Tag Archives: family

Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day

Bibliographic Information: Mora, Pat. (2009). Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day. New York: Rayo.

Plot Description: Children are all special and so are books. This bilingual book in English and Spanish celebrates both. It depicts children from diverse backgrounds reading and enjoying books alone or together and at the library. The children are shown listening to stories with their families and reading in various modes of transportation: cars, planes and trains. Children are also shown reading with pets. Then things get fantastical as children are shown reading where books can take their imaginations, such as riding an elephant, sitting in a whale’s mouth, riding in a submarine or in a hot air balloon with a giraffe. Then children are shown in bed reading to the moon and finally flying away with books.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: AD520L Interest Level: Lower Grades

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The book is bilingual Spanish and English, with the Spanish and English next to each other on the same page. The English section includes a few words that are left in Spanish and not translated. Students who do not speak Spanish will be unfamiliar with these words, but most will be able to determine meaning through context clues. The sentence structure is simple and compound. Register is casual and mostly familiar. Illustrations help readers imagine the events of the text, but are not necessary for comprehension. Figurative language is used to emphasize the power of books to transport readers. Metaphors are used to show some of the places readers can go with their imagination and a book. For example, there is an illustration of children reading in a hot-air balloon with a giraffe. The text says, ‘we read in a hot-air balloon,’ which is a metaphor for the children being transported on a hot-air balloon ride by reading a book.

Content Area: Reading, Literature

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Foundational Skills: Fluency: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students find the places children read, according to the book. Ask them to share their favorite places to read. Have students look for unfamiliar vocabulary and then use context clues to work together to discover the meaning of the vocabulary. Have a classroom (or schoolwide) celebration of Children’s day/Book Day. Decorate the classroom for the event. Have students dress as their favorite storybook characters.

Supporting Digital Content:




Awards: ALA Notable Children’s Book, Américas Commended List, Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, Pura Belpré Illustrator Medal Book

Character names/descriptions: There are no characters in the book. Different children are depicted enjoying books in the story, but no one child is featured throughout.

Personal Thoughts: Lovely illustrations showing some of the countless adventures a book can take you on.

High interest annotation: Use this book to get started celebrating Children’s Day and Book Day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Picture Books)

Miss Rumphius

Bibliographic Information: Cooney, Barbara. (1982). Miss Rumphius. New York: Viking.

Plot Description: As a child Alice tells her Grandfather she will travel and live by the sea when she is old, just like him. He makes her promise to do one more thing: make the world more beautiful. Before long Alice is grown up and called Miss Rumphius. She moves away from the sea and works in a library where there are books about far away places. Miss Rumphius visits many of these places, but when she hurts her back on one of her adventures, she decides it is time to move to the sea side. She is almost happy, but she still needs to make the world more beautiful as she promised her Grandfather. The problem is that she doesn’t know how…yet.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 680L Interest Level: Lower Grades ATOS Book Level: 3.8

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story is told by a third person narrator. Miss Rumphius is supposedly the great Aunt of the narrator, so the story is limited to what Miss Rumphius has passed on about her life. The story begins with a paragraph talking about the little old Lupin Lady and then from there goes back in time to when the Lupin Lady was a little girl. The story progresses in chronological order from then on. Language closely adheres to readers linguistic base. Miss Rumphius’ story does not contain events that will be familiar to readers, but they may relate to hearing oral histories from their elders like Alice and the narrator do in the story. The conventionality is largely explicit and easy to understand. The author uses primarily simple and compound sentences with some complex constructions. There is a little bit of figurative language, such as alliteration for the ‘Lupin Lady’.

Content Area: Reading, Literature

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards: Language: Conventions of Standard English: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students think of things they could do to make the world (or their community, school, etc) more beautiful. Alice tells her Grandfather two things she wants to do when she grows up and then he makes her promise to do a third thing as well. Have students write a paragraph about the things they will do when they grow up. On her travels Miss Rumphius makes friends she says she will never forget. Have students write about a friends that they will never forget.

Supporting Digital Content:




Awards: National Book Award; American Book Award

Character names/descriptions: Miss Rumphius, who has three goals in life: to travel, to live by the sea when she is old and to make the world more beautiful.

Personal Thoughts: I love the illustrations in this book. As well as, the ideas of broadening your horizons through travel and of trying to make the world more beautiful.

High interest annotation: Miss Rumphius has adventures traveling the world and then lives by the sea, but how will she fulfill her promise to her Grandfather to make the world more beautiful

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Picture Books)

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Bibliographic Information: Andrews Edwards, Julie. (2004). The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. New York: Harper Trophy.

Plot Description: The Potter children meet an eccentric and brilliant professor who tells them of the special Whangdoodleland where the intelligent and magical creatures have gone when people stopped believing in them. Getting to Whangdoodleland is no easy feat and the children must use their patience and imagination in order to learn to see things in a new light and make the magical journey. Once there, they set out on a search for the last of the really great Whangdoodles (who is the king of the land and the wisest and most generous of all creatures). Along the way they meet a plethora of other magical creatures, such as sidewinders and gazooks. Most are good natured, friendly creatures, but some are not so nice. The ‘oily’ Prock, for example, will do anything he can to keep the humans from reaching the last of the really great Whangdoodles.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 620L, Interest Level: Middle Grades, ATOS Book Level: 4.4

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The vocabulary is mostly familiar, but some phrases are a bit antiquated, such as ‘fiddlesticks’ and may be unfamiliar to young readers. There is also some academic language as the professor explains things to the children. As he explains it to the characters, it is also explained to the reader, so should not pose a challenge to comprehension. Some of the characters’ speech in Whangdoodleland is spelled phonetically to let the reader understand how it would sound, which may be a little confusing at first, for students with low reading levels. The novel also contains some more sophisticated vocabulary, which will challenge and help students grow their vocabulary. Illustrations are not used in the book. According to the author’s note in the front of the book, Andrew’s declined having illustrations added to the story because since it is a book about imagination, she felt it was more authentic to require readers to use their own imaginations to ‘see’ the land she creates in the story.

Content Area: Reading, Literature

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards: Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.4.a Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

English Language Arts Standards: Writing: Research to Build and Present Knowledge: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Curriculum Suggestions: Make a Whangdoodle dictionary to keep track of all the Whangdoodleland specific terms and creatures you come across in the story. Your entries should follow the same format as a dictionary. Include the parts of speech, as well as a definition and example sentence from the text to show how the word is used in context. The professor explains cloning to the Potter children in the story. Do your own research about cloning (in particular animal cloning) and summarize your findings, using proper citation to avoid plagiarism.

Supporting Digital Content:


Character names/descriptions: The Potter children: Ben (13), Tom (10) & Lindy (7), who meet a strange and brilliant professor and travel with him on a quest to find the last of the really great whangdoodles. Professor Savant, a noble Prize winner who leads the children on their quest.

Edition: 30th Anniversary Edition with foreword by the author

Personal Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book as a child and I think its whimsical world holds up to the test of time. Andrew’s creates fantastical characters and lands that will capture children’s imagination well into the future.

High interest annotation: Join the Potter children as they learn to let their imaginations free and journey to the magical world of the last of the really great Whangdoodles.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

The Hunger Games

Bibliographic Information: Collins, Suzanne. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic.

Plot Description: Teenage Katniss lives in a future dystopian society where the elite in the Capitol feast and party, while those in the rest of the country are barely getting by. Katniss does what she can, even if it means defying authority, to help her family survive. When Katniss’ younger sister is chosen for the Hunger Games, a fight to the death sanctioned and mandated by the Capitol, she steps forward and volunteers herself to take her sister’s place, something almost unheard of in the history of the games. Though not as strong or brutal as some of the other contestants, Katniss uses her survival skills to become a contender for victory, but will she have to sacrifice if she is to outlive the others?

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 810L, Interest Level: Middle/Upper Grades, ATOS Book Level: 5.3

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story includes subplots and more complex characters. It is told in first person, so the reader is limited by only knowing what the narrator tells them, but she is a reliable narrator. The reader only knows as much as the narrator knows. Organization is conventional and chronological, with clear transitions to lead the reader through the story. The language is largely explicit with occasion for more complex meaning. Mostly contemporary language, with unfamiliar words, unique to the fictional world, being explained, such as tesserae, which the narrator explains is worth a year’s supply of grain and oil for one person. Many complex sentences with subordinate clauses and transition words. Some themes are clear and others implicit. Themes of varying levels of complexity are explored. Experience portrayed are distinctly different than those of readers. However, readers may relate to themes of taking care of or protecting family or younger siblings.

Content Area: Reading, Literature

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards: Speaking & Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

English Language Arts Standards: Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students research one of the survival skills needed by the Hunger Games contestants, such as basic first aid, hunting, identification of edible plants, archery, camouflage, etc and have them make a how to video on the topic for amateurs. Have students write part of the story from a different character’s point of view, in their chosen point of view, such as journal entry or letter.

Supporting Digital Content:



Awards: SLJ Best Book; Kirkus Editors Choice/Best Book; Publishers Weekly Best Book; VOYA Award/Honor; ALA Notable/Best Books; Horn Book Fanfare; -Golden Duck Award/Nominee; Booklist Editors’ Choice;

Series information: 1st book in the Hunger Games Series

Character names/descriptions: Katniss is the heroine of the novel, she uses her survival instincts to try to stay ahead, Peeta is the other tribute training with Katniss, he is both a possible love interest and enemy in the fight for survival, Prim is Katniss’ little sister, for whom she risks her life.

Personal Thoughts: This book is intriguing, suspenseful and fill of adventure. The romantic element will appeal to some teens, as well.

High interest annotation: Katniss volunteers herself for almost certain death in order to save her sister, but could she possibly have what it takes to save herself as well?

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

The Wanderer

Bibliographic Information: Creech, Sharon. (2000). The Wanderer. New York: Joanna Cotler Books.

Plot Description: This story is told in alternating viewpoints through journal entries written by thirteen year old Sophie and her cousin Cody as they sail across the Atlantic to England, the home of their Grandfather. Sophie is the only girl in a crew of five men (her three uncles and two cousins). There is another reason Sophie is different from the rest of the crew. They have always been family and Sophie only became a part of their ranks three years ago when she was adopted by the uncles’ sister. Sophie is excited to find adventure on the high seas, but she also takes a journey of profound personal discovery. The second narrator, Cody also takes a personal journey as he proves to himself and his family that he has a deep inner strength behind his clowning exterior.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 830L Interest Level: Middle Grades ATOS Book Level: 5.2

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The author uses figurative language, such as personification and similes to make connections within the text. For example, ‘Sophie is like the sea,’ she has different personalities like the sea: calm, still, rough, etc. The author uses alternating points of view in limited first person narration, to show the reader different views of the same story. There is significant complexity and multiple levels of meaning. Some meaning is stated, while others are left to the reader to interpret. Vocabulary is mostly conventional, conversational and familiar. Unfamiliar nautical and boat related terms are explained and easily inferred from context. Sentences are primarily simple and compound, with occasion for more complex phrases and transition words. Experiences portrayed are uncommon to most readers. Not many will have sailed (especially on a long journey) or been adopted (particularly in later childhood). Students may connect with themes of belonging, searching for yourself and grief.

Content Area: Reading, Literature, Geography

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students create a map of the Wanderer’s journey across the Atlantic. Label the important places it sails and crucial events that happen there. Chart the changes that occur for key characters over the course of the journey. Support your answers with details from the text. Sophie is like the sea. Have students pick an element of nature that they are like and explain why.

Supporting Digital Content:



Awards: SLJ Best Book; State Award; Parent’s Choice Award; ALA Notable/Best Books; Christopher Award; Publishers Weekly Best Book; BCCB Blue Ribbon Book; Newbery Honor; Young Reader’s Choice Award/Nominee; Carnegie Medal/Honors; Book Sense Book of the Year Award/Honorees; Booklist Editors’ Choice

Character names/descriptions: Sophie a young girl whose parents died and was adopted three years ago, Cody is her new cousin, who is interested and intrigued by her.

Personal Thoughts: Sophie is a brave and tenacious young girl who makes a wonderful narrator. I also enjoyed the view of Sophie from both her words and those of someone getting to know her.

High interest annotation: Come along on an exciting and perilous journey sailing across the Atlantic, which is also a journey of self discovery for the six wanderers on board

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

Artemis Fowl

Bibliographic Information: Colfer, Eoin. (2001). Artemis Fowl. New York: Laurel-Leaf.

Plot Description: Twelve year old genius, Artemis Fowl comes from a long line of criminals. After his father disappears, it is up to him to regain his family’s wealth by whatever means necessary. He comes up with an scheme to steal gold from the elves by kidnapping and holding LEPrecon Captain Holly Short ransom. He has his loyal bodyguard Butler at his side, as well as the help of Juliet, Butler’s sister. Artemis’ two sidekicks come from a long line of security experts, who have served the Fowl’s for generations. However, the three get more than they bargained for when they go up against Holly’s Commander, Root, who is determined to get her back and brings elf magic, time-stops and trolls enter into the equation.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 600L, Interest Level: Middle Grades, ATOS Book Level: 5

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The book contains some abstract and figurative language, such as the use of alliterations (ex: villainous venture) and similes (ex: mopeds part like fish). Some vocabulary, such as bamboozled, may be unfamiliar to students, but context clues should provide meaning for most. There are many complex sentences, which include subordinate clauses and transition words. Set in our world and a magical world below the earth’s surface, the story will not be familiar to students’ experiences. However, themes of loss, responsibility, and determination may be familiar to some students. The text structure includes subplots and more complex characters. The story is told in the third person and the narrator is reliable, but as the story switches back and forth between the elves’ world and our own, the reader only sees what is happening in one place at a time. There are some references to other works or cultural elements, most are well known, and those of the elf world are explained.

Content Area: Reading, Literature

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3 Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students choose two of their favorite characters from the novel and then look for descriptions or passages in the text that explain who the character is (their personality). Students then draw what they imagine the character to look like and copy the passage they found under the picture. Have students look for passages that describe the setting (both underground in the elf world and above ground where the Mud People reside). Compare and contrast the two different settings and discuss how the difference in setting affects the actions of the characters and their strategies.

Supporting Digital Content:






Awards: BCCB Blue Ribbon Book; Young Reader’s Choice Award/Nominee; VOYA Award/Honor

Series information: 1st book in the Artemis Fowl Series

Character names/descriptions: Artemis Fowl, a twelve year old criminal mastermind. Butler, his bodyguard. Juliet, Butler’s sister. Elf Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon, who is kidnapped by Artemis.

Personal Thoughts: I found that I did not sympathize with Artemis as much as I generally do with a main character. He is a cheat and a criminal, but I thought I would grow to like him and I didn’t really. I felt more for the faerie characters.

High interest annotation: A criminal mastermind plots against the elf people to steal their gold. Who would dare invoke the wrath of these magical creatures? Twelve year old Artemis Fowl, that’s who

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

The River Between Us

Bibliographic Information: Peck, Richard (2003). The River Between Us. New York: Dial Books.

Plot Description: Tilly lives a quiet life with her family (mother, twin brother and younger sister) on top of the hill above town (Devil’s Backbone). One day as war is brewing, Tilly and her family’s lives change forever. When the town dance is interrupted by the whistle of a ship coming into port, the whole town rushes down to the river to meet it. As people shout up to the ship for news from down river, two mysterious women, Delphine and Calinda, come down the gangplank. Tilly’s mother takes the women in as boarders and all manner of fascinating objects come with them from corsets, to spices, to lamp oil. Tilly is having the time of her life with these strange visitors, until war breaks out and her brother Noah leaves to join the army. One night Tilly wakes to find her mother in a trance demanding that she go get her brother Noah and not to return until she has him with her. Thus Tilly and Delphine head off in search of Noah.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 740L Interest Level: Upper Grades ATOS Book Level: 4.9

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Shifts in time and point of view at the beginning and end of the novel, may cause confusion for a few readers, but most should not have any trouble because the shifts happen at chapters and the years are noted under the chapter number. At the end of the book there is a note from the author about the period around the civil war and what life was like during that time, as well as the cultural and societal effects of the war. There is some unfamiliar vocabulary from the time period, but context provides meaning for those phrases. Also, a few characters occasionally speak in French. Most of these instances are then repeated in English, so they do not impede comprehension for non-French speakers. Experiences will not be familiar to students, but some may relate to loss, hardship or racism experienced by the characters. Some meanings are left to the reader to identify, but they are usually revealed later in the story.

Content Area: Reading, Literature, History

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students analyze a primary source from the Civil War Era to gain more background about the time in which the story takes place. Do a cross curricular unit with History and English, where students learn about the Civil War in their history class and apply that knowledge to understanding the novel. Teach students about foreshadowing and have students find examples in the novel and make predictions based on the foreshadowing. Have students keep a journal of any unfamiliar vocabulary they come across, with notes on whether or not they are able to discern meaning from the context. Delphine talks a lot, but doesn’t reveal much about her situation. Keep track of any personal information she reveals and compare them for accuracy. Does her story change over time?

Supporting Digital Content:





Awards: Scott O’Dell Award; ALA Notable/Best Books; Parent’s Choice Award/Honor Book; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Booklist Editors’ Choice; ALA Best Book for Young Adults; BCCB Blue Ribbon Book; IRA’s Teachers’ Choice Award; Great Lakes Book Award/Honor

Character names/descriptions: Tilly tells most of the story, she is 16 when the Civil War breaks out. Noah is Tilly’s twin brother who goes off to join the war, Cass is their little sister who can see things others can’t, Delphine is a mysterious and extravagant young woman who arrives by riverboat late one night, Calinda is the young black woman traveling with Delphine.

Personal Thoughts: I loved Richard Peck’s Blossom Culp stories as a child, so I was excited to see he has some very recent publications, such as this novel. There are some of the same supernatural elements in this story, as there are in the Blossom series.

High interest annotation: On the eve of the Civil War, two mysterious young women arrive on the last riverboat out of New Orleans and change the Pruitt families lives forever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Bibliographic Information: Konigsburg, E. L. (1967). From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Plot Description: When Claudia decides to run away, she plans very carefully and enlists her younger brother Jamie as her partner in crime because he can be counted on to keep quiet and he is rich from saving up his allowance and winnings from playing cards on the bus to school. Claudia and Jamie use their cunning (and a train pass found in the garbage) to get to New York City, where they go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once there, they stash their belongings behind tapestries and in a sarcophagus and hide in the bathroom stalls at closing time. They find a 16th century bed to sleep in and make themselves at home. During the day they tag along with school groups to learn something about everything. When an Angel statue comes to the museum the two children decide to try to solve the mystery of who sculpted the beautiful work and along the way meet Mrs. Frankweiler, the angel’s previous owner.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 700L Interest Level: Middle Grades ATOS Book Level: 4.7

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story begins with a letter from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Then commences a third person account of Claudia and Jamie’s exploits. Throughout the story are little asides from the narrator (Mrs. F.) to her lawyer, Saxonberg, who is the recipient of the letter and story. Most students will not have trouble understanding the shifts from the main story to the side notes from the author as she mentions Saxonberg’s name in them or uses parentheses to show it is an aside to the story. The novel has two storylines, that of Jamie and Claudia and also Mrs. F’s, which intersect in more than one way. A few illustrations are used at various points to enhance the text, but they are not necessary for understanding. The conventionality is largely explicit and easy to understand, with some occasions for more complex meaning. Conventional, conversational language is used. Experiences of hiding out in a museum will not be common to readers, but themes of running away and being independent will be familiar.

Content Area: Reading, Literature, Mathematics

Content Area Standard:

Mathematics: Expressions & Equations: Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations. CCSS.Math.Content.7.EE.B.3 Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. For example: If a woman making $25 an hour gets a 10% raise, she will make an additional 1/10 of her salary an hour, or $2.50, for a new salary of $27.50. If you want to place a towel bar 9 3/4 inches long in the center of a door that is 27 1/2 inches wide, you will need to place the bar about 9 inches from each edge; this estimate can be used as a check on the exact computation.

English Language Arts Standards for Speaking & Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have a class discussion about wants versus needs. Talk about spending and have students make a budget, like Claudia and Jamie. Have students take a virtual tour of the Metropolitan museum of Art and write about their favorite pieces, then discuss and share with the class. Have the class read and discuss the article from Met Kids about how the author came to write Claudia and Jamie’s story at the Met.

Supporting Digital Content:





Awards: Newbery Medal; NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts; SLJ Best Book; ALA Notable/Best Books

Character names/descriptions: Claudia the mastermind behind running away to the museum, her younger brother Jamie who is in charge of finances for the two, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler who is the narrator and former owner of the Angel statue.

Personal Thoughts: I enjoyed this adventure in the city, particularly because I have always been fascinated by museums and their priceless treasures. The two children reminded me of squabbles with my own younger brother as a child.

High interest annotation: When Claudia and Jamie ran away and took up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they never imagined they would become mixed up with the mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

My Name is Yoon

Bibliographic Information: Recorvits, Helen (2003). My Name is Yoon. New York: Frances Foster Books.

Plot Description: Yoon is a young girl who has just moved to the United States from Korea. In preparation for going to school she must learn to write her name in English. She does not like the way the lines and circles of her name look standing alone, instead of ‘dancing together’ as they do in Korean. On the first day of school the teacher shows pictures and sings a song about a cat. Yoon does not know what the word CAT means, but she knows what the picture says. The teacher gives her a paper to practice writing her name, but instead of Yoon, she writes CAT over and over. The teacher says, “so you are Cat?” and the girl behind her giggles. Each day she imagines herself as something else and writes that instead of her name. One day she makes friends with a girl who gives her a cupcake and she writes Cupcake on her paper instead of her name. The teacher smiles when she reads it. When Yoon gets home she sings a song she learned in English for her parents and tells them about her new friend. They are very proud. The next day at school she could hardly wait to write. This time she wrote Yoon.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 320L Interest Level: Lower Grades ATOS Book Level: 2.3

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The text consists of simple sentences. The reader sees Yoon’s name written in Korean, but it is explained what the symbol means. The story is told through the eyes of a young girl. Sentences are not complex. They are simple, as if a child were talking. The pictures help to illustrate the meaning of the text. For example, when Yoon wishes she were something else, like a cat, a bird or a cupcake, she is drawn as those things to show what she is imagining. The pictures are not necessary for comprehension, but they help the story come to life. Poetic language is used as Yoon makes her wishes, using metaphors to say she is different things. Organization is sequential and chronological. Explores themes of adjustment, as Yoon begins her life in the US. Experiences may be familiar to immigrant students and show other readers what the immigrant experience is like for children.

Content Area: Reading, Language Arts

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: College and Career Readiness: Anchor Standards for Writing:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

Curriculum Suggestions: Ask students what their names mean. Have them research their names and write about whether or not they think their name fits them. Then have students create acrostic poems with their names.

Supporting Digital Content:



Awards: ALA Notable/Best Books; SLJ Best Book; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Booklist Editors’ Choice; Ezra Jack Keats Award

Character names/descriptions: Yoon, a young Korean girl who has just moved to the US and at first experiences some trouble adjusting to her new home.

Personal Thoughts: This would be a great book to share with ELL, for them to connect with Yoon’s character and her initial discomfort in her new country, but also for other students to better understand how immigrant students feel and perhaps make them more accepting.

High interest annotation: Yoon doesn’t like the way her name looks in English. When her new teacher asks her to write her name, Yoon imagines all types of creative things to be instead of Yoon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Picture Books)


Bibliographic Information: Yashima, Taro (1958). Umbrella. New York: Viking.

Plot Description: Momo is given two gifts on her third birthday: a pair of rubber boots and an umbrella. She is so excited that she wakes up in the middle of the night to look at them, but the next day it does not rain. Nor the next day, nor the next. Momo wants to use her umbrella, but the rain does not come. She thinks of other reasons besides rain, for using her umbrella, like to shield her eyes from the bright sun. Her mother tells her to save the umbrella for a rainy day, so she keeps waiting and waiting. Finally, after many days it rains. In her excitement to get out in the rain, Momo pulls on her boots without socks and rushes outside to experience the sound of rain on her very own umbrella for the first time.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: AD480L Interest Level: Lower Grades ATOS Book Level: 4

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Organization of the text structure is clear, chronological and easy to predict. Illustrations directly support and assist in the understanding of the story, but are not necessary for comprehension. The language is largely explicit and easy to understand, with some occasions for more complex meaning. For example, Momo thinks it is a very special day because she uses her umbrella for the first time. Her mother shares that even though Momo does not remember the events of the story, it is an important day in her life because it is the first time she walked alone, without holding one of her parent’s hands. The vocabulary is familiar, though some of the wording is a little strange, such as Momo asking, “Why the rain doesn’t fall?” because the character is a small child, who is still learning language. Sentences are mostly simple and compound, with some complex phrases. There are no references to other texts. Experiences of being excited about something will be common to readers and many will also know the frustrations of not being able to use something they are excited about having.

Content Area: Reading, Language Arts

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration:

English Language Arts Standards for Speaking & Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students identify characters and discuss their actions. Have students compare characters lives to their own using Venn diagrams or semantic maps. Students retell the story in their own words.

Supporting Digital Content:



Awards: Caldecott Honor

Character names/descriptions: Momo is a three year old Japanese American girl living in New York City who loves the umbrella she got for her birthday and longs for the rain to come so she can finally use it.

Personal Thoughts: This is a sweet story that will be enjoyed by children and parents, as both will be able to relate to characters in the book.

High interest annotation: Momo can’t wait for it to rain so she can use her new birthday boots and umbrella

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Picture Books)