Currently viewing the category: "Setting"

The Time Museum
Author: Matthew Loux
Published February 21st, 2017 by First Second

Summary: The internship program at the Time Museum is a little unusual. For one thing, kids as young as twelve get to apply for these prestigious summer jobs. And as for the applicant pool . . . well, these kids come from all over history.

When Delia finds herself working at the Time Museum, the last thing she expects is to be sent on time-traveling adventures with an unlikely gang of kids from across the eons. From a cave-boy to a girl from the distant future, Delia’s team represents nearly all of human history! They’re going to need all their skills for the challenge they’ve got in store . . . defending the Time Museum itself!

Review: Delia’s life changes drastically when she learns the truth about her uncle and his career running the Time Museum. Unlike any museum that she’s ever been too, the Time Museum curates directly from historical periods by traveling through time. Because of her love of science and high intelligence, Delia is chosen not to only spend some time at the Time Museum but also to compete with five others for a coveted internship! This competition includes challenges that take them to different points in time and a task they have to compete. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Loux’s adventure-packed though humorous sci-fi novel will find a wide range of readers because it hits on so many different genres and is so well done. This is definitely a book to pick up for your graphic novel, sci-fi, and adventure fans! (Oh, and as a teacher, I mus say I love the theme!)

Discussion Questions: If you found the Time Museum, what time period would you want to visit?; Which of the characters have traits that are most similar to you?; What are the dangers of time travel? Do you think it’s worth it?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Loved: Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel, Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi, Lucy and Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown, Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown, HiLo by Judd Winick

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

How the World Was

How the World Was: A California Childhood 
Author: Emmanuel Guibert; Translation: Kathryn Pulver
Published: July 15, 2014 by First Second

Summary: In 1994, French cartoonist Emmanuel Guibert befriended an American veteran named Alan Cope and began creating his new friend’s graphic biography. Alan’s War was the surprising and moving result: the story of Cope’s experiences as an American GI in France during World War II.

How the World Was is Emmanuel Guibert’s moving return to documenting the life of his friend. Cope died several years ago, as Guibert was just beginning work on this book, but Guibert has kept working to commit his friend’s story to paper. Cope grew up in California during the great depression, and this remarkable graphic novel details the little moments that make a young man’s life…while capturing the scope of America during the great depression.

A lyrical, touching portrait, How the World Was is a gift for a dear friend in the last moments of his life… and also a meditation on the birth of modern America.

Review: Many of you know Emmanuel Guibert’s graphic novel Alan’s War. Guibert is a French cartoonist who tells the true story of Alan Cope, an American GI in France in WWII. How the World Was: A California Childhood depicts Alan’s earlier childhood experiences, growing up during the Great Depression in California. The graphic novel is unlike others that I’ve read, and I really enjoy Guibert’s style. The chapters read like vignettes of Cope’s childhood; some of the scenes are graphic, and many are quite moving. This text would be excellent for close reading, and I don’t think readers even need to read it in its entirety to appreciate and understand each chapter.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I’d love to use this text in the classroom, and I would probably use a single chapter. (This would inspire readers to take the entire book out on their own, which is a style I love to use when I am teaching.) I was particularly moved by the end of the book, where Alan’s mother goes in for surgery. I’d love to do a close reading of this section to discuss author’s purpose and Alan’s identity development.

Discussion Questions: How does this graphic novel differ from others that you’ve read?; How is the author’s writing style similar to short vignettes? Why might he have chosen to write the book in this why? Is it effective for you, the reader?; What scenes stand out to you? Why might this be?

Flagged Passage: I’ve included a section that stands out to me. It is a bit peculiar to include in a graphic novel, but there is a lesson in the pages that follow. I imagine that censors would be horrified to see this page alone, but within the context of the chapter, it is a very important scene.

how the world was

Special thanks to for sharing this scene in his reviews. It’s a good one.

Read This If You Love: The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert; Alan’s War by Emmanuel Guibert; The Stranger by Albert Camus; The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


On the Construction Site: A Shine-A-Light Book
Author: Carron Brown
Illustrator: Bee Johnson
Published July 6th, 2016 by Ivy Press

Goodreads Summary: Watch a skyscraper spring up with this beautifully illustrated interactive book! By simply holding the book up to the light, or shining a light behind each page, young readers will be able to discover how large buildings are constructed, who builds them, and all about the amazing machines they use in the process. The innovative see-through feature fulfils a similar function to lift-the-flaps books, but has the added interactive dimension of the child being able to see both the surface and the hidden picture at the same time.

Kellee’s Review: Trent is enthralled with this book! Not only does it have a question and answer set up, you have to use a flashlight on the back of the pages to reveal the answer, and the answers all include construction vehicles–this is a win-win-win for Trent! After going through an obsessive time with this book, Trent was even sleeping with his flashlight. Trent also is fascinated and a bit fearful of shadows, so we used the book as a way to discuss how shadows work.

Ricki’s Review: What a clever, clever concept! My son had a blast reading this book. He clapped as I held each page up to the light to reveal the neat construction site images behind each page. Because he is young, I don’t think he quite understood how they worked, so I attributed it to magic. There is a lot of great information in this book, and we had fun learning all about how construction sites work. I will definitely be purchasing more books from the Shine-A-Light series in the future.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: On the Construction Site is a wonderful text to start conversations about shadows; construction of a skyscraper; and construction vehicles, planning, and careers. Also with its Q&A text structure, it will start conversations as you read the text and see the construction of the building. It’ll be a perfect read aloud and think aloud for early ed classrooms.

Discussion Questions: What steps must the workers take to build a skyscraper?; What safety items did you see on the construction site?; How does the Shine-a-Light books work?; What construction vehicles take part in the building of the skyscraper?; What different jobs are there on the construction site?

Flagged Passages: This is a little bit different. Instead of a flagged passage, we are sharing a You Tube video from the publisher that shows how Shine-A-Light books work and shows the other titles in the series.

Read This If You Love: Anything construction! 

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**Thank you to Lynn at Kane Miller for providing copies for review!**



Musnet: The Mouse of Money
Author and Illustrator: K. Kickliy
Published August 2nd, 2016 by ODOD Books

Summary: Musnet: The Mouse of Monet is a delightful new children’s graphic novel by Kickliy, set in Giverny, France in the mid 19th Century. The eponymous boy mouse travels the countryside searching for work and happens upon Monet’s garden. There, he takes a job with a brilliant squirrel artist, and in the process is inspired to paint as well. Will Musnet commit to painting in the classical manner, or in the thrilling new style of the human impressionists? Which way will his brush sway?

Set in the midst of one of the great moments in the history of art, Musnet is a bildungsroman of an aspiring young artist, a mouse with his eye on the new impressionistic style that was taking the world by storm. Kickliy’s fluid ink and watercolors evoke the magic of the period and a French countryside just bursting with color. And Musnet and Monet’s paintings within this story are actually mini-oil paintings of Kickliy’s.

The first in a series, Musnet: the Mouse of Monet is the mysterious artist Kickliy’s first foray into the world of children’s literature, and will include a traveling gallery showing of the art within the book itself. Uncivilized Books is proud to launch its new children’s imprint, Odod Books, with this brilliant examination of impressionism and the artistic urge that will enrapture children of all ages.

Review: I love when books include art history in them because it makes me feel at home since I grew up in art museums as a museum director’s daughter. Musnet is no different. As soon as I realized that Musnet had ended up in Monet’s famous garden, I was fascinated with Musnet’s story and his journey to becoming an artist. Kickliy’s artwork pays perfect homage to Monet’s work and is a beautiful backdrop to Musnet’s story. I look forward to reading the second in the series. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Musnet’s story would be a perfect book to incorporate in a art classroom. Throughout art education, different famous artists are studied, and while studying Monet, I could definitely see the teacher using this text as a read aloud and a discussion starter (see discussion questions below).

Discussion Questions: Why would the author choose Monet as the artist for Musnet to find?; How is Kickliy’s art similar to Monet’s?; Do you think Musnet has found his forever home? Explain.

Flagged Passages: 


Read This If You Loved: Mira’s Diary by Marissa Moss, The Museum by Susan Verde, Babymouse series by Jennifer and Matthew Holm, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, Redwall by Brian Jacques

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**Thank you Uncivilized Books for providing a copy for review!**

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
Author: Mara Rockliff
Illustrator: Hadley Hooper
Published August 2nd, 2016

Summary: The author of Mesmerized delivers another fascinating glimpse into history, this time the story of two brave suffragists on a trek across America to spread the word: Votes for Women!

In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car, embarking on a bumpy, muddy, unmapped journey ten thousand miles long. They took with them a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine, a wee black kitten, and a message for Americans all across the country: Votes for Women! The women’s suffrage movement was in full swing, and Nell and Alice would not let anything keep them from spreading the word about equal voting rights for women. Braving blizzards, deserts, and naysayers—not to mention a whole lot of tires stuck in the mud—the two courageous friends made their way through the cities and towns of America to further their cause. One hundred years after Nell and Alice set off on their trip, Mara Rockliff revives their spirit in a lively and whimsical picture book, with exuberant illustrations by Hadley Hooper bringing their inspiring historical trek to life.

Review: I am posting this review specifically today because it is amazing to hear for these women’s journey when today a woman is running for president under a major political power. It is amazing that in 2016 we have made it this far, which is amazing, but we also have to remember how hard woman fought for women’s rights and that women’s equality isn’t here yet.

Another reason why I posted this today is to remind people to vote. All election days are our opportunity to choose our futures. We are not powerless; voting gives us power and a voice. Please vote and remind all those close and dear to you to vote as well.

Now to the book. I loved reading Nell and Alice’s adventure. These are woman that are truly role models because they did something so unexpected and unacceptable at the time to fight for something they believe in a peaceful and intelligent manner. Mara Rockliff, along with Hooper’s busy yet muted and beautiful illustrations, tell us their story in an engaging way that will definitely make the reader think about so much.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to reading Nell and Alice’s story in conjunction to history lessons about suffragists and this time in history or as a lit circle text with other books about strong woman or people making a difference, Michele Knott had an idea that I thought would be fascinating: compare and contrast the way that politics has changed in 100 years. How has tactics changed? How has technology changed the delivery and reception of politics?

Discussion Questions: What obstacles did Nell and Alice face that they would not have faced if they were traveling 10,000 miles in 2016? How would their journey have been different if it was 2016? Do you think face-to-face works better than some of the use of technology that we see nowadays?; Do you think Nell and Alice made a difference?

Flagged Passages: 


Read This If You Loved: The First Step by Susan E. Goodman, Fearless Flyer by Heather Lang, Hillary Rodham Clinton by Michelle Markel, Brave Girl by Michelle Markel or any book about a strong female of history; Sit-In by Andrea Davis Pinkney or any book about how people made a difference for what they knew was right

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water princess

The Water Princess
Author: Susan Verde
Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds
Published September 13, 2016 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: Based on supermodel Georgie Badiel’s childhood, a young girl dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village

With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, Gie Gie cannot bring the water closer; she cannot make it run clearer. Every morning, she rises before the sun to make the long journey to the well. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, Gie Gie thinks of the trip that tomorrow will bring. And she dreams. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.

Inspired by the childhood of African–born model Georgie Badiel, acclaimed author Susan Verde and award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds have come together to tell this moving story. As a child in Burkina Faso, Georgie and the other girls in her village had to walk for miles each day to collect water. This vibrant, engaging picture book sheds light on this struggle that continues all over the world today, instilling hope for a future when all children will have access to clean drinking water.

Ricki’s Review: This book captured my attention as soon as I saw the cover. The illustrations are beautiful, and I couldn’t help but sit for long periods of time, studying them closely. I appreciated and enjoyed this lyrical story that is based on Georgie Badiel’s childhood experiences. I have the F&G, and I am particularly excited to read the author’s note when the full book is printed. I know Georgie Badiel is an activist and leads a foundation dedicated to promoting clean drinking water and sanitation in Africa, so I think the author’s note will be particularly insightful. 

Kellee’s Review: The hardest books for me to read are the books where they seem as if they are historical fiction yet they are modern stories. It makes me so sad to know that there are those like Gie Gie who must work this hard just to get water. I feel like our world must help those who struggle in this way because water is a basic need that all should have access to. I think this book is a wonderful introduction to build awareness because many students do not know what is happening around the world, and this story is told in a beautiful yet truthful and hard way. Also, the connection it has with A Long Walk to Water makes it a perfect addition to a unit looking at that novel. Additionally, I must add that Peter H. Reynolds outdid himself with the illustrations in this book. I love Reynolds’s work, but these are pure pieces of art. Beautiful. I also look forward to the end notes because I want to learn more about Georgie Badiel and her work. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: It would be great for teachers to build students’ awareness of the water/sanitation concerns within Africa. This might include reading more books about the subject and visiting websites supporting the cause. Georgie Badiel’s foundation is:, and there are also many others out there, including: I know of two elementary school classes who have devoted their entire year to raising money to build wells in Africa. These kinds of social action projects will surely impact students.

Discussion Questions: What does Princess Gie Gie’s day look like? What do the other women’s days look like? Why do you think this is?; Does Gie Gie feel frustrated? How might you feel in the same situation?; What can we do to support our peers who are living in similar situations to Gie Gie?

Flagged Passage: “My kingdom…the African sky, so wide and so close. I can almost touch the sharp edges of the stars.”

Read This If You Loved: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park; Just Add Water by Robin Hill and Charles Hall

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