Wednesday, July 25, 2007

36. Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

85 Pages



Stanley, J. (1992). Children of the dust bowl: The true story of the school at Weedpatch Camp. New York: Crown Publishers Inc.

Author Creditability: Stanley is a history professor at California Sate University, where he teaches courses that include this topic. He interviewed people and gathered his research from those that had experienced this event firsthand. He has earned recognition from the Orbis Pictus list several times for his nonfiction children’s literature.

Summary: This narrative and chronological book is a true account of what it was like for the Oklahoma Farmers and their families to live in the middle of the Dust Bowl. The reader is made aware of the harsh conditions, prejudices they faced and some desperate times that the Okies had to overcome. You go on the journey with the Okie families as they migrate to California in hopes of a better life. Once there, they are faced with even more prejudice and extreme struggles from day to day. Finally, Leo Hart begins to help the families by starting their own school for the Okie children. Here, they learn life skills and the basics in academics. Through this they receive a since of pride and accomplishment that will help them for years to come with different obstacles they are faced with.

Most Important Access Features: This book contains photographs with captions that help explain them to the reader. There is an author’s note that provides some background knowledge of the word Okie and the introduction helps to build schema for the reader. In the back of the book there is an afterword that provides the reader with information on what happened next with Leo Hart. Next, there is a bibliographic note, picture credits, acknowledgments, and an index.

Description of Illustrations: The photographs are all black and white and actually came from the people Stanley interviewed and from historical documents. He was able to use the photos to help depict the life of the Okies to the reader.

Grade Level & Uses: 4-8 grade; This book could be used to teach about the time period of the Great Depression. You could also use this book in character education when talking about the prejudice.

Standards: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; People, Places, and Environments; Individual Development and Identity; Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Children of the Dust Bowl to this time period.

Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression by Kate Lied
The Dust Bowl by David Booth
Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: Letters from Children of the Great Depression by Robert Cohen

Quality/Awards:
1993 Orbis Pictus Winner
ALA Notable Book
Horn Book Fanfare Outstanding Book of the Year
Booklist Editor’s Choice

Personal Response to Book: This was a very interesting and emotional read. There were some parts of the text that outraged me as a teacher, but Leo gave me inspiration for helping and making a difference in my students. The photographs were also very moving. I believe they were what helped to make the book and definitely told the story.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

35. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

48 pages



Weatherford, C. B. (2006). Moses: When Harriet Tubman led her people to freedom. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children.

Author Creditability: The book does not state where Weatherford got her information and sources. She has written several award winning books. I did find her website http://www.caroleweatherford.com/ and it has a slide show on it of different primary resources from this book.

Summary: This book lets the reader feel like they are right there with Harriet Tubman. You are able to read her thoughts and prayers to God as she starts her escape and journey to freedom. It then tells of her involvement with the Underground Railroad and her numerous journeys back to the south to free hundreds of slaves. All the while staying close to God and letting him lead her path. She becomes known as the Moses of her people.

Most Important Access Features: The foreword helps to build the readers schema on what is going on with slavery during this time period. The text where God is speaking to Harriet is always done in a larger text font and in a grayish color. At the back of the book there is an author’s note telling about this book and Harriet Tubman’s life.

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations were done by Kadir Nelson as paintings.
They are beautifully done and help the reader to understand exactly the danger Tubman was facing through the dark colors and worried facial expressions upon Tubman’s face.

Grade Level & Uses: K-3 grade; This book could be used to teach about The Underground Railroad and slavery.

Standards: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; Individual Development and Identity; Individuals, Groups, and Institutions; Power, Authority, and Governance


Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom to discuss Harriet Tubman, slavery, and the Underground Railroad.

Who was Harriet Tubman by Yona Zeldis McDonough and Nancy Harrison
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry
A Picture Book on Harriet Tubman by David A. Adler and Samuel Byrd


Quality/Awards:
2007 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
2007 Caldecott Honor
A New York Times Best Seller
NAACP Image Award

Personal Response to Book: This was a very inspiring book. It amazed me of her relationship with God and how He led her out. I found this book to be very touching and moving.

34. More Than One by Miriam Schlein


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

24 pages



Schlein, M. (1996). More than one. New York: Scholastic.

Author Creditability: The book does not state any research done, however Schlein has written several nonfiction children’s books to inform kids on different topics. This is a very simple text giving examples of how one can be more than one. No research was really needed to write this book.

Summary: This sequenced book brings up the question can one be more than one? It then explains to the reader how one can really be more than one. For example: one pair of shoes is two shoes; one baseball team is 9 players; etc.

Most Important Access Features: The text dealing with the number one is in red text so it will stand out better for the young reader. It also has the number word and numerals to match it on the page and both are done in red text.

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations were done by Donald Crews using watercolors and gouache paints.

Grade Level & Uses: K-2 grade; This book could be used to teach about numbers, number words, and how some words can mean more than one thing.

Standards: Problem Solving; Reasoning and Proof; Communication; Connections; Representation

Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with More Than One to discuss math concepts of number words and numerals.

12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
What’s A Pair? What’s A Dozen? by Stephen R. Swinburne
The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid
Two Ways to Count to Ten by Ruby Dee


Quality/Awards:
None found at this time.

Personal Response to Book: This was a very easy read that could probably even be used in preschool. I liked how she took items that the kids are familiar with and showed them how one could be more than one. I feel like the students could easily relate and understand the concept being taught here.

33. America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

40 pages



Cheney, L. (2002). America: A patriotic primer. New York: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.

Author Creditability: Lynne Cheney stated in her acknowledgments that she wanted to thank several of her research assistants. She had lots of help researching the material and developing this book. She thanked the American Enterprise Institute for their help. Mrs. Cheney has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Summary: This is an alphabet formatted book that Cheney wrote because she wanted her grandchildren to know how blessed we are to live in America. Each letter of the alphabet either deals with well-known individuals, milestones in our history, or terms of this nation. There are also facts, quotes from presidents and other patriots, and/or anecdotes on each page dealing with the given topic.

Most Important Access Features: This book takes a cartoon like appearance to it. There are several illustrations on a page with labels and information next to the illustration. In the back of the book is a section called “Notes on the Text” which includes a little more detailed information on each letter and the illustrations on the page. The front end pages are in red, the pages in the book are white, and the back end pages are blue representing our flag (The Red, White, and Blue).

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations were done by Robin Preiss Glasser and are made in black ink, watercolor washes, and colored pencils.

Grade Level & Uses: 2-5 grade; This book could be used to teach about America.

Standards: Time, Continuity, Change; Individuals, Groups, and Institutions; Culture

Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with America: A Patriotic Primer to discuss American history.

A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women by Lynne Cheney
A Time for Freedom by Lynne Cheney
We the Kids by David Catrow
When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots by Lynne Cheney


Quality/Awards:
None found at this time.


Personal Response to Book: I liked the friendly cartoon like layout of this book. I enjoyed reading about our history from Lynne Cheney’s perspective. I believe this would be an excellent book to help little ones understand our country.

32. A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women by Lynne Cheney


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

48 pages



Cheney, L. (2003). A is for Abigail: An almanac of amazing American women. New York: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.

Author Creditability: Lynne Cheney stated in her acknowledgments that she wanted to thank several of her research assistants. She had lots of help researching the material and developing this book. She thanked the American Enterprise Institute for their help and mentioned the four-volume biographical dictionary, Notable American Women in her resource notes about the text.

Summary: This is an alphabet formatted book that focuses on the accomplishments of American women. Each letter takes on a topic that women had a role in partaking in our history or it features a specific woman and what she did along with other women who accomplished similar obstacles. There is a huge emphasis on the women who help to get equal rights for all women. This book opens the readers’ eye to exactly how many women have affected our history. It does not go into great detail about their accomplishments, but does give the reader a start where they may do their own research about a specific person.

Most Important Access Features: This book takes a cartoon like appearance to it. There are several illustrations on a page with labels and information next to the illustration. In the back of the book is a section called “Notes on the Text” which includes a little more detailed information on each letter and the illustrations on the page.

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations were done by Robin Preiss Glasser and are made in black ink, watercolor washes, and colored pencil.

Grade Level & Uses: 2-5 grade; This book could be used to teach about American history and different individuals who had a process in shaping America.

Standards: Time, Continuity, Change; Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with A is for Abigail to discuss American history.

America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney
A Time for Freedom by Lynne Cheney
We the Kids by David Catrow
Thank you, Sarah: The Women Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson


Quality/Awards:
Arizona Young Reader Book Award Nominee Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Personal Response to Book: I liked the friendly cartoon like layout of this book. I enjoyed reading about women that had a role in our history. I believe young girls need to read this book so than can see that women can and do have various jobs and have played very important roles in influencing America.

31. The Tarantula Scientist by Sy Montgomery


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

80 pages





Montgomery, S. (2004). The tarantula scientist. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: In this book it has a section called “How This Book Was Researched.” The reader will find out that Montgomery along with the photographer Bishop went with “Sam Marshall on an expedition to French Guiana in South America.” They researched tarantulas with him and also visited Sam’s Spider Lab at Hiram College in Ohio.

Summary: This is a book of Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop following a spider scientist, Sam Marshall, on his expeditions through his lab in Ohio and the rainforest in French Guiana. It shows the reader how science works through experiments and observations to find out about the tarantulas. The reader will find out about how science works as well as about the spider the tarantula.

Most Important Access Features: This book contains a map at the beginning showing the reader where French Guiana is located. It has chapter headings that let the reader know what the chapter is about. It contains photographs through out the book with labels telling the reader about the photo. At the end of the book there are pages with information for the reader including: Updates, handling tarantulas, spider stats, spider language, how the book was researched, special acknowledgments, selected bibliography, websites, how to reach the jungle in French Guiana where Sam does his research, information on having a tarantula as a pet, an index, and a website for teachers.

Description of Illustrations: The photographs were taken by Nic Bishop on the expedition.

Grade Level & Uses: 4-8 grade; This book could be used to teach about the process of experiments and observations and about tarantulas.
Standards: Science as Inquiry; Life Science
Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with The Tarantula Scientist to discuss tarantulas.

Uncover a Tarantula: Take a Three-Dimensional Look Inside a Tarantula! by David George Gordon
Tarantulas (Animals of the Rain Forest) by Christy Steele
Tarantula Spiders (Animal Kingdom) by Julie Murray


Quality/Awards:
2005 Robert F. Sibert Honor

Personal Response to Book: I do not like spiders so I thought this was going to be a hard book for me to read. I did find it very interesting and I liked how they talked about using experiments and observation on finding out about the tarantulas.

30. Sequoyah by James Rumford


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

32 pages



Rumford, J. (2004). Sequoyah: The Cherokee man who gave his people writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: Rumford has studied more than a dozen languages and has worked in the Peace Corps. While working on this book he drew on these experiences as well as the history of Sequoyah. Anna Sixkiller Huckaby, a language training coordinator for the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center helped him write this book. She is a full-blood Cherokee with a history of being involved with the Cherokee culture and language. She has taught the Cherokee language for many years and has been named a Cherokee Living National Treasure for her work in basket making. She helped Rumford write this book and translated it into the Cherokee language.

Summary: This book is a poem of Sequoyah a man who wanted to teach the Cherokee Indians a writing system so they could be a nation of readers and writers. This captures the painful obstacles that Sequoyah had to overcome in order to develop this beautiful written language for his people. Under the English text, Anna Sixkiller Huckaby has illustrated this beautiful language for us by translating the text into the Cherokee written language.
Most Important Access Features: This book contains the Cherokee written language under the English text. The illustrations are labeled in Cherokee, which are translated into English on the verso page. There is a chart of the syllables used to write the words in the Cherokee language. At the end of the book is a timeline of Sequoyah’s life.

Description of Illustrations: According to the book “The illustrations in this book were done with ink, watercolor, pastel, and pencil on drawing paper adhered to a rough piece of wood, the texture of which was brought out with each pass of chalk and colored pencil.”

Grade Level & Uses: Grades 1-4; This book could be used to teach about the Cherokee Indians along with how people had to come up with our writing system.
Standards: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; People, Places, and Environments; Individual Development an Identity.
Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Sequoyah to discuss the Cherokee Indians.

If You Lived With the Cherokees by Peter and Connie Roop
Cherokee (Native American Peoples) by D. L. Birchfield
Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Cornelia Cornelissen


Quality/Awards:
The Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
Personal Response to Book: I was not sure that I was going to enjoy or be interested in this book, but I ended up liking it. It was very interesting how Sequoyah handled others who were trying to discourage him and he kept trying. I also enjoyed being able to actually see what the Cherokee language looks like and compare it to our English text.

28-29. Secrets of a Civil War Submarine Solving the Mysteries of teh H. L. Hunley by Sally Walker


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

112 pages



Walker, S. (2005). Secrets of a Civil War submarine: Solving the mysteries of the H. L. Hunley. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books Incorporated.

Author Creditability: In this book Walker states “For me, doing research is like opening a door into a fascinating new world.” This was exactly the approach she took when researching the Hunley to write this book. She talked to many scientist and people involved with the preservation of the remains of the Hunley. She went to South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston, the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, and the Smithsonian Institution to look at the artifacts as well as interviewing the survivors’ family members.

Summary: This book is a chronological book based on the Civil War submarine, H. L. Hunley. It takes the reader through the submarine’s life span. It starts out telling when, why, and how it was made, the practice runs done with the submarine, and then it’s unfortunate only mission. It then takes the reader to today where the archeologists try to locate and exhume the Hunley. Walker then goes into the surprising findings that have been revealed since the Hunley has been excavated.
Most Important Access Features: This book contains a table of contents, prologue, chapter titles (which give you some idea what the chapter is about), photographs, diagrams with labels, maps, a note from the author, source notes, a bibliography, website references, photo acknowledgments, and a glossary.

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations, maps, and photographs came from different sources. They are all listed either on the verso or in the photo acknowledgments at the back of the book.

Grade Level & Uses: 6-12 grade; This book could be used to teach about the Civil War and about archeologists and preserving artifacts found from our history.
Standards: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; People, Places, and Environments; Individual Development an Identity; Science, Technology, and Society.
Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H. L. Hunley to discuss the Civil War.

If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War by Kay Moore and Anni Matsick
The Amercian Nation: Civil War to the Present by James West Davidson and Michael B. Stoff
When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson by Barry Denenberg

Quality/Awards:
The Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
Notable Association for Library Service to Children American Library Association
Personal Response to Book: This was a true amazing story. It amazed me what all scientists can find out about the findings of artifacts that they find. I truly liked this book even though it is for older students and my expertise is with low elementary students.

Monday, July 23, 2007

27. First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orvill Wright Invented the Airplane by Peter Busby


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

32 pages



Busby, P. (2002). First to fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright invented the airplane. New York: Crown Books for Young Readers.

Author Creditability: Busby has written two novels, a dozen screenplays, and has co-written several nonfiction books. This was his first book for children. He had Fred E. C. Culick as a historical consultant for this book. At the time this book was written, Culick was a professor of mechanical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and a leading specialist in aeronautics.

Summary: This oversized book tells the biography of the Wright brothers. It provides photos and diagrams to help the reader understand just who these brothers were. This book takes the reader on a journey from the brothers’ childhood all the way up to their separate deaths and informs the reader of all the different challenges they faced at different times in the flying process and development.

Most Important Access Features: This book has a prologue that builds the readers’ schema a draws the reader into the book. There are archives of photos from the Wright family and a telegram sent by the brothers when they had flown at Kitty Hawk. There are also heading, diagrams, and labels to help the reader understand everything dealing with flying. There are a couple of inset text boxes that explains the scientifics of the process of flying. In the back of the book there is an epilogue, timeline of important dates, glossary, bibliography, picture credits, and index to help the reader better understand this book and the Wright brothers.

Description of Illustrations: This book contains several different types of illustrations all of which enhance the understanding of the Wright brothers and their life. The paintings were done by David Craig. Most of the archival photographs are from the Wright Brothers Collection located at the Wright State University Special Collections and Archives. The other archives were collected from various sources and are credited at the back of the book. The diagrams were done by Jack McMaster a mechanical engineer/aeronautics expert.

Grade Level & Uses: K-8; This book would be appropriate to use while studying the history of flight and the Wright brothers or inventors. The teacher would have to read the text to the lower grades and help the read the book since the layout is not done like a traditional storybook.

Standards: Social Studies: Time, Continuity, Change; Science, Technology, and Society

Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used with First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright Invented the Airplane to do a unit on flying or inventors.

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning by Rosalyn Schanzer
My Brothers’ Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me by Jane Yolen
To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers by Wendie Old
Eureka! Great Inventions & How They Happened by Richard Platt
Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Jones
The Wright Brothers for Kids: How They Invented the Airplane by Mary Kay Carson

Quality/Awards:
None known

Personal Response to Book: I liked the layout of this book. It made it very easy to understand about the Wright brothers. I never found them interesting when I read about them in a textbook. This book helped to open up a whole new side of them for me.

26. A Mother's Journey by Sandra Markle


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox
32 Pages



Markle, S. (2005). A mother’s journey. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing.

Author Creditability: Markle has written over 70 children’s nonfiction books and has won many awards. She has been chosen twice to participate in the National Science Foundation’s program for authors in Antarctica. It was there she got the idea’s for this book. She also had help from professors and ecologists that specialize in the study of penguins.

Summary: This is a story of an Emperor penguin that lays her egg and leaves it with the male while she goes to hunt for food and avoids being eaten by predators. It takes the reader through the time period of the egg being laid to the birth of the chick. Markle does a wonderful job of helping the reader to understand what all the mother penguin has to go through to get food for her baby and mate and make it back to them alive.
Most Important Access Features: This book had background information on the author’s preparation for writing the book on the verso. There is inset text used to help with mileage conversions. The back end page has fascinating facts, other books to read, websites, and more on the author’s research if the reader wanted to further their study on penguins.

Description of Illustrations: Alan Marks used watercolor and ink to illustrate the illustrations in this book. The illustrations compliment the book very well and help the reader to understand what the penguins are going through just to survive.

Grade Level & Uses: K-5; This book would be appropriate to use while studying penguins or Antarctica. An inquiry project on penguins or mothers and their babies could be done.
Standards: Science as inquiry; Life Science
Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used with A Mother’s Journey to do a unit on penguins or Antarctica.

The Emperor Lays an Egg by Brenda Guilberson & Joan Paley
The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins & Jane Chapman
Antarctica by Helen Cowcher
Penguins by Gail Gibbons
Emperor Penguins by Patricia Trattles

Quality/Awards:
2006 Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Book for nonfiction
2005 CBC/NSTA Award Winner

Personal Response to Book: I like how this book flowed very well. The author told about Emperor penguins, but did not lose the flow or craft of telling a story. It did not seem like you were reading a nonfiction text piece on penguins, it was more like a story.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

25. Going Fishing by Bruce McMillan


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

32 pages



McMillan, B. (2005). Going fishing. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: McMillan is a well known author that has written 44 honored children’s books. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and the Author’s Guild. His photographic work has appeared in exhibits throughout the country.

Summary: This photo-documentary is done about a young Icelandic boy named Fridrik. He goes fishing with both of his grandfathers. One of them fishes for cod and the other one fishes for lumpfish. Each fishing trip teaches him of particular characteristics about each type of fish, locations that each type are found, and purposes for the different fish once they are caught. McMillan adds conversation between Fridrik and his grandfathers that would be typical for any Iceland grandfather and grandson. The dialogue ties the information together, while still teaching the reader about fishing in Iceland.

Most Important Access Features: This book has vocabulary, Iceland language, which most people would not be able to pronounce, so there are pronunciations available for the reader. On the verso page there is a horizontal photo of the village in Iceland where the book takes place. Right under it there is an illustration of a globe with a label t show the reader where Iceland is located and the village is located. At the end of the book there is a page with scientific information and pictures of the featured fish.

Description of Illustrations
: McMillan took the photographs in this book. They were taken with a Nikon thirty-five mm camera. Fridrik is a five year old boy who lives in Iceland. The photos in this book are very much family oriented while fishing in Iceland.

Grade Level & Uses: K-5; This book would be appropriate to use while studying Iceland, fishing, or fish.

Standards: Science as inquiry; Life Science; Science in personal and social perspective

Related Texts & How Related: The following books were written by Bruce McMillan and could be used along with Going Fishing to talk about Iceland and other topics.

My Horse of the North
Gletta the Foal
Days of the Ducklings
Nights of the Pufflings
Puffins Climb, Penguins Rhyme


Quality/Awards:
National Council for Social Studies Children’s Book Council
Notable Social Studies Trade Book for 2006

Personal Response to Book: I loved the information of Iceland. I have always wanted to go and tour there. I also like the interaction between Fridrik and his grandfathers. It reminded me of my grandfathers and going fishing with them and my dad.

24. Elephants Can Paint Too! by Katya Arnold


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

40 pages



Arnold, K. (2005). Elephants can paint too! New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Author Creditability: This is a project implemented by the author, Katya Arnold and her husband Alex Melamid. This book is written by Katya Arnold on her experiences during the project.

Summary: This book is written by the author about a project her and her husband worded on when Thailand started conserving trees and elephants began dying out do to lack of keep because they could not earn it. She explains how she teaches art in two different schools, one is in the city and one is in the jungle. She explains how she teaches elephants to paint and compares the artwork of her two different students, humans and elephants. Additional information on the elephants and different techniques are included in inset text boxes.
Most Important Access Features: This book inset text boxes with information on elephants and different techniques used to get them to paint. The words that are used to compare the children to the elephants are done in 2 different colors and in larger text to make it stand out. There is an Author’s Note that explains the study and how people can obtain artwork done by elephants and support the elephants. There are also photo credits and acknowledgments for who all helped in the project and in writing this book.

Description of Illustrations: This book contains photographs taken by the author and various others who helped with the project. The end pages are done in an abstract painting from kids’ abstract painting by Oote Boe. To me, they look like what an elephant painting would look like when he uses his trunk to spread paint on a canvas.

Grade Level & Uses: K-5; I believe this book could be used the lower grades if the teacher read it to them. It would work will with a zoo unit or on studying elephants and on conservation.
Standards: Science as inquiry; Life Science
Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Elephants Can Paint Too! to talk about zoo animals, elephants and conserving them.

A Kids’ Guide to Zoo Animals by Michelle Giders
Zoo by Gail Gibbons
Zoo Animals by Brian Wildsmith
Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People, and War by Yukio Tsuchiya & Ted Lewin
Elephant by Steve Bloom
Just for Elephants by Carol Buckley
There are also numerous books on different animals that could be added to a unit on zoo animals.

Quality/Awards:
Ala Notable Children’s Books. Younger Readers (Awards)

Personal Response to Book: This was a very informative and easy book to read. I feel like I can defiantly use this book with my first graders when I do my zoo unit and we are talking about elephants. I believe the kids will love the idea that elephants can paint. I also like that they have the website where you can go and observe some of the elephant’s paintings—the kids will really get a kick out of that!

23. Z is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet by Marie & Roland Smith


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

40 pages



Smith, M. & Smith R. (2005). Z is for zookeeper: A zoo alphabet. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.

Author Creditability: According to the book Roland has spent more than 20 years caring for exotic animals before he became a full-time writer. “In his career he has been a zookeeper, senior zookeeper, curator of mammals and birds, general curator, assistant zoo director, and senior research biologist.” He has also received the Excellence in Zoo Keeping award for the United States in 1980. Roland is an author of many other award winning books for children.

Summary: This sequenced structured book gives the reader information in a rhymed way on content of a zoo that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Then in the side bars there is some expository text on the animals or people working in the zoo to provide more detailed information, as well as some little interesting facts on topics within the zoo. The side bar readings would be for more advanced readers because of the harder language to read.

Most Important Access Features: This book contains side bars with more detailed information and facts. Since it is a alphabet sequenced book each letter of the alphabet is done in displayed faces so the reader will know what letter of the alphabet is on that page. There is an authors’ and artist note at the back of the book.

Description of Illustrations: This book contains illustrations done by Henry Cole. Colored-pencil-and-watercolor artworks are done for the double fold illustrations done in this book. They are all done beautifully and help bring meaning to the text.

Grade Level & Uses: K-5; I believe this book could be used the lower grades if the teacher read it to them. It would work will with a zoo unit or on studying captivity and different animal species.


Standards: Science as inquiry; Life Science

Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Z is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet to talk about zoos and animals.

A Kids’ Guide to Zoo Animals by Michelle Giders
Zoo by Gail Gibbons
Zoo Animals by Brian Wildsmith
I Want to be a Zookeeper by Dan Liebman
There are also numerous books on different animals that could be added to this unit.

Quality/Awards:
No awards were found.

Personal Response to Book: This was a very informative and easy book to read. I feel like I can defiantly use this book with my first graders when I do my zoo unit before we go to the Memphis Zoo. I also like the format used and how they put more informative text in side bars. I will be able to teach this to my students, as will, within my zoo unit.

22. A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

48 pages


Nelson, M. (2005). A wreath for Emmett Till. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: At the time that Marilyn Nelson wrote this book she was the professor of English at the University of Connecticut. There is a reference section in the back of the book where Nelson got her information to write the poems in this book. She gives credit to PBS and several books that she read to help her with this book. The PBS website on Emmett Till is also listed for the reader to go to and do their own research.

Summary: This is a memorial to the teen Emmett Till and what happened to him. The poems form a heroic crown of sonnets in which the last line of the poem becomes the first line of the next poem. There are 15 sonnets all together with the last one being a collection of all the first lines in the other 14 sonnets in the book. This form of writing in the book will make the reader have all types of emotions while reading the horrible events of Emmett Till’s death.

Most Important Access Features: This book contains an introduction from Marilyn Nelson that tells how she came about writing this book of poems. The last line of each poem becomes the heading on the next page for the first line of the next poem. At the end of the book there is a page of information on Emmett Till, sonnet notes on each poem, an artist’s note explaining the illustrations, and a reference section.

Description of Illustrations: This book contains illustrations done by Philippe Lardy on cardboard with tempera paint. They are beautifully done with each section depicting different colors that show significance to what is taking place in the sonnet going with the illustration. In the back of the book the artist’s note tells why Philippe used the colors and the meaning behind the illustrations done with each poem.

Grade Level & Uses: 8-12; I believe this book could be used with the upper grades when talking about the Civil Rights Movement and while talking about poetry in Language Arts.

Standards: Social Studies: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; Power, Authority, and Governance; Language Arts Standards dealing with different forms of genres and on poetry

Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with A Wreath for Emmett Till to talk about this time period in our history.

The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston
Remember the Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison


Quality/Awards:
Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Coretta Scott King Honor
Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors Award

Personal Response to Book: This was a very hard book to read emotionally and skillfully because of the topic and the fact that it was all done in sonnets. The notes at the back of the book help out a lot with the understanding of each sonnet, but the emotional part of the reading is still hard because of the content you are reading about.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

21. Remember the Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

78 Pages



Morrison, T. (2004). Remember the journey to school integration. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: At the time Toni Morrison wrote this book she was the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She was also the senior editor at Random House for 20 years. She has degrees from Howard and Cornell universities and honorary degrees from numerous other institutions, including Harvard. She has won numerous awards including the 1988 Pulitzer Prize, the 2000 National Humanities Medal, the 2000 Library of Congress Bicentennial Living Legend Award, as well as many more. She was also the first African American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Summary: This book is mostly made up of full page black and white photos of the time of Brown v. Board of Education and integration of the school system which grew into the nationwide Civil Rights Movement. Morrison relates what she believes the children and people in the photos might have been saying at the time in her text. This is a pictorial and narrative journey that lets the reader be aware of this time period in American history and its significance today.


Most Important Access Features: This book contains an introduction from Toni Morrison that builds the readers’ schema for the time period of this book. It contains photographs and a copy of The New York Times during this important time in our history. In the back of the book is a timeline of key events in the Civil Rights Movement and school integration. Lastly, there are photo notes with a small photo of the photograph, the page number it is on, where the picture was taken, and a small description of it.

Description of Illustrations: This book contains all primary source documents and photographs. There is a whole list of photo credits at the back of the book where all the photos came from.

Grade Level & Uses: K-8; I believe this book could be used to help students understand our history and how things used to be not just to long ago. The lower grades could not read the text, but the could look at the photographs as the teacher was discussing this time period in our history. I would use this while teaching the Civil Rights Movement and integration

Standards: Social Studies: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; Power, Authority, and Governance


Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Remember The Journey to School Integration to talk this time period in our history.

The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights

by Russell Freedman
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston


Quality/Awards:
Parent’s Choice Gold Award
Coretta Scott King Award
Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award

Personal Response to Book: This has also been one of my favorite books. The photographs in this book are breath taking. It amazes me at what all children had to do during this time period and what they were faced with. I believe this should be a required read for every child studying the Civil Rights Movement and this time period in American history.

20. Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

40 pages



Priceman, M. (2005). Hot air: The (mostly) true story of the first hot-air balloon ride. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Author Creditability: The book does not state where Marjorie Priceman got her information for this book. The book jokingly states that she heard it from a duck, but obviously she did not and had to do some type of research to get her information. We do know that she has written and illustrated several books that have won awards including the Caldecott Honor and the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award.

Summary: This is an informational picture storybook that tells the story of the Montgolfiers’ invention of the hot-air balloon. The book starts out at Versailles in France on September 19, 1783 where the first hot-air balloon ride is about to take place. It then starts a narrative from a duck, sheep, and a rooster who are the passengers of the first ride. It tells the story from their perspective and ends by stating that “The author heard this part of the story from a duck, who heard it from a sheep, who heard it from a rooster a long, long time ago. The end pages have a timeline that contains information on the Montgolfier brothers and their invention of the hot-air balloon.


Most Important Access Features: This book contains headings, inset text boxes, and a timeline at the back of the book.

Description of Illustrations: This book has wonderful illustrations. Marjorie Priceman has done another wonderful job with using watercolors and free flowing lines. The illustrations make the story throughout the book. While the animals are in-flight in the hot-air balloon there are no words, but the illustrations do a wonderful job of making the text for the reader.

Grade Level & Uses: K-3; I believe this book would be wonderful for talking about scientist, inventors, flight, and how hot air rises.

Standards: Science as inquiry; Science and technology

Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride to talk about flying.

Three in a Balloon by Sara Wilson
Mouton’s Impossible Dream by Anik McGrory
First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers by George Shea
First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright Invented the Airplane by Peter Busby


Quality/Awards:
ALA Notable Children's Books
Bank Street Best Books of the Year
Caldecott Honor Book
CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
IRA/CBC Children's Choices

Personal Response to Book: This has been one of my favorite books. I love the illustrations in this book and how Marjorie Priceman uses them to tell the animals’ story of flying in the hot-air balloon. I felt like she did a wonderful job of taking a topic that so many kids are interested and amazed by, but have no information on, and created an informational storybook to explain about the history of hot-air balloons.

Friday, July 20, 2007

19. Gone Wild by David McLimans


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

40 pages



McLimans, D. (2006). Gone wild: An endangered animal alphabet. New York: Walker & Company.

Author Creditability: David McLimans is an illustrator that has won several awards for his editorial illustrations. Some of these awards include an Award of Excellence from the Society of Newspaper Designers and a Certificate of Excellence from Print magazine. His work has appeared in New York Times, Washington Post, Harper’s and Time. This is his first children’s book to write.

Summary: This is not your ordinary alphabet sequenced book. McLimans takes each letter of the alphabet and adds endangered animal characteristics to the black letter on white paper. It then has a small text box on the page with a red full image of the animal and it tells the class, habitat, location, threats to the animal, and the status of its endangerment. In the back you will find more information on each endangered animal in the book.


Most Important Access Features: There is an introduction page written by McLimans that lets the reader know how he chose the animals to put in this book. He also explains the categories of endangerment that are used in this book to let the reader know how endangered the animals are. There are headings at the top corner of each page with the animals name as well as the alphabet letter for that page which is done in display faces. The information of each animal is in a text box on the same page as the letter illustrated as the animal. In the back of the book each animal is displayed in a text box with more information on it and there are web sites as well as books that can be used for future studies on endangered animals.

Description of Illustrations: This book has illustrations on the end pages done all in red of some of the endangered animals in the book. All the letters and animal characteristics on the letters are done in solid black on white pages. The display faced letter, the full image of the animal, and the border of the text box is done in red. The book states that the illustrations were created using pencil, pen, brush, India ink, Bristol board and a computer.

Grade Level & Uses: K-up; I believe this book could be used in the lower grades if the teacher read the text to them and was trying to make them aware of endangered animals. The upper grades could use this for research on endangered animals and on studying different forms of art.


Standards: Life Science; Art


Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet to discuss endangered animals.

Almost Gone by Steve Jenkins
V for Vanishing: An Alphabet of Endangered Animals by Patricia Mullins
Endangered Animals by Rhonda Lucas Donald

Quality/Awards:
Caldecott Honor Book
Named one of the ten best illustrated children’s books of 2006 by the New York Times Book Review

Personal Response to Book: I loved the illustrations in this book. McLimans does a wonderful job of using black ink only on white paper to make the animal characteristics in the letters stand out. The book states that you will never look at the alphabet the same and this is true. I am now constantly looking at different letters and wondering what I could turn them into.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

18. Millions to Measure by David Schwartz


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

40 pages



Schwartz, D. (2003). Millions to measure. China: HarperCollins Publishers.

Author Creditability: Schwartz is a graduate of Cornell University and a former elementary school teacher. He thought that if a piece of paper with one thousand vertical and a thousand horizontal lines could illustrate what a million of something would look like, then he could come up with his won million comparisons. He has now wrote several math related books including: How Much is a Million? and If You Made a Million.

Summary: This book introduces the reader to Marvelosissimo the Magician who takes a group of children all the way back in time to the prehistoric times to learn how our measurement system came to be in place. The children in this book learned about each unit of measure from the prehistoric times up to today. The book also uses mathematical terms and conversions to help the reader better understand math.

Most Important Access Features: This book uses dialogue bubbles throughout to strengthen the information in the text and to do it in a way that will bring excitement and curiosity to the reader. The illustrations are used as visual representation to the reader of the mathematical concept being discussed. There are scaled drawings, tables, and labels within the book, as well as fold out pages to visually represent a meter. The end pages contain further information about the metric system.

Description of Illustrations: Steven Kellogg did the illustrations in this book. He did a wonderful job of using art forms to make the pages full of action. The characters seem to come to live as you read through the book. The illustrations are done as one big illustration on two pages called spreads.

Grade Level & Uses: K-5; I believe this book would be an excellent choice for teaching the metric system and to let the students understand where our system of measuring came from.
Standards: Measurement; Problem Solving

Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Millions to Measure to discuss measurement.

How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller
The Long and Short of Measurement by Vicki Cobb
Measurement Action! by Lindsay Benjamin
Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy

Quality/Awards:
ALA Notable Children’s Book
IRA/CBC Children’s Choice

Personal Response to Book: I thought this book would be wonderful to use in the classroom when dealing with measurement. I have found that so many students struggle with measurement especially the metric system and I feel like this book would be an excellent way to get the interested and to use as a resource.

17. Almost Gone by Steve Jenkins




Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox


35 pages



Jenkins, S. (2006). Almost gone: The world’s rarest animals. New York: Scholastic.

Author Creditability: This book belongs to the series Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science which was started by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley. It states in the book that every book in this series has its texts and illustrations checked for accuracy by an specialist in the applicable field the book is on. Jenkins shows a great deal of interest and knowledge of science and has written several science related books. He was also honored on the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 in 2005.

Summary: This book introduces different types of animals to the reader including those that are almost gone, those that are extinct, and some that are in the process of coming back. It also gives some information about how the environment can cause the animals harm. Each animal has a description, its size, location, and an estimated number of how many are left on earth or when they became extinct. In the back of the book is a world map that shows where the animals live.



Most Important Access Features: This book has headings, subheadings, and inset text. On the title page it provides information for the reader of how the animals were counted. The introduction page builds schema and interests for the reader to draw you into the book. There is a map in the back with the animals labeled on the map according to the page number where they are located within the book.

Description of Illustrations: This book has wonderful illustrations that are collages of cut and torn paper on a stark white background. They are wonderfully done making the animals look very realistic and drawing out details on each animal.

Grade Level & Uses: K-5: I believe this book would be an excellent choice for a study on environmental conservation and protection.



Standards: Physical Science; Life Science: Science in personal and social perspective



Related Texts & How Related: The following books could be used along with Almost Gone: The World’s Rarest Animals to discuss environmental conservation and protection.

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry & Marc Simont
Why Are the Ice Caps Melting? The Dangers of Global Warming by Anne Rockwell

Quality/Awards:
None at this time.

Personal Response to Book: Once again I loved the illustrations of collages. I also found that this book would be a great reference book for students studying endangered animals. I loved how it was easy to find the animals on the map and could be done by the page number the animal was on. I felt like this would make it easier for the lower grades.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

16. Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page


Nonfiction book annotation

By: Angela Wilcox

32 pages



Jenkins, S. & Page, R. (2006). Move! Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.


Author Creditability: The book does not state where Jenkins and his wife Robin Page got their research to write and illustrate this book. I do know that they have written around 20 other books dealing with science topics and several of these have also won several different awards. Jenkins stated that he and Robin wanted to create a book to show children that animals move in different ways. He wants the reader to guess what movement might come next and what other animals might move in that same way.


Summary: This book informs the reader of different ways animals are able to move. On the two page spread there are 2 animals, one action word and a short phrase stating where the animal is going. Then on the next page one of animals appears again along side a different animal and form of movement. At the end of the book more detailed information is provided for each animal including where they live and what they eat.


Most Important Access Features: This book has the action words in large bold print on each page. The name of the animal within the phrase is also in bold print. At the end of the book there are pages of additional facts on each animal.


Description of Illustrations: This book has wonderful illustrations that are collages of cut and torn paper. They are wonderfully done making the animals look very realistic with all the colored details on each animal.


Grade Level & Uses: K-3; I believe this book would be an excellent choice for a study on animals, verbs, and phrases.

Standards: Physical Science; Life Science; Communication; Language Arts

Related Texts & How Related: The following books by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page could be used along with Move! to discuss animals.


What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You?
Actual Size
What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?
I See a Kookaburra!
Slap, Squeak and Scatter: How Animals Communicate
Animal Dads
Animals in Flight
Dogs and Cats
Animals Swim
Making Animal Babies


Quality/Awards:2006 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year
2006 Parenting Magazine Books of the Year
2006 Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Books of the Year


Personal Response to Book: I loved this book! Once again Jenkins and Page did a wonderful job with the illustrations of collages that really enhance the book. I loved how they took something so simple as animals movements a made a book out of that students can then compare and contrast different animals. I plan on using this book with my zoo unit this next school year.

14-15Personal Annotation of The Great Fire


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

138 pages



Murphy, J. (1995). The great fire. New York: Scholastic.

Author Creditability: Jim Murphy shows acknowledgements at the beginning of The Great Fire to several institutions for helping to put the book together and for helping with the research needed for this book. He also talks about visiting Chicago and doing research there as well as getting inspiration from The Great Conflagration.

Summary: Jim Murphy provides facts of Chicago’s great fire of 1871. He allows some survivors including: a reporter, a newspaper editor, and citizens; including a young girl, reveal their memories of what took place in Chicago that dreadful day. Murphy shows the reader how some things happened during this incidence that might have altered the outcome and how some things happened just out of bad luck. He also reveals some of the gossip that was reported about the fire as well as how the people became separated both physically and by social class during and after the fire. But, in the end the people of Chicago had to rise together to rebuild their city.


Most Important Access Features: This book has several access features that help the reader read this book. There is an introduction at the beginning of the book that provides background information to the reader about Chicago’s great fire of 1871. There is a table of contents, chapter titles—which provide an insight to what the chapter is about, maps that show where the fire was headed, a bibliography and resource page, and an index that has the page numbers of illustrations on the topic in bold.

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations in this book include photos, drawings, and newspaper articles and illustrations from this incidence.

Grade Level & Uses: Grades 4 and up; This book could be used to teach about lifestyles in America in the late 1800’s as well as showing how we have progressed over time in building our cities.


Standards: Time, Continuity, and Change; People, Places, and Environments; Individual Development an Identity.
Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with The Great Fire to discuss Chicago and this time period.

The Great Chicago Fire by David Lowe
The Great Chicago Fire by Ross Miller
Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow by Richard F. Bales
The Great Chicago Fire (Illinois) by Robert Cromie

The following books are also by Jim Murphy and on some other tragedies of America’s history.
Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Quality/Awards:
1995 ALA Newbery Honor Book
NCTE Orbis Pictus Award
Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book
The Jefferson Cup Award
A SLJ Best Book
A Booklist Editors Choice
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A PW Best Book

Personal Response to Book: I was not sure that I was going to enjoy or be interested in this book, but I ended up loving it. Murphy did a great job of taking a piece of American history and writing it up in a way that I did not want to put this book down. I plan on reading some more of his books and expanding my knowledge of history. Why can not our history textbooks be this good and interesting?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

13. I See A Kookaburra! by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page


Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox
No page Numbers


Jenkins, S. & Page, R. (2005). I see a kookaburra! Discovering animal habitats around the world Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: The book does not state where Jenkins and his wife Robin Page got their research do write and illustrate this book. I do know that they have written around 20 other books dealing with science topics and several of these have also won several different awards. Jenkins and Robin Page got the idea to write this book from their son, Jamie, who loves books that make a game out of finding things. They wanted to make a book where students could learn about different animals, how they adapt to their environment, learn about ecosystem, and all the while play a game of exploring different ecosystems.

Summary: This book takes the reader through a desert in Southwest America, a tide pool in England, a jungle in the Amazon River basin, a savanna in Africa, a forest in Australia, and a pond in Midwest America. Eight animals and an ant are hidden in each habitat for the reader to find before turning the page to have them revealed and a little fact about each one. At the end of the book more detailed information is provided for each habitat and animal along with a map identifying where the habitats are located.


Most Important Access Features: This book has an introduction to help the reader understand how to use it. Each habitat and animal is labeled. At the end there is a map, pages of additional facts on each habitat and animal, and a bibliography for additional reading.

Description of Illustrations: This book has wonderful illustrations that are collages of cut and torn paper. They are wonderfully done making the animals look very realistic and they made the plants and scenery look like native landscape to each habitat.

Grade Level & Uses: K-3; I believe this book would be an excellent choice for a study on ecosystems, animals, camouflaging, and habitats.


Standards: Physical Science; Life Science


Related Texts & How Related: The following books by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page could be used along with I see a kookaburra! Discovering animal habitats around the world to discuss different ecosystems along with animals and their habitats.

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You?
Actual Size
What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?
Move
Slap, Squeak and Scatter: How Animals Communicate


Quality/Awards:
Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books’ best of the year

Personal Response to Book: I loved this book! It has wonderful illustrations of collages that really enhance the book. I found this book very intriguing and full of information for the students.

The Great Fire (Last post for LDG)


The Great Fire
By: Jim Murphy

(Used for our Literature Discussion Group)


Murphy, J. (1995). The great fire. New York: Scholastic Inc.
Chapters 6-7

Well it's over and it is hard to believe what all took place in such a short time period. I was relieved that Claire found her family. Her story helps the reader to grasp how terrible the fire truly was. The whole day that she was supposidly standing infront of her house waiting on her family, she was really at the wrong house. The fire had destroyed so much that she could not even recognize where her own home used to be.

I was also appalled at the gossip, blaming, pointing the finger at others in blame, and demoralizing others that took place after the fire. I thought Murphy did a wonderful job at not only drawing the reader into the book and capturing you to not want to put the book down; as well as providing the reader with the truth about the fire. He let you see the destruction through photos and illustrations as well as through maps. Murphy also pointed out that the fire destroyed a city as well as peoples perspectives of others. He did a wonderful job at letting the reader be aware of all the spiculations of how the fire got started and showed you how it seperated the different social classes which is still evident today in Chicago.
The LDG has helped me to see how I read text and to see others perspective on how they read text. I found at first that I had lots of aesthetic responses. I tended to focus mainly on the connections and how the book made me feel, which I think we were all doing. As time went on I started having more efferent responses as I started picking out how Murphy was writing, quotes, the map, and the facts of what was actually taking place.
It seemed to me through the LDG we all started doing this within our blogs. However, we all brought seperate feelings, responses, and connections to the table which helped me to read the next chapters a little diffrently and get more out of my reading. Overall, I enjoyed the book and sharing it with others. I will definitely never look at Chicago the same way I did before reading this book.

Monday, July 16, 2007

12. A Drop of Water by Walter Wick


A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder

40 pages

Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox





Wick, W. (1997). A drop of water: A book of science and wonder. New York: Scholastic.

Author Creditability: Walter Wick started collecting old science books in which he then became intrigued by the experiment within them. He recreated the experiments from varies books and authors and captured them with his camera, thus came this book. In his acknowledgments he thanks Dan Helt and Kevin Williams for assisting with the photography and Paul A. Vetter, Ph.D. and Kathy Burkett for help with the science part of this book and Pat Relf and Terese Kreuzer for helping with the text.

Summary: This book contains experiments performed and captured by Wick with his camera. The photographs allow the reader to see all the characteristics of water and in all it’s forms. The reader is able to get up-close with ice, steam, frost, dew, snowflakes, and rainbows just to mention a few. Wick then explains parts of the experiments including: evaporation, condensation, capillary attraction and surface tension through out the book. At the very back Wick provides examples of observations and experiments for the reader to perform on their own.


Most Important Access Features: This book has several access features that help the reader become more aware of all the aspects of water. Wick uses headings, actual size photos, time sequenced photos, observations and experiments, quotes, and a section in the back about the book written by the author.

Description of Illustrations: This book uses life photos taken by Wick himself. He states that the photos were done by conventional methods and no photos were altered except for some minor adjustments to the color. There is also one photo provided by NASA of Earth.

Grade Level & Uses: Grades 2 & up; I believe this book would be an excellent choice for a study on water, the water cycle, snowflakes, and on the states of matter.

Standards: Science as inquiry; Physical Science


Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with A Drop of Water to discuss the forms water and the water cycle.

A Drop Around the World by Barbara McKinney
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The Magic School Bus Wet all Over: A Book about the Water Cycle by Pat Relf
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story by Neil Waldman


Quality/Awards:
1998 Honor Book for NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
1997 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction
ALA Notable Children’s Book
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book
Horn Book Fanfare Book
Parenting Reading Magic Award


Personal Response to Book: I loved the photographs in this book. The captivated me and drew me into the book. I’ve heard of this book, but I’ve never had the opportunity to read it. I’m definitely going to get a copy and use with my states of matter, weather, and winter units. I thought Wick did an excellent job at capturing the experiments through photos and explaining them to the reader. I love it!

Friday, July 13, 2007



The Great Fire
By: Jim Murphy (Used for our Literature Discussion Group)




Murphy, J. (1995). The great fire. New York: Scholastic Inc.
Chapters 4-5
After reading these chapters I can only think of one thing--DESTRUCTION! I can not imagine what these people went through. Fire shows no compasion to anyone. It does not matter if your rich, poor, white, black, male, female, grown, or young. It destroys everything in its path. I was awed at what took place and felt like Murphy did a great job of helping the reader understand what was taking place in Chicago and with individuals. He used very decriptive words that intrigue the reader and draw you into the story to want to keep reading to find out what will happen next.
For example, I'm still intrigued by Claire and now that it has started raining will she finally find her family. I'm also still dieing to find out what is in her bundle and does she still have it or did she leave it in the alley where she got caught in the fire.
I'm also intrigued with Frear and what will happen with him. He got word about the children, but are they going to get them? And finally, isn't it amazing at how strong women truly are. Look at Lemos and what she did to save her children. I can relate to this with Joshua because last summer I had to leave him at the hospital, kind of like Lemos had to leave her children at the orphanage. It was the hardest thing I think I have ever had to do. But, I was there every time the doors opened for visitation in the ICU department and you better believe if there was harm headed toward that hospital my son would have been leaving with me. Mothers have that since of power and strength to do whatever it takes to keep our children safe. Through destruction and all moms fought to keep their children save. Women do have a great responsibilty as mothers and I loved how Murphy talked about looking "beyond the condescending references" to find "strong and very active women emerging." Women can and will rise to conquer what they are being faced with.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

11. Owls by Gail Gibbons


Owls

story book with 32 pages

Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox


Gibbons, G. (2005). Owls. New York: Holiday House.

Author Creditability: Gail Gibbons is known for researching her topics first hand. She states that she loves doing research because she gets to ask questions like she did as a child and she gets to travel to different places and meet lots of people. She has been awarded for her contributions to children’s nonfiction with the Washington Post – Children’s Book Guild Award.

Summary: This book takes the reader through the life-cycle of owls. The reader will discover the different types of owls that live in North America. It will provide you with information and interesting facts on an owl’s: diet, ways of communicating, habitat, mating, and hatching from eggs. It then provides the reader with some facts on endangered owls and preservation steps to protect them.


Most Important Access Features: This book has several access features that help the reader read this book. There are inset text throughout the book, diagrams with labels, headings, a fact page at the end and pronunciations in parenthesis of how to say hard words.

Description of Illustrations: The illustrations in this book are paintings also done by Gibbons. She uses white glossy paper as the background, which helps the colors within the paintings easily visible to the reader. I found the illustrations with their labels helped the text to be understood. The end pages are done in blue which represented the sky to me.

Grade Level & Uses: Grades 1-3; I believe this book would be an excellent choice for a study on owls, birds, endangered animals, or preservation. This book could also be used a text to help students do research on an inquiry about owls.


Standards: Life Science; Science as inquiry.


Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Owls to discuss owls and birds.

Barn Owl by Sally Tagholm
Owl Babies by Marin Waddell
About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill
How do Birds Find Their Way? By Roma Gans and Paul Mirocha

Gail Gibbons also has several books about different animals if you wanted to use this book within an animal unit.
Wolves,
Whales,
Polar Bears
Giant Pandas
Penguins
Sea Turtles
Sharks

Quality/Awards: It was placed on the Reviewer’s Choice List for 2005 Midwest Book Review Children’s Bookwatch on the Pets/Wildlife Shelf.

Personal Response to Book: I loved the illustrations in this book. I feel like Gibbons did an excellent job at illustrating and labeling them to help the reader become more informed about what she was writing about. I also like how she used key vocabulary within in text and labels to help children expand their vocabulary and understand what it is she is talking about pertaining to owls.

10. Creatures of the Dark by Seymour Simon


Creatures of the Dark

24 paged picture book

Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox



Simon, S. (2006). Creatures of the dark. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Author Creditability: Simon does his research for his books all over the world. He has currently written about 200 children’s science books. The National Science Teachers Association has named over half of these books Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children.

Summary: This book takes the reader on a journey through a cave. It allows the reader to learn about what all they might encounter and discover in a cave. This includes bats, blindfish, stalactites, stalagmites, bighorn sheep, pack rats, snakes, spiders, and some insects. The reader will learn about caves and these items along with some fun fascinating facts, as well, while reading this book.

Most Important Access Features: The text in this book is inside text boxes set against a solid background color which makes the text easy to visually read and the color complements the photograph. It also contains inset text within text boxes that contain fun or fascinating facts about caves and what you might find within a cave.

Description of Illustrations: The photographs in this book came from varies sources and people. They were transformed into 3-D photos where every photo gives the reader a chance to visually see the items discussed within a cave and to feel like you are actually in a cave. Most of the photographs take up a whole page and are able to be seen regularly and in 3-D with the provided 3-D glasses that come with the book.

Grade Level & Uses: Grades 1-7; The lower grades would need to use this book as a read aloud, but they would enjoy the photographs and the interesting facts on the cave and the animals found within caves. While the upper grades could use this book to do their own research on caves, creatures that live in the dark, and/or stalactites and stalagmites.
Standards: Life Science.

Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Creatures of the Dark to discuss caves and items within a cave.

Caves by Stephen Kramer
Caves and Caverns by Gail Gibbons
Cave Animals (Animals in Their Habitats) by Francine Galko

Quality/Awards: In 2005 Simon was chosen for The Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Science Books from the American Association for the Advancement of Science Books.

Personal Response to Book: I found this book to be very interesting about caves and what all lives in a cave. I found this one a little bit harder to read than the other 3-D books by Seymour Simon. I feel like it was just because of the content not being as interesting as planets and creepy creatures. However, I still believe that the students would love this book because of the 3-D photographs and would be interested in the animals that live within caves.