Happy turkey month…or November if you don’t like turkey haha. November is my favorite month because of Thanksgiving YAY! Did you know…Thanksgiving is ranked as America’s second most popular holiday, after Christmas? Probably because of the AMAZING food.
Anyways…let me get to the point. Last week was a pretty good week for me but also crazy! Working with 5 to 12 -year-olds on Halloween and the day after was insane but soooo much fun. I also got to spend time with my family, my puppy dog came home, I put together a fun puzzle of classic children’s books, and I was able to get in some good reading.
First off the puzzle! Not my best photo but I got this 1000 piece puzzle done in a couple of hours and I even found some books I had never heard of! Have you heard of them all? What do you think?
Crenshaw written by Katherine Applegate
Jackson is a fifth-grader whose family has fallen on hard times…again. He likes facts. Simple as that. His imaginary friend suddenly reappears in his life and Jackson does not understand why he is there or how. At first, he does not want Crenshaw to help help but as his situation gets worse he may need his imaginary friend for advice and sympathy.
This book was a light fantasy novel that covers some very heavy topics. It’s a tough read with real issues and really imperfect characters. That being said, it was still incredible and I adored it. I don’t know if this book it would be a good for Elementary students simply because of the heavy topic but it also might be good…I’m torn. Unfortunately there is the reality that some students we will have are homeless or going through a similar situation as Jackson.
As for the classroom, I personally would use this book in a couple of ways. First, I can see myself starting off with the book The Adventures of Beekle. Once we had read that book, I would have my students make a list of valuable aspects of having an imaginary friend. As we made our way through Crenshaw, I could have my students draw connections between the two books and see if they want to change or add to their lists. I can also see me using this book as a novel study book with a smaller group of my class. There are so many parts of this book that students can learn from and the smaller group would allow them to delve into the book more than if it was the whole class.
Holes written by Louis Sachar
A curse, a “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather, a boy named Stanley Yelnats who stole a pair of shoes (or did he?), a treacherous detention camp, and Kissin’ Kate Barlow. How do all these aspects of the novel fit together? This book was amazing…seriously! If you are looking for a good mystery, adventure, suspense novel I highly suggest reading this book.
I think this book would be good for 4th grade to 8th grade. Students can learn about cause and effect, the history of the Civil Rights movement, what a yellow-spotted lizard is, setting, creating timelines, and so much more. I would love to implement this book into my classroom one day.
Frog and Toad Are Friends written by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad are two amphibian pals that are going through life together. This book is an introduction to a series of five stories between these two great pals. It is hard to put a finger on what makes these books so great but I know I personally LOVED this book as a child. My mom still tells me to this day she dislikes the book because of how much I had her read it to me haha.
This book is great for Pre-K through 3rd grade. You can use it to focus on characters with students. The class can do characters compare and contrast chart with you as you go through the series and then create a master copy at the end of the lesson. I can also see these books being used in sorting out long and short vowels.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
This story is about an older man, Amos McGee, who goes to work each day at the zoo. Although his schedule is busy, he always found time for his friends. He played chess with the elephant, ran races with the turtle, sat with the penguin, and more. But one day was different from every other day. Amos was sick! What will all of Amos’ friends do without him for the day? What will Amos do?
This book would be perfect for grades K-3rd, although I really enjoyed it as well. It kind of reminded me of a Pixar short because of the story line and illustrations. Super cute! I can think of using this book to teach about being a good person. I would read the book aloud to the class and have a discussion about what Amos does that is above and beyond. I could then ask my students to go home and do one nice thing as homework to discuss the next day.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse written by Kevin Henkes
Lilly is a young student who loves going to school each day. She even has a new great teacher, Mr. Slinger. Lily loves school so much she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. One weekend, she goes shopping with her grandma and bought a new purse and movie star sunglasses. At school the next day she wanted to share and just could not wait. Mr. Slinger ends up taking her things away because she disrupts the whole class. She is so mad that she writes Mr. Slinger a bad note and slipped it in his bag before leaving for the day. She soon realizes that what she did was wrong but what will happen when he finds the note? How will he forgive her?
What a treat to read. The pictures really catch the eye and the cute story just adds to it. This book would be great for grades Pre-K through 4th to use at the beginning of the school year when learning about the rules. You could always refer back to the book if problems start to arise to give the students a reminder.
Corduroy written by Don Freeman
All Corduroy wants is for someone to buy him. One day, a little girl asked if she can buy him but her mom does not have enough money. Corduroy sets out to find himself a new button that night once the store closes so that he is a more appealing toy.
What a sweet story about a little bear sets out to find his something lost and finding something that he didn’t even know he needed. I would use this book for grades Kindergarten through 3rd as a read aloud. It is such a comforting book with a touching story that is bound to warm your heart.
Bats in the Band written by Brian Lies
Bats in the Band tells a unique story. Bats awake and are very hungry…for sound! They decide to go and play music in the summertime theater. When they get there, the lights are all off and the bats are confused. What will they do? The show has to go on right?
This book was surprisingly good with entertainment for any age. Readers learn about different instruments and other aspects of playing in a band. I would use this with the book Stellatuna to talk about echolocation and bats or even to introduce band to students.