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Uptown

Bibliographic Information:

Collier, Bryan (2000). Uptown. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Plot Description: The narrator, a young boy, takes the readers on a journey through Harlem. Pointing out all the people and sights along the way like chicken and waffles any time of day, the busy shopping streets, jazz music, the Apollo Theater, the barber shop, the brownstone buildings, a basketball game, church, choir practice, etc. Everything in Harlem is vibrant and full of life through the little boy’s eyes. Then night falls and it is time to return home. Harlem is his world. Harlem is Home.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: AD420L, ATOS Book Level: 2.8, Interest Level: Lower Grades (K-3), AR Points: 0.5

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Organization is clear and easy to predict. The book is illustrated with collages of photographs, paintings and drawings, which support interpretation of the text. Figurative language features prominently in the book. Metaphors are used throughout the text to say that Uptown is all its parts and the events and activities that happen there. For example, Uptown is a caterpillar or Uptown is chicken and waffles. Each page features a metaphor for Uptown and then the narrator’s explanation of the metaphor. Readers are supported in understanding the figurative language with explanations and illustrations. The journey through Harlem is told in first person narration, by a young African American boy who lives there. The register is casual, but poetic and the tone conveys a sense of pride in the narrator for his home.

Content Area: English Language Arts, Art: Mixed Media

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Reading: Literature

Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Production and Distribution of Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students discuss the use of collages to illustrate the book, then have them make collages to represent their own neighborhoods. After making their collages, students can discuss their neighborhoods and write about them. Have students analyze the use of rhythm in the story and try to use rhythm in their own writing about their neighborhood. Students can present their collage while sharing what they wrote.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://www.teachingbooks.net/book_reading.cgi?id=3726&a=1

http://2009bookclubblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/uptown_30.html

http://www.teachersforjustice.org/2010/02/visual-arts-lesson-plan-that-allows.html

Awards: NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts; Award Winners-Ezra Jack Keats Award; Award Winners-Coretta Scott King Award/Honors; Award Winners-Marion Vannett Ridgway Award/Honor Books

Character names/descriptions: The unnamed narrator who is a young boy living in Harlem.

High interest annotation: Journey through Harlem with the joyous young narrator and see his home as he does.

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Uptown

Bibliographic Information:

Collier, Bryan (2000). Uptown. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Plot Description: The narrator, a young boy, takes the readers on a journey through Harlem. Pointing out all the people and sights along the way like chicken and waffles any time of day, the busy shopping streets, jazz music, the Apollo Theater, the barber shop, the brownstone buildings, a basketball game, church, choir practice, etc. Everything in Harlem is vibrant and full of life through the little boy’s eyes. Then night falls and it is time to return home. Harlem is his world. Harlem is Home.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: AD420L, ATOS Book Level: 2.8, Interest Level: Lower Grades (K-3), AR Points: 0.5

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Organization is clear and easy to predict. The book is illustrated with collages of photographs, paintings and drawings, which support interpretation of the text. Figurative language features prominently in the book. Metaphors are used throughout the text to say that Uptown is all its parts and the events and activities that happen there. For example, Uptown is a caterpillar or Uptown is chicken and waffles. Each page features a metaphor for Uptown and then the narrator’s explanation of the metaphor. Readers are supported in understanding the figurative language with explanations and illustrations. The journey through Harlem is told in first person narration, by a young African American boy who lives there. The register is casual, but poetic and the tone conveys a sense of pride in the narrator for his home.

Content Area: English Language Arts, Art: Mixed Media

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Reading: Literature

Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Production and Distribution of Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students discuss the use of collages to illustrate the book, then have them make collages to represent their own neighborhoods. After making their collages, students can discuss their neighborhoods and write about them. Have students analyze the use of rhythm in the story and try to use rhythm in their own writing about their neighborhood. Students can present their collage while sharing what they wrote.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://www.teachingbooks.net/book_reading.cgi?id=3726&a=1

http://2009bookclubblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/uptown_30.html

http://www.teachersforjustice.org/2010/02/visual-arts-lesson-plan-that-allows.html

Awards: NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts; Award Winners-Ezra Jack Keats Award; Award Winners-Coretta Scott King Award/Honors; Award Winners-Marion Vannett Ridgway Award/Honor Books

Character names/descriptions: The unnamed narrator who is a young boy living in Harlem.

High interest annotation: Journey through Harlem with the joyous young narrator and see his home as he does.

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Grandfather’s Journey

Bibliographic Information:

Say, Allan (1993). Grandfather’s Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Plot Description: A young man recounts his Grandfather’s journey from Japan to America, where he explores and never misses home. He loves California and brings his bride there and they raise a daughter in San Francisco. However, as time goes by, his Grandfather misses his homeland and longs to return to the country of his birth. When is daughter is almost grown he can no longer wait and moves his family to Japan. The young man remembers his Grandfather’s stories of life in America and the last time he sees him, he dreams of once more visiting America. The young man follows in his Grandfather’s footsteps-traveling to America and making a home there, but he still has a longing in his heart for Japan and must return when it gets too strong. Their shared experiences help him understand his Grandfather and miss him very much.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: AD650L, ATOS Book Level: 3.6, Interest Level: Lower Grades (K-3), AR Points: 0.5

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The text organization is clear and chronological. Illustrations directly support the interpretation and understanding of the text, but are not necessary for comprehension. The language is contemporary and familiar. It adheres closely to the reader’s linguistic base. The text is easy to understand and most is literal, though some inference is needed for the parts about the war and the songbirds. The sentence structure is primarily simple and compound, with some complex sentences. The theme is clear, but has some subtlety in the way it is conveyed. The experience of feeling torn between two homelands may be familiar to some immigrant students, but will not be common to others. Some cultural elements are conveyed through illustrations, such as the picture of Grandfather in his ‘European clothes’ as well as pictures in traditional Japanese clothes. There are no allusions to other texts.

Content Area: English, Literature

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards Reading: Literature

Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.9 Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series).

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students discuss their own travels (vacations, trips to see family friends or relatives, etc). How did they get there? How long did it take? How is the place different from their home? Have students read the companion book by the same author about the narrator’s mother’s story as a girl growing up in San Francisco and then moving to Japan. Compare and contrast the two stories and the characters feelings about their native and adopted lands.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://westonwoods.scholastic.com/products/westonwoods/study_guides/GFJourneySG.pdf

http://www.ailf.org/teach/lessonplans/p13_grandfathersjourney.pdf

http://readingtokids.org/Books/BookView.php?pag=3&bookID=00000387

Awards: ALA Notable/Best Books; Award Winners-Horn Book Fanfare; Award Winners-Booklist Editors’ Choice; Award Winners-NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts; Award Winners-Parent’s Choice Award/Honor Book; Award Winners-BCCB Blue Ribbon Book; Award Winners-Caldecott Medal; Award Winners-Boston Globe/Horn Book Award/Honors; Award Winners-SLJ Best Book

Character names/descriptions: Grandfather-he leaves Japan and goes out to see the world as a young man, then settles in California, but cannot stop the ache that he feels for Japan as he gets older. His Grandson narrates the story and has similar experiences.

High interest annotation: Can your home be two places simultaneously?

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