Language Arts (Series). North Mankato: Capstone, 2014. 24p. $18.49ea. Gr. K-2.
Rustard, Martha. Learning About Fiction. 978-1-4914-0578-9.
Rustard, Martha. Learning About Folktales, Fables and Faiorytales. 978-1-4914-0577-2.
Rustard, Martha. Learning About Nonfiction. 978-1-4914-0579-6.
Rustard, Martha. Learning About Poems. 978-1-4914-0580-2.
This clear, simple series with big bold photos is a perfect introduction to genres for the beginning reader. The text progresses logically from start to finish with examples and critical thinking skills. Each book contains a table of contents, glossary, index and “Read More” resources. Perfect for library class or as an introduction to basic literary genres in the classroom!
800; Language Arts Robin Bartley, Davis Elementary School
Telgemeier, Raina. Sisters. New York: Scholastic, 2014. 978-05455-4060-5. 200p. $10.99. Grade 4 – 8.
In a followup to last year’s graphic novel Smile, Telgemeier “graphically” describes her childhood as the oldest child in a family of 3 living in a small apartment where money is often tight. The major plot is a family trip in the VW minbus from San Francisco to Colorodo Springs, but subplots give background through flashbacks. The often contentious relationship between Raina and her little sister Amara, which will resonate with anyone who’s ever experienced sibling rivalry or any family member that just plain drives you nuts. Telgemeier’s illustration style is super colorful and engaging and the reader quickly forgets this is a “cartoon,” because the people and situations ring true. Where her artistic gift really reveals itself is in the landscape spreads during the family’s trip. I predict my middle graders (especially girls), who LOVE Telgemeier’s Drama and graphic Babysitters Club series will scoop this book off the shelf and I will not see it for the rest of the school year. This book was named to best of 2014 lists in: SLJ and Kirkus, and won a Newbery Honor Medal!
741.5 Graphic Novel/Memoir/Humor Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School
Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Penguin, 2014. 978-0-399-25251-8. $16.99. 337p. Gr. 5+.
Jacqueline is born in Columbus, OH in 1963, “a country caught between Black and White.” Her dad’s family is from OH, land of the free, and mom’s is from Greenville, SC, where colored folks still have to sit toward the back of the bus, there are “white’s only” restrooms, and many are marching for the right to sit at the counter at Woolworth’s. Mom takes Jacqueline and her sister and brother to stay with grandparents and visit the family in Greenville each summer, but dad doesn’t come along, because “no colored Buckeye in his right mind would ever want to go there.” This is a hint of the marital tension that follows, but also paints the vivid picture of Jacquie’s own mixed emotions about each of her two homes. Greenville means warm summers, open spaces, the smell of pines, and her loving grandparents, but the north means freedom.
Told in lyric verse, Woodson reveals her inner voice, shows us her world, and lets us grow to know her family and friends in unforgettable ways. She touches on civil rights and related conflicts she lived through as a young girl, her struggle to reconcile who she was with her family’s strict faith, and some of the financial and other challenges they faced as they made a new life in Brooklyn. We learn that while Jacqueline was always a storyteller, she struggled to read and write. I found myself continually flipping to the family tree in the beginning of the book and an 8-page photo spread of family members at the end of the book as I became increasingly involved with the characters. This is a beautiful, masterly work you won’t be able to put down. I’d recommend it to your readers 5th grade and older, but it would also make an excellent read aloud as students learn about the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. Awards for this book include: National Book Award, best of 2014 list in: Booklist, Kirkus, PW, Horn Book, and a Newbery Honor Medal.
Memoir in verse Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School
Natural Resources Close Up (Series). New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2014. 24 p. $16.95ea. Gr. K-3.
MacAulay, Kelley. Why Do We Need Rocks and Minerals? 978-0-7787-0492-8.
MacAulay, Kelley. Why Do We Need Water? 978-0-7787-0494-2.
MacAulay, Kelley. Why Do We Need Soil? 978-0-7787-0493-5.
MacAulay, Kelley. Why Do We Need Air? 978-0-7787-0491-1.
Each book in this wonderful non-fiction series begins by discussing the term “natural resource”. After a brief introduction into natural resources, the books then delve into and focus on the specific subject matter at hand, explaining exactly what each resource is and how each is used. These books really get readers thinking about how important water, air, soil, and rocks are to our current and future lives, something that, without the help of such great non-fiction titles, might be hard for a young person to really understand. One will also find the words “reuse” and “recycle” repeated often throughout each book, reminding us how critical such terms are, even (or maybe especially) for our youngest readers. Along with interesting, easy-to-read text and close-up, colorful photographs, each book in this series also includes a glossary of “words to know” as well as additional books, related websites, and a connection activity.
500; Environment Lisa Naylor, Concord Elementary