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

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

Mirror, Mirror: Marilyn Singer

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

Author: Marilyn Singer
Illustrator: Josee Masse
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Publication Year: 2010
Brief Summary: Classic fairytales are retold through a collection poems, that, when reversed and given different punctuation, tells the story from a different point of view.
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 perspectives and different points of view.  How did the author show different points of view in this book?
  • Read with other fractured fairytales that tell the familiar stories from a different viewpoint.  Compare/contrast with the poems.

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

Accessed at: Vancouver Public Library; B&N

Forget-Me-Nots Poems to Learn by Heart: Mary Ann Hoberman

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart

Author: Selected by Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator: Michael Emberley
Publisher: Megan Tingley Books
Publication Year: 2012
Brief Summary: A compilation of poems from both contemporary and classic poets, along with Poetry Foundation Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman’s tips on memorizing and reciting poems.
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.:

  • This could be a great read-aloud book used in classrooms to start the day, during “quiet time”, or before dismissal. Similarly, could be used to welcome children into the library.  Schools that have morning announcements can select short poems for students to read on the PA system every morning.
  • Poetry memorization challenge & recital — discuss author’s notes on how to memorize/recite poetry.  Have students take turns reciting poems.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  Author’s suggestions on learning poetry by heart

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow: Joyce Sidman

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow

Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year: 2006
Brief Summary: Through beautiful scratchboard illustrations, poems, and informational passages, readers learn about different creatures and plants found on meadows.
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: discuss the meadow and habitats.  What kinds of animals and plants live in this environment?
  • How does dew form?  Where can you find dewdrops on a meadow?  In your neighborhood?
  • Discuss animals mentioned in the book — parts of grasshopper, what makes a predator/prey, survival strategies, etc.
  • Discuss words in the glossary.  Remind students that we often find glossaries in informational books.
  • Language Arts: discuss poetry?  What are some characteristics of poetry?  Do you see similarities and differences between different poems in the book?  (traditional vs. free verse vs. concrete poems, etc.)
  • Go through the riddles — can students solve them?   Have students write their own riddles about an animal or plant using poetry.

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

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Noah’s Ark: Peter Spier

Noah’s Ark

Author/Illustrator: Peter Spier
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Year: 1977
Brief Summary: In this nearly wordless book, Peter Spier shows us the story of Noah’s Ark from beginning to end, including all the messes Noah has to clean up.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Christopher Award, 1978′ ‘ Winner’ ‘ Picture book’ ‘ United States’ ” ‘
International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honor List, 1980′ ‘ Winner’ ‘ Illustration’ ‘ International’ ” ‘
National Book Award, 1982′ ‘ Winner’ ‘ Children”s Books, Picture Books (Paperback)’ ‘ United States’ ” ‘
New York Times Best Illustrated Children”s Books of the Year, 1977′ ‘ Winner’ ” ‘ United States’ ”
Randolph Caldecott Medal, 1978′ ‘ Winner’ ” ‘ United States’ ” ‘

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

  • Read the poem in the beginning of the book.  How did it describe the ark?  What kind of animals did Noah find?  How did the poet describe the various animals?
  • Find rhyming pairs in the poem.  Play a matching game with the words.
  • Study the illustrations in detail.  Have children tell the story based on their observations.

Accessed at: Vancouver Public Library