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? 


Tiger Eyes

Title: Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume


Bibliography: Blume, J. (1981). Tiger Eyes. New York, New York: Bradbury.


Annotation: Davey is going through some major changes in her life. Her father was killed in a hold-up and she recently moved to New Mexico with her mother and brother, Jason for a fresh start. Davey meets an older boy, Wolf. He seems to be the only person that gets her. With his help, along with the rest of her loved ones, Davey confronts her father’s death.


Genre: Realistic Fiction


Grade Level: 6-8


Readers who will like this book: Although a frequently banned book, Judy Blume touches on the harsh realities of a young girl’s life in an exceptional way.


Personal Response and rating: 5; as a huge fan of Judy Blume’s other work I was eager to read Tiger Eyes. I was blown away! It was an instant favorite, as I found Davey’s attitude and emotional journey completely relatable.  


Question: What do you do when you have a problem? Who helps you work through any problems you have? 


Johnny Appleseed

Title: Johnny Appleseed


Bibliography: Zorn, J. (1992). Johnny Appleseed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press.


Annotation: John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed, was a kind man that was born near Boston, Massachusetts in 1775. He was a religious man and worked as a missionary. One night, when he was twenty-six years old, an angel came to him and told him to plant apple trees so that the settlers moving west would have something to eat. He lived off of only the land and what he could trade for his apple seeds, often wearing a pot as a hat and tethered clothes. He did his best to keep peace between the Indians and the settlers.


Genre: Historical Fiction


Grade Level: 3-5


Readers who will like this book: This classic American folktale fabulously incorporates history and fiction. The story of Johnny Appleseed appeals to anyone looking for a bit of America history.


Personal Response and rating: 3; although I was always fond of the story of Johnny Appleseed, this version just did not appeal to me. The illustrations and textbook-style denotation made the folktale a less enjoyable read.


Question: Have you ever done a simple act of kindness, you because? Have you ever worked hard to protect something you care about? 



Title: Swimmy by Leo Lionni


Bibliography: Lionni, L. (1985). Swimmy. New York, New York: Random House Publishers.


Annotation: In a school full of fish, somewhere in the ocean there was one fish that stood out. Swimmy was black and all of his brothers and sisters were red, he often felt left out. The school of fish lived in fear of predator fish. One day, Swimmy taught his brothers and sisters to swim together as protection against bigger fish. Swimmy used his differences to help his family; he was the eye of the fish they formed. Together, they scared away any predators.


Genre: Animal Fiction


Grade Level: K-2


Readers who will like this book: Young readers who enjoy stories about people, or animals, working together to accomplish a goal. It is a story of how diversity and teamwork can help you go far!


Personal Response and rating: 5; the story of Swimmy is a wildly inspirational story of how great things can come from diversity. This book promotes equity and would be a fabulous addition to any school or classroom library.


Question: Have you ever working together with friends or classmates to accomplish something? Tell me about it!