News From the Library-Feb. 27, 2012

For Black History Month

One of the best books I’ve found for reading during Black History Month is Deborah Wiles’ Freedom Summer.  Told from the point of view of a white boy during the tumultuous  period after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, this is a book that sparks many discussions.  Fifth graders heard this book about a small town in which the public swimming pool is filled with asphalt after the passage of the law instead of allowing it to be open to all.  We used a visual thinking routine called Circle of Viewpoints to discuss what could have made the townspeople do such a terrible thing, how the two boys in the story were feeling, and how they themselves might have acted in that situation  Seeing it from different sides made students ponder about the causes of such behavior and to think about a time in their lives that they might have made a judgement about a person based on fear and incomplete information.

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–What fun we had with Kieko Kasza’s hilarious book My Lucky Day about a pig who was destined for a fox’s roasting pan, but instead ends up with a bath, a dinner, and a massage instead!  At first we used predicting skills to determine who was going to have the lucky day and then had a good time realizing our “mistake.”

First Grade–This week we read our 3rd nominee for the California Young Reader Medal, I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll.  So far in our practice voting, this book is our frontrunner.

Second Grade–no library because of President’s Day

Third Grade–This week we also read I Need My Monster for the CYRM voting.

Fourth Grade–Fourth Graders heard The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, another great book for discussion during Black History Month.  Again, we used the visual thinking routine, Circle of Viewpoints, to look at the story from the point of view of each of the characters–the two girls, the mothers, the other girls, and even from the point of view of the fence.  In this way, students understood the metaphor of the fence in the story in a new and concrete way.

Fifth Grade–see opening posts

Sixth Grade–no library because of President’s Day

News from the Library–Jan. 20, 2012

Our First Video Book Review of the Year!

The Terror of the Pink Dodo Balloon

by Lawrence David

Reviewed by Olive and Maddie

Also in the Library this week….

This was a short week due to the President’s Day Holidays.

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners loved the story of Tommy who loses his t-r-u-c-k and nothing will do until he finds it.  Well- meaning parents and siblings offer him other things, but like the title of Karen Beaumont’s book Where’s My T-R-U-C-K? only one truck will do.  Students had a good time using their predicting skills and observation skills to predict where that truck would finally turn up.  The zany illustrations by David Catrow and the fact that the “culprit” is in each pictures added greatly to the fun time we had with this book.

First Grade–First graders heard The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett, a charming nominee for this year’s California Young Reader Medal.  All the birds have an egg, except Duck.  When Duck finds a beautiful egg of his own, the other birds make fun of it.  We had fun predicting what would hatch from that egg and the surprise was well worth it!  There was a gentle lesson about bullying here, and the clever cut pages as each egg hatched made this a favorite so far.

Second Grade--I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, another of our nominees, takes the “monster under the bed” tale to unexpected twists and turns and the fantastic illustrations by Howard McWilliam made this book one of our front runners in the voting.  A great book to use to discuss facing fears with the point that  sometimes humor is the best way of all!

Third Grade–Is it possible to do nothing?  Frankie and Sal give it a try in Tony Fucile’s Let’s Do Nothing, yet another of our CYRM nominees.  The illustrations speak volumes and it took some of our visual thinking skills to understand them.  Paying attention to visual expressions on the characters, student were chuckling from page to page.  This will certainly be a contender!

Fourth Grade–For our final Tall Tale, fourth graders heard Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett by Steven Kellogg.  We used a visual thinking routine called Fact or Fantasy to determine which of the story’s elements were explaining a real event but in a fictional way.

Fifth Grade–In honor of Black History Month, fifth graders heard A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Faulkner.  This book, set in the 196s, gives an insight into racism and cruelty from the point of view of two naive kids.  The contrast between the calm beginning of the book and the frightening street riot they see made an impact on students.  This is a great book to spark discussions about prejudice and the causes behind it.  We discussed the books using the visual thinking routine Circle of Viewpoints and it gave students a chance to understand what could have caused much of the unrest during the Civil Rights Movement.  Highly recommended as a picture book for older readers.

Sixth Grade–In honor of Valentine’s Day, Sixth graders heard Marie Craft’s Cupid and Psyche.  The lush illustrations by Kinuko Craft are an integral part of the experience of this story.  Students used a visual thinking routine called the Connection Game and were delighted to discover all the links to fairy tales they know.  Understanding the metaphorical themes in the story took a little prompting but students had one of those “a-ha” moments at the end, understanding that the blending of love and soul can bring joy.

On a personal note…thank you to all who emailed or commented regarding my family emergency.  Things are better.  Your kind words were a great help.