Arnold, Tedd. (2004). Even more parts. Dial Books for Young Readers.
The boy from Parts (1997) and More Parts (2001) returns. Here, he is preparing to go to school. Each page features a phrase that includes an idiom, along with a humorous illustration of the child literally living up to that particular expression. For example, for "I lost my head," the headless youngster wanders around with arms outstretched looking for his missing body part, which is partially concealed behind a chair. Along the bottom of the page, his toys illustrate additional figures of speech ("It makes my head spin," "I laughed my head off," "My head is in the clouds"). A picture book for students in grades 3-5.
Bausum, Ann. (2004). With courage and cloth: Winning the fight for a woman’s right to vote. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.
Bausum peels back the layers of the story of the women's suffrage movement, exposing grit, fiery determination, and radical tactics. After covering the importance of familiar names, she devotes the bulk of the book to the events of 1906 to 1920, when a new group of young women emerged who were willing to truly suffer for suffrage. The movement split into two camps–Carrie Chapman Catt's larger National American Woman Suffrage Association working conservatively to gain the vote state by state, and a smaller, more contentiously radical organization, the National Woman's Party led by Alice Paul, focusing on a federal amendment. Bausum highlights the tension between these factions in well-documented detail and casts it against the greater picture of controversy within and surrounding the national and state governments, as well as World War I. She portrays her suffragist heroines as iron-jawed women totally devoted to their cause. Cloth is a recurrent theme, as the author describes the suffragists' tricolored banners, sashes, pennants, and sewn signs. Vintage photographs, some never before published, depict key figures in the movement speaking, protesting, parading, picketing, and going to jail. Bausum's careful research is evident throughout, with sources thoroughly cited and a text studded with original source quotations. A non-narrative for students in grades 6-8. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Bausum, Ann. (2006). Freedom Riders. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic. The incredible courage and determination of young people, black, white, male and female, who risked great personal danger and even death as they participated in the freedom rides during the Civil Rights Movement are the focus of this remarkable book. History is told through the experiences of two young men of disparate backgrounds, one black John Lewis, the other white Jim Zwerg. A foreword by each man precedes chapters that compare and contrast their families, childhoods, and teenage years, and the events leading up to, and their participation in, the historic rides of the early 1960s. Dramatic black-and-white photographs, accompanied by clear, engaging captions, support the text. Each of the seven chapters is preceded by a full-page photograph. Bausum's narrative style, fresh, engrossing, and at times heart-stopping, brings the story of the turbulent and often violent dismantling of segregated travel alive in vivid detail. A non-narrative for students in grades 6-8. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Bridges, Ruby (1999). Through my eyes. New York:Scholastic Press.
Surrounded by federal marshals, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first black student ever at the all-white William Frantz Public School in New Orleans, Louisiana, on November 14, 1960. Perhaps never had so much hatred been directed at so perfect a symbol of innocence--which makes it all the more remarkable that her memoir, simple in language and rich in history and sepia-toned photographs, is informed mainly by a sort of bewildered compassion. Throughout, readers will find quotes from newspapers of the time, family members, and teachers; sidebars illustrating how Ruby Bridges pops up in both John Steinbeck's novel, Travels with Charlie, and a Norman Rockwell painting; and a fascinating update on Bridges's life and civil rights work. Non-narrative for students in grades 3-5. This annotation is copied from www.amazon.com)
Bunting, Eve. (1997). The Wall. New York:Harcourt Brace. The moving story of a boy and his father visiting the Vietnam Memorial to find his grandfater’s name.
Bunting, Eve. Fly Away Home (450 lexile)
In this timely and touching work, Bunting and Himler present a naturalistic look at the plight of the homeless--their tale of a boy and his father living in a busy airport
Bunting, Eve. Train to Somewhere (440 lexile)
Inspired by a little-known chapter of American history, this characteristically incisive collaboration from Bunting and Himler imagines a journey on one of the many "Orphan Trains" that, between the mid-1850s and the late 1920s, brought children from New York City orphanages to adoptive families in the West.
Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night (360 lexile)
The Los Angeles riots made author Eve Bunting wonder about what riots meant to the children who live through them -- and what we can all learn from such upheavals.
Bunting, Eve. A Day’s Work (350 lexile)
Francisco, trying to find work for his grandfather, or abuelo, who has just arrived from Mexico, acts as a liaison between Abuelo, who doesn't speak English, and Ben, who wants to hire a gardener for a day's work. Eager to earn the badly needed pay, Francisco assures Ben that his grandfather is a skilled gardener (Abuelo is in fact a carpenter). Returning at the end of the day, Ben is shocked to discover that Francisco and Abuelo stripped his field of the plants and left the weeds. Abuelo
The Blue and the Gray (620 lexile)
The families of two friends, one black and one white, are building new houses on a spot overlooking a field where a Civil War battle took place. The white boy's father describes the battle to the two children, and these imagined scenes are shown, juxtaposed with the everyday calm of the present.
Bunting, Eve. Butterfly House (500 lexile)
A girl saves a caterpillar, "a small black creature/ like a tiny worm,/ ...from a greedy jay/ who wanted it/ for lunch." Her grandpa explains that she has found a larva that will become a butterfly, and the two make a shoebox home for it, decorated with cut-paper flowers and topped with a sky-blue lid and a "curve of rainbow/ like a hug/ to keep her safe." When the caterpillar transforms into a painted lady, the girl lets it go. Many years later, when the granddaughter has reached her grandfather's age, butterflies continue to flock to her garden.
Bunting, Eve. Your Move
A gripping picture book told through the first-person narrative of a boy who nearly joins a gang.
Bunting, Eve. Cheyenne Again
A poignant look at the pain inflicted upon one child by a dominant culture's heavy-handed attempt to "help." Near the turn of the century, a Cheyenne boy, Young Bull, is forced to attend the off-reservation Indian school so that he can learn to become a part of the white world. He is housed in soulless barracks and shown repeatedly and quite blatantly that the Indian ways are no good. When he rebels and tries to run home in a snowstorm, he is caught, returned, and shackled for a day.
Bunting, Eve. I Have an Olive Tree (510 lexile)
In this visually arresting picture book, Sophia "receives" an olive tree from her grandfather on her seventh birthday, one that still grows on his native Greek isle. Months later, her dying grandfather requests that Sophia and her mother travel from California to Greece to the olive tree to hang the beads that had belonged to Sophia's grandmother, as a remembrance. During the course of the trip, Sophia learns a great deal about her family's homeland.
Bunting, Eve. (1997). I am the mummy Heb-Nefert. New York:Harcourt Brace.
In this quiet, evocative voyage through time, an Egyptian mummy looks back on her life. In her own time, Heb-Nefert was the wife of the pharaoh's brother, with servants who dressed her and a loving husband with whom she explored the royal gardens and hunted birds on the Nile. She recalls visiting her humble childhood home where women baked bread outdoors and a snake was coiled in a basket to catch rats and mice. When she died, her body was anointed with oils and spices, and bandaged to begin the process of mummification. Her loyal cat was mummified, too, so it could follow her into the afterlife. Finally, she looks down on her shriveled body where it lies in a museum and observes the daily stream of visitors that pass by, rarely thinking that a similar fate awaits them. A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Cherry, Lynn. (2002). A river ran wild: An environmental history. Voyager Books
This non-narative book for students in grades 3-5 tells the story of the Nashua River in New England and how the industrial revolution affected this river. The Nashua changed from a viable river that supported the Native Americans in the 1600’s to a polluted wasteland devoid of wildlife. Marion Stoddard, who actually did establish the Nashua River Watershed Association and helped restore the river to its prior glory, is included in this fictionalized account. At the end of the story there are also several non-fiction essays about the clean up of the Nashua river. .
Clayton, Elaine. (1999)The yeoman’s daring daughter and the princes in the tower. New York: Crown Publishers.
Clayton plays a "what if" game with English history, improvising on the unsolved mystery of the two young princes that Richard IIIAthen Duke of Gloucester, their uncle and protector locked up in the Tower of London in 1483, and who were never seen again. Jane, the daughter of one of the guards to the royal fortress, strikes up a surreptitious correspondence with the boys. The epistolary conceit works well, hinting at daily activity in the Tower as well as palace intrigue. The exchange of letters builds to a crescendo as Jane discovers Richard's "very wicked plan" (she overhears him plotting with a cohort, knife in handAan oblique nod to the long-held assumption that the boys were murdered) and contrives to help her young pen-pals escape. Picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Heide, F.P., Gilliland, J.H. (1975). Sami and the time of the troubles. New York: Clarion Books.
Ten-year-old Sami lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Because of gunfire and bombing in the streets, he and his family spend much of their time in the basement of an uncle's house. There they listen to the radio or stare at the carpets Sami's mother insisted on bringing along as reminders of a normal life. When there is a lull in the fighting, the boy enjoys a day at the beach or meets with a friend to make a fort and play at war. ```When we are older, we will have real guns,''' says Amir. Sami disagrees. ```The fighting will be over then. It cannot last forever.''' At the story's end, Sami and his family are back underground listening as the ``noises of the night'' begin. A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Note: critical thinking: synthesis (perspective).
Innocenti, Roberto. (1985). Rose Blanche. Red Fox Publishers.
This story of the Holocaust is told from the perspective of a young German girl who watches the soldiers and tanks pass by her house. One day Rose follows one of the soldier’s trucks to a concentration camp. Rose hoards food and brings it to those interred at the concentration camp. When the Allied forces arrive Rose returns again to the concentration camp. She finds it deserted, but she is shot and killed by an Allied soldier. A picture book for students in grades 6-8.
McKissack, P.C., McKissack, F.L. (1994). Christmas in the big house, Christmas in the quarters. New York: Scholastic Inc.
This unusual book shows life on a Virginia plantation in 1859. Beginning after the harvest is in, the narrative describes the preparations for the Christmas season and the celebrations that follow. The differences in resources, lifestyles, and traditions between the plantation owner's family and the slaves provides a continuous contrast. Although the slaves' hardships are evident, they are not sensationalized, and the slaves' relationships with Massa and Missus in the big house are drawn with more subtlety than in many other children's books on the period. The final scenes use ironic foreshadowing: the master tells his young daughter that she'll be old enough to have her own slave in 1865, and in the quarters, a mother tells her son not to speak of running away, because she has heard rumors of freedom coming. Dramatic, full-color illustrations throughout the book offer windows on the period, showing individualized portraits of the characters at work, at rest, and at play. A non-narrative for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Mochizuki, Ken (1993) Baseball Saved UsDescribes the terrible conditions at the internment camps during WWII and the positive focus baseball gave the Japanese Americans during that time.
Murphy, Jim. (2003). An American plague. New York: Clarion Books.
The yellow fever epidemic of 1793, centering in Philadelphia, was a crisis of monumental proportions. Murphy chronicles this frightening time with solid research and a flair for weaving facts into fascinating stories, beginning with the fever's emergence on August 3, when a young French sailor died in Richard Denny's boardinghouse on North Water Street. As church bells rang more and more often, it became horrifyingly clear that the de facto capital was being ravaged by an unknown killer. Largely unsung heroes emerged, most notably the Free African Society, whose members were mistakenly assumed to be immune and volunteered en masse to perform nursing and custodial care for the dying. Black-and-white reproductions of period art, coupled with chapter headings that face full-page copies of newspaper articles of the time, help bring this dreadful episode to life. An afterward explains the yellow fever phenomenon, its causes, and contemporary outbreaks, and source notes are extensive and interesting. A non-narrative for students in grades 6-8. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Parillo, Tony. (1998) Michaelangelo’s Surprise. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.
The premise for Parillo's first picture book is a little-known anecdote about Michelangelo. Although no sources are cited, an endnote states that, in 1494, Piero de' Medici summoned the 19-year-old artist during a snowstorm to create a snow sculpture. The author sets the stage with a young page, Sandro, overhearing de' Medici's request to fetch Michelangelo. Wondering why the ruler has summoned the artist, Sandro combs the palazzo to find his father, who knows everything about the household. In the end, the boy finds his father helping the sculptor. A picture book for children in grades K-2. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Park, Frances. (1998). My freedom trip: A child’s escape from north Korea. Pennsylvania: Boyds Mill Press.
As the Korean War approached, Soo's father escaped from the north into South Korea. He sent a guide for Soo, along with a promise that one would follow for her mother. Preparing to depart, the girl's mother held her close and cried, "Be brave, Soo." These words carried the child through the difficult journey and near capture by a North Korean soldier until she was reunited with her father. The war began and Soo never saw her mother again. The story is lyrically told in the first person, with graceful similes that flow naturally from one page to the next. The rich design perfectly complements the fluid text. Korean characters adorn each page, setting the mood and place with a single powerful image. Elegant oil illustrations in dark hues set against light backgrounds capture the dichotomous memories of a peaceful childhood and the violence of war in a beloved homeland. Forms and shadows emerge from careful brush strokes; characters' facial expressions glow with determination and courage. A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com. Note: Strong themes.
Polacco, Patricia. (1988).The keeping quilt. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Polacco's first-person voice moves her narrative forward gracefully from the time when her Great-Gramma Anna came to America during the last century to the present. Richly detailed charcoal drawings fill the pages of this beautifully conceived book. Particularly striking are the faces of the Russian Jewish immigrant families who people the pages. The only color used is in the babushka and dress of Great-Gramma Anna, which become part of a brightly hued quilt. Following that quilt through four generations is the basis of this account. Customs and fashions change, but family is constant, visually linked by the ``keeping quilt.'' Children will be fascinated by the various uses to which the quilt is put, although some of those uses make one wonder how its ``like-new'' shape was maintained. That stretch of the imagination is gentle, however, and does not mar the story. Readers who notice that the author and the narrator share the same name may realize that this lovely story is true; that should make it even more appealing. A picture book for grades K-2. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Polacco, Patricia. (2000). The Butterfly. New York:Philomel Books.
The butterfly is a story of a young French girl and her experiences during the Nazi occupation of France. This young French girl awakes at night to what she thinks is a ghost in her room. She discovers that what she thinks is an apparition is really a young Jewish girl whom her parents are sheltering in the cellar. The two girls become fast friends and talk and play together after midnight. Monique brings her new friend treasures from out of doors, and one of these treasures is a live butterfly. Their friendship is kept secret until a neighbor from across the courtyard sees them together in the window. Because the neighbor has seen them together, the family is no longer safe and must be moved to a new location. Monique worries that her friend is not safe in her new location, but Monique is comforted when she sees butterflies landing in her garden. A picture book for students in grades 3-5.
Say, Allen (1993). Grandfather’ journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Home becomes elusive in this story about immigration and acculturation, pieced together through old pictures and salvaged family tales. Both the narrator and his grandfather long to return to Japan, but when they do, they feel anonymous and confused: "The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other." Allen Say's prose is succinct and controlled, to the effect of surprise when monumental events are scaled down to a few words: "The young woman fell in love, married, and sometime later I was born." The book also has large, formal paintings in delicate, faded colors that portray a cherished and well-preserved family album. The book won the 1994 Caldecott Medal. A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com.
Scieszka, Jon. (2001). The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Minnesota:Viking Publications. The story of the three little pigs is revealed through the perspective of the wolf who please he was innocent because he only tried to help is granny.
Scieszka, Jon. (2001). Henry P. Baloney. Minnesota:Viking Publications.
Henry P. Baloney, an alien from another planet, finds himself receiving lifelong detention for being late to class. His only hope of escaping this punishment is if he can come up with a reasonable excuse for his tardiness. Henry weaves a tale which includes words from his alien language. Through pictures and context clues we understand his excuse. At the end of the story there is a translation of his language, which is really a compilation of 18 different languages plus spoonerism (Sighing Flosser:flying saucer) and transposition (Cucalations:calculations). A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Skills: context clues analyzing (decoding the language).
Shea, Pegi Deitz. (1995). The whispering cloth: A refugee’s story. Pennsylvania: Boyds Mills Press, Inc.
A small Hmong girl lives with her grandmother in a Thai refugee camp, where she learns to embroider the pa'ndau, the story cloth that is an important source of income for the refugee women. Mai's story begins as her parents are killed by soldiers while they sleep. She is rescued from the battle by her grandmother, who carries her across the Mekong in a basket. The child adds a hopeful end to her work with a stitched scene of herself and Grandmother flying away from the refugee camp to a land where she plays in the snow, swims in the surf, and sleeps with Grandmother in a fine bed. When at last the pa'ndau is finished, the embroidered images of the child's mother and father whisper that the cloth is not for sale. A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com. Note: critical thinking: synthesis (perspective).
Van Allsburg, Chris. (1991). The Sweetest Fig . Houghton Mifflin Publishers. tale of Monsieur Bibot, a "very fussy" French dentist who is given a pair of magic figs as a form of payment by an impoverished patient. The fruit, he's told, has the power to make dreams come true. The pragmatic Bibot scoffs at this, of course, but learns otherwise after eating one. Accordingly, he makes plans to use the second fig to become the richest man on earth The dentist is a thoroughly unsympathetic character; readers will rejoice when the long-suffering Marcel gobbles the second magic fig and, in a poetically just ending, reverses the master-slave relationship.
Van Allsburg, Chris. (1991). Ben’s Dream . Houghton Mifflin Publishers. On a terrifically rainy day, Ben has a dream in which he and his house float by the monuments of the world, half submerged in flood-water.
Van Allsburg, Chris. (1991). The Wretched Stone . Houghton Mifflin Publishers.
This picture book tells the story of a captain and his crew on an ocean voyage. The ship comes upon an uncharted island, where the vegetation is lush, but it bears no fruit. There are no animals on this island, but the crew members find a strange stone, which they take back aboard the ship. The stone is described as being square with a flat surface, which emits a glowing light. The crew members become obsessed with the stone and abandon their chores and all forms of socialization. Lightening strikes the ship during a storm and the stone loses its power over the crew. A picture books for students in grades 3-5. This story is an excellent model for literature as an extended metaphor
Van Allsburg, Chris. (1986). The Stranger. Houghton Mifflin Publishing.
This story begins during late summer in a bucolic rural setting. Farmer Bailey is driving his truck, and hits someone walking on the lonely country road. The man who was hit is not seriously injured, but he has lost his memory. Farmer Bailey takes the man home and allows him to stay on the farm until he has regained his strength and his memory. Everyone enjoys the companionship of the stranger, but they notice that he has some unusual habits. The Stranger communes closely with nature and when he leaves the farm he tells no one, but instead leaves the message, “See you next year.” A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Note: This is a great text for inferences. It can also be used in a mystery curriculum. Students love to guess the identity of the Stranger. Chris Van Allsberg never tells us this answer, but the Stranger is obviously Jack Frost.
Van Allsburg, Chris. (1992). The Widow’s Broom. Houghton Mifflin Publishing.
In this picture book for students in grades K-2, witch falls from the sky into the garden of the lonely widow, Minna Shaw. Widow Shaw takes the witch inside and allows her to heal. Grateful for the kindness she has received, the witch leaves her broom behind as a present for Widow Shaw. The broom is magical and it helps make the widow’s life easier by cleaning and sweeping. Mischievous neighbor boys are suspicious of the broom and they chase and torment it. The broom turns on the boys and punishes them for their bad behavior. Widow Shaw’s neighbors demand that the broom be burned for what it has done to the boys. Widow Shaw reluctantly turns over the broom, but even after it is burned it continues to haunt the neighbors. Frightened by the broom, the neighbors decide to move away. We then discover that the broom is still alive because the witches broom was not the broom that was burned.
Excellent critical thinking for Halloween
Winter, Jeanette. (1992). Klara’s New World. New York: Knopf
Written in the first-person, this compelling, original tale of an immigrant family's journey from Sweden to America is aimed at independent readers rather than the usual picture book read-aloud crowd. The story unfolds through the eyes of eight-year-old Klara, and chronicles many of the hurdles to life in a new land. These include the initial, painful decision to leave Sweden, the arduous ocean crossing and steamboat and train trips to Minnesota, ending finally with the family clearing their land, building a sod house, and planting in time for winter. Winter ( Diego ; Follow the Drinking Gourd ), herself the daughter of Swedish immigrants, uses her artist's eye to zero in on telling details, such as the tiny coffin built for a baby who died at sea, and a bag of gentian seeds pressed into Klara's hand by her grandfather, who knows he'll never see her again. A picture book for students in grades 3-5. Annotation is copied from www.amazon.com.
Woodson, Jacqueline. (2001). The Other Side. New York:Putnam.
Beautiful illustrations accompany this book which tells the story of two young girls, one black and one white, who are backyard neighbors living on either side of a fence. The story describes the friendship that grows between these girls, despite both their families who warn them not to play with the girl on ‘the other side’ of the fence. A picture book for the intermediate grades 3-5.
Yolen, Jane. (1987). Owl Moon. New York: Philomel Books.
A girl and her father go owling on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge through snow "whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl"; here and there, hidden in ink-blue shadows, a fox, raccoon, field mouse and deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl's call once without answer, then again. From out of the darkness "an echo/ came threading its way/ through the trees." Schoenherr's watercolor washes depict a New England few readers see: the bold stare of a nocturnal owl, a bird's-eye view of a farmhouse. In harmony with the art, the melodious text brings to life an unusual countryside adventure. A picture book for grades K-3. Annotation copied from www.amazon.com. Note: Imagery, metaphors, and similes.
Yolen, Jane. (1996). Encounter. London:Voyager Publishing Company I(3-5) PB1
The story of Christopher Columbus’s meeting of the native Taino Indians in San Salvador is told from the perspective of a young native boy. This young boy has a dream that the visitors will bring danger, but he is ignored by his elders who celebrate Columbus’s coming with celebration.
Note: A wonderful accompaniment to the book, Morning Girl, by Michael Dorris
Ziefert, Harriet. (1986) A New Coat for Anna. New York: Knopf Publishing.
A fresh and moving story of a mother's dedication to acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times. Anna's mother decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor. Lobel's pictures do a tremendous job of evoking the period. Insightful and informative, this may make children consider how precious the ordinary can become in times of turmoil. A picture book for grades K-2. Annotation copied from www. Amazon.com.