Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Module 6: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

Hale, Shannon, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale. Rapunzel's Revenge. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2008. Print. ISBN:9781599900704

"I'd read about stuff like this, romance and falling in love and such. I'd even imagined it happening to me. But I never guess how it could feel like ... well, I may as well just say it ... like a good kind of magic."

Rapunzel's Revenge is a new take on an old tale. Rapunzel is growing up under her mother's care, Mother Gothel. One day she finds out that she is not the daughter of Mother Gothel, but that she was stolen right after she was born. When she finds this out, Mother Gothel puts her in a tall tree tower where she is required to live for many years. When she is finally able to escape, she meets Jack. They meet many people on their quest to get back to the mines to free Rapunzel's real mom.

Readers who enjoy graphic novels and fairy tales will get a kick out of this fractured fairy tale. Much of the action is captured in each picture and this book will be a big hit with reluctant readers. The art is well done and suits the story. One of the confusing things is the setting. The map of the country the story takes place in is put on a page in the middle of the book. By make this a part of the beginning, readers will be able to follow Rapunzel and Jack. The reviewer at Booklist says that, "Hale’s art matches the story well, yielding expressive characters and lending a wonderful sense of place to the fantasy landscape. Rich with humor and excitement, this is an alternate version of a classic that will become a fast favorite of young readers." Overall, many students will find draw ti this favorite children's stories.

Students will be given a sheet of paper with twelve boxes on it. They are required to take a Aesop's tale and turn it into a graphic tale. This can be done in pairs or individually.

"Rapunzel's Revenge." Booklist 105.1 (2008). Titlewave. Follett Library Resources. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .

Module 6: One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Sones, Sonya. One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2004. Print. ISBN: 9780689858208

"I wished I believed in heaven. Because at least then I'd be able to picture you up there with your halo and your wings, flying around with all the other angels, doing good deeds, maybe even watching over me to make sure my life turns out okay."

Ruby is going through some major life changes, and she is not happy about it. Her mother has just died, and she is being sent off to California to live with her dad. The problem is her dad is none other than Whip Logan, famous movie star and absentee father. As Ruby tries to adapt to life without her best friend and boyfriend in this very confusing place, she starts to wonder....who wants me?

In this part free verse poem, part letters story, Sonya Sones take a girl in her teens and pulls her completely out of her element. Not only does she lose her mom, her best friend, and her boyfriend, but she feels like she is losing herself. Written in first person, the reader gets a taste of the raw teenage emotions that so many young adult readers will be able to connect with. By using the free verse, much of the over done detail is left out and the readers just gets the heart of the story. School Library Journal says, "This is not just another one of those gimmicky novels written in poetry. It's solid and well written, and Sones has a lot to say about the importance of carefully assessing people and situations and about opening the door to one's own happiness. Despite several predictable particulars of plot, Ruby's story is gripping, enjoyable, and memorable."

After showing this book as an example, I would have students experiment with free verse by writing poems based on there life and something that they are going through. Students will need to be well equipped with knowledge of the outline of poetry.

Scheps, Susan. "One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies." School Library Journal (2004). Title Wave. Follett Library Resourse. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .

Module 6: Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes

Grimes, Nikki. Dark Sons. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion for Children, 2005. Print. ISBN: 0786818883

"I scanned the story of Abraham,
and heard a voice
deep inside of me.
Slow doen, it said.
Take a closer look.
And there he was -- Ishmael,
someone a lot like me.
A guy whose father ripped his heart out too.
Me and you, Ishmael,
we're brothers,
two dark sons..."

In Dark Sons, Sam and Ishmael are from two different times, but are having the same problems. Their dads have left them to go have a new family, with a new son. As years pass, each older son must make peace with the father they have grown to not trust, and ask God to help them forgive.

What a beautifully depicted tale of two boys, from two different cultures and two different times, having to deal with a broken family. By taking a story like this and writing it in the form of poetry, the reader gets the raw emotion from each individual. Although at times Ishmael's voice is hard to understand, there is no mistaking the conflict he feels between his love of his baby brother and his hate over losing his place as his father's only son. Sam's voice is easy to recognize the anger that he is trying to deal with. He is trying to be strong for his mom, but inside all he wants to do is curl up and hope it goes away. Many readers will be able to with both points of view. Booklist says, "The simple words eloquently reveal what it's like to miss someone ("I've stopped expecting / his shadow in the hallway / his frame in the doorway"), but even more moving is the struggle to forgive and the affection each boy feels for the baby that displaces him. The elemental connections and the hope ("You made it / in the end / and so will I") will speak to a wide audience. Dark Sons is sure to make an impact with all readers.

For a book report activity, students will write 10 free verse poems, focusing on two different characters of the book. (Example: Harry Potter and Voldermort). Each poem much focus on the same event, just each one is from two different perspectives.

"Dark Sons." Booklist. Amazon. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .

Monday, November 15, 2010

Module 5: Through the Lens By Martin Q. Sandler

Sandler, Martin W. Lincoln through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life. New York: Walker Pub., 2008. Print.

"He was born in a humble log cabin but rose to the highest office in the land. He had almost no formal education but earned a place in history as one of the most eloquent leaders the world has ever known. He held a nation together during its most bitter and tragic conflict but became the last, great casualty of that war."

In Lincoln: Through the Lens, readers will get a rare opportunity to see pictures of Lincoln throughout history. Lincoln was the first president to have his political career captured on film. Each double-page spread focus on a part of Lincoln, as well shows a couple of pictures of Lincoln or of events surrounding him.

Take a book about Abraham Lincoln, subtract the dry information that will make students put it down, and add back in rare pictures taken of an extraordinary leader in history, and you have Lincoln: Through the Lens. Students will get a chance to know more about a president besides the fact that he was president during the Civil War. With each set of pages is a new piece of information about him, written so that it is not only easy to read, but also fascinating. Each story is placed in chronological order, which will make it easy for readers to take in. A starred School Library Journal review says, "The text not only offers a fascinating updated history on the eve of the bicentennial, but also includes many colorful anecdotes and quotes about the mischievous Lincoln boys, Lincoln's beard, and Thanksgiving. This appealing, accessible title will be savored from beginning to end." This book is asset to every library and history classroom.

After sharing this book with a class, assign each student a president from after Lincoln. The students will show the life of that president through pictures and short stories.

Auerbach, Barbara. "Lincoln: Through the Lens." School Library Journal. Amazon. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. .

Module 5: Hitler Youth By Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow. New York: Scholastic Nonfiction, 2005. Print.

"Sixty years have passed since the bloodiest war in history ended. Some people wonder: Could another despot like Hitler rise to power on the shoulders of young people?
Only young people today can answer that question. What are you willing to do to prevent such a shadow from falling over you and others?"

In this haunting tale, Susan Campbell Bartoletti takes us into Germany, 15 years before the United States entered World War II. There we find Germany in ruin over World War I and desperate for a leader to get them out of it. Adolf Hitler was man to do just that. At the top of his agenda was to start "Hitler Youth", and organization dedicated to Adolf Hitler. Within this program, they taught young men and women discipline and adoration of Hitler. By the end of the war, millions were dead and the youth of Germany was just realizing the innocence the had given up for fanatic.

As you read this award winning book, your heart cannot help but go out to the children that were brainwashed. Some of the soldiers that were in WWII were very young when Hitler Youth started in 1926. Not only is this book compelling, but students will be drawn in through the descriptive language. The book was written in chronological order, which makes since for a book about the history of something. One of the confusing parts is they have about ten young adults that they are following and they just interject their stories into the written history. This book might flow more if each chapter focused on one youth's experience. One of the most amazing things about this book were the pictures that showed the different kids of Hitler's Youth. Some were shooting guns, some just in their uniform, and some were doing things that I would never imagine kids that age doing. A starred Booklist review states,"The handsome book design, with black-and-white historical photos on every double-page spread, will draw in readers and help spark deep discussion, which will extend beyond the Holocaust curriculum. The extensive back matter is a part of the gripping narrative." This book is a much addition to all libraries.

This book would make a great e-book that could be the warm-up during a Holocaust unit. This is a part of the rising of Germany that is not talked about as much, and I think that keeping it as a warm-up would be good. You could also have groups each take one of the people focused on during the book, and have them summarize the information about them.

Rochman, Hazel. "Hitler Youth." Booklist (2005). Amazon. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. .

Module 5: Fire from the Rock By: Sharon Draper

Draper, Sharon M. Fire from the Rock. New York, NY: Dutton Children's, 2007. Print. ISBN: 9780525477204


"Let our voices be heard
Let our faces be seen
Let us shine."

Sylvia Patterson has a great life. She has a wonderful family, does well in school, has great friends, and an almost-boyfriend. But as Sylvia gets closer to high school, she must make a HUGE decision. Sylvia lives in Little Rock Arkansas in 1957. She has been chosen as a candidate to go to Central High during the next school year. Integration is happening whether the town of Little Rock wants or not, but can Sylvia overcome her fears of the violence and lack of acceptance she will find at Central High?

Fire from the Rock takes straight into the heart of integration in Little Rock during 1957. Most people did not want it to happen, white or black, but there was no choice. Sharon Draper pushes as right to the heart of the matter when our main character is put on the list of possible students to be the first to integrate Central High. Sylvia is written as a normal African American girl, who gets asked to be a part of making history. Not only will students be able to connect to having to grow up overnight as well as go through the normal pains of being a teenager. There is also a secondary character, Rachel, that is a young, white Jewish girl. Rachel and Sylvia are friends, and through Sylvia's eyes we see how the community also treated the Jews. Then by placing the story in Little Rock, the heart of the integration controversy, readers will have the opportunity to live through a time that is long since passed. By the end of the story, the readers realize sometimes the brave thing to do is to step aside and some times the right decision for one is not the right decision for all.

From the start readers will travel back in time to a period that many of Americans look back on in shame, but as young adult readers, they will have a chance to understand and connect to what happened. School Library Journal states, "The author's ability to explore numerous prejudices subtly without bogging down readers with too much back story is impressive, and she effectively shows the enormity of the decision and the tenor of the times." Students will not only get a history lesson, they will understand a time in which we hope to never see again.


Since this book has so many connections to history, students will have the opportunity to connect primary sources with the text. The student could look at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Time cover, the governor televised speech, as well as pictures from the time.

Monaghan, Kimberly. "Fire from the Rock." School Library Journal (2007). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Oct. 2007. Web. 21 Nov. 2010.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Module 4: Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life as We Knew It. Orlando: Harcourt, 2006. Print. ISBN: 9780152058265

"Sometimes I've thought I'm keeping it for people 200 years from now, so they can see what our lives were like."
"Sometimes I've thought I'm keeping it for that day when people no longer exist but butterflies can read."
"But today, when I am 17 and warm and well fed, I'm keeping this journal for myself so I can always remember life as we knew it, life as we know it, for a time when I am no longer in the sunroom."

A catastrophe has hit the earth...or better yet the moon. An asteroid has hit the moon and knocked it closer to the Earth. When this happens the Earth is changed forever; volcanoes going off every where, floods, and death everywhere you look. Miranda and her family live in a small Pennsylvania town, and they are going to have to learn how to survive as everything collapses around them. We follow Miranda's account of the events through the diary she keeps through it all.

As you start reading Miranda's diary, you know what is coming. What you do not realize how much would be effected if the moon is ever knocked closer to the Earth. Miranda and her family (her mom and two brothers) are just your everyday family. But everyone goes into survival mode once the moon hits. At times, Life as We Knew It is so realistic that it will give you chills. By writing this book in a journal format, Susan Beth Pfeffer is able to create the raw emotions that a catastrophe would create. Each major problem seems to lead to another problem, but some how Miranda and her family make it through. A School Library Journal reviewer stated, "Pfeffer tones down the terror, but otherwise crafts a frighteningly plausible account of the local effects of a near-future worldwide catastrophe. The author provides a glimmer of hope at the end, but readers will still be left stunned and thoughtful." Who would have thought the moon being knocked closer to the world could inspire such a gritty but hopeful tale?

Since the book is told from Miranda's point of view, students will each take a major event in the book and write it from another character's point of view. Students will be expected to write it like a journal entry.

Peters, John. "Life as We Knew It." School Library Joural. Amazon. Web. 7 Nov. 2010.