D is for Drinking Gourd

Title: D is for Drinking Gourd

Bibliographic information: Sanders, N. (2007). D is for Drinking Gourd. Chelsea, Michigan: Sleeping Bear Press.

Brief annotation: This book uses pieces of African American history for each letter of the alphabet.

Genre: Nonfiction picture book

Grade: 2nd – 4th

Readers who will like this: Readers who are interested in different parts of history will like this book.

Rating – I really enjoyed that this book used the alphabet to history. It covered a very important time in history and gave very good information on that time.

Question: What can you tell me about important times in African American history? How would you describe your culture using the alphabet?


From Seed to Pumpkin

Bibliography Information: Pfeffer, W., & Hale, J. G. (2004). From seed to pumpkin. New York: HarperCollins.

Short annotation: From Seed to Pumpkin is a book that talks about the life cycle of a pumpkin and what pumpkins need to grow.

The Genre: Informational

Grade level: Preschool to First grade

Readers who will like this book: Educators and students that are interested in learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 4; I like the approach that the book took when talking about the life cycle of a pumpkin and the different parts that a plant has. The one thing I didn’t like was that the book jumped around from one topic to another and never really talked about one topic or subject for very long.

Question: What is a life cycle?

Reading strategies connection: For the book From Seed to Pumpkin, a reading strategy that would pair well with this book is picture carousels from Literature-Based Reading Activities by Ruth Yopp and Hallie Yopp (2010). Picture carousels activity involves the teacher posting different images along with ideas, issues, or questions that the teacher wants the student to answer (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010).  These pictures and statements are posted around the room on large pieces of paper (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010). Once the pictures are up, the teacher will group the students and send them to one of the carousels. Then the students are expected to respond to the question, idea, issue or statement posted in the carousel  (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010). By doing this activity it helps the student develop thinking skills, inference making ability, and if used before a reading, this activity has students using their prior knowledge to help them answer the questions  (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010). This activity would be great for the book From Seed to Pumpkin, due to the fact that this book is about the pumpkin life cycle. What makes this a great activity for this book is because the students can see the different stages of the pumpkin life cycle and it makes the students think about what makes each stage of the life cycle different from the other stages.


Fall Mixed Up

Raczka, B. (2011). Fall mixed up. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

The fall season is explored through various silly “mistakes” surrounding its characteristics, Children must attempt to figure out all of the misrepresentations of fall and change them to the truth!

Genre: Concept picturebook

Grade: 1st-4th

Readers who will like this book: Children whose favorite season is fall, children who enjoy silly stories, children who like solving problems.

Response and rating: 5, I think this book provides a great way to engage children in learning about the fall season! In comparing it to other concept books that I have read, I love that it presents an opportunity to actively engage students in the thinking process, rather than simply just presenting the material to them. The illustrations in the book are very whimsical and I love that each illustration spans across a two page spread. Although the book is meant to be silly, I think that the author did a great job of providing textual clues and prompts for students about the corrections to make for his silly mistakes.

Question: Picture a fall day in your head. What are some of the things that you see? What are some things that you think about when you think of the fall season?

Reading Strategy: Book Boxes (Tompkins pgs.12-14)

Creating book boxes with students is a great way to develop and further student comprehension around a content area. This strategy begins with allowing students to decorate some form of box with the book title and any drawings/pictures they choose. Next, students bring in or find objects to place in the book box that relate to the concepts in the story. In this case, students would bring in objects that represent fall to place in their boxes. Ideally, a copy of the book would be placed in the box as well.

This strategy is an appropriate approach for this book because it allows students to express the ideas in the book visually, which can help them further their comprehension of the ideas expressed in the book. It would also be a great part of a themed unit on fall because students could put other fall books, objects, poems, etc. in their box to create an entire collection of material!




If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War

Moore, K., & Matsick, A. (1994). –if you lived at the time of the Civil War. New York: Scholastic Inc..

This book teaches you history as well as letting you know where you would be during the civil war. You will learn about important battles and also if children still had to go to school.

Genre: Concept Book, Picturebook

Grades: 2nd- 6th grade

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students, Other Caretakers

I would give this book a four. Though I wish it had more illustrations, the information relayed in this book is true and very thorough, still staying age appropriate.

What do you know about the Civil War?


Solids, Liquids, Gases

 Title: Solids, Liquids, Gases

Bibliographic Information: Simon, C. (2001). Solids, liquids, gases. Minnesota: Compass Point Books.

Annotation: This book focused on what matter is and how everything in the world is made up of matter. Matter is sorted into three main groups; gas, liquids, and solids. This book goes into great detail about the three different states of matter. How to change matter is discussed and examples of gas, liquids, and solids are given.

Genre: Nonfiction: Science -concept book

Grade level: 2nd– 5th

Readers who will like this book: Readers seeking for more information on matter. Also, readers who enjoy reading about science and different experiments will appreciate this book.

Personal response/rating: I rate this book a 5 because it is clear, descriptive, and very informative. The facts and examples this book provides are very comprehensible.

Question I would ask before the reading: Do you know what matter is? If so, what are the three main groups of matter?

Reading Strategy: Data Charts – This reading strategy will be useful for the students because they will categorize solids, liquids, and gases. Making a data chart of the different states of matter will help give them a visualization of the different states and their characteristics. This strategy is appropriate for the students because it will organize the information of matter in a more simple way.


Polar Bears

Bibliographic Information: Freeman, M.S. Saunders- Smith, G. PH.D. (1999). Polar Bears. Mankato, Minnesota: Pebble Books.

Short Annotation: This book is about polar bears and their lifestyle.

Genre: Nonfiction.

Grade level: Kindergarten and first grade.

Audience: Children would like this book because it talks about polar bears.

Response and Rating: I give this book a rating of seven. I liked how they talked a lot about polar bears and it provides the reader with simple facts about polar bears.

Question: Where do Polar Bears live?

Reading Strategy: Yopp/Yopp Book: Example 3.24: Partner Journal

  • Partner Journals are to help students share their opinions with someone who has read the same book as them. These Partner Journals allow students and other individuals to share what they thought about the book they had read.
  •  This strategy will be beneficial for students because they will be able to share their opinion and learn from other people. They will be able to teach someone about the book they had read. These journals allow students to express their feelings and emotions on how they felt about the book.

The Solar System

Bibliographic Information: Vogt, G. (2003). The solar system. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press.

Brief Annotation: A nonfiction book describing the major bodies in the solar system, accompanied by color images.

Genre: Nonfiction: Science (Astronomy)

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this: Readers who are interested in space; readers who like nonfiction books.

Rating/Response: 3; I enjoy astronomy books, and always have, but I found this one to be mediocre. I have seen much better pictures of space in other books. The text was acceptable, but occasionally seemed a little dry, even for a young reader’s nonfiction book. Finally, the book just made me sad, because at the time it was written, Pluto was still a planet. Thus, the book is now both obsolete and depressing.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: If you were traveling in space, what would you see?