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Annotated Bibliography

Allison M. Irvin
Dr. Cynthia Tyson
EDUTL 5225

1) Aesop. (2015). The tortoise and the hare. New York, NY: NorthSouth Books
Illustrator: Watts, B.
Genre: Folklore Fiction
Age Group: Ages 4-8
Teaching Age Group: 4th-7th grade
Plot Summary: One summer day, the animals decided to go on
a picnic. They began to play games and races and Tortoise dared
Hare that he could beat him in a race. Duck started the race, and
immediately, Hare was in the lead. Hare remained in the lead and
decided to walk leisurely because Tortoise was so far back--even
if he relaxed, he could still win. Hare stopped at a garden and are
carrots, lettuce and cabbage. Tortoise began to catch up. Hare ate
so much at the garden that the began to get sick. He went to the stream to get a drink of water
and ran into his friend Mr. Fox and they began to talk. Tortoise saw the garden but determined,
he kept on racing. Hare stopped under a hedge to rest and took a nap. Hare woke up much later
in the afternoon. Tortoise passed Hare who was asleep. Hare heard the animals cheering for
Tortoise and knew that it was too late. Tortoise won the race, and Hair was the first to say
Notes: This story has its own version in cultures across the world, but in any way that it is told,
it offers a great math lesson for students of all ages. Along with this story, teachers can draw
maps of the path of the race and teach a math lesson about speed. The students could also
compare speed graphs of both the Tortoise and the Hare and look at possible outcomes of the
story had Hare not stopped or Tortoise had been faster. The instructor could also switch out
animals and have different conditions for the students to calculate the speeds of the animals that
race one another.
2) Alemagna, B. (2015). The wonderful fluffy little squishy. Brooklyn, NY: Enchanted
Lion Books.
Illustrator: Alemagna, B.
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
*ALA 2016 Award Winner-Batchelder Award Winner
Age Group: 4-8 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5th grade

Plot Summary: Edith, also known as Eddie is five -and-a-half years old. Eddie says that she
doesnt know how to do anything compared to her mom, dad, and sister begins to get nervous
about finding the perfect gift for her mothers birthday. She thought up the most perfect gift, a
Fluffy, Little, Squishy and decided to go all through town looking for her gift. First, she got a
warm brioche from John the Baker. This wasnt quite what she had in mind, so Eddie went to
visit Wendy the florist who gave her a clover. Still not satisfied, she sent to Mimis shop where
Mimi gave her a mother of pearl button--still not what Eddie had in mind. Emmett the antique
dealer and he have her an old stamp. her last hope was Theo at the butcher shop, who yelled at
her to get out. When she left Theos on the roof of the building was her Fluffy Little Squishy,
which looked like a pink dog. As Eddie used the brioche to lure it off the roof, the Fluffy Little
Squishy fell into the trash and Quentin refused to let Eddie have it back. The stamp fell out of her
pocket, and when Quentin saw it, he agreed to trade the Fluffy Little Squishy for the stamp.
Because it was so dirty, Eddie had to wash it, but she didnt have a quarter to operate the
fountain. Instead, she used the button that was given to her earlier. Eddie gave the gift to her
mother and was very happy because she could finally do something that no one else could do
better--find Fluffy Little Squishies.
Notes: This book is related to thinking through situations and how to problem-solve. Although
there are no mathematics directly involved, throughout the book, Eddie is searching for a
solution to her problem. She evaluates the pros and cons of each item that is given to her by
people in her town and has to evaluate each item as to whether or not it would be a suitable gift
for her mother. Once she finally finds the Fluffy Little Squishy, she has to figure out how she can
use the few items that he has to get it, wash, and finally, give it to her mother. This story
addresses how Eddie solves problems with basic solutions and uses her resources. The
illustrations are absolutely adorable and have to ability to catch the attention of all readers.
3) Belford, B. (2015). Canned and crushed. New York, NY: Sky
Pony Press.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Group: 8-12 years
Teaching Age Group: 5th-7th grade
Plot Summary: Sandro Zapote is 11-years old in the 5th grade.
When he moves to the U.S. from MExico, they stuck him in
kindergarten, so now he is the oldest student in his grade. His dad is
an illegal immigrant in the U.S. and gets paid to pick up animal
carcases. His younger sister Girasol if 5. At the beginning of the
story, Garisol was walking and fell down, and their mom was very
worried--she had a fever.Sandro was helping her hide her turtle Franklin from their parents and
one night when he was in her room, he screamed for their mom. Girasol had a disease where her
blood vessels got swollen and had needed heart surgery but because their parents were illegal
immigrants and did not have steady employment, they did not have the money for the surgery.
Sandro tries to help his dad out before school and collected scrap metal to help gain money for

Garisols surgery in Mexico. Feeling stressed by the many things going on in his life, Sandro
plays a very mean prank on his teacher Miss Hamilton. He also bullies a girl named Abiola. He
gets the genius idea to collect money to help pay for his sisters treatment through can recycling.
What he does not know is that the school was receiving the checks and they they would not
directly go to his sisters case. Instead, he creates a calendar page that is submitted into the
American Heart Association who helps the family financially with Garisols medical bills.
Notes: This book related to math, as Sandro is constantly having to budget and check his
financial sources to see how much money he is raising for his sisters treatment. He is very
creative in trying to both get money for his sisters treatments and for the bicycle that he has his
heart set on. When I love about Sandro is that he is a very average adolescent boy--causing
innocent trouble every once in awhile and just being a kid, trying to help his family as best he
can/ Within this book , conversation about racism, immigration, medical treatment, fair pay, and
unemployment can be found.
4) Bildner, P. (2014). The soccer fence: a story of friendship, hope, and apartheid in South
Africa. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Illustrator: Watson, J. J.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 6-8 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-8th grade
Plot Summary: The opening of this story is a boy named Hector
playing soccer in a field with his sister. The fence by the soccer
field is the separation between the Johannesburg township and
the rest of the world. Twice a month, their mom would would
take them to a different part of Johannesburg and the sister
would play in a garden while Hector dreamed of playing soccer
in the soccer field where the the whites played. On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was
freed from prison and Hector and his family celebrated in a stadium full of people. Even after
Mandela was freed, the white boys would still not let him play. Years later, the white boys
kicked their ball over the fence and the boy bicycle-kicked it back and the boys ignored him and
kept playing. On April 27, 1994 all people in South Africa were granted the right to vote and
Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa. In 1996, South Africa was chosen to host
the African Cup of Nations, Mandela helped rally the country around the Johannesburg team
Bfana Bfana. Their team made it to the finals, and the Hectors father saved enough money to
take the family to the championship The white boy he met playing soccer years ago saw Hector
in the stands and they kindly raised their fists to one another. The Johannesburg team won and
wht white boy and Hector celebrated together. Later, when Hector watches the white boys
playing, the one from the gem introduced himself as Chris and the boys played together.

Notes: This story is based on the experiences that people faced in South Africa in the 1990s.
Nelson Mandela being set free was the beginning of freedom for black South Africans. This
story could be ties to a math lesson in two ways. First, when learning about budgeting a teacher
could read this story and then together as a class, the students would figure out how much money
Hectors father would have to save, based on an average income at that time, and how long he
had to save to get the tickets for the championship game. Another lesson could be on the
differences in income between whites and blacks in South Africa during this time and a
discussion on why it took so long for apartheid to end and the benefits gained when it did end.
5) Einhorn, E. (2014). Fractions ins disguise: a math adventure. Watertown, MA:
Charlesbridge Publishing
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Age Group: 7-10
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5th grade
Plot Summary: George Cornelius Factor (GCF) loved to collect
fractions. When a 5 /9 went up for auction, Dr. Brock, Baron von
Mathematik, and Madame de Gomtrique fought to bid for it.
a million, a million, and of a million dollars. The lights went
out and the baron called foul play and then the 5 /9 was
gone. Dr.

Brock had stolen it, but he was very good at hiding fractions by
multiplying the top and bottom and making them much bigger.
Baron von Mathematik feared that they would never find it, but
George worked all night to create a reducer machine that reduced fractions into their lowest
forms. George tested the macing on his 10
/15 fraction, and it reduced it to . The next day, George
went to Dr. Brocks house and demanded to enter, and Dr. Brock agreed--he did not believe
Georgee could find the fraction in disguise. George was able to reduce some of the fractions,
while others were already in their lowest forms. Then he found a missing 1 /63 and ne of the
fractions became 35
/63 or 5 /9. Dr.
Brock cut the rope of his 100
/100 and it was going to hit George, but

George pointed the Reducer and it became 1. Because Georger saved the fraction, Baron von
Mathematik and Madame de Gomtrique let him have the fraction.
Notes: When students are in the 4th and 5th grade, they are just being introduced to fraction
reduction, and it might be a very difficult task for them to understand. This book not only tells
about fractions and reduces them, but it also provides great visuals for the students to see how a
reduced fraction and a large fraction are the same. For this text, I would blow the text up on the
smartboard for the whole class to read together, and then I would either have manipulatives for
each student to make the fractions, or I would have a sheet of black circles so that the students
could reduce the fractions along with the story. The story line might be a bit corny, but it is quite
funny and ironic--one that I think students in this age group would enjoy and be engaged in.

6) Heiligman, D. (2013). The boy who loved math: The improbable life of Paul Erds. New
York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.
Illustrator: LeUyen, P.
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: 1st-6th grade
Teaching Age Group: 4th-6th grade
Plot Summary: Paul Erds was a mathematician from
Budapest, Hungary. Growing up, Frulein and his mother
took care of him and did everything for him (including
buttering his bread and doing his laundry) until her was in his
twenties. He loved to learn about prime numbers and he
would count all day if he could. As an adult, he would travel
around the world and stay with families who would cook for
him, give him a place to stay, and do his laundry. In return, he would help people with math
problems, and introduce mathematicians all over the world to one another. Together, he and his
math friends invented better spy codes and gave us better computers and search engines. What
money he had, he gave away, and he continued to math until the day he passed away--at a math
Notes: This biography of Paul Erds illustrates the life of a very famous mathematician in a way
that is both warm and playful. The author uses several math symbols within the text to replace
words such as infinity. While talking about concepts that Paul was interested in, such a prime
numbers, there are mini lessons to describe the concepts. The text itself is simple, but the
detailed illustrations deepen the meaning of his life. The best part of this book is that Paul Erds
seems to be a kind person that students can relate to. He dislikes school, does not seem to have a
lot of money, and leads a very simple life. This book is a simple and fun gateway into the
discussion of prime numbers or to help students think about how information and research
travels around the world.
7) Litton, J. (2013). Mesmerizing math. Dorking, Surrey, UK: Templar Publishing.
Illustrator: Flintham, T.
Genre: Fiction (other)
Age Group: 7-10 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-6th grade
Summary: This book combines pop-up illustrations along with
secret flaps to make learning about math an interactive experience.
The first page gives basic definitions of aspects of math including
statistics, geometry. Numbers, measurement, transformations, and
probability. The first topic is number families and includes
triangular numbers, square numbers, and negative numbers. The
illustrations demonstrate very large and very small numbers in real

life scenarios, such as the size of a red blood cell and the width of the galaxy. The next subject is
geometry and includes flaps with riddles regarding shapes. There are tear out sections where the
reader is allowed to cut and glue 3-D shapes. The next topic is probability and includes a board
game flaps that show fraction and decimal probabilities. The next section is shapeshifting and
symmetry, May flaps unfold to show things in the world that are symmetrical, such as butterflies
and the recycle sign. Next, the topic is measurement and the illustrations show the appropriate
tools to measure objects and distances. Then, the book talks about statistics and how students can
use simple graphs to represent data that they collect. Finally, the book ends with sequences and
patterns including Fibonacci numbers.
Notes: The illustrations and pop up parts of this particular book are what a student would be
drawn to. It goes wide rather than deep when talking about the math topics. The thing that makes
this book multicultural is the real life scenarios that the author relates math to.
Most, if not all students have flipped a coin, they have seen most of the pictures that are used in
the book, but adds a twist of math to them. For example, most students probably have seen a
beehive, but this book shows the symmetry of the honeycomb. The thing that many students get
stuck on in math is that it seems separate from the outside world but this book proves just the
8) Pea, M. de la. (2015). Last stop on market street. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Illustrator: Robinson, C.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
*ALA 2016 Award Winner-Newbery Award Winner
Age Range: 3-5 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-9th grade
Summary: As CJ left church, it was raining, and he wondered
to his Nana why they had to wait for the bus in the rain. His
Nana responded the trees need to drink too and then he saw
his friend Colby get into a car, and CJ still asked why they had
to take the bus. The bus finally came to the bis and the driver
did a magic trick--he pulled a coin from behind CJs ear! On
the bus, Nana and CJ met very interesting people--including a
man who tuned a guitar and woman with curlers who had
butterflies in a jar. CJ wondered why him and his Nana had to
go to that place every week after church. Nana told him that
she felt sorry for his friends who did not get to share the same experiences that he did. CJ met a
blind man on the bus and Nana told him that some people see with their ears. Two boys with
music players came on the bus and he said I wish I had one of those and his Nana responded
by telling him to ask the man with the guitar to play a song. The blind man explained how he
could see when music played and CJ closed his eyes and saw images of dogs and sunset colors as
the music played. When they reached the end of MArket Street CJ and Nana got off the bus. He
noticed that the neighborhood was dirty and his Nana said that you can be a better witness for

whats beautiful when things are dirty. The storey ends at the Soup Kitchen where CJ sees a
rainbow. The people from the city bus were people who needed to be served at the Soup Kitchen
and CJ was very glad that he came.
Notes: Socioeconomic status is a very easy way for students of all ages to think about math
quickly. They may not know how to long divide, but they definitely know how many things they
can buy from the candy section of they were given a $5 bill. This story talks about CJ and his
Grandma meeting and talking with and relating to people who werent like them. Although CJ
was really scared at first, throughout the bus ride, he begins to even form friendships and at the
end when he found out that his new friends lived in the dirty part of town, he didnt seem to
care anymore. Especially in inner-city schools, students often ride the bus and share the same
experiences that CJ has. The connections between CJ and the students who read the book are real
and formed in a way that does not seem unnecessary or forced. This could develop into
conversations regarding socioeconomic status--how much money does a student need to ride a
bus, and what separates CJ from the people he fears in the beginning of the story.
9) Rosenthal, A. (2012). Wumbers. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.
Illustrator: Lichtenheld, T.
Genre: Fiction (other)
Age Range: 4-6 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5th grade
Summary: This story does not follow a plot storyline necessarily,
however each page contains a code that has to be deciphered. The
letters within words are replaced by numbers and the reader had to
figure out the word. The story follows many children who converse
with one another about daily life events. Some of the words
included in this story that have to be deciphered are 4ts (forts), 10ts
(tents), sur5 (survive), orn8 (ornate), and d9 (denying).
Notes: Although the storyline is simple this can be a difficult read. Some of the words containing
the numbers are less clear than others, and might cause struggle, even in adult readers. The really
neat thing about this book is that it shows students that math is a part of daily life, and it can also
be a great introduction to coding, and how to code and decipher codes. The other amazing part of
this book is the accuracy of illustrations and how the reader can decipher the more difficult
words based on the illustrations. For example, the word el8ed has to be deciphered, and there is a
picture of a boy with a huge smile, so the reader can figure out that the word is elated.

10) Rylant, C. (2013). The Steadfast Tin Soldier. New York, NY: Abrams Books.
Illustrator: Corace, J.
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Age Range: 4-6 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5th grade
Plot Summary: This story is about a steadfast soldier, who was
desperate to love. Different from his almost identically build
soldier brothers, he only had one leg. In the play room, there
was a dollhouse, but the tin soldier never saw what was inside.
One day, when the little girl was playing, he saw a ballerina
from across the room standing on one leg and they knew that
they were meant to be. A goblin saw what was happening and
became jealous of their happiness, and pushed the tin soldier out the window. Two boys found
him and built him a paper boat and set him sail in a nearby gutter. He floated from the gutter out
to sea and was then swallowed by a big fish. Soon, he found himself on a kitchen counter. The
fish was caught and was being cooked. When a lady was butchering the fish, she pulled the
soldier right out of its stomach. The lady actually lived in the house that he was pushed out of
and he returned to the toy room and his ballerina was waiting. The goblin placed the soldier in a
bucket of coal to feed a fire, and then the soldier was dumped into the furnace. A gust of wind
blew him out of the furnace and because he was so how, they soldier and the ballerina melted
Notes: Because the soldier goes on so many adventures in this book, there a lots of ways that a
teacher could use this text to develop a math lesson creatively. One thing that I loved in middle
school, and I know that middle schoolers love is graphing points on a coordinate plane to make a
picture. After reading this story, the students would be given a sheet of coordinate points that
they must graph and connect to make a picture--they could either choose the soldier or the
ballerina to graph, and then color. A map could be created of all the places that the soldier
travelled to, and the students could either measure distance, or work through story problems that
relate to speed of his travel. Like many of the picture books, I love how sweet the story line is,
and I think reading such books helps keep ine innocence of students at this age.

1) Barr, C. & Williams, S. (2015). The story of life: A first book about evolution. London,
England: Frances Lincoln Childrens Books.
Illustrator: Husband, A.
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: K-4th grade
Teaching Age Group: 4th-8th grade
Plot Summary: This story tells the timeline of evolution from
the first cell all the way through human beings with breaks
in-between to address major environmental events such as the
meteorite that killed the dinosaurs, and multiple ice ages. It
starts with how volcanoes helped form earths crust and moves
to talk about the first cell and how oxygen use created more
types of cells, both plant and animal. Then fish and tiktaalik
developed and the tiktaalik was the first land animal. Frogs and insects then evolved, followed
by an event that killed most of life on earth except lizard-like animals. These animals evolved
into dinosaurs. Crocodiles and sharks filled the seas while mammals evolved on land. Then a
meteorite struck Earth killing the dinosaurs and starting a ice-age. Mammals took over the world
and apes began to evolve into more human-like creatures. The book finishes with modern
humans and how we should continue to take better care of our planet of we want it to last.
Notes: This is a wonderful way to tie evolution into climate change. The evolution of cells into
humans took billions of years, yet in the short time span that humans have been on Earth, we
have destroyed a lot of the environment. The pictures make the events easier to understand for
young readers who have not had exposure to evolution. The photos also include people and
animals from all over the world, which helps make the concept of evolution all-inclusive and
helps all people realize their responsibility for taking care of the planet.
2) Domingo, J. (2015). Pablo & Jane and the hot air contraption. London, UK: Flying Eye
Illustrator: Domingo, J.
Genre: Fantasy-Graphic Novel
Age Group: 5-7 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5h grade
Plot Summary: Pablo and Jane were bored on a Sunday afternoon.
They wanted to go somewhere, but they had mapped out the city and
realized that they had been everywhere in the neighborhood. The only
place they had not explored was a creepy haunted house, so they
decided thats where they would go. In the haunted house they found


a hot air contraption that had the ability to teleport them to another dimension and was built by a
rat. The cat Felinibus sabotaged the machine and threatened Pablo, Jane, and the rat that they
would never get home unless they found all of the missing parts. The machine takes them
through twelve different dimensions where the reader has to find the missing part within the
illustration. Once all the parts we found, the machine could be fixed, and Pablo and Jane made it
home safely. The rat said the first thing they had to do was write up a scientific report, but sadly
Pablo and Jane didnt have time to write a scientific report. Pablo and Jane decided to take the rat
to live with them so they wouldnt have to leave him all alone in the haunted house
Notes: This book is great for many reasons, but first and foremost, it is a fun choice. It tells the
story of Pablo and Jane while simultaneously engaging the reader as the story demands that they
look carefully on each page for the listed missing parts so that they can save Pablo and Jane. It
connects to science on the realm of scientific thinking and teaches the reader how to keep a close
eye, look at the small details, and make careful observations. In a playful way, it can sharpen a
student's observation skills. Keeping the readers ability in mind, this book is also very helpful
due to its reliance on images rather than words. Rather than explaining how students can make
and record observations, this book forces students to learn and use that skill within the story
itself. The illustrations and quality color of the pages would draw in a middle-school student
3) Dembicki, M. (2014). Wild ocean: Sharks, whales, rays, and other endangered sea
creatures. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.
Illustrator: Dembicki, M.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Group: 12 +
Teaching Age Group: 7th-8th grade
Plot Summary: The opening of this graphic novel introduces
Oceans as a vast mystery that humans have an obligation to
protect and the purpose of this story is to show us just why the
Ocean is so important. The first short comic is about Tortuga,
the Island that swims and how the Sea Turtle can serve as a
home for a barnacle, and how they have to work together to
survive shell harvesters and protect the turtles young. The
second story is about the Hammerhead Shark in the Galapagos
Islands--their fins have become highly sought in different parts of the world and are even a
delicacy in China. The third story, the Rime of the Mariner is about the Albatross birds as a
symbol of hope for distressed sailors. The fourth story, the Shape of the Future talks about how
manta rays inspired some of the most modern transportation construction designs. The next
story, Hawaiian Blues, talks about the near extinction of the Blue in the beginning of the 1900s.
The sixth story is about the monk seal and features no words--just the illustrations of a mother
seal looking for a place to give birth to her young seal. In the seventh story, in the Philippines
fisherman falls into the ocean encountering several Whale Shark, also called Butanding. The


Butandings decide if they should save the fisherman because of the destruction that the humans
have done to their habitat, but they finally save him. In the next story called Poseidons Steed,
Poseidon, King of the Seas rode his own kind of seahorse that was depicted in ancient art. As art
throughout history changed, art now depicts these dangerous creatures as the seahorses we know
today. The next story, Raw Power, talks about the population decline of the Bluefish Tuna and
how overharvesting and its use and importance in Sushi manufacturing has dramatically reduced
the population. The next story talks about a Saddle Butterflyfish in the Indian Ocean who
explored the Coral Reef and the food chain. The next to last story, the Lady of the Sea features
manatees and a group of manatees that travels to see the toughest of them all. He had a hook
piercing, and algae mohawk, scars from a boat propeller, and a wail wrapped in a fishing line.
The final installation is a comic about T. Gigas, giant clams and how they are harvested, but
currently, researchers are trying to start hatcheries to save the species.
Notes: Not only to the comics tell a story related to why we should protect the oceans, but they
also include careful descriptions of ocean habitats, such as the anatomy of a turtle, the
reproduction of jellyfish polyps, the anatomy of giant clams, and beautifully illustrates the
habitat of every animal featured. Each of the stories has a different artist but each story shows the
individuality of each sea creatures. No region of the world is exempt from the responsibility of
caring for the ocean, and as each story talks about creatures from all over the world, the
selections depict a whole world responsibility. If I were to have this story in my class, I would
have copies of each of the students to read, rather than the entire book. The book is rather large
and intimidating, but because its a graphic novel, the stories are actually very short reads that I
think are important in order to understand reasoning behind ocean conservation.
4) Graham, I. (2016). You wouldnt want to live without dirt. New York, NY: Franklin
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: 8-12 years
Teaching Age Group: 7th-9th grade
Plot Summary: This story talks about the complex need for soil in
our world, which is something that some people find to be gross.
Rotting organic matter and crushed rock particles formed together
to create the woil that we see on Earth today. There are lots of
different kinds of soil like sandy soil, silt, and clay. The soil that
might be gross provides a home for a lot of creatures like worms
and bugs and prevents flooding. From the clay in woil, people have made pottery for thousands
of years, and the ancient cave drawings were created with soil. It has even been used to make
glass and bricks that we use in construction. Soil preserved things that are buried for thousands
of years. It helps us grow food and provides a source of fossil fuels. Sometimes when soil moves
and erosion happens, disasters happen, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Because of farming,
we are losing a lot of soil. We even use soil in beauty products. Altering farming is one of the
most important ways that we can preserve dirt.


Notes: This book would be a fantastic pairing with a lesson of soil types and importances of soil.
Every reader knows what dirt is, and has likely seen it in their life. Soil is a part of the life of
every person in every country and as long as you eat food, you are the benefactor of soil. The
side illustrations have descriptions that talk about the ideal soil types for various uses and more
detailed processes of how it is created. As I would read this story in smaller parts to the class, I
would have various soil samples at each lab table that the students could see and feel, and stack
to see how water flows through the different soil types. I like this particular series because it
features parts of earth or technology that might seem gross or useless and helps young
readers understand the importance of things that might even se gross in their opinion.
5) Kajikawa, K. (2009). Tsunami!. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Illustrator: Young, E.
Genre: Fiction-Folklore/Legend
Age Group: K-3rd grade
Teaching Age Group: 4th-6th grade
Plot Summary: This story begins with Ojiisan, who lives on
top of a mountain in a village in Japan. At this time, the
villagers are gathering for the annual rice ceremony, but Ojiisan
stays at home because he felt that something wasnt right. He
felt an earthquake and although he had felt many earthquakes
before in his life, this one felt different. He sees the sea
running away from the land and knew that he had to do
something to save the village people. He bang to set his
precious rice fields on fire in order to get the attention of the people at the rice ceremony. The
priest saw the fire and rang a bell and all of the villagers rushed to help put out the fire in the rice
fields. As night fell and the people were gathered at the burning rice fields, they looked out to the
sea to see the Tsunami coming. After the Tsunami, the village was destroyed. All of the houses,
all of the rice, and even the temple were destroyed. Ojiisan lost all of his wealth of rice to save
four-hundred people and a new temple was built in his honor.
Notes: This book includes several Japanese vocabulary words such as taihen da, and KITA. This
connects to the many Tsunamis that have taken place in the PAcific in the last few years, and
would open up a discussion on how the conditions under which Tsunamis form, and their lasting
impact on the environment. The illustrations in this book are a key element in visualizing the
impact of a Tsunami. Climate change is a huge factor to the recent frequency of tsunamis and
this book could lead into a discussion about conservation and how our actions can really destroy
communities of people that we do not think about.


6) Kamkwamba, W. & Mealer, B. (2012). The boy who harnessed the wind. New York, NY:
The Penguin Group
Illustrator: Zunon, E.
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: 6-8 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-9th grade
Plot Summary: William Kamkwamba was a boy in the village
of Malawi where people were very poor. When night fell, he
would dream of building inventions and taking them apart. As he
worked in the corn fields, William would be distracted by
day-dreams of how trucks worked. At this time, there was a
drought in Malawi and the people began to starve. Williams
father declared that their family would only be able to eat one meal per day. Their family also
lost money and William could no longer go to school. He then remembered that Americans had
built a library down the road, so he would go to the library and read books of inventions. He
came across one book in-particular that talked about windmills thich both produced electricity
and pumped water. William went to the junkyard to gather parts to build his own windmill to
help save the village. The other villagers thought he was crazy, but soon, his cousin and friend
came to help him. Together, they all built the giant windmill. As the wind began to blow and the
blades spun, William touched wires from the windmill to a light bulb and it lit up. His windmill
was then replicated to pump water into Malawi and saved the people from starvation.
Notes: The main character of this book was born in 1987, which means that he isnt that much
older than the students who will be reading it. This is particularly relevant to science curriculum
as students will be faced with a challenging problem and have few resources to fix the problem.
It is inspiring that such a young adolescent was able to save his village, which helps this story to
also serve as an empowerment tool for young readers. This story can be connected to a lesson on
alternate sources of power, and students could even build their own versions of windmills like
William did. Because this story takes place in modern times, students can easily see the problems
that cultures across the world face with famine, drought, and hunger.
7) Mattick, L. (2015). Finding Winnie. New York, NY: Little Brown Books for Young
Illustrator: Blackall, S.
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: 4th-6th grade
*ALA 2016 Award Winner-Randolph Caldecott Medal
Teaching Age Group: 4th-6th grade
Plot Summary: A boy named Cole asked his mother to tell him a story
about a bear and this is how it began. Harry Colebourn wa a vet from
Winnipeg and when WWI began, he travelled across the sea to take


care of horses during the war. On the train ride on the way to the war, he found a bear cub with a
trapper. Harry bought the bear from the trapper for twenty dollars. He named the bear Winnipeg
and the bear came on the train. Within a few feet she was very hungry and ate lots of food. While
the men set up camp, Harry trained Winnie like she was in the army and she became one of the
best navigators. Once they reached England, Winnie was the mascot of the Second Canadian
Infantry Brigade. Then the troop got the order to fight, Harry knew he had to protect Winnie, so
he took her to the London Zoo to live for a while while he was fighting in France. This was the
end of the story that Coles mom told him. Then she told him about a boy with a stuffed bear
who had no name. The boy who owned the bear went to the zoo and met a bear named Winnie
and he decided to call his bear Winnie-the Pooh. The bots name was Christopher Robin Milne.
Christophers rather, Alen Alexander Milne wrote books about them. Cole asked about Harry,
and the last sentence said that Coles great-great grandfather was Harry and the story closes with
photos of Harry and Winnie, and the entire family.
Notes: This story is special because it takes something that most people think is imaginary and
finds the base of the story that is real. Sometimes, stories in science have been retold so many
times that the science seems like a myth, much like Winnie-the-Pooh. Many people forget that a
myth-like story has a real basis. This story could be a great conversation about science v. fantasy
and fact v. fiction.
8) Meyer, S. (2015) New shoes. New York, NY: Holiday House Publishers.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 6-9 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-6th grade
Plot Summary: Ella Mae and Charlotte open the story standing by
the window of a shoe display wishing for shoes they knew they
never could afford. Their family always used hand me down shoes
for the new school year, but this year, Charlotte's shoes were too
small for Ella Mae. When Ella Maes mother and Ella Mae arrive at
the shoe store, he clerk helps a blonde-haired girl, even though they
were there first--colored people had to wait. When she goes to try on
shoes, Mr. Johnson tells her mother to draw a picture of her feet because colored people arent
allowed to try on shoes. Ella Mae and Charlotte come up with a plan. They begin to do chores
for a nickel and a pair of outgrown shoes. They gather shows in the barn next to their house and
clean them. They would she shoes out of the barn for ten cents and another pair of used shoes. At
this store, the buyers were able to try on the shoes and pick out ones that fit the best.
Notes: Because this is historical fiction, the readers might have a difficult relating themselves to
Ella Mae and Charlotte, however, this does relate to problem solving that is necessary for
building scientific knowledge. One of the main reasons for learning science is learning to solve
real life problems that we face. Ella Mae and Charlotte faced the problem of expensive
shoes--ones that were uncomfortable and that they could not try on. They formed their solution
and took many steps such as gathering and cleaning the shoes in order to sell the shoes. This


problem doesnt directly tie into science standards, but the skills are ones that are necessary for
students to develop through scientific inquiry. I would use this text at the beginning of the year
as an opener. I would read this book aloud, divide the class into small groups and give them a
problem similar to Ella Mae and Charlottes and ask them to create a solution using the scientific
9) Rivera-Ashford, Roni C. (2015). My Tatas remedies. El Paso, TX: Cinco Punto Press.
Illustrator: Castro, A. L.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 4th-6th grade
*ALA 2016 Award Winner-Belpr Illustrator Honor Book for Illustration
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5th grade
Plot Summary: Aarons Tata, Gus, has been helping feel better for
a very long time. One day, Aaron asked Tata if he could show him
how to make remedies, and Tata was elated. Tata used herbs,
flowers, and leaves to make his remedies and he made them in a
shed in his backyard. Tata gave Aaron a balero game that was from
his Tatas childhood, and while playing it, Aaron hit himself in the
head with the ball. Yaya made him yea with rnica flowers and
said the phrase Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanars
maana, and Aaron felt better. Aarons sister Sarah was stung by a
bee and Tata used mud and corn silk to make her arm feel better.
Then, Aarons brother Justin complained of itchy feet and Tata
boiled Creosote branches to make a rinse that made Justins feet stop itching. Tata the fixed a
diaper rash with Cats Claw pods, a burn with Aloe Vera, itchy eyes with Elderberry Blossoms,
an eye infection with water honey from the Century Plant, and a cold with Mullein flowers. He
fixed a toothache with a whole clove, That night, Sarah woke up with an infection from the bee
sting and Tata used tomatoes and tea to help her feel better. Later, Aaron and Tata are talking
and Tata told Aaron that to be a really good balero player and healer, he would have to practice.
Aaron says he is so lucky to have a grandfather like Tata.
Notes: This book shows both the Spanish and English version of teh story on top of the other so
that the reader can compare the content of the stories and learn another language. Whether its a
Spanish speaking student learning English, of and English speaking student learning Spanish,this
is an easy way to teach vocabulary in another language. Specifically for science, this book
closely ties with chemistry and medical technology. Tata is someone who uses only natural cures
for the sickness he sees and this approach can teach students how to heal ailments they may
have. The illustrator included pictures of every plant that Tata used to heal his friends and
family. With these plants, a teacher could either help the students that could be sued in the
classroom, or the students could do a research project on plants that heal and how medicine has
changed over time and across cultures.


10) Rockliff, M. (2015). Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin solved a mystery that baffled all of
France. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Illustrator: Bruno, I.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 6-9 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-5th grade
Plot Summary: During the Revolutionary War, America needed
Frances help to conquer the British Army, so Ben Franklin was sent
over to impress the King and Queen of France with Science so they
would send troops to America. However, Dr. Mesmer was just as
fascinating as Ben Franklin and could heal any ailment with his wand.
Ben knew that he had to disprove what this man was doing through science--through various
experiments, he showed that a blindfolded woman was healed when he wasnt even in the room,
and felt nothing when he was right next to her--Dr. Mesmer might have been a phony doctor,
however his efforts were not useless, he invented the placebo effect used in many experiments
this day. Ben reported his findings to the King and Queen of France and Dr. Mesmer
disappeared. They sent French troops to America, and soon the war was won.
Notes: This book is quite silly for older students but for ones who are learning the scientific
method, it can be used multiple times a school year and in multiple ways. Within the story, the
author carefully defines terms related to the scientific method such as hypothesis, testing a
hypothesis, supporting a hypothesis, and placebo. Along with this story, the students and teacher
could do a whole class activity where they map out events in the story and explain how they fit
into the various steps of the scientific method. This can also show them how the scientific
method can be applied to life scenarios outside of science experiments that take place within the
classroom. Ben had a problem to solve, made a hypothesis, tested it, and drew conclusions,
things that we already do in our own lives.


Social Studies
1) Appelfeld, A. (2013). Adam & Thomas. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.
Illustrator: Dumas, P.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 4th-6th grade
*ALA 2016 Award Winner-Batchelder Honor Book
Teaching Age Group: 6th-8th grade
Plot Summary: Adam and Thomas are two 9-year-old Jewish boys
who are classmates. At the beginning of the story, Adam, the more
positive one, and his mother are living in the Jewish Ghetto when she
tells him that they have to go to the edge of the woods to live to
escape. She leaves him the the forest, telling him not to be afraid.
While he is in the forest, Adam meets Thomas his classmate and more intellectual one, who was
also left in the forest by his mother. While the war is going on outside of the forest, a girl named
Mina who is another classmate risks her own safety to being Adam and Thomas food as they try
to survive in the wilderness. The shelter that the boys built was very small, almost like a birds
nest and was high up in the trees to protect them from Nazi soldiers looking for fugitives. During
the day, Adam and Thomas look for food and talk about their faith, and nature. Their mothers
never come for them because all of the people in the Ghetto were sent to Poland. Mina, their
other classmate who helps bring them food, meet Adam and Thomas at a cow that they find in
the forest. Moro returns one day with a note from Adams mother that told him to find
Diana--she had to remain with his grandparents and was unable to come to his rescue at the
present time. Later, Mina came to the boys injured--the peasant she was staying with beat her,
and they were all fighting to stay warm and alive. Just after, Adam and Thomas spotted their
mothers coming towards them in the forest. They all took Mina to the Red Army infirmary
where she recovered.
Notes: Rarely in WWII stories do we have the perspective of Jewish people in hiding. Anne
Frank is one of the only stories of hiding Jews that is well known, but this story is both through
the perspective of Jews hiding, and the perspective of children. For a WWII unit, I would assign
various books for groups to read, and each group would compare the views to see how the
experiences of people were similar and different. Even though this book is a chapter book, there
are beautiful illustrations throughout the chapters that both lighten the heaviness of the events of
the story, and provide a visual aid for the reader.


2) Frost, H. (2013). Salt: a story of friendship in a time of war. New York, NY: Farrar
Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Group: 10-14 years
Teaching Age Group: 7th-9th grade
Plot Summary: This novel of poems describes the interaction that
takes place between two twelve year olds--Anikwa and James, a
Native American boy and an American boy who are friends on
opposing sides during the War of 1812. The boys meet when
Anikwa pretends to be a squirrel in a tree. Anikwa takes James
fishing, but Anikwas family preserves part of the fish in salt to last
them through the winter. Isaac told James that there was going to
be a war and that the Indians were going to fight on the British side. Salt is a commodity that the
Indians began to trade for, rather than find themselves. James dad reveals a plan of the
Americans to sell more goods to the Indians than they could afford to get them into debt, so they
have to sell their land to the Americans. James goes out to look for food and follows Anikwas
footprints and finds him and Toontwa as they are together for the day. Isaacs mom comes to
James house to warn his parents to move into the fort for safety from the upcoming war. A
branch falls on Isaac and James and as Anikwa and Kwaahkwa try to help, Isaac threatens them
with a knife, telling James that it it too dangerous to ask the Indians for help. James runs for
help and Anikwa and Kwaahkwa stand afar in case Isaac were to need help. When a bobcat tries
to attack Isaac, Kwaahkwa shoots it, but Isaac claims that he tried to shoot him. There is rumor
that the Americans were going to close the trading post where they have a monopoly on salt, so
the Indians gather as much as they can to trade for the slat in order to preserve their meat for the
winter. James and his family move into the fort for the siege and tired of the bland food, James
decided to sneak out to hunt just before the siege begins. Unaware that James was hunting
Anikwa took the rabbits in the traps innocently, but James catches him and accuses him of
stealing. James and his family wake up to a burnt down house and no source for food, but
Anikwa gives them Venison--which they cannot believe. James family leaves the Indians salt at
the place where Anikwa left the deer meat. The war begins and fire is set to the Indians homes.
The British Army was too far away so the Indians began to retreat. If the Indians abandon their
land however, the American Army will take it. The Americans won the war, but James family
comes back to hell Anikwas family get food and rebuild their home. Akikwa knows that when
more settlers come, conditions will only get worse but until then, he and James play their
whistles together.
Notes: This story relates to middle schoolers in their social lives in a way that many books
cannot. How often in middle school are students forced to pick a side in a conflict when they
have friends on eh opposing team? Like the Americans and Indians, a lot of teh time in
conflicts there are people who want to do the right thing and help their friend, however this
situation becomes increasingly difficult if they want to help an opposing party. It is a story line
that the students can both relate to, and understand in the context of the war of 1812. Rather than


telling the story from the victorious American point of view, we get a viewpoint of compassion
from both the Native Americans and the Americans for one another.This story would also go
very well with an ELA lesson on point of view and poetry.
3) Hinds, K. (2014). Sphinxes and centaurs. New York, NY: Cavendish Square Publishers
Illustrator: Hinds, K.
Genre: Folklore Non-Fiction
Age Group: 9-12 years
Teaching Age Group: 6th-8th grade
Plot Summary: In the ancient world humans were far outnumbered by
animals, and therefore, animals becaume a huge part of society. The
ancient Egyptians were the first to depict their gods as divine hybrids,
followed by India. The Sphynx in Egyptian culture of thought to guard
the land of the dead as it faces the east. Over the years, the desert
winds of sand covered the Sphinx, but one day, in a dream, an Egyptian prince was told to clear
the sand from the Sphynx. In Mesopotamia, the human-headed lions were known as Lamassu.
More than the typical Sphynx, the Lamassu had a bull body, eagle wings, and wore tall
flat-topped crowns. These sculptures were used to ward off evil. As legend has it, in ancient
Mesopotamia, if the demon Lamashtu touches the belly of a pregnant woman seven times, the
baby dies, but the opposing demon Pazuzu could ward off evil spirits. The last category of
creatures is Satyrs and Fauns, which began to appear in early Greek art were said to be goat-like
creatures who lived in the woods and near pastures. Pan, or as the Romans called him Faunus
was in the presence of people who found themselves alone in the woods. The word panic comes
from his name, although most people found him peaceful. The horned Hunters were part of a
legend written by William Shakespeare and were in the Fauns category. According to
Shakespeare, the Herne could make cows give blood instead of milk.
Notes: Mythical creatures may not be a favorite topic by a lot of students, however, as the book
states, they are important to some, otherwise, they would no longer exist. Folktales come from
all cultures, and even cultures that have the same creature have different stories and meanings
associated with the characters like the book talks about I would use this book as a resource to
talk about mythical creatures from different parts of the world. I would like to lead a
conversation around mythical creatures that the students know about in their own cultures, and
have them compare the different stories of the same creature across different cultures. In addition
to comparing stories of the creatures, the students would research cultural practices revolving
around the creature and investigate how that creature might have shaped certain cultural
practices of various groups.


4) Jiang, J. (2013). Red kite, blue kite. New York, NY: Hypersion Books-Disney.
Illustrator: Ruth, G.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 5-8 years
Teaching Age Group: 4th-8th grade
Plot Summary: Tai Shan loves to fly kites from this triangle-shaped
room with Baba. Tai Shan has a red kite and Baba has a blue kite and
Baba always tell stories as they fly kites together. Soon, people came
into the village wearing red armbands. These people closed schools,
searched houses, and sent people to labor camps, including Baba. Tai
Shan lives in the town with Granny Wang, next to the labor camp where Baba was taken. Baba
visited every Sunday and flew kites with Tai Shan and played with his friends. On a visit, Baba
said he could not visit for a while and told Tai Shan they they would both fly their kites at sunset
and sunrise and Baba could see Tai Shans from the camp, and Tai Shan could see Babas from
the town. At the end of Autumn, Baba does not fly his kite. Tai Shan worries, but Granny says to
wait a day. Baba was at Tai Shans side when he awoke the next morning. He gives Tai Shan his
blue kite and then the men with the arm bands take him away. Tai Shan flies the kites together
hoping that Baba is watching. One bright afternoon, Tai Shan is flying the kites and Baba
appears and the whole town flies kites together in the field.
Notes: Between the years of 1966 and 1976, Mao Zedong, the leader of China ordered all people
to eliminate anything that did not meet the revolutionary standard so that the country could
remain Communist. People were labeled as enemies of the country and killed. Millions of people
were killed across the country. This story brings up the controversy of Communism is a
compassionate way that asks the reader to consider the viewpoints of of those affected by
Communism. Often, students are taught the economic side of why Communism is not ideal, but
this side of the story is missing. This story would be a great opening into either a history unit on
Communism or modern Chinese history.
5) Jones, S. & Mauer, M. (2013). The race to incarcerate. New York, NY: The New Press.
Illustrator: Jones, S. & Mauer, M.
Genre: Non-Fiction Graphic Novel
Age Group: 12 +
Teaching Age: 7th-9th grade
Plot Summary: The Unites States has the highest rate of
incarceration in the world. The prison system began with quakers and
other groups in the 1800s as a behavior molding experiment, in
opposition to the corporal and capital punishment that the would had
known. However, the basic concept is caging humans--prisons are all
about confinement and isolation. In 1973, the Race to Incarcerate
began and people began to see prison systems as forms of rehabilitation, A change in behavior


was motivated by early parole. Some reasons for the increased crime rate mentioned are
baby-boomers, heroin, urbanization, cocaine, crack cocaine, and the great migration. The War on
Drugs was driven by politics, rather than seeking help for those affected. Kembra was a woman
who was a first time offender and was said to be in conspiracy with her drug-dealer boyfriend.
When she was pregnant, she was sentenced to 24 years in prison. She gave birth to her son
who was raised by her parents. Seven years into her sentence, President Clinton granted
clemency to 176 people, including Kembra. Racial profiling increases minorities odds of having
criminal records. It can be argued that putting people in prison longer may actually weaken their
ties to legitimate institutions. Because people convicted of a crime in the U.S. cannot vote, and
large amounts of African-Americans are being imprisoned, voting it swayed.Part of the solution
is to stop impoverishing schools to build better prisons.
Notes: This graphic novel is extremely controversial in that to attacks the political beliefs and
values of many Americans, however this alternative viewpoint about the prison system that
cannot be ignored. Especially in inner-city school students are searching for a way out. The
experiences in this novel are no secret to African-American students, especially by the time they
reach middle school, but for those less familiar with the topic, this is a very raw story that leaves
no page unturned. I would use this book as a continuation to the curriculum of Civil Rights.
After the 1960s, people often think that the fight for equal rights and opportunities was finally
over, but this disproves that idea. An activity that could go along with this novel would be a
writing assignment where students talk about injustices that they witness in our society and the
causes that they see to the problems. As a class, following up the writing assignment, we could
brainstorm potential solutions. The students could even participate in a service project where
they either donate books or raise money to buy books for those those who are in prison.
6) Kheiriyeh, R. (2014). Two parrots. New York, NY: NorthSouth Books
Illustrator: Kheiriyeh, R.
Genre: Folklore Fiction
Age Group: 5-8 years
Teaching Age: 4th-6th grade
Plot Summary: In this story, a Persian merchant travels the
world on business. On a visit to India, a friend gifted him with a
parrot. The merchant took the parrot home, but it seemed sad.
The merchant took another trip to India, and his parrot asked
him to tell his other parrot friends hello!. On the last day of
his trip, the merchant visited the parrots and gave them the
message. At that moment, one of the parrots fell off the tree and
died. Once the merchant arrived at home, he told his parrot the
news that his friend died. The merchants parrot also died. However, the parrot was not actually
dead. The parrot flew out the window of the house. The two parrots had a plan to play dead, so
that the merchants parrot could be set free. The merchant was very sorry for keeping the bird
from freedom. A week later, both parrots returned to the merchants house and sometimes, could
spend time in his garden.


Notes: This folktale was inspired by Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet who is one of the most
popular poets in America to date. This is a fairly simple plot, but the ideas of wisdom and
spirituality and especially freedom in this story can inspire and teach readers of all ages. It is a
great way to talk about the things that other cultures value as well as how cultures pass stories
through descendents and how we come to tell the same stories that people told almost 900 years
ago. This could be used as a way for students to share folktales that they have been told through
their relatives and family.
7) Mitchell, M. K. (2012). When Grandmama sings. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
Illustrator: Ransome, J.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: K-4th grade
Teaching Age: 4th-5th grade
Plot Summary: Ivory Belle Coles loved to sing. This story begins in
the fictional town of Pecan Flats, Mississippi where Ivory and her
family live. Ivory couldnt read, but she loved to sing, so after Mr.
Reynolds offered to book her and a band on a singing tour of the
South, her granddaughter accompanies her through Texas, Arkansas,
New Orleans, Atlanta, and Alabama. The first show in Mississippi
only had seventeen viewers. That night, once they stopped at a hotel just for black people, they
saw Ella Fitzgerald. In New Orleans, the club manager refused to pay Ivory and the band
because of their race--she sang anyway. After the show, they went looking for dinner, and an all
white-restaurant refused to feed Ivory, her granddaughter and the band dinner. After the
restaurant closed, the waitress brought them out a few sandwiched. Once they reached Mobile,
Alabama, the police pulled over the cars and searched through all of their belongings without
cause. The final show in Atlanta was segregated--whites on the floor and colored folks in the
balcony, but both parties shouted equally in applause for Ivory. Later, a record company in the
North offered her a deal. Ivory accepted the offer, and promised her granddaughter that one day,
she would have her own song.
Notes: Although this book is marked for K-4th grade, it would be great choice for
middle-schoolers an opener for the conversation about race, and connecting race events from the
past to today. At one point in the story, Grandmama and her band are pulled over in Alabama by
the police for unknown reasons, and the police search through all of their belongings, something
that is not unfamiliar today. The message of hope for those who oppressed reigns strongly
throughout the story, and even though the time period was long ago, I think students could relate
it to oppression they feel based on being a part of a minority group. Students must keep in mind
that this is only a snapshot of one family during this time and should not use this story to paint a
whole picture of what the time period looked like.


8) Robertson, R. (2015). Hiawatha and the peacemaker. New York, NY: Abrams Books for
Young Readers.
Illustrator: Shannon, D.
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: 4-8 years
Teaching Age: 4th-6th grade
Plot Summary: Hiawathas world, wife, and three daughters were
killed by the evil Chief, Tadodaho. Looking for revenge, Hiawatha
began to search for Tadodaho. On his search, he encountered a
Peacemaker who told him the new law: Peace, Power, and
righteousness shall be the new way. The Peacemaker called on
Hiawatha to carry his message across the nations. AS he shared the
message with his people, the Mohawk, the Clan Mothers told him that instead of peace, they
must be prepared to fight Tadodaho. When Hiawatha left to share the message with the Cayuga
people, he saw they too had been attacked by Tadodaho and was filled with rage. The
Peacemaker sat with Hiawatha in a meeting with the Cayuga Council who accepted the message
of peace and agreed to spread it to the Seneca people. The Seneca people heard the message and
joined in with the Peacemaker. The Oneida people captured the entire group, but joined them
after Hiawatha told his story of loss, and Hiawatha began to forgive himself. They all returned to
the Mohawk nation as proof of peace, they still did not accept the message. The Peacemaker
sacrificed himself as an offering or proof that peace exists. They found the Peacemaker alive,
and the Mohawk people joined the others. Rage began to uprise when the people entered the land
of Tadodaho, the the song of the Peacemaker forced the people to lower their weapons. The
Peacemaker asked Hiawatha to make a medicine for Tadodaho because he was a sick man. After
taking the medicine and being touched by the Peacemaker, the snakes and evil left him.
Hiawatha was able to forgive Tadodaho. The five nations finally joined together in peace as
Tadodaho turned into an eagle, perched on a pine tree, and became the peacekeeper and protector
he the people.
Notes: This influential and moving story was written by legendary rock musician Robbie
Robertson from the Group the Band. He was won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and
is inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. David Shannon, the illustrator has won the
caldecott medal for his work, Combined, their fame and efforts will hopefully launch this book
into many classrooms. There are not many Non-Fiction picture books that illustrate events like
these in such a beautiful way. The theme of peace and forgiveness, even when it seems
impossible is a major theme throughout this book. Thinking about how teens think of violence
and revenge, this book is a great way to start a conversation about how we can handle situations
involving bullying, and how being a friend to the bully could potentially rid him or her of hard
things in their life, such as the snakes in Tadodaho. One of the best parts of this book is how the
author and illustrator are honoring to the Native American culture.


9) Snyder, L. (2013). The longest night. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books
Illustrator: Chien, C.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: 4-8 years
Teaching Age Group: 6th -7th grade
Plot Summary: This poem-like story retells the story of the
Exodus experience of the Jewish people during the first Passover
through the eyes of the people rather than Moses and Pharaoh has
history usually talks about. The main character is a Jewish slave
girl who worked daily to build bricks and houses. She wondered
what freedom that the birds have would feel like. Then, the
plagues come. First, the river was turned to blood, while she
gathered clean water from a cistern. Next came the plague of frogs. Next, the slave masters were
attacked with fleas and wolves. Then the livestock became diseased and boils and blisters began
to appear on the Egyptians. The main characters sister began to wail at fire in the sky but was
comforted by her sister. Then came the plague of locusts which promised hunger for the
Egyptians. Aba was calm, and the speaker prayed. Next was the plague of darkness. Finally the
family killed a lamb and Aba marked the post of the door with the lambs blood. The cries of the
people split the dark and the Jewish people gathered in the middle of the town. The people
packed bread quickly and ran to the Promised Land. The Jewish people were set free and ran but
were stopped by the sea. Then the sea split and the people raced through the walls of water. They
reached freedom, wide and free, and the free people rejoiced together.
Notes: Although this may be a book that not all schools would allow due to its religious ties, I
would teach this book in a unit of the five main world religions. This story is a basic tradition
and belief in the Jewish faith, and although it may have religious references that are stronger than
a school might allow, the point of view is much different than the normal point of view that
depicts the experiences of Moses and Pharaoh. The illustrations are also very accurate in both the
form and appearance of the people and the setting. The important thing to consider would be
reading such stories from the other religions that are being taught.
10) Weatherford, C. B. (2015). Voice of freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil
Rights movement. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Illustrator: Holmes, E.
Genre: Non-Fiction
*ALA 2016 Award Winner-Caldecott Honor Book
Age Group: 4th-9th grade
Teaching Age Group: 4th-8th grade
Plot Summary: This is the biography of Fannie Lou Hamer
engrained in a series of poems. She was born in 1917 where a


plantation owner paid her father fifty dollars for producing another field hand. She and her
family were sharecroppers, which in reality wasnt much different than slavery. Because she was
the youngest, she had the attention of her parents who were very loving. Fannie could tell from a
young age that blacks and whites did not have the same opportunities, but her mother always told
her that she wanted her to respect herself as a black woman. She left school in 6th grade to help
in the fields. Her father passed away then she was twenty-two and her siblings moved north, but
Fannie stayed to care for her sick mother. She marries Perry Hamer who was also a sharecropper,
but nothing really changed. She adopted two girls in 1954. In 1961, a doctor took Fannie into
surgery to remove a tumor and instead gave her a hysterectomy to prevent her from having
children of her own. Fannie became a registered voter but for this, she lost her job and her home
people tried to kill her. Fannie began to sing about the adversity she and her family faced. She
was arrested in 1963. In 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill. She ran for
Congress in Mississippi with threats on her life and on the lives of the children she taught to
vote. She did not make it to Congress, but after travelled to Guinea where she saw blacks
running the government and was upset at the possible family relationships she lost because of
slavery. Because of unequal health care, her daughter passed away in her arms in 1967. She ran
for state again in 1971 and lost, but that year, fifty-five blacks were elected to Mississippi.
Notes: Fannie Lou Hamer was not anyone special by birth, and even though she lost all of her
political elections, the pressure she put on racism forced change to happen. This is a first-person
account for the most part and would serve as an excellent lesson on historical points of view. The
view of Fannies husband, her children, and the white people against she could be observed, and
compared. Depending on the grade level, for the upper levels, it would be interesting to have a
conversation about her reproductive rights. Not only does this book hit on the topic of civil
rights, but it also talks about womens rights and how they are related to the Civil Rights



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