Monday, April 25, 2011

Big Al

Title: Big AL
Author: Andrew Clements
Genre: Fiction 
Ages: 5-12

Summary: This book is about a big scary fish named al who has no friends. He tries to make friends but everyone is afraid of him until he helps them and then everyone learns that he is nice. 

About the author: Was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949. He was inspired by a high school English teacher and went to Northwestern University. Later in life he started writing and illustrating children books.

Theme/Skill: Be friendly 

Pre-reading activity: Think of a time you were afraid of something or something. How did you overcome it? 

Post-reading activity: Make your own Big Al. Color and decorate him.

This is a great children book to discuss friendships and working together. It shows that looks are not everything.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Title: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 
Author: Bill Martin and John Archambault 
Genre: Fiction 
Ages: 3-8

Summary: This is a story of a coconut tree. It has a song that goes along with it as you count. 

About the authors: Bill Martin Jr (1916-2004) has been called "America's favorite children's author." He wrote over 300 books for children, including the classic texts Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

John Archambault is a poet, journalist, and storyteller, who worked with Bill Martin Jr on several projects. He lives in Yorba Linda, California. 

Theme/skill: Counting 
Pre-reading activity: Practice counting up to 15

Post-reading: Color your own coconut tree and decorate with numbers. 

This book is a lot of fun to read with younger children. It incorporates color, singing, and fun.

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain

Title: Saving the Ghost of the Mountain
Author: Sy Montgomery
Genre: Non-fiction
Ages 15+

Summery: This is a long detailed book about snow leopards and Mongolia, where they live. It follows a group of reserchers on their journey looking for snow leopards. 

About the author: She is a 1979 graduate of Syracuse University, a triple major with dual degrees in Magazine Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in French Language and Literature and in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. 
Theme/skill: extinction
Pre-reading activity: Brainstorm all you know about snow leopards and Mongolia on a chart. 

Post-reading activity: Write a book review of this book. What did you think? Give specific examples and support your statements. 

This book was very scattered and focused more on the lifestyle of Mongolia then snow leopards. I wish it was more on the animal itself.

Kakapo Rescue

Title: Kakapo Rescue
Author: Sy Montgomery
Genre: Non-fiction 
Ages: 15 +

Summary: This is a book all about a special bird called the kakapo. It is almost extinct and this book goes in detail of the attempts scientists and bird lovers everywhere are trying to keep them alive. Very imformational. 

About the author: She is a 1979 graduate of Syracuse University, a triple major with dual degrees in Magazine Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in French Language and Literature and in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Theme/Skill: Extinction of Kakapo

Pre-reading activity: Make a list of animals who are extinct and why. 

Post-reading activity: Write one paper of interesting facts that grabbed your attention throughout this book. 

This book is amazingly informational with excellent photos.

When You Reach Me

Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
Genre: Fiction
Ages: High School 

Summary: This book is a little girls story that she is trying to tell with a mystery attached. Someone is watching her and leaving her notes, but we follow her throughout the story as we figure out what or who is following her. 

About the author: Rebecca Stead is a former attorney who lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children. She has published two books for children and teens, First Light (2007) and When You Reach Me (2009). 

Theme/Skill: family/friends/growing up

Pre-reading activity: Write a paragraph about your neighborhood. What do you see? Who do you see? Do you feel safe? 

Post-reading activity: Draw a display of the things that you see on your way to and from school every day. 

I really enjoyed this book. I think it is a great mystery that is age appropriate for high school.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Title: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Author: Eric Carle
Genre: Fiction
Ages: 4-9

Summary: This is about a hungry caterpillar who eats and eats and eventually gets bigger and turns into a beautiful butterfly. It counts all of the food he eats along the way and on what days of the week he ate them. 

About the author : He was born in Syracuse, NY in 1929 to German parents Johanna and Erich Carle, Eric moved back to Germany with his parents in the mid 1930's. He is mostly known for his book The Hungry Caterpillar. 

Theme/Skill: Growing

Pre-reading activity: Color/decorate your own caterpillar. Cut it out and place it before a picture of a butterfly. 

Post-reading activity: Get a home for butterflies where they start as caterpillars, go to cocoons, and eventually butterflies. After watching them grow, set them free as a class.

This is a great book that I would always recommend for younger children. It goes over the days of the week, colors, counting, and growing.

School Bus

Title: School Bus
Author: Donald Crews
Genre: Fiction

Summary: This book covers all grounds about school buses. It starts with them picking kids up and bringing them to school and finishes by them dropping them off and where they go at night. Very short and simple.

About the author: Donald crews was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1938. He spent his summers in Florida with his grandma and later graduated from a school in NYC. From there on he started writing children's books. 
Theme/Skill: School buses 
Pre-reading activity: Trace a school bus outline. Color and cut it out. 

Post-reading activity: Draw a picture of yourself on a school bus and write one sentence about it.

This book is short and sweet. It has great pictures and kids love school buses. Great for pre-k - kindergarten.