Thank You, Mr. Falker: Patricia Polacco

Thank You, Mr. Falker

Author/Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Year: 1998
Brief Summary: An autobiographical story about Polacco’s struggles with reading and how one teacher in 5th grade helped her overcome her problem.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

ABC Children’s Booksellers Choices Award, 1999 Winner Picture Books United States
Emphasis on Reading: A Children’s Choice Book Award Program, 2000 Winner Grades 3-5 Alabama
Keystone to Reading Book Award, 2000 Winner Primary Pennsylvania
Parents’ Choice Award, 1998 Gold Story Books United States
Rhode Island Children’s Book Award, 2000 Winner Rhode Island
South Carolina Children’s Book Award, 2002 Winner South Carolina
Storytelling World Award, 1999 Honor Book Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners United States
Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 12th Edition, 1999 ; National Council of Teachers of English
Best Children’s Books of the Year, 1999 ; Bank Street College of Education
Children’s Book Sense 76 Picks, Fall 2001 ; Book Sense 76
Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
Dealing with Alienation, 2000 ; Bank Street College of Education
Educators’ Top 100 Children’s Books, 2007 ; NEA Survey
Los Angeles’ 100 Best Books, 1998 ; IRA Children’s Literature and Reading SIG and the Los Angeles Unified School District
Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, 1999 ; NCTE Children’s Literature Assembly
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 1999 ; National Council for the Social Studies NCSS
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education
Teachers’ Choices, 1999 ; International Reading Association

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Discuss bullying…how does the bullying make Tricia feel?
  • Discuss different learning disabilities
  • Discuss traits such as hard work and perseverance.  How does Mr. Falker finally help Tricia over come her problem?  What are some things (academically or socially) that you struggle with and what are some ways you can keep from losing hope?  How does Tricia’s story help you?  How can she inspire you or someone who’s struggling to keep trying?

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  

Accessed at: Signal Mountain Library

Tree of Cranes: Allen Say

Tree of Cranes

Author/Illustrator: Allen Say

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Publication Year: 1991

Brief Summary: A young mother teaches her little boy (Allen Say) about an American holiday called Christmas and the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Award, 1992 Winner Children’s Literature United States
PEN Center USA Literary Award, 1992 Winner Children’s Lit United States
Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1991 ; Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
Kaleidoscope, A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, 1994 ; National Council of Teachers of English
Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1991
Notable Children’s Books, 1992 ; Association for Library Service to Children
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education
Sharing Cultures: Asian American Children’s Authors, 2001 ; ALSC American Library Association

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library; brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • What are some of the mother’s feelings about America?  How can you tell?  Discuss the word “nostalgia” and “homesickness”.  The mother looks Japanese…why do you think she might be homesick for America?
  • Talk about Japan and its traditions and how these might be different from some of the traditions we have in the U.S.  Japanese people might not celebrate Christmas — why?  what do they celebrate instead?  Do you know of American families that might have different holiday traditions as well?  (e.g. Jewish families don’t celebrate Christmas either!)
  • Survey the class about different holiday traditions that the students hold at home.  Ask students why certain traditions are significant to their family — religious or not.  If students have unique traditions/celebrations, discuss how these might have come about.
  • Read alongside Grandfather’s Journey and Tea with Milk in sequence (Journey, then Tea with Milk, then Tree of Cranes).  Discuss how Allen Say based these books on his family.  His grandfather’s experiences is based on Allen Say’s life; his mom is the child in the first book, the young woman in the second book, and the mom in the third book, in which she taught Say about American Christmases.

Accessed at: Personal Library

Tea with Milk: Allen Say

Tea with Milk

Author/Illustrator: Allen Say

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Publication Year: 1999

Brief Summary: A young woman who grew up in America returns to Japan with her parents and tries to adjust to her new life.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2000 ; Bank Street College of Education
Booklist Book Review Stars, March 15, 1999 ; American Library Association
Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1999 ; Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Capitol Choices, 1999 ; The Capitol Choices Committee
Children’s Books of Distinction, 2000 ; Riverbank Review
Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Literature Choice List, 2000 ; Children’s Literature
Not Just for Children Anymore!, 2001 ; Children’s Book Council
Notable Children’s Books, 2000 ; ALSC American Library Association
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, March 1999 ; Cahners
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education
School Library Journal Best Books, 1999 ; Cahners
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, May 1999 ; Cahners
Smithsonian Magazine’s Notable Books for Children, 1999 ; Smithsonian
Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association, 2000 ; Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library; brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Social Studies: Discuss immigration…what is it?  What might it be like if you have to move to a foreign country?  What are some difficulties you might encounter?  What are some good things that might come out of leaving for a new country?
  • We’ve read stories about people who immigrated to America, but in this story, a Japanese-American girl must go with her parents to Japan and start a new life there.  What kind of things does she have to get used to?
  • Why do you think the parents want to go back to Japan?
  • Social Studies: talk about Japan and its traditions and how these might be different from some of the traditions we have in the U.S.
  • Students research their families background/heritage.  Are there students whose families — parents, grandparents, or further back — have immigrated to the US, or have moved to a different country? Students can make a poster about their experience
  • Students can interview their parents/grandparents about their feelings about leaving their homeland. Make a chart of what they miss about their homeland, and what they love about their new country.
  • Read alongside Grandfather’s Journey and Tree of Cranes in sequence (Journey, then Tea with Milk, then Tree of Cranes).  Discuss how the child in the first book is the young woman in the second, and the mom in the third.
  • Have you travelled outside of the country before?  What was it like?  What did you see/learn/experience? Have students make travel brochures about a place they have visited and would like to promote to their friends (does not have to be outside of the country!).

Accessed at: Personal Library

Emma’s Rug: Allen Say

 

Emma’s Rug

Author/Illustrator: Allen Say
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year: 1996
Brief Summary: A young girl finds inspiration for her art in a rug someone has given her when she was a baby, but when her mom accidentally washes it, Emma has to find creatively another way.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Parents’ Choice Award, 1996 Gold Picture Books United States
Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 12th Edition, 1999 ; National Council of Teachers of English
Best Children’s Books of the Year, 1996 ; Bank Street College of Education
Capitol Choices, 1996 ; The Capitol Choices Committee
Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
Children’s Literature Choice List, 1997 ; Children’s Literature
Kaleidoscope, A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, Third Edition, 2001 ; National Council of Teachers of English
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, September 1996 ; Cahners
Sharing Cultures: Asian American Children’s Authors, 2001 ; ALSC American Library Association

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Why was Emma so upset when she found out her mom has washed her rug?   Why was the rug so special to her?
  • Artists, writers, musicians, etc., often talk about people or things that inspire them to create the things they create.  What inspires you?
  • Read excerpts from books such as Allen Say’s Drawing From Memory or Eric Carle’s The Art of Eric Carle to see what inspired these illustrators.  Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art by Eric Carle might also be a great resource.  Find interviews with different artists online.

Accessed at: Personal Library

Extra Yarn: Mac Barnett

 

Extra Yarn

Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Year: 2011
Brief Summary: When Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she starts knitting for herself, her dog, and everyone and everything in town.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children”s Literature, 2012′ ‘ Winner’ ‘ Picture Book’ ‘ United States’ ” ‘
Randolph Caldecott Medal, 2013′ ‘ Honor Book’ ” ‘ United States’ ”
Amazon Editors’ Picks: Best Books of the Year, 2012
Booklist Book Review Stars , Dec. 15, 2011 ; American Library Association
Booklist Editors’ Choice: Top of the List, 2012 ; American Library Association
Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2012 ; American Library Association
Booklist Top 10 Craft and Gardening Books for Youth, 2012 ; American Library Association
Choices, 2013 ; Cooperative Children’s Book Center
First and Best, 2012 ; Toronto Public Library
Horn Book Fanfare, 2012 ; Horn Book
Kirkus Best Children’s Books, 2012
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, October 31, 2011 ; Cahners
School Library Journal Best Books, 2012
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, December 2011 ; Cahners

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Why did Annabelle’s friends tease her when she showed them her work?  Talk about bullying and how this might have made her feel.
  • Art: find easy yarn projects for students to make/what other beautiful things can we make with yarn?  e.g. yarn “paintings” (draw design with white glue, then paste the yarn on it), etc.
  • Annabelle uses her creations to help others feel good and beautify her neighborhood.  What are some ways we can do the same?

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.   

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Frog and Toad Are Friends: Arnold Lobel

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Author/Illustrator: Arnold Lobel
Publisher: Harper and Row
Publication Year: 1970
Brief Summary: Best friends Frog and Toad go through many adventures together, including going swimming, finding lost buttons, and writing letters.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Discuss Frog and Toad’s friendship — what makes it work?  What makes a good friend?  What are some examples of Frog and Toad being good friends to each other?
  • Have you ever tried making up a story, like Toad?  Is it easy or hard for you?  Did you like Toad’s story?
  • Practice letter writing and assign students pen pals from another class or another grade or another school.  What are the key elements in a letter?  Discuss different types of letters — informal ones to friends/family, formal ones to teacher/boss, short memos, etc. — and the appropriate use of each.  How is letter writing different from texting, essay-writing, creative stories, etc.?
  • How did Frog trick Toad into waking up early for Spring?
  • Discuss the different buttons Frog and Toad saw in the Lost Button chapter.  Have kids each bring in a button from home and glue it onto a “coat” (make it out of felt).  Discuss different shapes, colors, and sizes with young children.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  

Accessed at: Capilano Library

Monkey, A Trickster Tale from India: Gerald McDermott

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India

Author/Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year: 2011
Brief Summary: The clever monkey tricks the crocodile into giving him rides to the mango trees.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Discuss trickster tales.  What are their characteristics?  Read other trickster tales by Gerald McDermott.
  • Is there a moral to this story?  What did the monkey say to the crocodile at the end?  What did he mean?
  • If you were the monkey, how would you cross the river?  Play a game with the students where they have to cooperate with each other to solve the problem.  For example, give teams of students the same objects like a rope, a scooter, a beach towel, etc., and challenge them to get their entire team across the river (the playground or the classroom) without touching the ground or the “water” (unless they want to be eaten by the crock!).  Teams who touch the ground by accident must start over. What does this game teach us?  Creative problem-solving, teamwork, etc.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  

Accessed at: Capilano Library