Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

by: Lemony Snicket

While vacationing at the beach, the Baudelaire siblings receive the news of their parents' passing. The siblings in turn inherit a large sum of money. The Baudelaires briefly live with Mr. Poe and his wife Polly, sharing a room with their ill-behaved children Edgar and Albert. Soon, their distant cousin, Count Olaf, has been located and they are sent to go and live with him. The children soon learn that Olaf has only accepted their guardianship because he was mistaken that he would receive their vast inheritance. In actuality these funds have been set aside until the eldest child, Violet, turns eighteen. Under Olaf's guardianship, the siblings experience schemes and tricks in order for Olaf to gain control of their inheritance.

This book is made up of a lot of suspense and easily becomes a book hard to put down. There is a lot of new vocabulary and terms that paint a vivid picture in the students' minds. Students could draw pictures or make story boards of the book's events. Readers could also create their own story of where the Baudelaire siblings will end up next.

Princess K.I.M. and the Lie that grew by: Maryanna Cocca-Leffler

Nervous new girl at school tells a lie that seems to get bigger and bigger. On her first day in a new school, Kim Worthington is introduced to the whole class by the teacher. When another girl cries out that her name is Kim, everybody laughs, and the new Kim finds herself weaving a tall tale of her life as Princess Katherine Isabella Marguerite. Her classmates seem so fascinated and attentive that Kim can’t own up to her lie but gets in deeper and deeper. The next Monday morning on the school bus, everyone knows about Kim's lie. Some students had watched Kim’s house over the weekend, accuse her of being “a FAKE!” Finally Kim's grandmother comes and saves her from her big fat lie.

This could be a lesson to students on honesty and the harm that lies can do to them as well as other people.

The Polar Bear by: Hans de Beer

While out hunting with his father, Lars and his father take a brief nap. Lars part of the ice breaks off and he manages to drift off to sea and lands on a tropical island. He has to find a way back to the North Pole safe and sound, his parents are so worried. While lost he meets a whole gang of tropical animals that help return him back to the North Pole safe and sound.

This book would be great for discussing various types of landforms and climates. Also, their could be a lot of discussion on how certain animals can only survive in certain conditions. There is some interesting vocabulary in this book such as the word "camouflage" that could start a lot of conversation. This could be good for talking about some of the special survival techniques animals use.

Above the Clouds by: Jordan Crane

"Above the Clouds" journeys through the adventure of a kid named Simon, who skips school one day with his cat, Jack, to avoid a mean teacher. They climb a magic staircase leading skyward. There, they encounter a sad cloud named Perch and help him with his problems, storm clouds, and an irritable flock of birds.

This book could be a book that students read for fun simply because they enjoy the animation, adventure and graphics. Students could also create their own graphic novel or comic strip. They could create graphic novels to summarize and discuss various concepts they learn in class.

Graphic Novel

Amos Fortune by: Elizabeth Yates

Free Man

Amos Fortune was born the son of a king in the At-mun-shi tribe in Africa. When he was fifteen he was captured and put into slavery. He then became apart of the slave trade and was brought to Massachusetts and sold at an auction. At the age of sixteen he was able to buy his freedom and in turn saved and bought others' freedom. He later married and adopted a child and lived a respectable life in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. He later died there and can be found buried there today. This story is one of strength and determination as readers travel with Amos Fortune to freedom.

Teachers could use this book in their classes when talking about slavery or during black history month. Students would gain a greater insight of the struggles faced by Africans and black slaves during this time period. Also, this book serves as an uplifting story that help students learn the importance of perseverance and working hard to get what you want.

Nonfiction / Biography and Autobiography

Out of the Dust by: Karen Hesse

Billie Jo is a fourteen year old girl living during the Great Depression in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. During this time Billie Jo is struggling with the idea of forgiveness. She is trying to forgive her father for killing her mother in an accident, and her mother for leaving when Billie Jo needed her the most. She also must forgive herself for being the source of her own sorrows. Without any support from her father, Billie Jo must journey to her own happiness through this time of great depression.

When reading this story students can see the large effects the Great Depression had on people financially, as well as emotionally. During her time of sorrow, Billie Jo had to cope and make it through often on her own. For students dealing with hard times at home or at school, a teacher could implement this in the classroom to show students that hard times are common.

Realistic or Historical Fiction

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

BeachCombing exploring the Seashore

Become a Beachcomber and learn about the beach, it's inhabitants, and how they interact together. This book gives an in depth look of the various things readers will see at the beach. From seashells to the coral reef, and sharks, diagrams in the book identifies all types and variations as well as their parts.

This book could be read before Spring Break when students are preparing to go to the beaches or lakes. This could give them somethings to look for while on their trips and provide and educational component to show them that science is every where.

Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction