The Wanderer

Bibliographic Information: Creech, S. (2000). The Wanderer. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers

Short Annotation: Sophie was given the opportunity to go out to sea with her Uncles and Cousins to go visit Bompie who lived in England. They would be gone for months, but Sophie was really eager. Though it took a while for them to get started going out on sea because they needed to prepare everything, but once they got out there, Sophie was excited and couldn’t wait to get to England. But of course, with every adventure, challenges come along the way.

Genre:  Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Grade level: Third grade.

Audience: Students would enjoy this book.

Personal response and rating: I give this book an eight. I really liked how Sophie wanted to go out on open sea, with her Uncles and Cousins. Going to England on a boat, would be adventurous because you would see things that you couldn’t see every day. Sophie was given an experience of a life time and she enjoyed every minute of it.

Question: Have you ever been on a boat?



Rocco, J. (2011). Blackout. New York, NY: Hyperion Books.

When the power goes out in a family’s city home, they discover the beauty that the “darkness” and quite can bring into their lives. No cellphones, no computers, no T.V.’s; just a family less busy and more willing to spend time with one another.

Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction

Grade level: PreK-3rd

Readers who would like this: Children who enjoy playing board games, children who live in the city, children who enjoy contemporary/realistic stories.

Rating and response:5; This book is lovely and does an extremely wonderful job of lending itself to such a realistic and applicable situation of today’s world. Although it uses very simplistic text, its mix of “black and white” (mainly blue hued) and full color illustration adds depth and meaning to the story. I loved the fact that this text takes on somewhat of a comic book format, with paneling and some use of word bubbles, because it makes the story more accessible to a wider range of reading levels. I also loved that the theme of family was made multidimensional through the incorporation of technology; how it can really affect relationships and how it has such a big emphasis on all aspects of our daily lives. Overall, a great book for a variety of readers.

Question: Has the power ever gone out at your house? What did you do while it was out?

Reading Strategy: Quickwrites (Tompkins)

Quickwrites can be used after reading to ask students what they have learned about a topic, as well as to assess their ability to make connections between the topic and other relevent information. After reading Blackout, I would have students do a quickwrite (maybe a sentence or two because of the targeted age group)  about if there was to be a blackout in the school right at that moment, how would they spend their time? This would encourage students to use their creative thinking skills and to apply some of the information learned in the book. If students were unable to write, they could draw a quick sketch of their ideas.


Mr. Lincoln’s Way

Mr. Lincoln’s Way

Polacco, P. (2001) Mr. Lincoln’s Way. New York, NY: Philomel Books

This book is about the coolest principle ever Mr. Lincoln. He finds out about Eugene, the bully of the school and is trying to find ways to help him not feel the need to act out in school. With this he finds out things about Eugene’s home life and how he was being raised. With finding this out he forms a new way to approach the situation to get him interested in school.

Contemporary Realistic Fiction


Readers who like stories about children in school; Readers who like to read about how to deal with bullies; Readers who want to address racism

Rate:5; This book was great, it hit many good points. Such as how to deal with a bully in school and how to deal with situations where students are raised by racists parents.

Question: If you were a principle how would you deal with a situation with a bully?

Reading Strategy: Story map 3

Teacher would instruct the students to answer the questions on a paper such as what is the setting, characters, problem, event 1, event 2, event 3, and the solution of the story.

The story map helps support understanding of the text. It also addresses problem solution well, along with the events that lead up to the solution.


Diary of A Wimpy Kid

Title: Diary of A Wimpy Kid

Bibliography: Kinney, J. (2007). Diary of A Wimpy Kid. New York: Amulet Books.

Short Annotation: This is a Contemporary Realistic Fiction book about a middle schooler named Greg Heffley. He deals with bullies, kids already going through puberty and other wimps like him. Greg records his days in school in his diary.

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: 4-6

Readers who will like this book: Children who will soon be entering middle school, children who like diary-like style writing

Personal response and rating: I thought this book was a really fast read. I could relate to Greg at almost every point in the book, remembering my middle school experience. I think it would be great to have in the classroom for older grades dealing with physical and social changes. Rating: 4

Question: Does anyone keep a diary? What kind of stuff do you write about in your diary?


My Name is Not Isabella

Bibliographic: Fosberry, J., & Litwin, M. (2010). My name is not Isabella. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Short annotation: This is a story about a girl who changes her name throughout the day to fit what she is doing.

The genre: Picture book, Realistic Fiction

Grade level: Preschool to First grade

Readers who like this book: A few readers that will enjoy reading this book are children and parents wanting to show their children especially girls, that they can be anything they want to be.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 5; I loved the message that this book sends to its readers and I liked that the names that were chosen throughout the book where names of strong women throughout history. I also liked that this book addressed stereotypes that are placed on young girls.

Question: When you grow up what do you want to be and why?



Telgemeier, R. (2010). Smile. New York: Graphix.

A lot happens to Raina at once. She loses her two front teeth, and then there is middle school, dating and her friends. Growing up is hard enough, but putting oral surgery on top of that makes everything a lot harder.

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novel

Grades: 5th-7th

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Students

I would give this book a five. I loved the illustrations and enjoyed the story. The characters make sarcastic quips and the story makes the main character’s life seem real.

Have you ever lost a tooth? What do you do with it? What do you think happens when a grown up loses their teeth?


My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

Title: My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

Bibliographic information: Polacco, P. (1994). My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. New York: Simon and Schuster books for young Children

Brief annotation: This is a story about her relationship with her brother, Rich. They don’t always get along but in the end they realize that they are family and will always love each other.

Genre: Realistic picture book

Grade level: 3rd or 4th grade

Who will like this: Readers who have older sibling will like this book (especially redheaded siblings)

Rating: 4 – I really enjoyed this book because I have an older redheaded brother and it reminded me a lot of our relationship. We don’t always get along but he will always be my older brother and he will  always protect me.

Question: Do you have an older sibling? How do you feel your relationship is with them? Do they ever do anything to make you really mad?