Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty


Rosie Revere, Engineer
Author: Andrea Beaty; Illustrated by: David Roberts
Published: September 3, 2013 by Abrams

A Guest Review by Jennifer Zafetti

Summary: Rosie is an ambitious young girl who aspires to be an engineer. She creates an invention for her uncle, but becomes embarrassed when he laughs at her. She does not feel supported , until she meets her Great-Great-Aunt Rose who is both an adventurer and an explorer. Her great-great-aunt yearns to fly so Rosie builds her a contraption made out of cheese. When her great-great-aunt laughs at her failure, Rosie becomes disheartened and swears to never invent again. Rose provides her with comfort and explains that, “Your brilliant first flop was a raging success.” This provides Rosie with the encouragement she needs to try again!

Review: I really enjoyed reading this book! I think that it is so important for kids to embrace failures! If Rosie had admitted defeat after her first failure, she would have never been able to be successful. Rosie’s perserverance allowed her to create a flying contraption for her aunt. Furthermore, the rhyming sentences created an engaging tone that kept me wondering what would happen next. This is a great story to read-aloud to a classroom! Additionally, the illustrations on each page really add to the story and provide detailed visuals to accompany Rosie’s different inventions. Overall, I think that this book can be inspirational for all ages—the simple message: never give up!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Rosie Revere, Engineer is an uplifting story in which failure turns into success. Teachers should use this children’s book to teach students about the importance of perseverance. When faced with challenges, students should use them as an opportunity to grow. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything!

Also, the teacher can pause the reading to ask for predictions.

Discussion Questions: How did Rosie’s mood change throughout the story?; When is a time that you persevered when facing a challenge?; When is a time that you have learned from a failure? How do Rosie’s family members impact her actions?

Flagged Passage: 

Read This If You Loved: Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, and The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Recommended For:

Thank you, Jennifer!


Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea


Because of Mr. Terupt
Author: Rob Buyea
Published October 12, 2010 by Delacorte

A Guest Review by Julia Kipphut

Summary: Mr. Terupt’s fifth grade class at Snow Hill School is comprised of various types of students, some including: a new student, a popular girl, a bully, and a troublemaker. Their teacher, Mr. Terupt who is passionate and energetic, strives to engage his students and instill a sense of community amongst his class. Unfortunately, one day, a snowball fight goes awry and leaves Mr. Terupt in a coma. His class is rattled and must learn to work together, be kind, and hope for Mr. Terupt’s recovery.

Review: This book includes a variety of characters, each owning their own identity and personality. Each chapter is written from a different character’s perspective, making for a fluid and interesting read. They are relatable for children and allow them to recognize themselves in each character. Each character evolves in the story and shows tremendous growth, proving the rich development of the people in this book. The message of community and forgiveness is nicely intertwined in the story and proves that it is always better to choose kindness. The theme of this book is positive and motivational. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Because of Mr. Terupt serves as a great reader aloud for upper elementary school students. 4th and 5th graders who are struggling with their identity and place in a classroom community can learn the importance of compassion. Students can learn to embrace individual differences for a common goal or outcome, mirroring the characters in this book. Additionally, this book allows students to study character development throughout the story; each character evolves- allowing for effective classroom discussion.

Because of each character of this book is written from a different character’s perspective, students are able to study point of view and consider the influence each chapter has on the story as a whole. Students are able to learn about each character in depth and can even use literature circles to each study a character for analysis.

Discussion Questions: How might the story be different if the snowball accident did not happen?; What do you think the author’s purpose or message was for this story?; Why do you think the author chose to write this story from different characters points of views? Do you think this was effective?

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper; Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Recommended For:

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Thank you, Julia!


Top Ten Tuesday: Diverse Books I Wish More People Would Read to Build Understanding and Empathy


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Diverse Books I Wish More People Would Read to Build Understanding and Empathy


One of the things this election has made me think about is the superiority that so many feel about themselves versus others. I wish they would pick up some of these books to help them build empathy for their fellow man. These books push the reader outside of their comfort zone and helps us see the world from a different point of view. I tried to pick books that focused on different diverse populations and included picture, middle grade, and young adult books. And yes, I did more than 10 🙂

how it went down

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Inspired by Trayvon Martin’s murder, Magoon looks at a young black boy’s murder from different points of view.

All American Boys

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

After an incident of police brutality, one boy must figure out how to stay strong and another must figure out how to question everything he knows.

a piece of home

A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts

What is it like to move to a brand new country with a brand new language? Tough but so many immigrants do it for a hope of a better future.

tia isa

Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina

While still saving to help more of their family immigrate to the U.S., Tía Isa works twice as hard to also buy something so many of us take for granted: a car.

a long walk to water

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

What is it like to grow up surrounded by war? To have to walk 2 hours for water? To want to be anywhere but the country that you live in?

kiki and jacques

Kiki and Jacques by Susan Ross

An introduction to refugees from a middle school boy’s point of view.  The reader also gets to learn about the refugees and their lives and situations along with Jacques which makes it so students with no prior knowledge can live Kiki and Jacques story with them.

children growing

Children Growing Up with War by Jenny Matthews

So many of us live in a privilege that includes peace, shelter, safety, and other basic needs. This is not so for so much of the world, and children grow up surrounded by violence all over the world. What is their life like?


The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman

This book looks at two very different girls but both who need to be read about: KC has a learning disability and Nawra is a refugee in Darfur.

fist stick

Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence by Geoffrey Canada

A gritty, truthful narrative about the evolution of violence.


Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Grayson will help so many readers learn about the struggle of being transgender.

so hard to say

So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez

What happens if you want to be normal, but you know that you aren’t? Is being gay a choice you can make?

red a crayon's story

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Although a story of a crayon, it looks at identity and labels. Not everyone has to be what they are labeled or are told to be. Let people shine as they truly are.

my friend maggie

My Friend Maggie by Hanna E. Harrison

Maggie is a big overweight and Veronica is not very nice to her. Paula struggles with the want to be popular or be friends with an amazing person who isn’t as popular. This story is an anthropomorphic story of what can happen on any playground in America.


Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi’s story hits on so many topics (pregnancy, abortion, meth, family, religion, ethnicity, school, homosexuality, sex, death, poetry, college, rape, and gender expectations, just to name a few), but they are all done with grace and understanding.


Sold by Patricia McCormick

Would you ever sell your child into prostitution for food? That is a question we may never have to face, but some families will.

Which diverse books did you wish more people read to help build understanding and empathy?


Blog Tour and Review!: Monster Needs to Go to School by Paul Czajak


monster banner

Interactive Monster Needs to go to School Banner

Monster School Cover

Monster Needs to Go to School
Author: Paul Czajak
Illustrator: Wendy Grieb
Anticipated Publication June 28, 2016 by Mighty Media Kids
(Please note the new publication date!)

Goodreads Summary: Monster is dreading his first day of school. But his classroom is full of new friends and so many fun things to learn that Monster forgets his fears in no time…until he catches his friends bullying. What will Monster do?

Another exuberant addition to the award-winning Monster & Me series, addressing back-to-school jitters and the difficulty of dealing with bullies—especially when they’re friends.

Ricki’s Review: The Monster books rank up there as one of my favorite series. I absolutely love reading these books because the monster always make me laugh. My son giggles as we look at the big monster squeezing into a tiny classroom seat. My son is starting preschool in the fall, so it was great to use this book as a teaching tool to discuss his first day of school with him. He became more excited about going to school after reading this book. I also enjoy the lessons that these books teach. Monster sees bullying and isn’t a silent bystander. He speaks out for what he believes is wrong. As a mom, I plan to talk about bullying often. I want my son to stand up for his peers when he sees bullying, and it is great to have this book as a resource to start these conversations.

Kellee’s Review: I love the Monster motto: “Teach kids what matters! After all, they are our future.” This is something I truly believe as well, and I think the Monster books do a great job teaching our children about being a good citizen and human. My first Monster book was Monster Needs Your Vote, and I was really impressed with how Czajak dealt with teaching about politics. Monster Needs to go to School is a bit different because it doesn’t as much teach about a topic but focuses on the importance of education and for kindness. This book will be great to read right before school starts, at the beginning of school, if someone is struggling with school, or when bullying is a problem. I think it would equally work for any of these situations because Monster’s story is fun and one that the reader will connect with. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This would be an excellent book to start off the school year. I’d read this book on the very first day. It would calm students’ nerves to see a giant monster who is afraid of school. Further, it would jumpstart conversations about bullying to tackle the issue before it might begin.

Discussion Questions: What is monster afraid of? What kinds of things make us afraid? Why is this okay?; What does monster do when he sees bullying? Why is it important to stand up for what is right? What is a bystander? Would you be strong and speak up against bullying?

We Flagged: “When Monster hopped onto the bus, his nerves were at their peak. He crumpled in the nearest seat, afraid to even speak.”

Read This If You Loved: Each Kindness (Kellee’s Review; Ricki’s Review) by Jacqueline Woodson, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea, the rest of the books in the Monster & Me series

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Carolyn at Mighty Media Press for providing copies for review!**

Text Sets for Teachers: Finding the Line: What is “Good?


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Finding the Line: What is “Good?
Text Set for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
created by Alexandria Bottelsen

What makes someone a good person? When are you beyond redemption?

For many young adults, the world seems black and white. In many forms of literature and pop culture, there is a dichotomy between good and bad, heroes and villains. That being said, things such as morality and the “right” thing to do are rarely clear-cut. Not only do these determinations depend on cultural and societal norms, they are also based on individual values. Through The Kite Runner, students will have the opportunity to explore what it truly means to be good, and when—and ultimately if—people are beyond redemption and forgiveness.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini deals with these issues of morality in a modern, engaging way and thus serves as the anchor text for this unit. That being said, the novel does take place in Afghanistan, where the culture and values are far different than those of high school students in the United States. While it is important for students to see that these issues are universal, I wanted to choose other texts—such as Harry Potter and Scandal—that they could easily relate to and grabble with. Similarly, many of the Internet texts are very modern. I want our discussion in class to transfer to other classes as well as their daily life, so including local police blotters, news articles about Snowden, and discussing the morality of current wars will expose them to wide range of contexts in which this argument exists.

Anchor Text (although other texts may be used!):
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
kite runner

Book Excerpts
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
in cold blood

Episode of Scandal (e.g. Season 4, Episode 19) and Abby and Harrison Talk About Morality
Clips from Harry Potter: Snape vs. Dumbledore
Les Miserables (2012): Clip where the bishop forgives Valjan
Criminal Minds Episodes (various)

The Scales of Good and Evil
Thought Experiment I
Thought Experiment II or Thought Experiment III
Who would you forgive?: List of Historically Famous “Bad Guys” (Instead of giving students the website rankings, ask the famous “bad guys” and debate/discuss this process. Can we rank evilness?)

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

Short Stories
“Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Lather and Nothing Else” by Hernando Tellez
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“Does Reading Good Literature Make You Moral?”: Boston Review
“Is War Ever Morally Justified?”: The Week
Newspaper Scavenger Hunt for Good and Evil: Police Blotter
Bill Cosby vs. Michael Jackson: How Are They Remembered?
Edward Snowden

“The Prince” Machiavelli

Guiding Questions

  • How does the culture we live in help/hurt our definition of morality? How does the line between good and evil differ between cultures?
  • Does someone’s position in society (e.g. a role model, celebrity, or public servant) change where the line of morality is for them?
  • Is anyone entirely “good” or “bad,” or can people move freely between categories?
  • How does someone’s fall from morality affect our memory of them as a person?
  • Is there a point at which we can no longer forgive someone? Who defines that point?
  • Are good and bad situational, or are they concrete across all contexts?
  • Do the “ends justify the means”? In other words, is it ok to act “badly” if the result is “good”?

Writing Prompts

  • Think of a time when someone betrayed you. What did they do and why was that so bad for you? Would someone have taken equal offense to it? Were you able to forgive them? Why or why not?
  • What is one thing you think is beyond forgiveness? Why did you choose this? Can you think of any situations where you may forgive a person for that action?
  • List your top three values as an individual. Where do these values come from? How do they affect your view of “good” and “bad”?
  • Trace Amir’s morality throughout the novel, then decide, is Amir ultimately a moral person? Do you forgive him? Write a short paragraph for each side of the argument, then highlight which one you personally agree with the most.

A special thanks to Alex for this critical, thoughtful text set! We hope this will prove useful for many anchor texts! What do you think?

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Text Sets for Teachers: Prejudice: Is It Something We Can Control?


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Prejudice: Is It Something We Can Control?
Text Set for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
created by Brenna Conrad

I will be working with an 11A class studying British Literature. In class, we will be reading Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice. At first, I had a lot of difficulty finding a theme that would be applicable not only to both texts but also to two sets of students who get to choose which book they want to read. I chose to focus my unit on the concept of prejudice and if it is something that we can control. In Frankenstein, prejudice is visible when everyone rejects the monster based on its appearance. In Pride and Prejudice, it is inherent in how the classes are divided and how characters treat one another. I chose this overarching theme because I think that this idea of prejudice is a very prominent issue in today’s society and should be considered and discussed in an educational setting. I want students to be able to not only get a more complex and complete understanding of what prejudice is and how it is prevalent in society but also to understand that there are many subtle ways it is incorporated into the media and texts. This is important for students to be aware of, especially as technology and media is becoming increasingly more influential as time progresses.

With this goal in mind, I constructed my text set with illustrating prejudices not only in as many forms of media as possible but in as many different time periods as possible. I want students to place these books among many other works that display the dangers and horrors of prejudice. Though I tried to incorporate multiple sources from different time periods to plot prejudice through time, I narrowed my focus to current media that my students have witnessed in their lifetime, allowing them to personally connect with these sources. Prejudice is one of the most prevalent issues in today’s society, and I think creating an awareness about how prejudice is incorporated into our society in multiple forms of media is very important for learners.

Anchor Texts (although other texts may be used!):
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice

Children’s Books
The Sneeches by Dr. Seuss (Also available on YouTube)

Young Adult Texts
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (YA pairing to Frankenstein)
this dark endeavor
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (YA pairing to Pride and Prejudice)
prom and prejudice

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (with Kenneth Branagh and Robert Di Niro)
Pride & Prejudice (with Kiera Knightly)
Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth)

The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman
Othello by William Shakespeare

Images Used as Propaganda for Protest Movements
Gay Rights:
3.25.2015Prior to WWIJune 2015 Gay Rights MovementJune 2015 Anti-Gay Rights Movement

3.25.2015 Prior to WWI June 2015 Gay Rights June 2015 Anti-Gay Rights

Women’s Suffrage:


Civil Rights:
1960sAnti-Civil RightsBlack Lives Matter MovementBlack Lives Matter MovementCounter to Black Lives Matter Movement

1960s Anti-Civil Rights Black Lives Matter1 black lives matter white lives matter

News Articles
Transgender Student Seeks Acceptance as She Runs for Homecoming Queen
BBC News: The Girl Who Was Shot for Going to School
Girls who Code aim to Make Waves in a Man’s World
Seeking Self-Esteem Through Surgery

“I, Too” by Langston Hughes
“Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
“Beautiful City” by Alfred Tennyson
“Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth
“Breaking Prejudice” by Daniel Tabone

“Teenage Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper
“Same Love” by Macklemore
“Blackbird” by The Beatles
“Chains” by Usher

Gap in Yearly Earnings
Race of Prisoners

Gilbert and Gubar: “The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination”

TV Shows/YouTube Clips
Family Guy: African American Prejudice
Family Guy: Asian Prejudice
Family Guy: Mexican Prejudice
Family GuyItalian Prejudice
Family Guy: Muslim Prejudice
Family GuyChristian Prejudice
Social Mobility with Legos

Guiding Questions

  • What is prejudice?
  • How is prejudice seen in today’s society? Has this changed in comparison to the past?
  • How does society portray prejudice? How do we speak back to prejudice?
  • Are there prejudices that we are unaware of, but still possess? How do we know? What can we do about it?
  • Do people live in fear of prejudice? What do they do to avoid it?
  • Are prejudice and racism the same thing?
  • What different types of prejudice are there? Do some levels of prejudice feel stronger or more impactful than others? How might ranking levels of prejudice be problematic?
  • Can we eradicate prejudice or is it a reality of human nature?

Writing Prompts

  • How many different forms of prejudice are there? Are they all prejudice?
  • Make a list of things you’ve seen in the media that promote a prejudice society. Consider media such as television commercials, shows, movies, songs, magazines, or even comics. Pick 5 media that you believe are the most detrimental and briefly explain why.
  • After reading Frankenstein or Pride and Prejudice, has your concept of prejudice changed?
  • Choose a group that has been historically marginalized—either one that we talked about in class or a different group—and examine how the prejudice against this group has shifted across years.
  • Do you believe that it is human nature to be prejudice or that it is something society has taught. Write an argument for the side that you believe in. Be sure to include example from class and at least two credible outside sources.
  • In a journal entry, discuss prejudice in our society. Consider: Do people use prejudice in a way to benefit themselves? How do we as a society associate prejudice and humor? Is that ok? Are we making progress away from prejudice? Why or why not?

A special thanks to Brenna for this phenomenal text set! We think this text set would be useful for many anchor texts! What do you think?

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Text Sets for Teachers: Growing Pains: Looking at the Subject of Coming of Age


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Growing Pains: Looking at the Subject of Coming of Age
Text Set for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
created by Andrew Johnson

We must all grow up order to fully enter the world as an adult. In some cultures, growing up is a rite of passage. In others, it is a series of events—a gradual process. Everyone grows up in different ways and is influenced by the different circumstances and environments. There is no one singular point in people’s lives when they can decidedly say that they came of age. It simply just happens. It comes to pass through the experiences that change who they are and what they value as individuals. Growing up not only changes how we think about others, but it also changes how we think about our own identities and places in society.

With that said, this text set is immensely important for exposing students to how others manage to grow up and progress through their lives. Students in middle and high school want nothing more than to be older. They want to be grown, even though a part of them also wants to secretly stay young forever. They may have been told at some point in their lives by a parent, teacher, or other adult to “grow up,” but do they really know what this means? How do they know? This text set will take a multicultural, multi-faceted view on the process of growing up in a world that can be strange, harsh, and also very, very enjoyable.

Anchor Text (although other texts may be used!):
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Graphic Novel
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
american born chinese

Other Texts
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Little prince

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (excerpts) by Stephen Chbosky
perks of being a wallflower

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
house on mango street

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (excerpts) by Mark Twain
tom sawyer

The Body by Stephen King (novella)
the body

“If” by Rudyard Kipling
“Lightspeed” by Grieves
“In My Life” by The Beatles
“Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

Short Stories
“Lost in the Funhouse” by John Barth (excerpt)
“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut

“Manhood for Amateurs” by Michael Chabon

Wizard of Oz (part of a prior unit)
Mean Girls
Rain Man (clips/part of introduction to ASD)
Stand By Me (adaptation of Stephen King’s The Body)

TV Shows
Boy Meets World (any and all applicable clips)
Girl Meets World (any and all applicable clips)

Articles/Internet Sources
The Teenage Brain by National Geographic
Should Growing Up in Compton be Considered a Disability VICE
Kids are Growing up Way Too Fast – Manhattan Institute
The Definition of Disability by Deborah Kaplan
Talking About Disability – A Guide to Using Appropriate Language
13 Amazing Coming of Age Traditions from Around the World

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (in order to understand the anchor text better)
Autism Speaks (in order to understand the anchor text better)
Simply Psychology (Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development)

Guiding Questions

  • What does being a child mean? What does being an adult mean?
  • Why can the path between childhood and adulthood be confusing or challenging?
  • Do we ever stop “growing up”?
  • Does our environment affect how we “grow up”?
  • Is “growing up” always a good thing? What makes it desirable?
  • Who or what pressures us to “grow up”? Who or what pressures us to stay young?
  • Is maturity synonymous with age?

Writing Topics

  • Describe someone who you consider to be “grown up” or “mature”? List their attributes.
  • Which stage(s) of identity development would you consider yourself to be in?
  • Design one scenario/question to determine if someone is mature or not. What would you look for in the answer?
  • After reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Do you think that Christopher has “grown up”? What do you think he has learned?
  • Compare and contrast Christopher’s journey and possible “coming of age” with another character of your choosing (or maybe even you!).
  • What are we supposed to learn about ourselves after you’ve grown up? What do you hope to learn about yourself after you’ve grown up?

A special thanks to Andrew for this relevant, engaging text set! We think it would fit in with a variety of age levels and class texts. What do you think?

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