Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa

Title: Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa


Bibliography: Pinkney, A. D., & Williams, B. D. (2002). Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa. Audiobooks . Retrieved December 16, 2013, from http://www.audiobooks.com/audiobook/ella-fitzgerald-the-tale-of-a-vocal-virtuosa/137566


Annotation: This wonderful audiobook is the story of Ella Fitzgerald’s life as an amazing musician and vocal artist. She started her career as a singer at the Apollo Theater when she was seventeen years old and had a recording career that lasted almost sixty years. She dabbled in swing, jazz, bebop, traditional pop and vocal jazz music.


Genre: Audiobook, Nonfiction


Grade Level: 2-4


Readers who will like this book: This book will appeal to teachers trying to incorporate history and music into their classroom libraries. 


Personal Response and rating: 5; I absolutely loved this audiobook! I found the content of music to be completely appropriate to be made into an audiobook, it helps readers and listeners grasp Ella Fitzgerald’s amazing talent.


Question: Who can describe some characteristics of jazz music? Has anyone heard of Ella Fitzgerald? 



Title: Rules


Bibliography: Lord, C. (2006). Rules. New York, New York: Scholastic Press.


Annotation: Catherine, a spunky twelve-year-old girl just wants to be normal. She finds herself constantly embarrassed by her brother’s quirky behavior; he has autism and often forgets the rules! Through friendships with her next-door neighbor, Kristi and Jason, a paraplegic, she realizes that ‘normal’ isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be!


Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction Novel


Grade Level: 5-7


Readers who will like this book: Anyone who has ever felt a little different will find Catherine’s story relatable, she finds acceptance in her own way! This is a great story, with a great lesson to be learned by all readers.


Personal Response and rating: 4; the journey of Catherine’s quest to discover what ‘normal’ really is, is extremely relatable. This book is culturally relevant in that is deals with common challenges: acceptance, understanding, friendship, and disabilities.  


Question: Can you think of a time you felt like you didn’t fit in somewhere? What did you do about it? What are some suggestions you might have for someone who feels that way? 


Born in Sin

Title: Born in Sin           


Bibliography: Coleman, E. (2001). Born in Sin. New York, New York: Simon Pulse Publishing.


Annotation: Born in Sin is the dramatic story of Keisha, a strong, young girl growing up in Georgia. Her high school guidance counselor recommends that she be placed into a summer program for at-risk youth, ruining her plans to get into a fast-track pre-med program. This summer becomes a pivotal point in her life; she addresses issues of self-identity, race, class and gender. Ultimately through making her first real friends and discovering her natural abilities in a swimming pool, Keisha discovers who she is.


Genre: Sports Fiction


Grade Level: 5-7


Readers who will like this book: Born in Sin will appeal to readers looking for an underdog or Cinderella story will fall in love with Keisha’s battle to the top!


Personal Response and rating: 4; this story appealed to me specifically as I have a particular love for sports, it really hit home for me as it reminded me of the struggle I went through during my soccer career. Keisha is a strong and believable character, my ability to relate to her made this book an enjoyable read.


Question: Have you ever had to work really hard to accomplish something? What characteristics can someone have to help them accomplish a goal? 


The Curse of the Pharaoh

Title: The Curse of the Pharaoh


Bibliography: Stevenson, S. (2013). The Curse of the Pharaoh. New York, New York: Grosset & Dunlap.


Annotation: What would a young detective be without a trusty sidekick? Agatha Mistery and her cat, Watson set off on an action packed adventure to Egypt because they heard rumors about an unidentified tablet being found in the Valley of the Kings. Will Agatha and Watson unlock the clue to the ancient Pharaoh’s curse?


Genre: Mystery Novel           


Grade Level: 4-6


Readers who will like this book: This book, and series, would be a great addition to any elementary or middle school library. It would appeal most to those intrigued by mystery and other mystery series like Harriet the Spy and Nancy Drew.


Personal Response and rating: 5; I instantly fell in love with Agatha. This is the first in a series, I checked out the second book as soon as I could! In addition to that, I have recommended the series to many families that I nanny for.


Question: What elements must a book have to be classified a mystery? 


An Annoying ABC’s

Title: An Annoying ABC’s


Bibliography: Bottner, B. (2011). An annoying ABC’s. New York, New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers.


Annotation: Adelaide sets off a sequence of bad behavior from the alphabet! Flora is fuming, Kirby is kicking, and Todd is even tumbling! This is an extremely fun alphabet concept book that can help increase vocabulary for young readers!


Genre: Concept Book


Grade Level: K


Readers who will like this book: Young readers, their teachers and their parents will fall in love with this ABC’s concept book. It encompasses a variety of concepts while being an enjoyable read.


Personal Response and rating: 5; this “annoying” ABC’s has made it to the top of my list for concept books for young readers. It’s not only captivating and silly but an effective way to practice onomatopoeias, adjectives and the alphabet.  


Question: Who can tell me what onomatopoeia is? Who can give me an example? 


A Ball for Daisy

Title: A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka


Bibliography: Raschka, C. (2011). A Ball for Daisy. New York, New York: Schwartz & Wade.  


Annotation: Daisy loves her ball. She brings it with her everywhere: on walks, the park, even to bed. One day, while playing with another dog, her ball pops. Daisy is completely devastated when her owner throws away her ball. While Daisy and her owner are on a walk, they run into the same dog that popped her ball. This time, he had a new ball and gave it to Daisy!  


Genre: Realistic Fiction 


Grade Level: K-2


Readers who will like this book: This book would be a great addition to any classroom library. Teachers will love that this book can help students work on comprehension strategies through making inferences based on Daisy’s very animated emotions.


Personal Response and rating: 5; I instantly fell in love with Daisy. Her playful demeanor makes her irresistible. The use of illustrations is near perfect, we can always tell what Daisy is feeling.


Question: Have you ever loved a toy so much that you carried it everywhere you went? 


Classic American Folktales

Title: Classic American Folktales by Steven Zorn


Bibliography: Zorn, S. (1992). Classic American Folktales. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press.


Annotation: This compilation of classic America folktales includes stories from many cultures found within America: the Native American version of Pocahontas, the Wild West’s Pecos Bill, and the Midwest’s Paul Bunyan. Steven Zorn gives a fabulous portrait into America’s history through his versions of the classic folktales.


Genre: Folktales


Grade Level: 3-5


Readers who will like this book: Teachers hoping to promote cultural relevancy into their classrooms will love this book! It highlights many important aspects of America’s history


Personal Response and rating: 4; overall, I enjoyed Steven Zorn’s compilation of classic American folktales with the exception of his retelling of Johnny Appleseed. He does a fabulous job of making American’s history fun for young readers.


Question: What American folktales have you heard of? What’s the difference between a historical folktale and history?