to know more, then they can.  I recommend this story for the classroom library.

Hate That Cat

In the book Hate That Cat, by Sharon Creech, follows the journal entries of a creative young boy.  This story is about a boy named Jack, who is writing in his journal for school.  The book starts off with Jack explaining why his uncle doesn't believe what he write is poetry.  He then compares some of his own personal situations with poems that they are either reading or writing in the classroom.  With every single poet they learn about, Jack always asks if the poet is dead or not. At one point in the story, Jack starts going off on how much he hates cats which leads to a whole new situation.  Find out what happens when Jack thinks that he just hates cats.

Hate That Cat is a follow up story of Love That Dog.  This is a story that really needs to be used in just about any classroom.  I have spoken to teachers that read it while her class is writing their journal entries.  It can be used to introduce journals, poetry, creative writing, or just about anything.  What is nice about it is that it is a very quick read, that anyone can enjoy.  In my 3rd grade classroom, there were several students that had read it, and the librarian said that it is very popular with the older grades as well.  Students will read it because it appears easier than other stories, but they end up enjoying the story's humor.  Something that is really nice about this story is that it has a lot of different poetry used throughout the story.  The kids will be able to hear Jack's interpretations of the poems, but there are also parts of the poems in the story.  In the very back of the book, there is every single poem that is talked about.  The students can read the full length poems.  All I can say is that if you read this story, you have to read Love That Dog as well.  You can't go wrong with having this story in the classroom.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh, Say Can You Say?

In the children's book Oh Say Can You Say?, by Dr. Seuss, is a book full of fun tongue twisters.  This book gives several different situations that look at the lives of several different characters.  It talks about Bed Spreaders, Bread Spreaders, and several other characters.  Each page has several different rhymes that makes the story really fun to read. 

This is a story that would be a really fun book to have in the classroom.  It is a really fun read aloud book for the younger kids, but it is still a pretty easy read.  In this story, it is a typical Dr. Seuss story that all the kids will enjoy reading.  This is one that I just read with my reading buddy.  He really had fun reading it, but it was pretty difficult for him.  There are several made up words that the students may struggle with.  We ended up reading it together, and it really seemed to help.  This is one of those books that it is really impossible to check the students for reading comprehension.  There are so many random ideas throughout the story, that it is very hard to follow.  Something that my reading buddy really enjoyed was the all of the fun pictures.  Dr. Seuss has a lot of fun pictures that have very bright colors.  It really catches the attention of the readers.  Overall, I think that it would be a great idea to have this story in the classroom.   

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

 The story Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos, is a story about a boy that suffers from ADHD.  This story starts off with with a boy named Joey talking about how he is a very wired kid.  He just can't sit still. He can't pay attention, he can't follow the rules, and he can't even help it.  Joey has had ADHD ever since he was born.  This is a problem that both his grandmother and father both have had.  He seems to always get into some trouble.  This happens when he is wreaking havoc on class trips, or if he is swallowing the key to his house.  Some of his behaviors are so off the wall, that his teacher is threatening to send him to special ed.  With Joey, he is a really good kid, but no matter how hard he works, bad things always happen.  Find out what happens in this great story.   

This is a great story that should be read in the classroom.  There are always students that will find a way to relate to Joey in some way.  The book is well written, and there are several students who would really like to hear the story.  Some of the students could even could read this story on their own.  The message that is great in this story is that every student is different, but being different is really a good thing.  Students that suffer from ADHD or any other problems, will find that they have someone to relate to.  There are people out there that go through the same things that they do.  I highly recommend this book.    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon

In the children's book There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent, is about a boy who has an adventure with his pet dragon.  This story is about a boy named Billy who finds a dragon in his bedroom.  Every time that he ignores the dragon, it grows a little bit more.  He does this because there is no such thing as dragons.  The dragon does all that he can to get a little bit of attention, but he is always ignored.  At one point, he is the same size of the house, but the family still won't acknowledge that he is there.  You will have to read the story to find out what happens with a growing dragon. 

This book is a very simple book that Vale Elementary School's library has listed at an upper third grade level, but it is still a pretty easy read.  I read this story with my reading buddy, who is at a low reading level, and he really enjoyed the story.  There were a few hidden meaning in the story that went over his head, but he still liked it.  There is a hidden meaning that if you ignore something that is manageable, it will grow and grown until it is nearly too big to control.  This would really have to be a book to have in a classroom library for the lower level readers.  The vocabulary is simple, but if there are students that struggle reading, this would be a great book to start with.  What studenets will like are the pictures.  They really look like the comics that some kids like reading in the news paper.  This is just a fun story that lower level kids will really want to read.

The Phantom Tollbooth

In the children's book The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, is about a boy who learns to appreciate the ordinary things in life after he embarks on a wondrous journey.  The story is about a boy named Milo that is in a really bad funk.  There isn't anything that interest him.  After he returned from school, he found a giant toy tollbooth that is inside a package.  Once he put the tollbooth, he took a ride in his toy car through the booth.  When he does this, that is when the true adventure begins.  While he is there, he travels to many different lands.  He goo through the land of words, Dictionpolis, and Digitopolis, the land of numbers.  He meets several different strange characters along the way.  Find out if he is able to find out if he can find something that is interesting to him.

This is a great adventure story that would be enjoyed by several students of any grade third through sixth.  With the younger grades, it would probably have to be a read aloud, but some of the older students could read it independently.  Something that I really enjoyed about this book is the theme is all about education.  The boy is bored in the story, but he travels to a land with a city of words and numbers.  Every little thing in this story has something related to learning.  When students read this story, they will really enjoy the pictures.  The story has a few black and white drawings, that will really keep the students interested.  Each one depicts the characters in a quirky light.  I really enjoyed reading this story. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

You're Only Old Once!

The children's book You're Only Old Once!, by Dr. Seuss, gives a comical view about going to the doctor's office.  This story follows an old man that starts his journey in the waiting room as he reads a National Geographic. Once he gets called back to see the doctor, he finds himself being tested form many things.  At one point he is given both an eyesight and solvency test.  The further the book goes, the more stressed out the character gets.  Every time that he gets called back, they run another test.  There is one part that says "When at last we are sure you've been properly pilled, then a few paper forms must be properly filled so that you and your heirs may be properly billed (pg. 35)."  You will have to read the rest of the story to find out what happens to the poor old man. 

This is just another great children's book that is written by Dr. Seuss.  This book is meant for the older students.  At the Vale Elementary library, it is listed at a fifth grade reading level.  I could use this book as something that would be in my classroom library.  The fact that  it includes the funny looking machines, and a slight fear of the unknown of a doctor's office, will really give the students something to relate to.  Every machine that is listed is made up, and all of the characters names goes with whatever their job is.  This will keep the students really entertained.  I found myself laughing out loud while reading this, so I know that many students will do the same.  I highly recommend this story!

Maniac Magee

The chapter book Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli, follows the life of a boy that has been through numerous hardships during his life.  After the tragic death of his parents, Jeffrey Magee is left an orphan at the age of three.  He is then moved to a town that is very divided between the black East Enders from white West Enders.  This is where he meets Amanda Beale.  He borrows a book from her.  While he is there, he does some very outrageous things, and it earns him the nickname "Maniac." After a series of mishaps, he is then bounced from home to home.  Find out what happens when a great boy struggles through life as an orphan. 

This is an incredible story that a teacher should have in their classroom.  This story is about a boy who struggles with finding his identity.  One of the biggest theme in the story is about race.  The entire town is very racially divided.  This could really give students a first look at what some of the key issues are with racial differences.  The story really has a great way of incorporating literature.  The main character is able to find an escape while he reads his stories.  There are also several other situations that use reading.  There is even one point in the story where he teaches another person how to read.  There are several things in this story that children can relate to.  Some will relate to the part where the female character saves Jeffrey, or just the fact that it is about finding their individual identities.  Many of the students will love reading this story.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amazing Snakes!

In the story Amazing Snakes!, by Sarah L. Thomson, talks about snakes.  This book gives a lot of information about a ton of different types of snakes. There are several fun facts that go with great pictures of the snakes.  Some of the facts include: snakes can sleep all winter, they can grow as long as a school bus, they swallow their food whole, and many others.  People will have to read this story to find out more.

What I liked most about this story is all of the great pictures that it had.  I really hate snakes, but the pictures were fun to look at.  I read this story with my reading buddy, and he really liked it.  He really enjoys learning things about different animals, so this gave him the chance to learn something new.  This would be a really good book to have in the classroom library.  If the students are learning about snakes, it will give them something to refer back to.  In my classroom, most of the students that read this story were the boys, but there is something in the story for everyone to enjoy.


File:Rulesnovel.jpgIn the story Rules, by Cynthia Lord, follows a girl on a quest to find out what is really considered normal.  The story is about a girl named Catherine who has a brother has who has Autism.  She always wished that her brother was more "normal" so she doesn't have to remind him to do things like keeping his pants on in public.  She decides to make a list of rules that her brother must follow.  During the summer, she meets a boy named Jason.  Jason is paraplegic.  As she gets to know him, she really starts to wonder about the true meaning of being normal.  Find out what happens in an incredible book. 

I highly recommend this story to be in classrooms.  The reading level is listed at a fourth grade level, but I would almost put it at a high level because I am not sure if students that age are ready for the content.  This story is relatable on many different levels.  Autism is a common trend in elementary classrooms, and this story sheds light on the disabilities.  This story has the purpose of telling kids that there is no such thing as being "normal."  Every student is different, and so everyone should be treated with respect.  The students that read this book will need to be more mature in order to get the message that is in the text.  It really forces the students to think about how they look at others, and the students should at least be given the opportunity to read this.  I think everyone should read this story!

Th Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

In the chapter book The Mostly True Adventure of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick, follows a young boy during the Civil War.  The story is about Homer P. Figg.  Homer is an orphan that follows his brother.  Homer's brother was illegally sold to the Union army, and so he wants to find him.  On his journey, he comes across a wide variety of people that have a large impact on his life.  Some of these people include: Slave Snatchers, a traveling medicine show, and several other people.  All of the events lead him to Gettysburg.  Find out what happens when Homer P. Figg is on the journey of a lifetime. 

This book is a great example of a book that is considered historical fiction.  It will give students an idea about what life was like during the Civil War.  A teacher could either have this story in their classroom as a read aloud, or just to have in the classroom if you are teaching anything on the Civil War.  The plot line moves very quickly, and the students will be hooked on it from the start.  Something that students will really find interesting is the fact that the story follows an orphan that will stop at nothing to be joined with the only family that he really has left.  It sends the message that students should never give up regardless of the struggles that happen.  I really enjoyed this story!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Out of the Dust

The story Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse, describes the life of a young girl.  In this story, it follows a young girl named Billie Jo.  Billie Jo's family is really struggling in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression.  During this time, her family is already having a hard time when tragedy strikes.  After a big accident, her mother dies.  This leaves Billie Jo with even more responsibilities.  Find out what happens in this amazing story. 

This is a great book that would be great to have in any classroom library.  It is a great example of free verse poetry, and it also has a good storyline to go with it.  It includes many historical aspects that would give the students a great idea about what things were like back then.  I found it to be a quick read because of the way it is formatted.  I just couldn't stop reading it, because I was getting more insight on what it was like during the Dust Bowl.  There are several aspects that both boys and girls can relate to.  The story is listed at a 5th grade reading level, but it could be used for older grades as well.  I really recommend this story.

Julie of the Wolves

In the story Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George, describes the journey of a young girl.  After the death of her mother, Miyax her father was raising her as a traditional Inuit.  When she turned nine, she was taken away by her aunt, and was enrolled in an American school.  At this school, she was around Americanized Eskimos who would only call her Julie.  Once she is older, she finally deiced to escape.  She decided to leave for San Francisco to meet her pen pal.  On her journey, she got lost in the Alaskan tundra.  She is then forced to use the skill her father taught her, and this is when she befriends a pack of wolves. 

This is a great story to have in the classroom for the older grades.  It shows the class an outlook at a different culture than their own.  The story is amazing because it really is a story about the survival of a person.  There is also the theme of overcoming adversity.  The author is great at describing the scenarios to the point that it feels like you are there with them.  This is a book that the students could read either on their own, or it could also be as a reading group book.  It is a story that could be liked by both boys and girls.  The girls can relate to the female aspects, while the boys might like the adventure that the girl is on.  This book includes many different things that students might be able to relate to.  I highly recommend this story!

The Twits

In the story The Twits, by Roald Dahl, it describes the life of the two meanest people on the planet.  The book is about Mr. and Mrs. Twit.  During the story, they are absolutely horrible to each other.  For the first chapter, they spend the entire time pranking one another.  At one point, Mr. Twit shaves off pieces of Mrs. Twit's walking cane to make her think that she was shrinking.  This continues throughout the chapter.  In a separate chapter, they make really like to eat bird pie.  To catch the birds, they cover their tree with glue, so  that when the birds landed on the tree, they were stuck.  Each chapter has many similar events, and the chapters get better as the story goes on.

This story would be a great book to have in the classroom.  It can either be used as a read aloud or just to have for the students to read independently.  The book really includes humor and great description.  The way the the author is able describe the characters makes it extremely easy to get a picture in your mind about what the characters look like.  I read this story with my reading buddy, and he really enjoyed it.  The story even has a great moral to it.  The book is all about being nice to others, and if your aren't bad things could happen.  The reading level is listed as a  5th grade, but students ofmany different grades have read it.  This is one of those stories that when you start reading it, you don't want to stop. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

In the story The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis, follows a group of friends that are on an adventure of a lifetime. Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace are brought into Narnia through a painting on a wall.  They land in the middle of the ocean, where they are taken aboard the ship, the Dawn Treader.  On the ship is Prince Caspian, a character from the previous book.  Prince Caspian is out to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia.  Withh each island that they stop at, they find another clue about what happened to the Lords of Narnia.  Find out what happens when the adventure continues. 

I had read the first couple of books of this series, but never read this story until after I watched the movie.  I decided that I wanted to find out how this book was.  It was great! This book was a great story that should be read in just about every single classroom.  It is the perfect balance between action, adventure, and imagination that students need to hear.  This book could be used as either a read aloud, or the students could read it on their own.  If a teacher has this book in the classroom, they will need to have the others as well.  Once you start reading them, you won't want to put them down.

Bud, Not Buddy

In the story Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis, it follows a boy's quest to find his father during the Great Depression.  In the story, Bud Caldwell lost his mother.  All that he is left with is  bag of rocks and a photograph of his mom as a child and fliers that show Herman E. Calloway and his jazz band.  After escaping a bad foster home situation, Bud decides that he will look for Herman E. Calloway.  He believes that this man is his father.  On this journey, he meets many new people, and it turns into an adventure of a lifetime. 

This would be a great book to read in the classroom.  The book can be placed in a classroom library for students to read, or the teacher could read it out loud.  It talks about a young boy's determination and drive to find his father.  There is really a good message behind this story that students might be able to relate to.  It also helps that the main character is ten years-old.  I highly recommend this story for any classroom!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stranger in the Woods

In the children's book Stranger in the Woods, by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick, is about a stranger that appears that catches the interest of all of the forest animals.  In the beginning of the story, all of the animals are told that there is a stranger in the woods.  Each animal gets a little bit nervous, so they decide that they need to investigate.  When they finally see the animal, they all argue over who is going to get a closer look.  Find out what happens when the animals look at the stranger in the woods. 

This book is a great book to read to kindergartners.  The book does a great job at giving the animals human-like qualities.  Something that I really enjoyed is the pictures.  All of the pictures in the story are photographs.  With each photograph, the authors give their own interpretation of what is going on, and it really makes a great story.  This is one of those books that could be used either during the winter months, or even when a teacher is introducing wildlife.  I really recommend this book to be used in the classroom. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Green Wilma Frong in Space

In the children's book Green Wilma Frog in Space, by Tedd Arnold, is about a frog named Wilma that gets accidentally abducted by aliens.  One day while Wilma was chasing a fly, she is taken into a space ship.  The aliens thought that she was someone else.  While she is in space, the aliens find out that she is not who they think she is.  Find out what happens when Wilma is trapped in space. 

This book is a great book to read to kindergartners.  I just read this book to the class, and they really loved listening to it.  The pictures are really fun for them to look at.  If someone is teaching a unit on frogs, this would just be a fun book to introduce the topic.  I highly recommend this book!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

In the children's book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett, is a story about a land where the weather storms are a little unusual.  In the story, instead of normal weather, they have storms that rain down food.  In this land, they don't have any grocery stores, but get all of their food supply from the various storms. After a period of time, the weather slowly gets worse, making life much more difficult.  Find out what happens when the people struggle to survive due to too much food. 

This is a great story that any student would love to either read or listen to.  It is a very creative storyline, that anyone would have fun with.  This would be a great book for a teacher to read to a class when they are learning about weather.  The book would be a fun way to introduce what weather is.  There could also be many fun creative writing assignments that could be made from this book.  This is a classic book, and it should be read in every classroom. 

The Pout-Pout Fish

In the children's book The Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen, it tells the story about a very depressed fish.  Throughout the entire story, the Pout-Pout fish goes around and pouts. Every time one of his friends tries to cheer him up, he just tells him that he is who he is, and just leaves everyone else feeling down.  When he leaves each place, he leaves it a little darker than when he found it.  Find out if something makes him change. 

This book is a fun book to read in the classroom.  I have read this with my reading buddy, and he really enjoyed reading it.  The pictures are really fun to look at, and it is really funny.  The book really shows that there is always a new way to look at situations that can make them better.  I highly recommend this book. 

Playful Little Penguins

The children's book Playful Little Penguins, by Tony Mitton, is about a group of penguins who go out on an adventure.  There is a group of penguins who decide that they want to go out and play.  After a long day of playing, they decide to go hunting for some fish.  While they are out in the ocean, they find a baby seal who can't find his mother.  Find out what happens in this great adventure. 

This is a really fun children's book that can be read to kindergartners.  This book not only has a fun use of rhyming words, but the picture are great to look at.  A teacher could use this book for a great writing assignment during the winter.  I really think this would be a great book to have in a classroom. 

Planet Earth

The children's book Planet Earth, by Leonie Pratt, is a book that talks about all the great things about the Earth.  This book talks about a wide variety of things that are found on the Earth.  Some of these things include: volcanoes, underground caves and rivers, coasts, deserts, and many other things.  Each page gives a brief description of the topic, and has several pictures on each page that shows the topic. 

This would be a great book for Kindergarten through 2nd grade if the teacher was teaching about the earth.  All of the facts are basic enough that the students will understand the content, and the pictures are great as well.  The students would have a great time even just looking at the pictures.  What is nice about this book is that there is a glossary in the back of the book with pictures and definitions of Earth vocabulary.  There is also a website that will provide students an opportunity to get more information about the Earth, along with activities that they can do 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Junie B., First Grader Shipwrecked

Junie B., First Grader Shipwrecked, by Barbara Par, is a young chapter book about the great Junie B. Jones.  In this book, Room One is going to put on a play about explorers that are looking for the New World.  Junie B. thinks that she is going to be the star of the play.  The only problem is that not everything is going over as smoothly as she would like it.  Many things that could go wrong start to.  Find out what happens when Junie B. Jones is involved in a school production.

This is a great book to read to an entire class.  This can be used whenever there is any quiet time, and the students would all love to listen to it.  The book is just like every other Junie B. Jones book from a humour stand point.  I highly recommend that any person read this book. 

Knuffle Bunny A Cutionary Tale

Knuffle Bunny A Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems, is a children's book about a girl named Trixie and her bunny.  The story starts with Trixie going to run an errand with her dad.  Her and her dad were going to the Laundromat.  On the way home, Trixie realized something, but couldn't say the words to tell her dad.  She began to throw a giant temper tantrum, and continued the entire way home.  When they got home, Trixie's mom was asking the dad where Knuffle Bunny was, and that is when they realized that they lost Knuffle Bunny.  Read the book to find out what happens next. 

This book is an amazing children's book that should be read by teachers.  The best part is how they put the animated characters onto real photographs.  I haven't ever seen a book like it.  It is just a really fun book that the students will really enjoy. 

Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson, is a chapter book about two friends who create an imaginary land called Terabithia.  Jess and Leslie are two friends that create this kingdom that is only accessible by rope swing over a creek.  While they are in Terabithia, it is the only place that they can face their fears that haunt them in their real lives.  Find out how their friendship grows, and ends with the unexpected.. 

This would be a great book to read to a classroom.  It is all about using your imagination to create a wonderful new place.  I don't want to give away the ending, but the ending is the only reason that I don't know if I would read it.  It would still be a great book to include in the classroom if the students want to read it individually.   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Kindergarten

The children's book My Kindergarten,by Rosemary Wells, is a story about a group of students' first year of school.  This story is about a little girl that goes through each month of her schooling.  Each month provides activities that the students are doing in the classroom.  Some of these activities include songs and looking for weeds and seeds.  The more activities the students do, the more the students find they have in common, and they become friends. 

This is a great book, because it not only gives ideas about what a kindergarten teacher can teach, but what parents can do to prepare their students for kindergarten.  The book shows that a classroom can be fun for the students.  It covers just about every aspect of a kindergarten classroom. Something that is very interesting about this book is that the illustrator uses animals instead of kids.  This will make it more fun for the kids to look at.  I really think this book should be used in a classroom. 

Love That Dog

The story Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech, follows the progression of a student's willingness to accept poetry.  In the story, it is the journal entries of a student named Jack.  Jack is a boy who in the beginning really hates poetry.  He doesn't understand poetry, and he certainly won't write it either.  Jack thinks that poetry is just for girls.  Each journal entry has Jack explaining what he thought of the poem that they went over as a class.  The further the book goes, the more Jack finds himself enjoying writing the poetry.  At first he won't let his teacher write his name on the poetry, and then as the book goes on it changes.  Find out what happens in this great book. 

This is a great book to use to introduce journal entries.  My practicum teacher has told me that she used it by reading it as the students would write their own journals.  The teacher would read the date in the book that matched the actual date. Love That Dog does a great job at making the statement that it is ok to appreciate poetry.  It really shows the progression of a student, and it will relate to how the students might be feeling. 

The Tale of Despereaux

In the chapter book The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, describes the journey of a mouse that is unlike any other mouse. When Despereaux was born, he had very large ears, and his eyes were wide open.  This made him a disappointment to his family.  He is very strange beacuse he enjoys reading books, isn't afraid of humans, and he doesn't scurry.  One day, he hears music and follows it. The music leads him to a king and his daughter.  After he meets the princess, he falls in love with her.  Since Despereaux is considered odd, the mouse council sentences him to the dungeon.  They sent him there so he would be killed by the rats.  You will have to read the book to find out what happens next.

This chapter book is separated into four books.  Each book is about a different character's perspective. This books is a very creative story that could be read in just about any classroom.  It would be one to read if there is any free time, or if the class is working.  The characters are all very well developed, and are at times relateable.  I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The chapter book Wringer, by Jerry Spinelli, is about a boy who is from a town that annually has a fundraiser where they shoot pigeons with shotguns to raise money for a playground.  In this town, ten-year-old boys all learn how to find the pigeons that aren't dead, and wring their necks to put them out of their misery.  The main character, Palmer, refuses to participate in this, but is later shamed into going by his friends.  While he is their, Palmer finds a pigeon that he names Nipper.  When he decides to release the bird, he finds out he released the bird near the sight that they were catching pigeons for the fundraiser.  You will have to read the book to find out if he is able to save Nipper or not.

This book is too mature for children in the grades kindergarten through third.  It is a great book, but it deals with more than little kids could understand.  This book includes the life and death of animals, but the I don't think the younger students will get that the young children are killing the pigeons.  This is a book that would be great for a fifth grader.  The difficulty level in this book is pretty high, but it is very manageable.  This is an amazing book that should be read. 


The book Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, is about a 13 year old boy that is on a plane to Canada to visit his father.  On his way, the pilot has a heart attack and the plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness.  The only tool that he has is the hatchet that his mom gave him before he left on the trip.  The boy is then forced to learn how to start fires and hunt in order to survive.  While he is stranded, he is left with thoughts of things he wished he would forget.  You will have to read the book to find out what happens. 

This is a great chapter book to read to students.  The book provides a great example to use when teaching the development of stories.  Hatchet will show students about problems and solutions.  This book is all about the will to survive, and will be a fun book to read throughout the year.  It is extremely discriptive, and makes you feel like you are actually with the character.  It is obvious why this book is an award winner!

The Lion and the Mouse

The children's book The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney, is a story about a mouse and a lion.  In the story, the lion catches the mouse when he accidently wakes the lion up.  The lion then lets the mouse go.  When the lion is then walking around, he becomes trapped in a net, and can't get down.  After countless roars, the mouse hears his cries for help.  Find out what happens when the lion's life rests in a little mouses hands.

This is one of the best wordless books that I have seen in a long time.  The book gives a fresh take to the old classic by the same name.  The artwork in this book is what really makes it special.  All of the illustrations really help give an understanding of what is going on in the story.  The Lion and the Mouse has a great moral in the story, and will send a good message to students in the classroom.  I highly recommend this book. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Don't Eat the Teacher1

In the story Don’t Eat the Teacher!, by Nick Ward, it talks about a shark named Sammy who has his first day of school.  Sammy is extremely excited about his first day of school.  The only problem is that when he gets too excited, he has a tendency to eat things that he shouldn’t.  Read the story to find out what Sammy goes through on his first day of school.
                This would be a great story to read to students on their first day of school.  It is about someone that is really excited to be at school, but does things that he shouldn’t do.  The book teaches that it is ok to have fun as long as you remain behaved.  There are parts in this story that the students could really participate in.  Throughout the story, there is the word “Crunch!” used several times, and the class could say this during the story.  This story is a fun one that uses many bright colors in the illustrations.  The pictures alone should keep the students engaged throughout the book.  This is just a fun book to read to the class!