Student Voices: Insights from Karina D., Emma Y., Nour B., Maria F., Bianca C., and Anabella S.

Share

Insights

Favorite Book Quotes by Karina D., 6th grade, & Emma Y., 7th grade

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • “Sometimes, things that appear very different on the surface are actually the exact same at their core.” – Jameson Winchester Hawthorne from The Inheritance Games (the first book) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    • This quote stuck out to me as I was reading the book, this specific scene stuck in my head. Basically, the main character, Avery, was trying to unlock her new inherited billionaire house and she had a task of finding the key. The thing is, the keychain that the key was attached to contained a bunch of other keys – all similar to each other in shape and size. She figured the odd one out in record time while on a call with Jameson Winchester Hawthorne – who inhabits a part of the billionaire mansion. He was surprised, and then decided to say this quote, which stuck out to me since it hints at a deeper mystery in the book. – Emma

Amazon.com: The One (The Selection Book 3) eBook : Cass, Kiera: Kindle Store

  • “Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.” – Maxon Schreave from The One (the third book of The Selection) by Kiera Cass
    • This quote stuck out to me as I was reading this book, because it really wrapped a lot of things up in the story. They were in a situation where it was life or death, which adds a lot more suspense to the book itself, and the quote. It also provides information about who Prince Maxon chooses in The One to marry and spend the rest of his life with. This moment filled my heart with joy, which is why I definitely like this quote. Also because it’s something that I would understand myself, if I were to be in love I’d think back to this quote and smile, to fully understand the meaning behind the words.  – Emma

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  • “I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina” He said. “You and I are going to change the world.” ― The Darkling from Shadow and Bone (the first book) by Leigh Bardugo
    • This quote stuck out to me because it’s really funny, it’s misleading because of what happens with the Darkling – let’s just say it’s an interesting thing to take note of. He really acknowledges the fact that the darkling and Alina can change the world together, change the Grishaverse and The Fold itself, which may or may not happen in this book, the first book of the series.. They make a powerful duo, but we find out later in the book if it’s for better or for worse. Definitely recommend, there’s also a bunch of other good lines in this story to take note of. – Emma

Amazon.com: Earthquake in the Early Morning (Magic Tree House #24) (Magic  Tree House (R)): 9780679890706: Osborne, Mary Pope, Murdocca, Sal: Books

  • “There is no water and still less soap. We have no city, but lots of hope.” ― Mary Pope Osborne, Earthquake in the Early Morning
    • This quote stuck out to me because just when they lost their house to an earthquake, with all their belongings, (and continued) the one thing they didn’t lose was their hope, just as inspiring as it sounds. That told me when times are rough, just don’t lose hope. – Karina

Amazon.com: Twister on Tuesday (Magic Tree House, No. 23): 9780679890690:  Osborne, Mary Pope, Murdocca, Sal: Books

  • “I love teaching. It’s a job that lasts forever. Whatever you teach children today travels with them far into the future.” ― Mary Pope Osborne, Twister on Tuesday
    • This book Quote stuck out to me cause it shows that the knowledge you teach is the knowledge that could lead to the future. Which shows that knowledge can last for eternity and just will be taught over and over again. – Karina

Books vs. Movies by Nour B., 7th grade

Debate: Books vs Movies — RVA Weekly

Is the book always better than the movie? In most cases, yes. The reason behind this is that most of the time the book is too boring to turn into a film. So the directors had to add extra parts to make it more interesting or leave stuff out because it wouldn’t add anything to the movie. 

When the book is being turned into a film, it’s probably better to let the author direct it so they can portray the book exactly like they wanted it to be. The movie is almost always the directors point of view of the book which can be interpreted differently so many times. While authors can portray the book just how they wanted to. Most people say the book is better than the movie or TV show because they’ve read the book and were disappointed by how they left out some of their favorite parts from the book. 

One of the reasons the book is (almost always) better than the book is. The director has to fit the book into about a 1.5-3 hour movie. That’s pretty hard considering all the details included in the book. When you read books you get to see what the character is thinking while in movies you often don’t get that privilege This leaves us to fiure out what the character is thinking through what they say or do in the given situation. Books also provide background knowledge while the movie doesn’t have enough time for that. When you read a book you get a lot of information about the characters, in the movie they just show the characters and give you no information on who they are and what happened to make them who they are.

Reading the book leaves you with some type of imagination to picture where they are or what the character looks like while the movie the characters and setting look completely different than what is described in the book. The book gives you freedom to imagine what the character look like and what the setting is like. This is often ignored by movie directors  and many fans of the book are left disappointed or upset.

In conclusion, the book is almost always better than the movie. While there are some exceptions to this, it is correct most of the time. Reading allows you to feel like you are also experiencing it while the movie just feels like you’re just watching it. 

The Truth About The Hunger Game Series (Spoiler Alert!) by Maria F., 8th grade

Amazon.com: The Hunger Games - Library Edition: 9780545310581: Collins,  Suzanne: Books

The inner workings of what actually happens! 

Warning: A lot of unpopular opinions are present 

The Hunger Games series is such a good book series but have you ever thought about who is the true villain or looked at who we should blame for prim’s death. Also what is truly going on with every character and their motives. Today I’m going to be going into more depth on what I think of the series and provide several theories that might even answer some of the questions above. 

Gale Is One of the Villains Of Our story! 

Hey I know what you might be thinking, Gale how could Gale be a villain, he was always there for Katniss! Or was he? From the very beginning of our story we were introduced to Gale and the author introduced him as a side character who played a protagonist role in the series. But why would we question his actions then. Well let’s look a little deeper, in the beginning gale acted like he and Katniss were just good friends and “he cared for her.” But later on in the story it proves that he did actually have secret feelings for Katniss and this had inevitably confused Katniss on who to chose, which didn’t help her mental health state. At Katniss’ lowest point in life Gale showed up and made it more confusing. Fine this doesn’t make him a villain but it does serve us every right to call him not a good person. But now let’s look more into Gale’s character throughout the book series. Gale has been proven time and time again that he hates the way the government is run, and clearly despises the capital.  So lets flash forward to the third book when gale designs that nuclear bomb that ends up killing one of my favorite characters Prim! He claims he did not know what the purpose of the bomb was and had no idea it was going to kill prim. But clearly he knew that designing a bomb is made to kill people. So Gale was willing to kill innocent people all around the capital? Also the real question is he designed a super powerful bomb but yet didn’t even take one second to ask what it was for! He killed his people and not only that, he ruined Katniss as well. So in conclusion, gale is a secret villain in disguise you decide!

Peeta Is the Best Character In the books! 

In the Hunger Games series peta is presented as a main side character so how can he be the best character in the whole series. Well let’s just say Susan Colonies knew what she was doing when she presented peta. She made peta a lovable character from the start who just happened to fall head over heels for our main character Katniss. The reason why Katniss is not the best character is because of her thought process on things, and instead of character development in Katniss we saw none of it. But yet in peta we did, peta even with his PTSD that he got in the hunger games, Yet he was still able to think with a strong mind. Peeta Is a character who went through so much for Katniss and we love him for that. 

Katniss went through too much and yet she still didn’t fail us? 

I feel like this is a given idea that Katniss has been through so much that mentally is not ok. But I did feel like putting it in here since it does contribute to topic one. What I mean by that is clearly Katniss has been through a lot from going through the hunger games and losing her sister. But yet Gale never helped,I feel like Gale just worried her more than helped which is why I say that he was never the best character. But yet Katniss didn’t fail us because in the end she ended up killing president coin. Many might say that was a foolish move on her behalf. But I think even in her terrible mental state her killing president coin was the best move she could have made. It was brave due to the fact that was her own leader and she knew what she was risking. The killing coin has stopped form another version of hunger games arising and yet she did this all in her terrible state of mine!

Effie Trinket Hates The Games! 

How could Effie hate the games if she announces the whole procure and draws the names. I don’t have that much evidence to support this theory but you can tell that Effie never enjoyed having to see Katniss and Peeta go through what they went through. You can tell that she had a soft spot for them and her having to see all that happen to them just didn’t sit well with her. 

President Snow Just wanted what was best for the Capital 

I had left the best one for last! How could someone as cold as president Snow want something good that is not for himself. Well hear me out although we can all agree president snow had the most evil character traits in the books. He did unfortunately care for the capital but never for the right reason. President Snow had worked so hard to create the evil foundation that he made from the districts divisions to the capitol. So just like anybody that worked hard on something they don’t want it to crumble. So when Katniss had posed a threat he was shocked on how somebody could have dared to do such a thing. Which is why what happened in the second book happened. President Snow did that in hopes of having Katniss’ death come true which didn’t happen and resulted in President Snow’s enemy never to be gone. So he had to take drastic measures due to the fact that he just wanted to protect the capital. So in the end president snow never cared for the district people but for his capital. 

My Mixed Feelings on the Author of Harry Potter by Bianca C., 8th grade

J.K. Rowling's tweets on LGBTQ community sparks outrage - YouTube

Although I do love the Harry Potter series: I think it pretty amazing. I love the whole story line of Harry Potter adventures to defeat lord Voldemort… But I do have a big problem with the Author J.K Rowling because of her being anti- trans. As someone who is in the LGBTQ+ community, it is something I have a problem with because I believe that just because you weren’t biologically born a woman doesn’t mean you aren’t because I believe we can be whoever we want to be.  

I get that she is a huge feminist, but it just isn’t right telling trans- women that they aren’t real women because they weren’t born as one but they can still be a women in their heart, and if you feel like you are a women then you are you don’t have to go through being pregnant or getting your period 7 days a month to be a she. So that why I have a huge problem with J.K Rowling.

We should all get to choose who we want to be: even our gender.  We choose the decisions in our lives we can be who we want to be and J.K ROWLING HAS NO RIGHT SAYING WE CAN’T MAKE THAT CHOICE. And by her treating trans- women like this, she’s making people feel tarnished by the Harry Potter books because of J.K Rowling anti trans posts on twitter And a lot of the actors from the harry potter movies totally disagree on J.K. Rowling’s views on trans women. They have repeatedly argued on the trans topic.

She is totally mistaken if she believes trans women aren’t real women because they are and that the truth is why I have mixed feelings on Harry Potter because I hate what she’s been saying about trans people, but I do love her books so you can see why I’m confused.

4 Classics I Want to Read That Actually Sound Good by Anabella S., 8th grade

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins  Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson

The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story with only about 64 pages, and It sounds like every last page is going to be a masterpiece. The story follows a woman and her husband who rent a house for their summer vacation. The Narrator (the woman) suffers from depression while her husband John, who’s a doctor, belittles her illness, thoughts, and concerns. The Narrator’s treatment for her depression (given to her by her husband) is that she must do nothing active.  However, she feels that writing is a form of freedom for her and so she decides to start a secret journal to help calm her mind. In this Journal, she mostly describes the house. She speaks mainly positively about the house but then some disturbing elements start to pop up. The Narrator becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in particular in one of the rooms and she starts to believe she can see things (a woman) trapped in the wallpaper. What was first believed to be a fun summer getaway turns into a psychological battle of terror, solitude, and freedom. A woman who slowly goes insane trapped in a room surrounded by dull yellow wallpaper. 

Crime and Punishment - Wikipedia

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment is one of the most well-known pieces of classical literature and for good reason. The story is about Raskolnikov, a former student who lives in poverty in Saint Petersburg, and one day he decides to murder an elderly local pawnbroker who has made her way to a small fortune. Raskolnikov wants this fortune for himself and so he kills her as his solution to get the money. Then from the point in which he kills her onward, his mental states start to darken and deteriorate. Raskolnikov becomes enveloped by his guilt and then has to deal with moral dilemmas on whether he should confess or continue to lie about what he did. This book has me crazy with the urge to read it and get a full understanding of everything that happens and I’m also really intrigued by Dostoevsky’s style of writing. 

Amazon.com: The Setting Sun (New Directions Book): 9780811200325: Dazai,  Osamu, Bett, Sam: Books

The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai 

Osamu Dazai is a great classic Japanese author who also wrote the book No Longer Human. No Longer Human is my favorite book to this day so I have high expectations for The Setting Sun and I have a feeling it won’t disappoint. (The Setting Sun is originally in Japanese and translated to English). The story of The Setting Sun is set in the early post-war years of WW2. It follows a 29-year-old aristocrat called Kazuko who divorced her husband and decided to move back in with her mother. After the war had ended the family had lost most if not all of their money due to the war and would now have to move from Tokyo to the countryside. We get to follow Kazuko as she tries to make a living for herself while her mother’s health is declining and her brother is trying to come to terms with the new state of the world after the war. The biggest reason why I want to read this book so much is due to Dazai’s amazing way of being able to show the change in society after so much harm was done to the people post-war and how the spirit, culture, and moral code at the time were changing. He also does an amazing job of showing how society and the changes happening put a strain on the main character. You get to see clearly into the mind of the character and how they think, making the character feel real while making you connect with them and understand all that is happening to them at the time. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

This is again another common classic piece of literature most people know, but it should be noted that the book does touch on a lot of hard topics, so I recommend you look into the book more before you decide to read it. The story is set in the 1950s and follows Holden Caulfield who is 16 years old. We first meet him right when he is released from an institution and his story starts at Pencey prep, Pennsylvania (The fourth school he has gone to and is on his way to failing again). After getting into a fight with a friend Holden packs up early and goes home to Manhattan. In Manhattan, he stays in a hotel where he finds a girl and asks her to run away with him but when she denies him he gets angry and heads to his childhood home where his little sister is. He tells her that he has failed out of yet another school and she gets angry telling him that he can’t go around hating everything. He ends up going to the same school as his little sister and continues to try to find himself and form some kind of future for himself. The story doesn’t have much of an elaborate plot besides an angry kid having to change schools over and over yet the book calls my attention and I think it might be because of all the things I’ve heard about the style of writing and the way that the characters are expressed. I feel like there is a lot more to the book which I don’t know yet and I’m crazy to figure it out. 

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at ___!

Guest Review: The Bad Seed by Jory John, Illustrated by Pete Oswald

Share

Guest Reviewer: Katie, UCF Elementary Education Student

The Bad Seed
Author: Jory John
Illustrator: Pete Oswald
Published August 29th, 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers

Summary: This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know?

He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy?

About the Creators:

Jory John is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time E. B. White Read Aloud Honor recipient. Jory’s work includes the award-winning Goodnight Already! series; the bestselling Terrible Two series; the popular picture books The Bad Seed, Penguin Problems, and Quit Calling Me a Monster!; and the national bestseller All My Friends Are Dead, among other books. He lives in Oregon.

Pete Oswald is an LA-based artist, kid lit author/illustrator, and production designer. He is the co-creator of Mingo the Flamingo, published in 2017 by HarperCollins. Pete is also the illustrator of The Bad Seed, by Jory John. When Pete is not working on books he is helping to uplift many of the most successful animated franchises as a character designer, concept artist, and production designer. Pete lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and two sons.

Review: I personally love this book and the character development it possesses throughout. There is a background on how the seed became to be “The Bad Seed”, which helps readers understand that there is always a reason behind their peers’ behaviors. The seed shared the things he does and the reasons he believes himself to be so bad but also a chance in his mindset, he no longer wants to be a bad seed. He starts changing his behavior and wants to be happy. This shows kids that it’s okay to want to make positive changes in themselves and it is possible for their peers to do so too. The seed also shares that he may not continue these positive behaviors at all times but does so from time to time. This shows that you can not be the perfect person at all times but it’s all about you trying to do so. With this, I think this would be a great book to start the year out with to show students that it is okay to start out being “bad” and changing for the better. It also gives students a chance to understand behaviors without telling them.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I think this book would be best for a classroom read aloud. This is because it would be a great introduction book or even if you notice there are a lot of negative behaviors happening in the classroom. It shows character development and how you can turn your behavior around. It also shows that there is a reason behind all negative behaviors and that these reasons are justifiable as well showing that you can get past it.

Some activities you could also do with it are:

Mapping: Mapping could be used for this book as you can map the journey the character takes to change his behavior from being bad to being good. You can have points that begin with the seed being happy, what happened that made him change his behavior, what he did while he was being bad, and what he started doing to become good.

Literature Logs: This could be used for older age groups, they can stop at the beginning to make connections or write down their initial thoughts after a picture walk. They can stop at different points to make inferences about what’s going to happen next or things they believe the character can do to turn around his behavior.

Graffiti Boards: This could be used just like the literature logs but may be more fun for the students as it is less structured. Here they have a chance to write, draw and interpret ideas on their own with little guidance other then the initial instructions and it can be done at any point without having to stop as a whole class to complete.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Describe in your own words the reasoning behind the bad seed becoming bad?
  • Why do you think the seed is considered to be the bad seed just from looking at the cover?
  • Do you think the seed will be able to overcome his “bad” behavior? Why or why not?
  • Describe a time in your life where you interacted with someone who acted like the bad seed? How did it make you feel?
  • Why do you think the seed wanted to turn his behavior around and become good again?
  • What do you think we can learn from the bad seed and his journey to become good?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Understanding behavior, colorful illustrations

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Thank you, Katie, for your review!

Guest Post: Classroom Uses for Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, Magnificent Makers: How to Test a Friendship by Theanne Griffith, Polly Diamond and the Magic Book by Alice Kuipers, and Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Share

One of the assignments during my Spring Children’s Literature course at UCF was creating a mini-teaching guide for the books we read for book clubs. We started with picture books for practice then students created them in their book clubs each week. The course was structured by genre as were the book clubs.

Today, I am happy to share the classroom uses and discussion questions found by my UCF Elementary Education students about fantasy novels.

Dragons in a Bag
Author: Zetta Elliott
Published October 23rd, 2018 by Random House

Summary: Jax is left by his mom to an old lady by the name of Ma. Jax later finds out that Ma is a witch who has 3 dragon eggs that hatched. They need to return the eggs because they won’t survive in the regular world due to lack of magic. They go to portals through time that takes them to the time of dinosaurs. Along the way, Jax meets his grandfather who also knows magic, and has him return two of the dragons to the magic council but accidentally left one left behind so he returns to the regular world. He forces his mom and the witch to hash out their problems.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: When using fantasy in the classroom it is always a good way to spark your students’ creativity. This source could be used as a creative writing prompt to boost off their creativity of the story: Conduct an activity based upon the book like have them write a short story about what they would do if they were in Jax’s shoes and have them draw pictures of dragons, name them, and design the dragons how they would like them to be pictured.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What was Jax’s first impression of Ma?
  • How do you think Jax will return the last dragon to the magic council?
  • Who do agree with and why? Ma who wants to keep the world of magic separate or L. Roy who wants magic to come back to earth.
  • Why do you think Jax decided to open the window for the squirrel?
  • What were 2 things the dragons were not allowed to have?
  • When you first hear the word apprentice what comes to mind?  Did you have the same thinking as Jax?
  • How does the story tie in with real-life scenarios with the fantasy?
  • Who are the most influential character apart from Jax?
  • When do we see the change of events come in play throughout the story?
  • When reading the book your imagination goes wild,in what other circumstances does your mind go other places when reading this story?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


The Magnificent Makers: How to Test Friendship
Author: Theanne Griffith
Illustrator: Reggie Brown
Published May 19th, 2020 by Random House Children’s Books

Summary: Pablo, Violet and Deepak are three friends who get sucked into a telescope and must play science games to come back and play again. Deepak is the new kid who makes Pablo jealous with his presence. Throughout the book, the team works together and build their friendship to complete the games.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The book could be used as a classroom read-aloud over the course of a few days or a week.  Due to the science elements, this book would be a good way to start off science discussions in the classroom. For example, the second chapter includes the students learning about food chains. This book is perfect to make connections back to science.

Discussion Questions: 

  •   Why do you think Pablo was jealous of Deepak?
  •   What were some of the challenges they had and what did they have to do?
  •   Why do you think Pablo, Violet, and Deepak were chosen for the Maker’s Maze?
  •    What do you know about producers, consumers, decomposers, and scavengers?
  • What were your favorite aspects of science that you learned from the book?
  • What type of emotion did the characters experience in the book?
  • When Deepak arrived to class, what did Pablo notice about him?
  • How does Pablo overcome is jealous toward Deepak?
  • Toward the end of the book why did they relate their friendship to the ecosystems?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


Polly Diamond and the Magic Book
Author: Alice Kuipers
Illustrator: Diana Toledano
Published April 22nd, 2018 by Chronicle Books

Summary: Polly Diamond is a little girl who receives a magic book that lets her bring to life the things that she writes and draws. She has a little sister who she doesn’t like very much and a brother on the way. Polly loves to write, she writes lists and stories and anything that she thinks is worth writing. When she starts writing in her magic book she realizes that the book can talk back to her. She writes to her book and comes up with lists and stories to write. She realizes that whatever she writes in the book comes to life when she writes about making a ladder to paint her room and the books on the floor magically move to make a ladder. The book tells her that is what she’s for and Polly quickly learns she can do anything she writes. She makes herself invisible and her sister into a banana. But she realizes that the book is taking everything she says literally. When she writes about eating a club sandwich the book gives her two slices of bread with a bat in between because it took the definition of a club literally. She told the house to fix up the carpet and turn her room into an aquarium. But the carpet was on the ceiling and fish were swimming around her room. She then realizes that everything she wrote was crazy and tries to put the house back to normal because she can’t even recognize it anymore. She fixes it just in time for her parents to come home with her new baby brother. At the end of the story she gives the book a name, Spell. And looks forward to writing and drawing another day with her new book, and friend Spell.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Polly uses and explains words like metaphor, affixes, alliteration, and hyperbole.  This is a great opportunity to talk about these definitions, make lists of words and phrases that relate to these words, and do activities where the students use metaphors, alliteration, homophones, homonyms etc.  It seems like a useful book to have in a first grade classroom and use with a higher level reading small group or a second grade class.    It could also be used as a read aloud, again discussing the key words and their meanings, then practicing using those skills.  There is a lot of use of imagery in this book as well as understanding literal meaning and how words matter.

After reading the text, students can respond to the story by engaging in a free write activity after they finish the reading. As a teacher, we could set a timer for five minutes and ask the students to write continuously about their thoughts on the book, good or bad, and afterwards, go over it as a small group.

Discussion Questions:

  • Polly had many favorite words throughout the book, what are some of your favorite words and why?
  • Make a list of activities you would do to have a Super-Fantastic-Day.
  • In the book, Polly writes down what her dream bedroom would look like. If you could have your dream bedroom, what would it look like?
  • When Polly writes in the magic book, she learns that she needs to write clearly and use as much detail as possible. What are some important rules to follow when writing so people can understand your message clearly?
  • When Polly is playing hide-and-seek, why does she become invisible?
  • Imagine the turquoise notebook has changed your house like Polly’s. Please write a short story explaining what your home looks like in order to get it back to normal.
  • How does Polly feel having to share a room with her little sister when her brother is born?
  • If you had a magic notebook that could bring three things you wrote about to life, what 3 things would you write or draw and why?
  • Polly loves words with double letters like “Dizzy.” List 5 words you can think of that have double letters.
  • Polly loves alliteration.  That’s when  two or more words in a row begin with the same letter.  What alliterations can you think of?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


Sisters of the Neversea
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Published June 1st, 2021 by Heartdrum

Summary: This book is a tale about three children, Lily, Wendy, and Michael. Their parents, Mr. Darling and Ms. Florene Roberts-Darling are separating, splitting the family between two different locations.  The night before Wendy and Mr. Darling are supposed to leave, the children are visited by a boy named Peter Pan and Belle. Stories of pirates and merfolk persuade the children to follow Peter Pan and Belle off to a mystical land called Neverland.  Upon arriving the children are separated and discover once you arrive you can never leave.  The children meet merfolk, pirates, native children, the lost, and fairies in a desperate attempt to figure out how to get home.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be great for a read aloud, book club, or close reading because it involves a lot of higher level vocabulary than some students may currently be reading at and it has long sentences and dialogue which again, some children could struggle with. These classroom uses would allow for discussions.

Geography could also be tied in because students could illustrate and demonstrate caves and waterways the Merfolk might have dwelled in. They also could show their knowledge of what an island like Neverland might have, and include what trees they think the lost boys were living in.

And, of course, it could be looked at versus Peter Pan as it is a retelling.

Discussion Questions: 

  • If you were a character in this book, who would you be and why?
  • If you were to create a different ending, How would it go?
  • Why do you think Mr. Darling and Ms. Florene wanted to separate?
  • What was your favorite part of the book?
  • What were some challenges that the children had to face or overcome?
  • Why do you think Peter Pan and Belle appeared?
  • Why do you think it was hard for the lost boys to remember who they are?
  • Why do you think Peter Pan never wanted to grow up?
  • Why do you think Belle brought Peter Pan to the island?
  • Why do you think the crocodile made a TikTok sound?
  • Does this book remind you of any other children’s stories?  If so why?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall  


Guest Post: Classroom Uses for Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell; Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o; The Crown by Derrick Barnes; The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson; Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds; and You Matter by Christian Robinson

Share

One of the assignments during my Spring Children’s Literature course at UCF was creating a mini-teaching guide for the books we read for book clubs. We started with picture books for practice then students created them in their book clubs each week.

Today, I am happy to share the classroom uses and discussion questions found by my UCF Elementary Education students for these six picture books.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Author: Patty Lovell
Illustrator: David Catrow
Published August 27th, 2001 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Summary: Molly Lou Melon is short, clumsy, has buck teeth, and a voice that sounds like a bull-frog being squeezed by a boa constrictor… But she doesn’t mind.

Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that to heart.

But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that…

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:

  • This book can be used to set a president within the classroom to advise at the beginning of the year that bullying is not okay.
  • Teach about how having a positive attitude can affect the world around you
    • Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us. – John Mitchell
  • Have the students go into a small group to talk about what happens when another student is being bullied.
    • Writing-in-role: Each student can discuss what they would do in Molly’s shoes with each encounter with the bully.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How would you feel if you were in Molly’s situation?
  • What advice has a family member given you that has gotten you through a tough time?
  • What are some things that you like about yourself?
  • How do you think Molly was able to keep a positive attitude?
  • How did the illustrations make you feel?
  • What did you like about the story?
  • What are some things you would have done if you heard Ronald making fun of Molly?
  • If Molly had a negative attitude toward Ronald, how would have had the story turned out differently?
  • How can you use this story in our classroom?
  • If Molly had not received advice from her grandmother do you think she would have had such a positive attitude?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


Sulwe
Author: Lupita Nyong’o
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Published October 15th, 2019 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary: Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: T

  • Good as a read-aloud and book club book.
  • A good book to introduce a discussion about skin color.
  • Beginning BLM topic.
  • Encourages children to be comfortable in their own skin.
  • Encourages children to love themselves.
  • Modern-day text.
  • May be used during social studies instruction. Prompts discussion about skin color and different cultures. Introduces self and encourages students to reflect on their own family and community.
  • After reading activity: Students may respond to the text by drawing a self-portrait of themselves. After drawing a self-portrait of themselves, they can share it with their peers and reflect on their own similarities and differences. The activity encourages students to recognize the importance of each member of their community.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What ideas do you think will be present in this text?
  • How did the author use the title of this book in the text?
  • How do you think the story will end?
  • How do you think Sulwe feels regarding how her classmates are treating her? How do you feel about this treatment?
  • What use of imagery sparked your imagination?
  • What could happen to make this character feel a different way?
  • What type of emotions do you feel during the daytime versus the nighttime? Explain why?
  • How does the word choice contribute to the tension throughout the story and ultimately the theme at the end?
  • What do you think the author wanted you to feel after reading this book?
  • How do Sulwe’s feelings change from the beginning to the middle, to the end of the story?
  • What evidence of organization do you see throughout the story?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


The Crown
Author: Derrick Barnes
Illustrator: Gordon C. James
Published October 10th, 2017 by Agate Bolden

Summary: The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

A fresh cut makes boys fly.

This rhythmic, read-aloud title is a celebration of the way boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Notes about when the book would be useful in the classroom:

  • To show feelings towards a certain moment in life.
  • This can be used for language arts practice (events, plot, meaning).
  • Asking students about a time where they felt a personal experience with something that they do often.
  • Reflect on how they feel after receiving a haircut.
  • Reflect on something that excites you, like the haircut in the story.

This book is best done as a read aloud and a book club book. The reason for this, is that Crown integrates great opportunities because it helps students to understand a character’s feelings written into text.

Discussion Questions: 

  • The boy in the story talks about his passion of having a haircut. When has there been a time where you felt passionate about something?
  • How does the author in the story convey emotion through colors?
  • What did you think the story might have been about?
  • What do you think that the boy in the story is feeling when he enters the barber shop?
  • If you could write a sequel to this book, what would it be about and why?
  • What have you might have changed in this story?
  • Has there been a time where you think you have gotten a nice haircut? Why or why not?
  • Describe the boy’s feelings about getting a haircut? Why do you think this?
  • The boy in the story felt confident and positive after getting a haircut. When was there a time where you felt confident and positive about something?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


The Day You Begin
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: Rafael López
Published August 28th, 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books

Summary: National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner Rafael Lopez have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: After reading this book it would be best if students use this as a community building opportunity to celebrate their differences and learn about their peers. This book opens up a discussion about the lives that others live and how although they have a different background we should treat everyone with respect and encourage others to be true to themselves. After reading this book the classroom can do a reading analysis of the book to help establish classroom norms and expectations. This book would be best as a read aloud preferably towards the beginning of the school year. Afterwards this book may go to the classroom library. This book is interdisciplinary as it can be used in social studies to help explore different cultural backgrounds. The students can be given the opportunity to explore the different customs and regions brought up in the book to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is the symbolism behind rulers being present in the illustrations of the book?
  • What differences did you notice in each of the characters?
  • Why do you think it is important for us to celebrate our differences?
  • What differences do you notice within your classmates or others around you?
  • How did the students’ perceptions of each other change over time?
  • Describe something that makes you unique compared to your classmates
  • What is one way to support a classmate that feels isolated because of their differences?
  • Why do you think Angelina felt less nervous towards the end of the book?
  • What is the overall message of the story?
  • Why do we notice the differences of our peers?
  • Why are we different from those around us?
  • Pick two different interactions in the story and write about you would change the characters behavior to be more respectful of their peers

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


Word Collector
Author & Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds
Published January 30th, 2018 by Orchard Books

Summary: Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
Some people collect art.
And Jerome?
Jerome collected words . . .

In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him—short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.

From the creator of The Dot and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words—and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:

  • This book would be useful during a read aloud when teaching about vocabulary. You can use the book as a good jump start into vocabulary. Seeing another child interested in learning words will catch the students attention and make them more interactive while learning vocab.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What are some words that you would like to share?
  • Is there anything you wished for your class to learn like the main character did?
  • Did you learn any new words?
  • Why does Jerome like to collect words?
  • Where do you find new words not counting in a book?
  • Which types of words were the most powerful for Jerome?
  • What do you like to collect for yourself and why?
  • Why do you think Jerome threw his words across town?
  • What do you do to make yourself happy?
  • What was your favorite part about the book?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


You Matter
Author & Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Published June 2nd, 2020 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Summary: They All Saw a Cat meets The Important Book in this sensitive and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson.

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The response best for after reading this text would be a group discussion of their thoughts on the book, a compare and contrast of everyone’s differences that “matter,” reflect on things that students think matters to them, and think they want to not matter. And the the book is interdisciplinary due to its multiple subject related ideas, because it addresses science related topics like planets and plants, and even geography.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Is there something that one of your siblings does that you don’t like? Why? Does that mean that they don’t matter?
  • What is something that you think matters?
  • What is something that you think makes you different?
  • Why does that make you special?
  • Why are differences important?
  • Why do you think the last picture was of the whole city?
  • Who is the astronaut thinking about when she is looking down on earth?
  • On the cover, what do you notice about all the children playing, what happens if there is only one kid playing with the parachute?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this book?
  • Why do you matter?

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


Student Voices: A Look at Representation and Reading from Kanak S., Naomi G., and Jaz P.

Share

A Look at Representation and Reading

Guide to Books with Indian/Desi Representation by Kanak S., 8th grade

Representation is so important. Finding books with characters that either look like me or have the same cultural background as me can be so hard. It is even harder to find books written by Indian/Desi authors as they are hardly ever spotlighted. So here is a list of books with Indian representation written by Indian authors. 

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Maya is cursed princess with a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction. The Raja, her father arranges a wedding for political gain which breaks her whole world apart. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of a man named Amar. Or at least she though he was a man… Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power and as Amar’s wife she finds more about herself than she ever thought possible. But Akaran has its own secrets-Maya suspects her life is in danger. The fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance of Maya’s hands. She must discover an ancient mystery that spans many reincarnated lives to save herself and those she loves the most. 

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California. Though she does not want to, she comes closer to having to work for her father’s company with every passing day. Tempest goes to visit her father’s newest project, she discovers her former stage double dead inside a wall that had apparently been sealed for more than century. Tempest believes that she was supposed to be the victim of this crime so, she sets out to solve this crime. As she continues to investigate this mystery, Tempest starts to wonder if the Raj family curse had finally come for her. 

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

Kaikeyi the only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya group up on tales of the might of the gods. Yet she watched her father banish her mother and amount her worth to how wonderful of a marriage alliance she would be able to secure. When she called for the gods they never came. Desperate for independence she turns to the tales her mother and her used to read where she found magic that is hers alone. With this new discovered power Kaikeyi transforms herself many a times determined to create a better world for the women around her and herself. However, as the evils from her fairytales threaten cosmic order, the path she has chosen has clashed with the destiny the gods had assigned to her family. Now Kaikeyi must decide whether her resistance is worth all the chaos it will create – and what legacy she chooses to leave behind. 

Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh

Manny Dogra a CEO of a successful company that helps people manage their relationship breakups. She is also planning her wedding to architect Adam Jamieson while dealing with the death of her parents. Manny never understood her immigrant parents who wanted her to be an All-American girl. She knew nothing about her South Asian heritage and it was never a problem till her parents passed away and an image of Manny had been edited to make her appear whiter. Suddenly, the women who had built an empire helping people to be true to themselves was having an identity crisis. When an annoying client by the name of Sammy Patel approaches Manny with an out of the ordinary breakup request the best solution presents itself: If they both agree to a set of terms he will give her a crash course in being Indian at his brother’s wedding. What follows is Manny indulging herself in all things Indian. Manny meets the wonderful aunties and uncles of the Patel family and discovers much more than she had ever thought possible. 

Keya Das’s Second Act by Sopan Deb

Shantanu Das has been living in the shadows of his past. In his fifties, he finds himself isolated from his traditional Bengali community after his divorce from his wife Chaitali; he hasn’t had a conversation with his eldest daughter Mitali in months; and he lives everyday with regret for not accepting his teenaged daughter Keya after she came out as gay. As the anniversary of Keya’s death approaches, Shantanu wakes up alone in his suburban New Jersey home and realizes it is time to move on. This is when he discovers a box in his attic that could change everything. He begs Mitali to come home. She does come home out of pity not realizing that her life is about change. Inside the box is an unfinished manuscript that Keya and her girlfriend were writing. Neesh Desai, a new love interest for Mitali with regrets of his own, comes up with an idea, one that would give a sense of permanence to Keya: what if they are to stage the play? It could be an homage to Keya’s memory, and a way to make amends. First, the Dases need to convince Pamela Moore, Keya’s girlfriend, to give her blessing. And they have to overcome ghosts from the past they haven’t met yet.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdaz

Everyone likes Humaira Khan, but when she comes out as bisexual to her friends, they invalidate her identity saying that she can’t be bisexual if she’s only dated guys. Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship with a girl her friend’s absolutely hate Ishita Dey. Ishu is an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track to college, the complete opposite of Hani. Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so she has the chance to become head girl. Despite their pact they start to have real feelings for each other. However, relationships are complicated, and certain people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from getting their happily ever after. 

Why Darius the Great is One of the Best Mixed Representations Out There by Naomi G., 8th Grade

Recently I read Darius the Great is Not Okay, and it blew my mind with how much it related to me. I related to this book on such a deeper level than others because, Darius, our protagonist is biracial, and most of the book follows him going to Iran for the first time, while dealing with clinical depression, and learning the ways of friendship. 

Darius is half Persian. His mother is Persian and his father is white. We see how he struggles with feeling Persian enough, which is a similar problem for many mixed children because you’re too much and not enough. For example, Darius gets picked on at school for being different, too Persian, but in Iran he feels isolated and different because in this case he is not Persian enough. I feel the same thing growing up in a Jewish school where everybody spoke English, and I would struggle knowing some English words, or I had different ways of saying things; I was different. Though when I was with my mom’s side of the family, from Costa Rica, it was also hard because I was isolated and had a hard time fluently speaking Spanish because I was scared my pronunciation still wasn’t good enough, so again I was different; it made me feel at though I just wasn’t Hispanic enough. I could barely speak Spanish, and I still struggled with English. 

To this day I still have the same struggle because I had to pick up how to speak from my surroundings, from home, similar to Darius. My mom spoke a different language but never ended up teaching me, at least not very well. Darius’s mother tried to teach him proper Farsi too late, so he also has the struggle of not being able to communicate. 

This book shows how being biracial/mixed can be a struggle, yes its full of different cultures, but sometimes it can be hard to handle. This book and the sequel continue to represent mixed BIPOC in the best possible way. 

Reading Opens Up Portals to Your Imagination by Jaz P., 7th Grade

What does reading have to do with your imagination you may ask? Well, for starters, it expands it, leading you on to new journeys filled with more adventure and excitement! The best thing about reading is that there is a book for everyone. From romance to science fiction to horror to comedy, there’s books about almost anything you can think of. Once you find one you like, you’ll learn to love reading it and want to continue more. Reading doesn’t just open up new portals to your imagination, it even increases your vocabulary, too. One benefit to reading is that it will cause you to look at things from different perspectives, and you’ll learn to appreciate it for what it is. According to thebookbuff.com reading can enhance your problem solving skills and also preserve your memory as well. Studies have shown that if you continue to read even after retirement 73% of those who do so won’t develop dementia. Adding on, it triggers one’s curiosity. You may have questions about everyday items but after reading, trust me, you’ll have plenty more. You can be more creative, too. Thebookbuff.com states that “a side-effect of this imagining of different scenarios is that it leads to exploring new possibilities. In this pursuit of your imagined solutions, you acquire more and more knowledge and skills.” This is added on to the idea of how it can trigger your curiosity. Who knew reading had so many up-sides?!

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at representation and reading!

Rosa’s Song by Helena Ku Rhee, Illustrated by Pascal Campion

Share

Rosa’s Song
Author: Helena Ku Rhee; Illustrator: Pascal Campion
Published June 14, 2022 by Random House Studio

Summary: A young immigrant from South Korea finds community and friendship in an apartment house filled with other newly arrived kids.

When Jae looks out the window of his new home, he wishes he could still see his old village, his old house, and his old friends. But his new apartment feels empty and nothing outside is familiar. Jae just arrived from South Korea and doesn’t even speak the new language.

Yet, making friends is the same wherever you go and he soon meets a girl with a colorful bird perched on her shoulder. Rosa knows just how Jae feels and the two become fast friends. Not only does Rosa show Jae his new neighborhood but she shows him how his imagination can bring back memories of his old home. Then Rosa leaves unexpectedly one night but leaves her parrot for Jae. He thinks about the song that Rosa would sing: “When I fly away, my heart stays here.” And when Jae meets two other newly arrived kids, he teaches them Rosa’s song and becomes their guide to this new world.

From the creators of the highly acclaimed The Paper Kingdom, comes a new book about the importance of community and demonstrates how a simple act of kindness can be passed along to others.

★ “Striking and raw…. Readers will share the sadness of Jae’s loss, but only after seeing Rosa and Jae’s joyful playing—a happiness that’s distinct to childhood.” —Booklist, starred review

About the Author and Illustrator:

Helena Ku Rhee grew up in Los Angeles, but has also lived in various parts of the U.S., Asia and Europe. She has a soft spot for small, stout animals and loves to travel far and wide across this beautiful planet, counting among her favorite journeys a camping trip in the Sahara Desert, a swim with elephants in Thailand and a horseback-riding tour of Easter Island. She is also the author of The Paper Kingdom, which was included on many year-end Best Books lists, including NPR, BookPage, Kirkus, Parents Magazine, the Los Angeles Public Library, and Amazon, among others. Helena works at a movie studio by day, and dreams up story ideas in her spare time. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Visit her at helenakrhee.com.

Instagram: @helenakurhee

Twitter: @HelenaRhee

Pascal Campion is a prolific French-American illustrator and visual development artist whose clients include: DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures, Disney Feature, Disney Toons, Cartoon Network, Hulu, and PBS. Working in the animation industry for over 15 years, he has steadily posted over 3,000 images of personal work to his “Sketches of the Day” project since 2005. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Instagram @pascalcampionart or Twitter @pascalcampion.

Ricki’s Review: There is so much for kids (and adults) to connect with in this book: Feelings of loneliness, worries about making friends, sadness from missing a place or time, magic from developing a new friendship, and loss of something or someone important. This book simultaneously offers readers windows and mirrors. The book offers a steady calmness amidst a swirling storm. It reveals human emotions in ways that are magnificent—despite the magnificent sadness that Jae experiences in the story. I love this book, and it belongs in every classroom, library, and home. It exists within a circle of knowledge—Jae takes Rosa’s song and shares it with others, and they will, the reader can assume, share it with others, as well.

Kellee’s Review: I love this beautiful book about discovery: Discovery of friendship, discovery of other cultures, discovery of exploration, discovery of loss, and discovery of purpose. Jae and Rosa represent so many students in our classrooms and all of the emotions that come with being new somewhere. Also, with the loss at the end of the book, it touches on a subject that many kids are affected by but books normally stay away from–it is important to talk about tough subjects with kids, and books are the best way to introduce them. I think my favorite part of the book is the ending though when Jae takes what he has learned and passes it on.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: We would love to use this book in literature circles. Specifically, we could see it in a literature circles with a theme of new beginnings, immigration, kindness, and/or friendship. Below, we list some books in the “Read This if You Loved” section that we believe would pair well with this text.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How is Rosa’s song given life in the story?
  • What does Jae miss from his old home? What does he find in his new home?
  • When have you experienced something that reminds you of what Jae experiences in this story? Select a page that allowed you to make this connection.

Flagged Spread: 

Read This If You Love: Bright Star by Yuyi Morales; Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, The Refuge by Sandra Le Guen, The Arrival by Shaun Tan, Refugee by Alan Gratz, The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

and Signature

**Thank you, Barbara at Blue Slip Media, for providing copies for review!**

Guest Review: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca, Illustrated by Daniel Rieley

Share

Guest Reviewer: Bree, UCF Elementary Education Student

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
Author: Julia Finley Mosca
Illustrator: Daniel Rieley
Published March 5th, 2017 by The Innovation Press

Summary: Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes!

When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!

About the Author: Julia Finley Mosca is a copywriter and former journalist who spent more than a decade in Hollywood crafting messages for money. After working with such recognizable brands as Entertainment Tonight, Yahoo!, American Greetings, and JibJab, she landed her most rewarding job yet―mom to one ferociously curious and spunky little girl. The Amazing Scientists series marks Mosca’s debut into the magical world of children’s books.

Review: A picture-book biography in verse introduces Dr. Temple Grandin, a major spokesperson for autism spectrum disorder.

The author employs easy, accessible language and simple rhyme to describe Grandin’s life, including her original misdiagnosis, the doctors’ advice to “send her away,” her mother’s advocacy, her learning to speak, the “new” diagnosis of autism, frustration with her classmates, her first visit to her aunt’s farm that led to her career as an animal specialist, her understanding of her talents, and the importance of her visual memory. The narrative goes on to describe her high school teacher’s support of her interest in science, her first invention (the “squeeze machine,” a self-calming device based on close-quartered enclosures for livestock), her work in treating cattle humanely, her efforts within the autism community, and the public recognition of her unique talents. The author speaks directly and inclusively: “Being DIFFERENT might just / be what makes you so NEAT!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures  is a great mentor text for teaching students important reading comprehension strategies, writing skills, and grammar concepts. All of our book companions come with activities that relate to these subject areas. Check out just some of the skills included in our book companion!

  • Practice identifying character traits that describe Temple.
  • Practice making personal connections to the book.
  • Integrate expository writing by asking students to write explanations for events that happened in the book.
  • Allow students to get creative by writing their own version of the book.
  • Use examples from the book to teach a lesson on action verbs and adjectives.
  • Teach a lesson on contractions.
  • Have a class discussion about diversity.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How will you use your talents and uniqueness to make the world better?
  • What do you think it was like to be the victim of teasing for being herself in school?
  • What skills would you like to develop that you are already interested in or good at?
  • What did you learn from The Girl Who Thought in Pictures or how did she inspire you?

Flagged Passages: 

“So here is the lesson: Feeling odd or off beat? Being DIFFERENT might just be what makes you so NEAT! Don’t let doubt hold you back, not one minute more. Stand tall, and like Temple… March right through that door!”

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: Inclusion, Diversity, and above all autism and neurodiversity!

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Thank you, Bree, for your review!