A. Award Winning Books
Book Title: “Ruby on the Outside” BY: Nora Raleigh Baskin
Genre: Award Winning
Book Review: This book is about a girl named Ruby Danes that meets a new girl in her neighborhood named Margalit. Ruby and Margalit are friends but Ruby doesn’t want to tell Margalit about her secret. Her secret is that her mom has been in prison for six years and is supposed to serve ten more years. She keeps this secret to herself and she struggles with having to keep it. She experiences great anxiety about it. Friends are supposed to tell each other things like this so they can help each other get through them.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students the importance of true friendship and being non-judgmental. We each go through things that we may be embarrassed about, but we have no control over it. It is okay to talk about these things because if we don’t, we can develop anxiety. I would teach my students the signs and symptoms of anxiety.
Book Title:”I am Trying to Love Spiders” By: Bethany Barton
Genre: Award Winning
Book Review: This book is about being scared of spiders and trying to learn to love them. However, each time the narrator tries to find something to love about them, they once again get scared. Children learn the unique things about spiders such as they are covered in hair, their many eyes, their eight legs, their webs, and that only a few can bite humans.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students that it is okay to be scared of things. However, we should try to get over these fears in order to appreciate those that we once feared.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.bethanybarton.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuIoP58P69o
Book Title: “Dumplin” By: Julie Murphy
Genre: Award Winning
Book Review: This story is about a girl named Willowdean Dickson, also known as Dumplin by her mom. Her mom was a beauty queen growing up and is still such a slender and beautiful woman. Willowdean was not your typical beauty queen and she was not close with her mom. She felt as if her mom pushed her to the side and loved the girls she trained for beauty pageants more than her. Dumplin decides one day to join the beauty pageant that her mom is over. She wants to show all girls that any body is a bikini body. While she didn’t win, she gained a lot of respect from those in the town.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students that all bodies are beautiful. We are not supposed to bash ourselves for not looking like a model. We are who we are and we can only look like us. The students would be able to watch the Netflix movie after reading the book to be able to get a better visual understanding.
d. Author Website/Twitter: https://juliemurphywrites.com/dumplin/
Book Title:”Bayou Magic” By: Jewell Parker Rhodes
Genre: Award Winning
Book Review: This book is about a 10 year old girl named Madison, or Maddy for short. She is the youngest of five sisters. Her family visits their Grandmere in New Orleans down in the bayou. Maddy's sister think that their Grandmere is strange but Maddy develops a deep connection with her. She finds a mermaid in the bayou and Maddy learns about their family’s magical legacy. She is faced with having to try to save the bayou from an oil leak.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach the students the folklore and southern traditions of the people down in New Orleans and Louisiana. My dad’s side of the family is from Louisiana so I would be able to give them great insight as to the way the people live there and the unique traditions that they have.
Author Website/Twitter: http://jewellparkerrhodes.com/children/books/bayou-magic/
Book Title: “Code of Honor” By: Alan Gratz
Genre: Award Winning
Book Review: This book is about a boy named Kamran Smith. He is very popular in school, plays football, and wants to join the Army. He looks up to his brother, Darius who is also in the Army. Kamran and Darius’ family comes from Iran but Kamran has always thought of himself as being 100% American. His brother is soon accused of being a terrorist. Of course, Kamran does not believe it. However, he soon sees videos of his Darius threatening the country. Kamran’s friends turn on him and think he is a terrorist also. Kamran works hard to clear his brother’s name and he has to choose whether to be loyal to his brother or loyal to his country.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students that no matter someone’s skin color or ethnicity, we must not assume that they are something they are not. People are so quick to judge when one person from a family makes a bad decision, they think that the entire family is bad. Everyone is their own person and we must not judge someone based on another person’s character.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.alangratz.com/
Book Title: “I am Abraham Lincoln” By: Brad Meltzer
Book Review: This book explains the life of Abraham Lincoln in a fun conversational way that children could easily understand. The book showed how Lincoln was different from his peers. He stood up to those that bullied others and was a voice for people who couldn’t speak up for their own. Children can see these characteristics of Lincoln and read about how he led the country to abolish slavery. It follows his presidency, the Civil War, and the Gettysburg Address.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would give each of the students a small blank booklet. After collectively reading “I am Abraham Lincoln”, they would each write about Lincoln in their booklets. They could write about his life, his accomplishments, or simply their opinion of him. Afterwards, each student would share with the class what they wrote and why they thought what they wrote was significant.
Author Website/Twitter: http://bradmeltzer.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkuskEPB6e0
Book Title: “A Picture Book of Helen Keller” By: David A. Adler
Book Review: This picture book tells the story of Helen Keller. The children will learn that Helen Keller was not born blind and deaf. They learn that she got sick as a baby and thus became blind and deaf. She was able to talk as a baby but since she got sick and lost her sight and hearing at such a young age, she could not remember how to speak. Helen Keller was an extremely frustrated child because she was unable to express herself or communicate with those around her. She became mischievous and had a short temper. Her parents did everything they could to help her by taking her to the doctor. Soon, her parents hired a teacher that taught her sign language. Her teacher was Anne Sullivan and, in the beginning, Helen did not want anything to do with her. Eventually Anne was able to break through with her and taught her hundreds of words and how to read braille. When Helen Keller was 10 she wanted to learn to speak, she did so, however it was not easy to understand Helen’s words. Helen Keller grew up to write many books about her life and gave speeches with her teacher in front of big audiences. Helen worked for years for the American Foundation for the Blind, visited injured soldiers at the hospital, met Kings and Queens, and received many awards.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would have the students create a timeline of when major events happened in Helen Keller’s life. While there are not many dates in the book, it is clear which significant events happened before and after one another. Another activity would be to give the students foam earplugs and tell them to close their eyes. They would have to slowly navigate through the classroom without being able to see, hear, or talk. This would help the students to better understand the frustration that Helen Keller felt when she was not able to do the things she once was able to do.
Author Website/Twitter: http://www.davidaadler.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I4WuPucI6I
Book Title: “Anne Frank: The Young Writer who told the World her Story” By: Ann Kramer
Book Review: This book starts out with explaining just how Anne Frank was exactly like all her classmates and friends. Her family moved from Germany to Amsterdam because the Nazi’s and Hitler were growing in power. In Amsterdam, Anne and her family were able to have a fresh start. That is until they heard rumors that Jews were being taken from their homes. Anne’s father took the family to hide in an annex that was located within the place he worked. His co-workers agreed to hide them and helped with preparing the place. There was another family that lived with them in the annex, the Otto’s. During the day, the Frank Family and the Otto’s were not able to speak or walk around because not everyone that worked in the building knew they were hiding there. After the work day, they could have a little more freedom. However, they were to never go outside, look out windows, or open any windows. For two years they quietly hid in the annex and lived off of mainly potatoes. Anne wrote in a diary that was given to her as a gift and this is how we know firsthand of what life was like for Anne Frank in hiding. They were discovered on August 4th, 1944 by the German police. The entire family was taken and separated into concentration camps. In the camps, Jews were chosen to either go to the gas chambers to meet their death or remained in the camps to work. Anne and her sister died a few days apart from each other. This book goes into detail of how the Jews were treated by the Nazi’s and all the wrongdoings that went on.
Lesson Plan Idea: This book contains a lot of different dates. The students would create a timeline of Anne Frank’s life. Each student would not have to create one for her entire lifetime, however the students would be grouped together and would each be given a certain section. For example the groups would contain the early years, right before hiding, her time hiding in the annex, and after being discovered.
Author Website/Twitter: http://www.annkramer.co.uk/AK_New_Site/Welcome.html
Book Title: “Sacagawea” By: Stacy DeKeyser
Book Review: This book tells the story of Sacagawea in a more informational way, so it is for older students such as fifth and sixth graders. The children will follow the adventures and the of the Shoshone girl named Sacagawea. She joined Lewis and Clark on a journey to discover new territories in North America. Though Sacagawea lived outside of the what was then United States, she helped Thomas Jefferson to create a bigger and more powerful United States. Sacagawea acted as a translator, a guide, and showed Lewis and Clark which plants were edible. For about two years, they traveled far and wide charting territories.
Lesson Plan Idea: The book contains a map of the routes that Sacagawea, Lewis, and Clark took. The class would identify significant places along that route.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.stacydekeyser.com/
Book Title: “I am Neil Armstrong” By: Brad Meltzer
Book Review: This is another one of Brad Meltzer’s famous “I am” books. The children read about Neil Armstrong’s childhood. He loved to solve problems and to be high in the air. The story emphasized to never give up and always work hard. When Neil was 6 years old, he flew in his first airplane and he loved it. He became obsessed with planes and saved his money for flying lessons. He got his pilot’s license before he got his driver’s license. Neil went to college and studied engineering. During the “space race” Russia sent the first satellite, two dogs, and first human to space. President Kennedy wanted to put a man on the moon. Neil’s Armstrong engineering background and love of being in the air lead him to become an astronaut. He became the first man to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong’s infamous first words on the moon were, “That’s one smalls step for man, one giant leap for mankind." At the end, the reader is encouraged to learn more about engineering as a future career.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would ask my students what they want to be when they get older and how they think that career would change the world. Neil Armstrong became an engineer and was the first man to walk on the moon, which became one of the most significant historical events for the United States and even the rest of the world.
Author Website/Twitter: http://bradmeltzer.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUdLBGzXrkA
C. Pictures Books before 1970
Book Title: “Jumanji” By: Chris Can Allsburg
Genre: Picture Books Before 1970
Book Review: This book is about two children that find a board game while they are bored at home alone one day. The two kids, Peter and Judy play Jumanji despite the warning that is given. They must not start the game unless they intend to finish, because once started they cannot stop playing. The curious chidlren play and realize that the board game is not like any other game. Everything comes to life and they are left to face consequences of the game. They play and play until the game finally ends. The two return the game where they found it and their parents find them asleep in their beds when they come home.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students the theme of the book, to not start something that they are not willing to finish. The children in the book did not listen to the instructions and started the game, once they started they did not want to continue playing but they knew that they had to. Out of moral respect for yourself, you must not begin something and then decide that you don’t want to do it anymore.
Book Title: “Madeline” By: Ludwig Belmelmans
Genre: Picture Books Before 1970
Book Review: This book is about a little girl named Madeline that goes to school in Paris with other little girls. She is mischievous and charming at the same time. She stood up for herself and was fearless. She was smart and strong. All of the Madeline series books including the original, teach young girls that they can do anything they want to do. There is nothing wrong with being a girl that speaks up for themselves and is witty.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach the students in my class, especially the young girls that they do not have to confine to the social norms that the world sets for them. They are allowed to do things that is not deemed as socially appropriate for girls to do, as long as it is no harm to them.
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFaKBDYYJgw
Book Title:”Corduroy” By: Don Freeman
Genre: Picture Books Before 1970
Book Review: This book is about a teddy bear that waits every day for someone to buy him from the window of the store he sits in. A girl by the name of Lisa comes in one day and wants to buy him. However, her mom says no because he is missing a button. Corduroy searches the entire store to find a button to replace the missing one in hopes that Lisa will get to buy him. He never finds a button but he does get bought by Lisa and finally has a friend and a place to call home.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students that we may not be perfect in everyone’s eyes, but we are perfect in someone’s eyes. And that is all that matters. We are all worthy of being loved exactly the way we are.
Book Title: “Best Word Book Every” By: Richard Scarry
Genre: Picture Books Before 1970
Book Review: This book is the beginning of Richard Scarry’s “Best Ever” series. The book covers all sorts of subjects like sports, houses, airports, cars, food, and more. Each page contains different pictures of these subjects as well as words to describe them.
Lesson Plan Idea: Each day I would challenge my students to learn a new word from this book. This would help to enhance their vocabulary in a fun way.
Book Title:”The Giving Tree” By: Shel Silverstein
Genre: Picture Books Before 1970
Book Review: This book is about a boy and an apple tree. The tree continuously gives everything it possibly has to the boy throughout the years. As the boy grows older, the tree still refers to him as a boy. He always takes what the tree gives him and gives nothing to the tree in return. He takes for granted all the times the tree has done good things for him and one day the tree is gone and there is only a stump there. At the end of the book, the boy is an elderly man and the tree tells him that she no longer has anything to give him. The boy tells the tree that he simply just wants a place to sit down and rest. The tree is able to provide exactly that for him which is ultimately the tree’s last thing to give.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students to not take anyone for granted. We are to be nice to those who are kind to us and return the favor. I would also teach my students the importance of preserving our plants in the world. The world is continuously losing different species of plants and animals that provide us with food and oxygen to breathe. We are to be kind to nature and in return it will always be able to provide us with the things we need.
Author Website/Twitter: http://www.shelsilverstein.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWu_eJTlngs
Book Title: “Charlotte’s Web” By: E. B. White
Book Review:This children’s novel is about love, friendship, and giving those that we doubt a chance. Wilbur is a pig that was born as the runt of a litter on a farm. The farmer, Mr. Arable, wanted to do away with Wilbur when he was born because he knew that the pig would never be able to sell. The daughter, Fern, convinces her dad to keep the pig and throughout the novel, the two become very close. Wilbur’s best friend in the barn is a spider, Charlotte, that can spin words in her web. One day she spun the words, “Some Pig” and Mr. Arable sees the message and decides to take Wilbur to the county fair because he took the words as a sign. Wilbur drew a lot of attention at the farm and Mr. Arable grew to love him also. At the county fair, Charlotte laid eggs in a sack but sadly died before making it back to home to their barn. Wilbur carries her sack of eggs home and when they hatched, most left but three stayed. Wilbur lost his friend but gained three more through what Charlotte left behind.
Lesson Plan Idea: Just like Charlotte spun a web with words that lead to Wilbur’s life being saved, I could have my students create a poster of the same thing. The students would make a campaign poster in hopes of saving Wilbur. They would use words that they think are significant and describe Wilbur in an extraordinary way. However, they are not to use the same words that Charlotte used in the novel.
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgsD-xdJdoM
Book Title:”Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” By: C.S. Lewis
Book Review: The theme of this novel revolves around good and evil, betrayal and forgiveness. Four children leave their hometown because of WWII and are taken in by a professor. The children play hide-and-seek in the mansion to pass by the days since they have nothing else to do. One day, one of the little girls hides in a wardrobe and is transported to a magical land called Narnia. She eventually shows her siblings and they all go to Narnia. Within the land they face trials and the temptation to turn on one another. They battle with an evil witch and make friends with a magical lion named Aslan. They learn to love Narnia because it seems like they belong there.
Lesson Plan Idea: The students can learn to make a map of the land of Narnia by using the novel to find where significant places such as castles, forests, houses, and the magical creatures live. This allows the kids to use their imagination as well as get a sense of direction and an overview of how maps can be used to find places.
Author Website/Twitter: http://www.cslewis.org/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc8387H7oYc
Book Title: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” By: Roald Dahl
Book Review: This novel is about Mr. Willy Wonka’s magical Chocolate Factory. Willy Wonka wraps five chocolate bars with golden tickets and whatever child finds one of these golden tickets got to visit the factory. Willy Wonka takes the children and their parents throughout his factory and shows them all of his latest and greatest inventions. Each time, Wonka instructs the children that the inventions are not yet done, not to touch them, and he still has some kinks to workout for the final product. However, each child except for one, Charlie, does not listen and wants the invention for themselves. The children are all spoiled and do not understand the concept of self-control and manners. The children that don’t listen face things such as turning into a blueberry, being transported into a tv, and even falling down into a bad goose egg pit. Charlie fortunately gets through the tour and his prize for winning is the Wonka’s beloved chocolate factory. The book ends with Charlie being the new owner of the chocolate factory.
Lesson Plan Idea:While reading the book as a class, I can instruct the students to invent something at home to bring into the classroom when we have finished reading the novel. Willie Wonka’s inventions were unique such as bubblegum that contained a five-course meal and the never-ending gobstopper. Of course, the students would not be able to create things like this, but their goal would be to create something that is wacky and unique.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.roalddahl.com/home/teachers
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx_JylRZqHA
Book Title: “Where the Wild Things Are” By: Maurice Sendak
Book Review: This short story is about a mischievous boy named Max. He tormented his dog by chasing him with a fork and his mother sent him to bed without supper calling him a “wild thing”. Max went to bed in his wolf suit and in his bedroom, a forest grew. He was transported into a different world full of trees, vines, and an ocean. He got on a boat and sailed through the ocean for a year until he came upon land. The land was filled with wild things that had claws, teeth, and yellow eyes. Max tamed them and the wild things said that Max was the most wild thing of all and made him King. Max and the wild things went through the days and nights doing anything and everything they wanted. Max eventually grew tired of being such a mischievous boy. He gave up being King and went back home. When he wokeup, he found supper by his bed even though his mother had sent him to bed without supper.
Lesson Plan Idea: The wild things in the story made Max their king and they did whatever Max wanted to do. This would be similar to Simon Says. The “King” or “Queen” would have words on index cards that were used in the story such as roar, march, jump, and gnash. The leader would command the other students with one of these words and the students who play as the wild things would do as the leader says. For example: they would gnash their terrible teeth, march with their terrible feet, or roar with their terrible roar.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.sendakfoundation.org/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkLal37ozoE
Book Title: “Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful” By: Nancy Tupper Ling
Book Review: This story is about twin sisters that are completely opposite, hence the Yin-Yang title. Their village of Woo has been taken over by a dragon for a long time. When the twins were born, their aunt predicted that they if they worked together they would defeat the dragon. Wei is fierce and Mei is rather timid. The sisters tried numerous times to defeat the dragon but failed. Eventually, the two figured out a way to make the dragon happy and their village was no longer scared of the dragon.
Lesson Plan Idea: This story taught how two people can work together to achieve a goal. I would give my students different team building activities to do.
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCqHRQ7Pg50
Book Title: “Same, Same but Different” By: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Book Review: This story goes through the lives of a young boy named Elliot and another young boy named Kailash. Both boys loved to climb trees. Elliot lives in a house with his parents and sister while Kailash lives with his 23 family members including his parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Kailash lives in a village with many animals and a river running through the village while Elliot lives in a big city surround by buildings and cars. Both boys ride to school but Elliot rides a bus while Kailash rides a horse and cart. The story further goes through things the two boys do that are the same yet have different twists to them.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would have my students share their unique customs and traditions they have at home. Some may choose to share about holiday their holiday traditions and others could share about the different foods they eat.
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XCyoM7KHws
Book Title: “The World’s Family” By: Miranda Paul
Book Review: This short story shows many different children’s culture. Children learn how kids around the world say hello to one another whether it is through a different language, a cursty, or a kiss on the cheek. The children through the book even all have different pets such as a cat, a goat, or an iguana. This book shows the diversity among children around the world and that not two children are the same.
Lesson Plan Idea: In the book, it describes different ways to say hello in other cultures. I would teach my students how to correctly pronounce the words and greet one another using a language different from English. I would encourage my students to use these languages throughout the year to greet me in the mornings when they see me. This would open their eyes to the diversity amongst cultures.
Author Website/Twitter: http://mirandapaul.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni_at59TzMA
Book Title: “We are All One” By: Jennifer Black
Book Review: This story is about the all the different animals, insects, and people around the world. It explains that while we are all different we each share the same air, sun, moon, and world. Though we may all live on opposite sides of the world and different countries, we all experience the same things. Each time the student reads how we are different, they are reminded on the following page that we still are the same.
Lesson Plan Idea: Since this story includes animals I could take my students out to the playground and have them walk around observing. They would be told to observe the different flowers, colors, birds, or anything else they see. After a few minutes they would report back to me and tell me how each different thing plays a role in the world. I would re-iterate that though people may be different, we all play a role in the world and in the end we are all united.
Book Title:”My Food, Your Food” By: Lisa Bullard
Book Review: This story is about a class that all brings a cultural dish to their classroom. The students bring in their traditional dishes and they each get to eat some of one another’s dish. They talk about how Italian noodles are different from Chinese noodles, bread in Norway is different from bread in India. The children get to learn about one anothers heritages and learn to appreciate one another more.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would send slips home to the students parents asking them to cook a small dish that their child could bring to class. The students would each talk about the dish their parents made and how it relates to their culture and traditions. After each student shares about their food, we would all get to try one another’s dishes. I would tell the students to keep in mind that though we do not all like the same things, we must not discriminate one another for liking food that is different from what we are used to.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.lisabullard.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0fMYYIU-u4
Book Title: “Same Difference” By: Calida Rawles
Book Review: This story is about to first cousins that were best friends, They did everything together! They wore matching clothes and loved doing the same things. One day they went to their grandmother’s house to play dress up. They realized while playing that they do not look alike. One had dark skin while the other had tan skin. They ran to their grandmother and asked why they didn’t look like each other. The pointed out their skin color and their hair. Their grandmother taught them that though they may different, they are the same. No one is better than the other, everyone is equal. The grandmother pointed out individually beautiful they are and their similarities. The two girls learned that they are both equally special in their own ways.
Lesson Plan Idea: The students would write in their journals their physical appearances that made them different from others in the classroom. I, as the teacher, would read these journal entries and write back to them explaining how what they pointed out as being different is actually what makes them individually special.
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpSLtVXF0Mc
F. Historical Fiction
Book Title: “Philippines” By: Anne Schraff
Book Review: This short educational book teaches children about the lifestyle and culture of the Filipino people. Kids will learn how the people of The Philippines on the other side of the world live. Each page contains a different topic to learn about such as food, languages, clothing, transportation, and more! This book is great for children to learn about another culture.
Lesson Plan Idea: One part of the book describes the dance of “tinikling”. This is a cultural dance of the Filipino people and is very fun to do. After reading the book, I can teach my students how to play and dance along. This would hopefully keep my students interested in learning about different cultures of the world.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/s/anne-schraff/
Book Title: “I am Rosa Parks” By: Brad Meltzer
Book Review: This book takes children through an easy-to-read history of Rosa Parks. It describes the segregation that she experienced throughout her lifetime in the deep south. The book tells the story of how Rosa Parks ignited a movement by standing her ground and sitting in the “white area” on a public bus. She refused to move because she believed she had every right to sit where she wanted to on the bus. This jumpstarted the movement of abolishing segregation in the United States. Her one simple act of standing up herself helped to change the entire nation.
Lesson Plan Idea:I would use this book as an opportunity to teach students that it is never okay to discriminate people by the color of their skin. As a class we would learn that we are all equals no matter what race, ethnicity, or culture we come from.
Author Website/Twitter: http://bradmeltzer.com/TV-Kids-and-More/Kids-Books
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tela42pi2uk
Book Title: “The Wright Brothers” By: Paul Joseph
Book Review: This book takes children through the ideas of the Wright Brothers creating the airplane. The brothers studied birds and kites in order to get a better understanding of just how an object could fly. The two worked hard and failed many times. However, the brothers never gave up and soon were able to fly. Though their first flight only lasted 12 seconds, the Wright Brothers knew that what they created was innovative and would change the world. They continued working on building a better airplane and one year later they built one that could fly for thirty minutes! Everyone around the world soon heard the word of the Wright Brothers airplane and each country wanted their own.
Lesson Plan Idea: Since the book contains a lot of information and dates, I would have the students create a timeline of the important events that happened.
Book Title: “Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression” By: Katie Lied
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Review:This story is about a family that loses their means of income during the Great Depression. They moved from Iowa to Idaho because they heard that there were jobs out there for picking potatoes. At the time, people moved anywhere the jobs were. The family only stayed in Idaho for two weeks but the farmer allowed them to pick the leftover potatoes from the fields each night. The family did so and when they went back home to Iowa, they were able to barter for other food and items with the potatoes instead of money.
Lesson Plan Idea: In order to help the students better understand the hardships that people went through during the Great Depression, I would try to re-create an activity where my students would barter for things they need with things they already have. For example: I would appoint one student to be the owner of a store. All the other students would have pieces of paper indicating what they have to barter with such as fabric, potatoes, and rice. The store owner would have meat, fresh vegetables, and bread. The goal for the students would be to convince the store owner that what they have is worth trading for what they need in the store.
Book Title:”What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?” By: Jean Fritz
Book Review: This story is about Ben Franklin’s busy life. He was an ambassador to England, a printer, an almanac maker, inventor, and politician. He lead a very busy life but he always found time to try and carry out his ideas. While he was well known for the lightning and electricity connection, Benjamin Franklin invented numerous other things. This book teaches children about the side of Benjamin Franklin that is not always taught in a history class.
Lesson Plan Idea: While Ben Franklin is greatly known for discovering electricity, he was many other things. Students would create a drawing of themselves and write down things that describe them such as athlete, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, friend, student. This would help students to realize that they are just not one thing, they are many different things to many different people.
G. Math Content Books
Book Title: “Toy Box Subtraction” By: Jill Fuller
Book Review: This book is geared towards first grade and under. The story takes the reader through the toy box of a young boy named Mike who is trying to clean out his toy box. Mike’s friends are there to help him. Each time Mike gives away one of his toys to his friends, the reader is given a simple math problem asking how many of a certain item Mike has left. This book teaches simple subtraction and teaches kids to share as well.
Lesson Plan Idea:I can have the children act out the story. The toys in the book are very common and easy to find. I would change the names in the story to match the names of my students. As I read, the students would do as I say. For example: Clarissa counts her trucks. There are two trucks. Clarissa gives one truck to Mandy. How many trucks does Clarissa have now? (2-1= ?). The students would physically give toys away and verbally answer each subtraction question I ask.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.literaryladiesguide.com/author/jillian-m-g-fuller/
Book Title: “The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbably Life of Paul Erdos” By: Deborah Heiligman
Book Review: This book teaches children that math CAN be loveable! The story follows a young boy by the name of Paul Erdos throughout his lifetime. He blatantly hates rules but when he incorporates math into the rules he’s given, he is able to handle it. The author did a great job of incorporating mathematical problems into every situation that Paul encountered through his lifetime. That concept can also help to teach students that math has its place in almost everything we may encounter in life.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would give my students do an activity that does not specifically use math. Once they have completed the activity, I would then point out every aspect of the activity where math had to be used but yet they did not realize it did. This would hopefully teach my students that math is used in situations in life that we may not think they are used. Learning to love math would end up being extremely useful in life since it is the basis to so many different things.
Author Website/Twitter: http://deborahheiligman.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikcswbrOMVQ
Book Title: “Count Crocodiles” By: Judy Sierra
Book Review: This book is about a lonely monkey living on an island where he only has sour lemons to eat. Far off in the distance the monkey spots an island with banana trees. He wants to get to the island but the water is filled with alligators. He someone tricks the alligators into lining up from head to tail so he can cross the water safely! While the monkey crosses, he counts each alligator from 1-10 and then backwards from 10-1 on his way back. This is a great book to teach kids to count forwards and backwards starting with small numbers.
Lesson Plan Idea:I would lay out large cutouts of alligators on the floor of the classroom. Each student would get the chance to cross the classroom on the backs of the alligators. While they are crossing they must count each alligator and on the way back they must count backwards.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.judysierra.net/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHGGJXQmwTo
Book Title: “Let’s Count Goats!” By: Mem Fox
Book Review: This is a really adorable book aimed towards early education. Not to mention, it is all about goats! Which is my personal favorite animal. The book is very easy to read and follows a rhyming scheme. Every other page contains a number of different goats for the children to count. They are given a specific type of goat to count. For example: “Can we count the trumpet coats making all the noise?” The students are to only count the goats that are specified. Once the students have grown comfortable with counting the individual goats, the book ends with having the children count the ears on the goats. They must pay attention and realize that each individual goat has two ears.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would give the students handouts with pictures of goats on them. I would give the students things to count such as each individual goat, their ears, their legs, their tails, and their eyes. For each different part of the body, the students would have to write down the number specifying how many of each thing the goats have.
Author Website/Twitter: https://memfox.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL3pCMXUO18
Book Title: “Give me Half!” By: Stuart Murphy
Book Review: This book is about two that each have food that they don’t want to share with each other. Their mom gets into the situation and tells them that they must each split their pizza, cookies, juice, and cupcakes in equal halves so that they each have the same amount. The brother and sister do so, but end up getting into a food fight! They realize that they both have mad the mess and so they should share the aftermath of cleaning up. They each clean up half the mess so that the whole mess is tidied up. This book introduces fractions and teaches children that ½ and ½ equals a whole.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would partner my students up into pairs and give each student something that can easily be separated into two halves such as cookies, a Hershey’s candy bar, or even a slice of bread. The goal for the students would be to separate what I gave them into two equal halves so that each partner has the same amount as the other.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.stuartjmurphy.com/
Youtube Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVaxiJB6Fls
H. Science Content Books
Book Title: “A Drop in the Ocean: The Story of Water” By: Jacqui Bailey and Matthew Lilly
Genre: Science: Nonfiction
Book Review: This book teaches about the water cycle in a very understandable. The book contains descriptive details as well as pictures. The pictures contain cute and whimsical side comments to keep the children interested while reading. The book also explains how rainwater and such is cleaned/filtered in order to be deemed as drinkable and safe.
Lesson Idea: Using coffee filters, I can have my class re-create the process of how dirty water can be filtered into clean water. The students would use sandy and muddy water and pour it over multiple coffee filters to catch the dirt. The students will learn that the more the water is filtered, the cleaner the water becomes. Of course I will not have any of the students drink the water because it will not have been cleaned with the correct chemicals as our drinking water has when being filtered.
Author’s Website/Twitter: https://www.bloomsbury.com/author/jacqui-bailey
Book Title: “An Egg is Quiet” By: Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long
Genre: Science Nonfiction
Book Review: This book contains a lot of educational information about different eggs. It teaches children different animals that lay eggs, why they are shaped the way they are, and how long it takes different animals eggs to hatch. The book also explains the aspects and different parts of the egg that help provide food and air for the developing baby inside. The illustrations are very colorful and realistic compared to the real life colors and shapes of the eggs.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would bring my incubator from home and let the students incubate real chicken eggs. Throughout the incubation time, the class can learn about what happens each week during the different stages of the baby’s developing life.
Author’s Website/Twitter: http://diannahaston.com/
Book Title: “Hurricanes” By: Gail Gibbons
Genre: Science Nonfiction
Book Review: This book was very descriptive without being too wordy. It can be easily understood. There are a couple of large words that are hard to pronounce, however the author used parenthesis beside them with a break down of how to sound the word out. The book takes you through each hurricane according to category size and also provides visual representation of each different size of hurricanes. Then, it goes through history with major hurricanes that have occurred. The book ends with an evacuation plan. Throughout the book it contains detailed pictures of how hurricanes form and the different parts of the hurricane.
Lesson Plan Idea: With this book it is very easy to do multiple hands on science projects or experiments. We can recreate the hurricanes according to category size using different sizes plastic bottles and colored water. I can also have the students create an evacuation plan specific to their home and their family.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.gailgibbons.com/
Book Title: “Why do the Seasons Change?” By: Melissa Stewart
Genre: Science Nonfiction
Book Review: While this book is very small, it contains a lot of vital information pertaining to the Earth’s seasons. Without going into too much detail, it easily explains the reason we have four seasons. The book also explains the way the Earth moves according to each different season. The illustrations are realistic and help with visual explanations.
Lesson Plan Idea: I can divide the class into four equal groups and give each group a different season to focus on. I would give each group a large sheet of paper and have them draw a tree. The tree would be used to represent what each season looks like. Around the tree the students would write words that describe the season. For example: Fall would have a tree with red, brown, and yellow leaves. The words surrounding the tree could include; sweaters, cool are, fallen leaves.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.melissa-stewart.com/
Book Title: “The Secrets of Animal Flight” By: Nic Bishop
Genre: Science Nonfiction
Book Review: This children’s book covers flying insects and animals. It gives the answer to the big question of “Why do insects/animas fly?”. Children will learn the fundamentals of how birds and mammals fly through the feathered wings, gliding, soaring, taking off, landing, and flying in the dark. Children will also learn about insect flight such as zooming, gliding, and how their tiny wings support their bodies. The illustrations provide real life
Lesson Plan Idea: I would start the lesson out with showing a video to students of birds flying and then ask them how they think the birds are able to fly. After hearing their answers, I would read this book to the children to further their learning of exactly how birds and insects can fly.
Author Website/Twitter: https://nicbishop.com/
I. Realistic Fiction
Book Title:”Because of Winn Dixie” By: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Book Review: This book is about a young girl named Opal who moved to Florida with her dad. Her mom left them when she was younger and her dad was a preacher. Opal’s dad was always busy so they didn’t get to spend much time together. Opal can’t find where she fits in in the town and is unhappy. One day after grocery shopping at Winn Dixie, she finds an ugly stray dog. She names the dog Winn-Dixie and the two become best friends. Throughout the book, her and Winn-Dixie meet new people. Winn-Dixie ultimately teaches her to not judge a book by its cover. Everything that happens in the book can all relate back to Opal getting Winn-Dixie, hence the name of the book. Opal learns to understand why her mom left and gains empathy for her even though she hates not having a mother around.
Lesson Plan Idea: The students can watch the movie and read the book. After doing both, the students would make a Venn Diagram comparing the similarities and differences found within the book and the movie.
Author Website/Twitter: https://www.katedicamillo.com/
Book Title: ”Holes” By’: Louis Sachar
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Book Review: This book is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats and the curse placed on his family because of his great-great-grandfather. He was arrested for being accused of stealing shoes, which he did not steal. Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake to serve time there in the juvenile detention camp. The boys there are forced to dig holes five feet wide and five feet deep to “build character and discipline”. However, Stanley learns that there was another reason they were being forces to dig the holes. There was treasure hidden that was stolen from Stanley’s great-great grandfather over a hundred years ago. Stanley finds the treasure and the curse on his family is lifted.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach the students about the Jim Crow Laws and the Civil Rights Movement. This would help the students to better understand why in Green Lake, Sam was prohibited from kissing Miss Katherine.
Author Website/Twitter: http://www.louissachar.com/about.html
Book Title: “Shiloh” By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Book Review: This book is about a boy named Marty who comes upon a scrawny beagle talking through the woods behind his house. The dog instantly becomes attached to him and Marty cares for the dog, whom he names Shiloh. Soon, Marty finds out that the beagle belonged to Judd Travers. Judd was known for hunting, drinking, and beating his dogs. When Marty’s parents learn that the dog belongs to someone else, they make him return Shiloh. Marty doesn’t want to because he knows that Shiloh would just continue to be mistreated. After returning the dog, Shiloh finds his way back to Marty’s house. Marty sacrifices his own food to give to Shiloh. Eventually Judd finds out that Marty has Shiloh again and agrees to sell the dog to him if he doesn’t tell anyone that he shot a deer out of season. They sign an agreement but Judd goes back on his promise and wants to keep Shiloh. One day Marty got Judd to open up about his childhood life and learns to understand why Judd is so mean. Judd earns respect for Marty and gives Shiloh to Marty.
Lesson Plan Idea: Using this book, I would teach my students about when and when it isn’t okay to step in and take a stand for injustice. The students would write a small paper explaining their points of view about whether Marty should or shouldn’t have kept Shiloh away from his rightful owner.
Author Website/Twitter: http://phyllisnaylor.com/author/
Book Title: “Old Yeller” By: Fred Gipson
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Book Review: This book takes place just after the Civil War. The Coates family had to do what they could to take care of themselves. The father leaves on a trip to Kansas to sell livestock for money. Travis is the eldest boy out of his siblings so he is left to be the man of the house. When their father left, a small yellow dog shows up and ears all of the meat the family had saved up. The dog gains the name of Old Yeller and always seems to get into trouble or in the way when Travis hunts for meat. One day Old Yeller saves Travis’ little brother from a bear. Travis learns to love Old Yeller because of this. The two become best friends and do everything together. But, one day while Travis tries to kill a wild boar, he falls from a tree and gets badly hurt. Old Yeller sacrifices her own safety to save his beloved owner. Old Yeller gets rabies from the wild boar’s bites and Travis faces the heartbreak of having to put the dog that he had grown to love down.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach the students about life for people in the deep south after the Civil War. The students would compare and contrast how different life was back then to how it is now.
Book Title: “Where the Red Fern Grows” By: Wilson Rawls
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Book Review: This a story about a young boy named Billy that wants to coonhounds for himself to hunt with. Determined to get those hounds, he works hard and saves up to buy them. He trains the dogs well and they become the best hunting dogs in the county. One day, Billy and his dogs encounter a mountain lion. His two dogs fight them off but Old Dan gets badly hurt. Old Dan dies from his injuries and a few days later his sister, Little Ann, dies from heartbreak from her brother dying. Billy buries them next to one another and questions God why He helped provide him with the dogs but then took their lives away. Billy goes to visit the graves of his dogs before his family moves and he finds a red fern growing there. The legend of the red fern is that only an angel can plant them and once planted, they never die and the spot becomes sacred.
Lesson Plan Idea: I would teach my students about determination. Billy had to work hard to get what he wanted. He was not just handed the coonhounds because he wanted them. He had to earn them for himself. In life we aren’t always going to get everything we want with ease, we have to learn to work hard and be determined to achieve a goal. The students would tell me about instances where they worked very hard to get something that they wanted.