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

Moses — When Harriet Tubman Led Her People To Freedom: Carole Boston Weatherford

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People To Freedom

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Year: 2006
Brief Summary: The story of Harriet Tubman as she escapes the life of slavery and eventually comes to guide others to freedom.

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 Harriet and what she thinks is her calling in life.  Why did people call her Moses?  Why does Harriet’s husband not want to escape?
  • Social studies: discuss this period of time in history; discuss the Civil War and why it broke out.
  • Discuss slavery and the types of hardships slaves endured.
  • On a map, trace the route Harriet possibly took.
  • Read a biography of Tubman’s life at  http://www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman/life.htm; create a timeline of major events of her life during this period.
  • Read about the Underground Railroad.

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

Accessed at: Capilano Library

Mr. Lincoln’s Way: Patricia Polacco

Mr. Lincoln’s Way

Author/Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Year: 2001
Brief Summary:  Mr. Lincoln, “the coolest principal in the whole world,” helps a school bully, Eugene, change his behavior and learn the importance of celebrating one another’s differences.

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 bullying…how does bullying make the kids feel?  Why do you think Eugene bullies?
  • Discuss intolerance/racism.  What did Eugene’s grandfather believe?  How does this differ from what his father believe?  How do their beliefs affect what Eugene thinks?
  • Eugene “almost” refers to Mr. Lincoln using the N-word…  Teachers might want to figure out ahead of time how to approach this touchy subject.  Children might ask about it, what it means, etc.
  • How does Mr. Lincoln finally reach Eugene?  What did Eugene learn at the end of the story?

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

Accessed at: Capilano Library

Never Forgotten: Patricia C. McKissack

Never Forgotten

Author: Patricia C. McKissack
Illustrator: Leo & Diane Dillon
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication Year: 2011
Brief Summary: Using lyrical, free verse, this book tells the story of a young boy who is kidnapped in West African and sold into slavery.

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.:

  • Language arts: discuss poetry and different kinds of poems.  This book is made up of a compilation of lyrical, free-verse poems.  What are some characteristics of these types of poems?
  • Social studies: discuss slavery and how it affected the people in Africa and the families.  How did the father and mother in the story feel when their son was taken away?  How did they try to get their son back?
  • Art: study the artistic style used in the book.  What do the illustrations tell you about how people felt?
  • Discuss blacksmithing and why this trade is honored and respected?

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  Author’s notes about slavery and blacksmithing, legends about hurricanes, etc.

Accessed at: Capilano Library

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Douglas Florian

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars

Author/Illustrator: Douglas Florian
Publisher: Harcourt
Publication Year: 2007
Brief Summary: A collection of space-inspired poems in a variety of formats — concrete, rhyming, free verse, etc.
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.:

  •  Science: space unit; pair with informational books about the galaxy, planets, etc.  Have students each select one subject or concept, and conduct further research.
  • Discuss different genres — poetry vs. informational — and their uses.  Which would you use to read for fun?  Which would you use if you were doing a research paper on a particular planet?
  • If possible, arrange for a field trip to a planetarium or space museum, or watch a documentary/film about the planets.
  • Have a discussion about planets — what characteristics must something have in order to be considered a planet?  Why did Pluto lose its status?  Do you think it’s a planet — why or why not?  Hold a mock debate based on the evidence.
  • Art — make a model of our galaxy, or make a paper-mache planet (student’s choice)

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  A “galactic glossary” and selected bibliography/further reading suggestions in the back of the book

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin: Lloyd Moss

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

Author: Lloyd Moss
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Year: 1995
Brief Summary: Through pleasant rhyme, readers are introduced to 10 different instruments, music vocabulary, and parts of the orchestra.
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.:

  •  Music: discuss the musical instruments mentioned in the book in more detail.  If there is a music room in the school and these instruments were available, arrange for students to try them out.
  • Arrange a field trip to an orchestra/concert.  See if students can meet the musicians back stage or visit the “pit” to see everything from the musicians’ point of view.
  • If field trip isn’t possible, play some classical music and see if students can identify the different instruments.
  • Review the number prefixes — solo, duo, trio, etc.
  • Find rhyming pairs in the book.

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

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Animal Poems: Valerie Worth

Animal Poems

Author: Valerie Worth
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Year: 2007
Brief Summary: Each of the 23 poems in this collection features an animal, accompanied by beautiful cut-paper illustrations by Steve Jenkins.
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.:

  •  Science: have students pick an animal out of this book and research it.  Discuss different genres — poetry vs. informational — and their different purposes (pleasure reading/listening vs. providing information)
  • Art: give students construction paper and have them create different animals using the technique Steve Jenkins used for this book

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

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library