Monday, April 28, 2008

Grandad's Tree

Title: Grandad's Tree
Compiled by: Jill Bennett
Illustrator: Julia Cairns
Publisher and date of Publication: Barefoot Books, 2003
Genre: Poetry, Picture Book
Age Range: K-2nd Grade

Summary: This is a picture book of poetry for young children about different families. The poems are written by different authors but compiled by Jill Bennett. Most, if not all, of the poems rhyme. The poems talk about what a family is; they're about moms, dads, grandparents, sisters, and hobbies that families do together.

Response: I really enjoyed these poems for younger elementary students. The illustrations are bright but look sort of like children drew them. The shapes are blunt and jagged but I still enjoy them. I like that the poems rhyme and I think children will like that too. I remember that when I was young, poems that didn't rhyme were scary. I still enjoy poems that rhyme better. I think that this book will show children that families can come in any shape or size. The way families are now, children grow up in all sorts of situations and I think that children will feel more comfortable about their family after listening to some of these poems. They may also hear a poem, and think "hey, my mom/dad does that!"

Teaching Connections: I think this collection of poems would be wonderful to read to a k-2 classroom and talk about the different types of families. Lower elementary social studies study families and this would be a great way to intergrate the two subjects. Middle to upper elementary students may also write a poem about their family.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Finding Myself by: Naomi...

Title: Becoming Naomi Leon
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Publisher and date of Publication: Scholastic Inc, 2004
Genre: Multicultual, Novel
Age Range: 3rd- 6th grade
Awards: ALA Notable Children's Book, ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book, 2004 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award
I really enjoyed this book. It was probably my favorite book that we read all semester. I think I enjoyed it so much because it was like a look into the life of children that I've never, luckily, seen. My parents are still together so I've never been in Naomi and Owen's shoes before and trying to figure out who my mom and dad are, living with my grandmother. I can't imagine being in Naomi's shoes, trying to figure all of this out. I think the book shows multi-cultualism very well. this children are part mexican, living in Cali, speaking english. As the book goes on, some people in the book speaking spanish but it also has english so the reader knows what they said. I think the cultural details are intergrated very natually because everything flows along so smoothly. It feels like you are there with Naomi as she tries to figure everything out in her life. It's like we are in her brain, thinking what she is thinking. This book doesn't have any stereotypes really. It's just explaining how different life in Mexico and Cali can be. The language barrier doesn't seem to be that bad because when they are in Mexico, everyone understands everyone else. I think the language that Ryan uses is authenic and isn't awkward or used in the wrong spot. Flora and her family in Mexico speak Spanish and so does Naomi's dad but they start to learn english. Naomi and her family and friends in Cali speak english but begin to speak a little spanish. The spanish that is used in the book is minimal so the reader can figure out what they said. The festival with the carvings and the multi-generation households were cultural markers of mexico. I didn't see many cultual markers of Cali because the grandparent/grandchild house and the trailer parks aren't really a marker of Cali because they are everywhere.
I can't imagine denying and treating my children like Terri Lynn/ Skyla did. I just love Gram and was afraid that something might happen to her in the story but it didn't!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday

Title: Happy Birthday
Poems Selected By: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by: Hilary Knight
Publisher and date of Publication: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1991
Genre: Poetry, Picture Book
Age Range: K-2nd grade

Summary: This is a variety of different poems about birthdays and how exciting they are. Each poem has a different author. At the beginning, a little boy wakes up and it's his birthday and the whole book is a day long. It's all poems and they start at the beginning of the day and end at bedtime that night.

Respomse: I like this small book to use in lower elementary schools. There's not a lot to say about short poems like these but I think children would love to read them, especially on their birthday. The illustrations are bright and happy. All the poems rhyme, which is what I like and what small children are used to.

Teaching Ideas: I think it would be wonderful to use this book during the whole school year and read one poem on each student's birthday and maybe have each student write the poem and draw a picture. The birthday student could keep all the drawings. You could also revisit poetry each time you read a poem to review.

Favorite Poem from Children's Poetry Anthology

Life Doesn't Frighten Me
by: Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn't frighten me at all,

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Tough guys in a fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.

Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.

I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve,
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

This poem came out of a book entitled, "A Child's Intoduction to Poetry." I found this book in the IMC and I love it.I think it would be wonderful to use to introduce poetry to first - second graders. It comes with a CD that you are suppose to play that reads the poems but this book didn't have it. It has all the classic poems and nursery rhymes. The books says that this poem was published in Angelou's 1978 book, "And Still I Rise."
I like this poem because it rhymes but not too much. If it's a poem, it has to rhyme, in my opinion, but it doesn't rhyme too much where you can't understand what the poem means. The illustration shows different things that the writer isn't afraid of. She isn't afraid of barking dogs, ghosts, snakes, etc, not even kissy little girls or tough guys. Angelou has been through a lot and this poem shows the world that she is a survivor.
This poem has lots of sounds. "Bad dogs barking loud, I go boo," It helps children to hear what is going on. The rhyme pattern in the poem is two lines that rhyme, then "Life doesn't frighten me at all." This happens for most of the poem. There is a little onomatopoeia in the poem. Words like barking, boo, and shoo are the only words I seen. I think the poem makes you feel like you are there in the poem, which is images. You feel like you are there seeing the snakes and the dragons breathing flame. The form was just in stanzas. Most stanzas had "...don't frighten me at all" after two lines and then at the end.
I think this poem would give children strength to get through whatever is in their lives.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Harry Potter: Extras

J.K. Rowling’s writing has often been referred to as being so descriptive that it is though you are in the theatre watching a play or a movie; her words create such vivid mental images in your mind. You will soon take on the role of a “Thematic Thinker” as you present important themes through this fantastical work of fantasy. As you have read, many novels classified as high fantasy embody the classic theme of the struggle between good and evil. Harry and his friends are part of this struggle as they face the evil of Voldemort in "another world." Part of the power of fantasy lies in the truths it reveals about the “real world.” Think about any of the many themes that are revealed in this book. For example: power of love, bravery, loyalty, prejudice, making choices/decisions, names and identities, dreams, truth, determination, fear, desires, rebellion/rule-breaking, success , or any other themes you think may be appropriate. Please blog about Harry Potter through these many thematic connections. Be specific and reference the book through specific examples.

I think one of the main themes in Harry Potter is the value of being humble. Harry learned humility from being neglected with the Dursleys for 11 years. But humble Harry didn't end when he went to the Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. He was treated so badly with the Dursleys but it never seemed to bother him that bad. I really felt sorry for him.
I also think that peer pressure is present in this book. At Hogwarts, everyone respects the headmaster, especially Harry but even he couldn't resist peer pressure to go on the 3rd floor.
Desire is present in the book. Dudley wants multiple tv's and pretty much everything. Later in the book, Voldemort wants the Sorcerer's Stone no matter what.
Harry Potter must have had any identity crisis because I can't imagine thinking I'm one thing for eleven years, then finding out I'm pretty much a celebrity. Poor Harry.

The Mirror of Erised plays an important role in this later part of the book. Think about what the mirror symbolizes, the significance of the mirror to Harry Potter, and the theme captured by this mirror. Create a visual representation of what you would see in the Mirror of Erised along with an explanation of your image.

My mirror represents my heart's desire. Right now my heart's desire is to finish school and graduate! I also want to be engaged and get married. I would love to find a teaching job in Wilkes County, where I'm from. And lastly, have a baby. My mirror shows an ASU diploma, an engagement ring, a bride holding flowers, a pass that says, Wilkes County teacher, and a pregnant woman.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Illustrator: Mary Grandpre
Publisher and date of Publication: Scholastic Inc., 1997
Genre: Novel, Fantasy
Age Range: 3rd-8th Grade
Awards: too many to name! Publisher Weekly best book 1998, 1997 National Book Award, etc.

Summary: Harry Potter is a wizard and so are his parents. Volemort kills his parents but Harry survives. Harry is sent to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin who mistreat him. He find out on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard and begins school at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is famous there because he survived Volemort trying to kill him. There he finds all sorts of mysterious things. Him and his friends set out to find the sorcerer's stone. Harry runs across Voldemort but Dumbledore saves him just in time. Harry learns that his mom Lily died while protecting him as a baby against Voldemort. The stone was destroyed so that no one would try to get it. Harry nevers finds out why Voldemort tried to kill him.

Response: I've never read any of the Harry Potter series before, and to be honest I didn't like it very much. It is a very long book for children and I found it hard to complete. I know many chidlren and adults as well love these books. I enjoyed the beginning when Harry was with the Dursleys, but I can't imagine treating your own nephew the way Harry is treated. I also can't imagine what went through Harry's mind when he found out he was famous after thinking that no one cared for him at all. I think it was all the witchcraft stuff that I didn't like and the length of the book. When I looked at it, I thought there is no way I'll be able to complete this book. It was a quick read but just took time getting through the whole book. I felt so sorry for Harry at the beginning when he was treated so badly but was glad to see that he finally realized how powerful he really was.

Teaching Ideas: I think children could do just as we are doing and figure out what would be in the mirror if they were holding it. They could also make magical wards and "pretend." There are quizzes on for children to take after reading this book. Scholastic also has neat projects for children to do, including a Hogwart's yearbook for fourth graders and trading cards.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ginger and Petunia

Title: Ginger and Petunia
Author and Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Publisher and date of Publication: The Penguin Group, 2007
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Picture Book
Age Range: K-3rd Grade

Summary: This is a story about Ginger and her pet pig, Petunia. Ginger dresses in fancy clothes, has a fancy car, and attended fancy meetings. Her motto is, "you are what you wear." She also teaches piano lessons all day. She treats her pig, Petunia like her daughter and had a mud hole
put in her backyard with a gazebo over it. Ginger got invited to a meeting in London and called someone to come take over her responsibilities at home. After Ginger left for London, the lady called and said she couldn't come so Petunia took over Ginger's responsilibilities. She even
dressed like her. She did very well but got anty for her mud bath after a while. When Ginger got back, she already knew all about it and they had a mud bath together.

Response: I really enjoyed this book. I think younger elementary students would love this story. It's an animal fantasy story because no pig can really dress up like a human and do everything
we can. Pigs also can't walk on two hoofs like humans can. Children would love hearing a story about a walking pig that knows what humans say. The illustrations are also wonderful. It looks
like she drew the pictures and colored it in with colored pencils. The book says that the pictures are rendered in pencils and markers. Many children have pets so they could identify with Ginger's fondness of her pet pig. I really like the picture of Petunia driving Ginger's sports car. Children will think this is so funny. It's amazing how much Ginger and Petunia look alike with the same outfits on. I wanted to read one of Polacco's works because during the author
study on her, they said that her books had closed endings and I like to know how everything ended. I think pictures of Polacco look like one of the Cosby kids on The
Cosby Show.

Teaching Ideas: Children would love to just hear this book. They might write
a story about what their pet might do if they left. You might also bring in
dress-up clothes for the children to dress up in and act out parts of the story.