Title: Amelia Rules
Bibliographic information: Gownley, J. (2006). Amelia Rules. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Brief annotation: This book is a graphic novel composed of short stories about the adventurees of a young girl and her friends.
Genre: Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction
Grade: 3rd -5th grade
Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy reading comic books will definitely enjoy this book.
Rating: 3 – I really enjoyed this book and I think that this is a great format to have as option for students who may have trouble with all text. I did however feel that there was a lot going on throughout the pages of the story.
Questions: What would you do if you have to move to a completely different town or city?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
D’Souza, N. (n.d.) Windswept. Retrieved from: http://lightupyourbrain.com/stories/audio-story-windswept/
This story is about a beautiful Copperpod tree who is envied by all. When the wind begins to blow, the Copperpod tree demands that it stop blowing its leaves off! It does, but in the end the Copperpod tree realizes he needs the wind after all!
Grade level: PreK-3rd
Readers who would like this: Children who enjoy audiobooks, children who enjoy stories with strong morals, children who enjoy stories with fantastical elements.
Rating and response: 3; I thought this audiobook was good, however the read was a bit boring to me. The storyline was quite simple and I feel like there are better children’s books that depict the selfish-turned-appreciative character. The thing that I did like about the book is that it had a pretty clear-cut moral for young students. Overall, it was a bit lackluster to me.
Question: What is the value of appearance?
Reading Strategy: Picture Carousels
For picture carousels, the teacher selects images that are related to the literature and posts them around the room for students to explore. The students try to figure out a common theme within the pictures. A modification of this activity for older children could be to make inferences about the pictures posted.
This strategy would work well for this book due to the lack of images present with the literature. Placing pictures around the classroom would give students concrete examples of the moral depicted in the story.