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.

Module 4: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Meyer, Stephenie. Eclipse. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print. ISBN: 9780316160209


"You don't understand. You may be brave enough to live without me, if that's what's best. But I could never be that self-sacrificing. I have to be with you. It's the only way I can live."

In this third installment of the Twilight series, we find ourselves in the middle of a love triangle of sorts. Edward is back and ready to prove his love to Bella, and Bella is ready for him to...except for this tiny problem of a werewolf taking up some of her heart. When the vampires and werewolves have to work together to defeat an evil they do no completely understand, Bella will finally have to immortal life with Edward or a mortal one with Jacob.

Although the first two books created a cult following for Stephenie Meyers, Eclipse is what brought her life-long fans. In this edition, the characters really developed independently and in a unifying way. The author plays down Bella's dependency, and we are able to see a stronger person taking her place. Although set in a realistic setting, everything involving the atmosphere takes on a sinister feel. At times you will wonder, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, but in the end, lines are drawn. The New York Times states, "Meyer's trilogy seethes with the archetypal tumult of star-crossed passions, in which the supernatural element serves as a heady spice." Readers of this series will not be disappointed with Eclipse.

Much of this book is based on folklore of vampires and werewolves. Students will write down some of the myths of vampires and werewolves that they know and that came out of the book, and then research where they came from.

"Eclipse." The New York Times. Amazon. Web. 07 Nov. 2010.

Module 4: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print. ISBN: 9780439023481


" I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment with I will finally have to let go."

Katniss Everdern's life has been about keeping her family safe and fed. But all of the that comes crashing in on her during the District's "reaping". Katniss and fellow District 12 student, Peeta, are chosen to be a part of the "Hunger Games". The Games are the Capital's way of keeping all the Districts in check. Each district is expected to send one girl and one boy to partake in a kill or be killed, winner take all game, which is televised for the entertainment of the rich. As Katniss prepares herself for the games, she realizes that there is more to Peeta than she thought. Will she survive long enough to know the truth about everything?

As you read Hunger Games, you are taken right with Katniss. You are pulled out of her home, into an unfamiliar city, and then into the arena where everything just wants you dead. Suzanne Collins has created a country in the future, where each the "Capital" is dependent on each District for something, but the Districts have no power. Katniss is about as real as a character gets with her raw emotions and passion to protect the ones she loves, whether she knows she loves them or not. Although very realistic in some ways, much of Hunger Games deals with the unbelievable, such as skin tented green, trackerjays, and the ability to rid yourself of every scar you have ever received. A Booklist starred review states, "Populated by three-dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance." This book has a little bit of everything in it, and with pull all readers into its pages.

This book is based on the idea that there has been a major world disaster in which the United States has had to completely change its location and government system. The students will be given a map of the present-day America, then by using information in the book, try to figure out where each district is located. In order to prove their theory, students will need to cite specific quotes from the book.

"Hunger Games." Booklist (2008). Amazon. Web. >http: sr="8-1-spell/qid=1289166204/ref=dp_proddesc_0ie=utf8&n=283155&s=books&qid=1289166204&sr=8-1-spell">.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Module 3: Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Deuker, Carl. Gym Candy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Print. ISBN: 9780618777136

“We both understand that the games that mattered were the games yet to be played – my games.” For as long as Mick can remember, he has been living in his dad’s shadow. That is until he learns the truth about his dad’s pro career, or lack thereof. Now Mick just does not want to make the same mistakes that his dad did. As he starts high school football, he knows he has the skills, quickness, and attitude to be the best, but he thinks he is missing the strength. When hitting the weight room does not lead to the results that he wants, Mick starts trying other avenues to reach his goal…. steroids.

Carl Deuker has written a novel that takes an in depth look at the use of steroids. Gym Candy does not sugar coat the effects that steroids can have on you, but instead puts them right out in the open. Mick seems like such a normal teenage guy. He has a great support system at home (although dad is pushy at times), a best friend who can get him the ball, and a ton of talent for the game of football. The problem comes around when Mick has to be the best no matter the cost. This story can be hard to read at times due to the nature of the subject. Anyone who has seen a friend, family member, or team member go through this will relate to what all the characters are going through. “Deuker skillfully complements a sobering message with plenty of exciting on-field action and locker-room drama, while depicting Mick’s emotional struggles with loneliness and insecurity as sensitively and realistically as his physical ones,” says Booklist. Emotions run high in this sports novel.

Steroid use has been heavily documented in the news and in research. Students could research what steroids are, the effects (both wanted and unwanted), and long term effects. Each student would then be given a personal story found by the teacher discussing how steroids effected this a specific person.

"Gym Candy." Booklist 104.1 (2007). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, 1 Sept. 2007. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.

Module 3: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Dairy Queen: a Novel. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print. ISBN: 9780618683079

“Because as it turns out- and I’m sure this won’t be a revelation to anyone out there with half a brain, even though it was to me- that life isn’t all about football.” D.J Schwenk is just an ordinary teenage girl... if you call working a dairy farm, having a family who really doesn’t “talk” to each other, and playing football ordinary. It all starts off when a family friend, who happens to the football coach for D.J.’[s rival school, asks D.J. to train his star quarterback, Brian Nelson. As they train through the summer, D.J. realizes how much she loves playing football and how much she wants to play for the school. It gets complicated when D.J. starts falling for Brian. Can they find a way to make it work on and off the field?

When a book claims to be a sports book, the reader does not think there will be a complex story line. What Dairy Queen does is take a girl who has to quit basketball because she has to help on her family farm. Add in a cute quarterback who she is training, a desire to play football on her hometown team, a best friend that thought they were dating, and a family feud, and you have the multi-layered story created by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. As confident as D.J. is in her ability to train Brian, you would think that would transfer to the times she needs to talk with her family. D.J. is a girl that anyone can connect with, as well as someone you want to get to know better. While the setting is in Wisconsin, you can see this story happening in any small town. The Booklist review says, “This humorous, romantic romp excels at revealing a situation seldom explored in YA novels, and it will quickly find its place alongside equally well-written stories set in rural areas, such as Weaver's Full Service (2005), Richard Peck's The Teacher's Funeral (2004), and Kimberly Fusco's Tending to Grace (2004).” After readers finish this book, they will be dying to read the next two installments.

Many readers do not understand what working on a dairy farm entails. Students could research the hours, labor, and other responsibilities that come with being the only person working on a small dairy farm. Then I would have them draw up what their typical day during the summer looks like. The students could compare and contrast how different each life is and how they are the same.

"Dairy Queen." Booklist 102.15 (2006). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Inc., 1 Apr. 2006. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.

Module 3: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Carter, Ally. I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You. New York: Hyperion for Children, 2006. Print. ISBN: 9781423100034

“I guess a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear.” This sentence alone describes how so many middle school girls feel. I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I Would Have to Kill You follows Cammie Morgan through the first semester of her sophomore year at Gallagher Academy. Although the nearby town thinks Gallagher Academy is a prep school for rich, dysfunctional girls, it turns out to be spy-in-training school for girls. Both of Cammie’s parents were spies, and Cammie feels that she is just expected to follow in those footsteps. What Cammie does not expect to have open is to fall for a town boy who CANNOT know her secret. With the help of her friends, Bex, Liz, and Macey, Cammie will try and have a “normal” relationship with Josh while having to lie to everyone around her.

In I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I Would Have to Kill You, Ally Carter has created a setting that is very isolated which suits the book. This place is set close enough to a town to be known by them, but far enough to safe guard their secrets. Cammie Morgan seems like such an ordinary girl, but as the book progresses you realize there is much more to her. Although at times Ally Carter seems to be trying too hard to write from a teen’s point of view, she seems to hit her stride by the end of the book. As Cammie and her friends spy on Josh, go through his garbage, and just go through their daily lives, you realize that no matter the setting, teenage girls are all the same. School Library Journal’s review states that, “It will likely attract readers who enjoy lighthearted, frothy tales and squeaky-clean romances.”

Throughout this book are some very interesting inventions. Students could invent a couple of new ones that maybe Cammie would need. They would draw up the invention, describe it’s functions, and then write about how Cammie would use it in the story.

The students could also do a four person “T-Chart” to compare Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macey. They are four very unique characters with many great qualities.

Doyle, Miranda. "I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I Would Have to Kill You." School Library Journal (2006). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Inc., 1 July 2006. Web. 24 Oct. 2010. .

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Module 2: Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer

Bauer, Joan. Rules of the Road. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1998. Print. ISBN: 0-399-23140-4

“I always wondered why I had a father who was an alcoholic.”
“Now I knew.”
“It made me strong.”
“It made me different.”
“It showed me how to say no to the darkness.”

Jenna Boller is just a regular sixteen year old girl…except that she has to take late night calls from her drunk father, and will be driving the president of Gladstone Shoe Stores across the country, and she is trying to help save the company. Boiled down, it is bound to be a very interesting summer . What she does not realize is that she will meet people who will change her life forever and she will come back a different person.

Rules of the Road brings together an elderly president of a shoe company, a retired shoe model with a flair for fashion, a top shoe salesman, and a sixteen year old girl just trying to make it through the summer. By creating such a diverse group of characters, Joan Bauer has set her readers up for many laughs and many of life's hard lessons. The reader will be able to connect with many of the situations that Jenna has to deal with; whether it the alcoholic father or Jenna not knowing exactly who she is. School Library Journal’s review said, “The author creates some fabulous and sometimes flamboyant characters, witty dialogue, and memorable scenes, thus making readers really care about the intricacies of matching shoes to people and finding the right focus for Jenna as she strives to meet tall goals. Bauer's best yet.” By creating a setting that involves a road trip, Joan Bauer has subtly symbolized the journey that Jenna must make to become who she was meant to become. Although there are many bumps along the way, as well as some great companionship, Jenna decides that the hardest journey is the one you must take by yourself. "Now I see that it isn't the problems along the way that make us or break us. It's how we learn to stand and face them that makes the difference."

While a student is reading this, they could have a map of the United States out, and trace the journey that Jenna makes before she gets to Dallas. In each city or stop, have the student write on a post-it what happened there. By doing this, you have created a visual story map. You could also have them write a theme for each city so that they can understand the lessons that she learned.

Codell, Cindy D. "Rules of the Road." School Library Journal (1998). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, 1998. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

Module 2: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Zarr, Sara. Sweethearts: a Novel. New York: Little, Brown and, 2008. Print. ISBN: 0-316-01455-7

Growing up, Jennifer Harris had it very tough. She was an outcast from a young age, with no friends and little support at home. Then she met Cameron Quick. An outcast himself, Cameron and Jennifer became best friends. Jennifer knew that Cameron’s home life was scary, but she also knew that he would also be there for her...until he wasn’t. Disappearing from her life altogether, Jennifer had to put the pieces of her life back together. Now known as Jenna, Cameron has reentered her life eight years after he left it. Jenna, not an outcast anymore, starts have feelings that she has not experienced in years. Jenna says, “I think about how there are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark. I am talking about the ones who, for whatever reason, are as much a part of you as your own soul.”

As readers take in Sweethearts, each of them will see a part of themselves in Jenna and Cameron. All of us, at one point and time or another, has felt like the outcast. That is the part of our hearts that goes out to Jennifer and Cameron, and then to “Jenna” as she tries to not let "Jennifer" take back over her life. By being set in Utah and Cameron and Jenna NOT being Mormon, there was already a layer of being an outcast just through the setting. When Cameron comes back, the first thing that comes to mind is that a romance is going to start between the two, but that is not what is important in this story...even if the title is Sweethearts. As the book goes on, you realize that forgiveness is much more important, as well as being true to yourself. “Through Jenna’s matter-of-fact first-person narrative, she conveys great delicacy of feeling and shades of meaning, and the realistic, moving ending will inspire excellent discussion,” is what Booklist starred review had to say. “The main characters, and their unique bond, are well drawn and believable. Jenna struggles to see the child she was more clearly, to find a way to integrate her past into her present and to work toward self-acceptance. Despite its title, Sweethearts is not saccharine; it is substantial,” School Library Journal agreed. All in all, Sweethearts is the perfect read for students who are trying to find themselves.

This book would be perfect to use in library book club. Girls struggle with accepting themselves will find a refreshing look on things though Sweethearts. Discussions about self-image, bullying, home life, and friendship could be talked about for many sessions.

Krippner, Leah. "Sweethearts." School Library Journal (2008). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, 2008. Web. 25 Sept. 2010.

"Sweethearts." Booklist 104.9 (2008). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, 2008. Web. 25 Sept. 2010.

Module 2: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Rennison, Louise. Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000. Print. ISBN: 0-06-028871-X

Georgia Nicolson is just a normal teenager growing up in England. Her thoughts consist of boys, school, boys, friendship, snogging, and snogging boys. Her parents are not ready for her to grown up, but Georgia is trying to get there as fast as she can. All she wants is Robbie (a.k.a Sex God) to snog her, her cat, Angus, to stop trying to kill the poodle next door, and her parents to act normal. As she frustratingly states, “I am fourteen years old, Uncle Eddie! I am bursting with womanhood, I wear a bra. OK, it’s a bit on the loose side and does ride up round my neck if I run for the bus... but the womanly potential is there, you bald coot!” Written as a year-long journal of her life, Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging shows the readers how hard it is to be a teenager these days.

As the reader moves through a year in Georgia’s life, your heart goes out to this young girl just trying to grown up. Although sometimes confusing with the British language, Louise Rennison made sure that all readers would understand the jargon by putting a glossary, with witty definitions, in the back. Throughout the book are well-written secondary characters that add depth to the story. From her crazy cat Angus to her best friend Jaz, Georgia’s life is never dull. By having the book set in England, readers get a chance to observe a teenager growing up in a different part of the world. Although the problems in this book seem trivial to adults, Georgia is in the midst of growing up, and that in itself is not trivial. In a Booklist starred review, it stated “This "fabbity, fab, fab" novel will leave readers cheering, "Long live the teen!" and anxiously awaiting the promised sequel.” This Michael L. Printz award winner is bound to be a hit with teenage girls desperately trying to grow up.

This book contains a glossary with explanation for some of the terms that Georgia uses. Using this as an example, students could write their own glossary focused on what they say and what it means. They could add to it all year, then compare what they were saying back then to what they are saying now.

"Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging." Booklist 96.21 (2000). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Inc., 2000. Web. 25 Sept. 2010. .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Module 1: The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Johnson, Angela. The First Part Last. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2003. Print.

“And this is how I turned sixteen…”
Bobby's life has just been turned upside-down with one phrase by his girlfriend..."I am pregnant.". At sixteen, he will become a dad and he will have to do everything on his own. Hanging out with friends, going wherever he wants, and even school are made so much harder when he takes Feather home from the hospital.

Written in alternating chapters of “Now” and “Then”, The First Part Last takes us through teenage pregnancy from the father's point of view. Written by Angela Johnson, this Michael L. Printz award winner takes us through a boy having to become a man overnight. What is most beautifully captured is the love that Bobby shows for Feather. From day one, he is willing to do anything for her, and that sacrifice jumps off the page at the reader. School Library Journal says, “Scenes in which Bobby expresses his love for his daughter are breathtaking.” This book will touch the heart of readers.

With this book being so short, it would be a great read aloud. Then split the students up. One side will get the mother perspective and the other side will get father’s perspective. The debate will be who has it harder, the mother or the father. I think by doing this with the support of The First Part Last, the students will be able to see what a complex situation teen pregnancy is.

(Book cover was found at

Doyle, Miranda. "The First Part Last." School Library Journal (2003). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Inc., 2003. Web. 12 Sept. 2010. .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Module 1: Copper Sun By: Sharon Draper

Draper, Sharon M. Copper Sun. New York: Atheneum for Young Readers, 2006. Print. ISBN: 0-689-821821-6

“Find strength from within.” This is what Amari must chant within herself as her life becomes a nightmare. It is 1738. Amari is a young girl from a remote village in Africa. When a group of men with “skin the color of goat’s milk” enter the village, they are welcomed with open arms. However, these men have come for one thing…the strongest of the tribe and to kill the rest. As Amari is led to the coast, she is beaten, branded, and her pride is gone. Forced to board a slave ship headed for America, the horrors she encounters are burned into her soul forever. Once in America, she is sold to a plantation owner in the Carolinas where she thinks that she will be safer until she finds out she was bought as a present for the owner’s son. Here she meets Polly, a white indentured servant, who finds herself in as much danger as Amari. As a friendship blossoms between them, they find themselves on the run, trying to get something they will die for… freedom.

Copper Sun takes the reader from an African village to a slave ship to America and finally to freedom. Sharon Draper has taken an incomprehensible time in American history, and created a story where students actually feel like they are Amari. The reader can feel every touch, emotion, and heartache that Amari goes through. By trading point of view between Amari and Polly, the reader gets a feel for how it was to be an indentured servant with conflicting feelings about slavery and to be an actual slave. Sharon Draper starts the book of with an author’s note that states, “I am the granddaughter of a slave.” From that moment on, the reader is hooked. A 2006 starred review from Booklist states that, “Draper builds the explosive tension to the last chapter, and the sheer power of the story, balanced between the overwhelmingly brutal facts of slavery and Amari's ferocious survivor's spirit, will leave readers breathless, even as they consider the story's larger questions about the infinite costs of slavery and how to reconcile history.” Through vivid scenes and gritty language, Copper Sun is surely a book that no reader will ever forget.

In a School Library Journal review, it says “As readers embrace Amari and Polly, they will better understand the impact of human exploitation and suffering throughout history. In addition, they will gain a deeper knowledge of slavery, indentured servitude, and 18th-century sanctuaries for runaway slaves.” With this much knowledge found in one place, students could read this as a part of their 8th grade history curriculum. Much of the information found in this book could be used to compare knowledge the students already have. Great discussions could also come out of this book. Classroom debates about right and wrong, and forgiveness would help students fully grasp the literature.

(Book cover was found on

"Copper Sun." Booklist 102.11 (2006). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, Inc., 2006. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. .

Larson, Gerry. "Copper Sun." School Library Journal (2006). Title Wave. Folett Library Resources, Jan. 2006. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. .

Module 1: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows: the Story of Two Dogs and a Boy. New York: Delacorte, 1961. Print. ISBN: 0-385-32330-1

“I suppose there’s a time in practically every young boy’s life when he’s affected by that wonderful disease of puppy love.” And puppy love is what Billy has. Where the Red Fern Grows is about a young boy who is determined to get a pair of hunting hounds. After many road blocks, Billy finally earns enough money to get his hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. The boy and his dogs are inseparable while they are chasing “coons”. From getting caught in a blizzard to catching a mountain lion, Bill and his dogs are up for any adventure This is truly a story about a boy and man’s best friend... or friends in this case.

Wilson Rawls has taken what could have been a copy of “Old Yeller”, and created a classic tale that people will always remember. Each chapter takes Billy and his hounds on a new adventure, and Rawls wrote this novel in such a way the reader is walking right along through the Ozarks with the trio. Anyone who reads this book will experience every joy and every heartbreak right along with Billy. School Library Journal states, “An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget." A Stafford Middle School student said, "This book had half the class crying...I do not just mean the girls." Any book that can have students feeling the heartbreak with the character is a must-have in every curriculum.

One of the strongest parts of this book is characters. Students could group together and each get a character to analyze. They would look at the different methods of characterization, focusing on Speech, What Others Say, and Action. At the end of the book, students could discuss the them of the book. The students could also compare a relationship they have to the relationship between Billy and his dogs.

(Book cover found at

"Where the Red Fern Grows." School Library Journal. Amazon. Web. 07 Sept. 2010. .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thing #23- Final Thoughts

Here are my final thoughts on this program:

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I discovered that I do not know as much as I think I do about the technoology tools out there. And the ones that I am using today, might be old news tomorrow.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
It has affected my outlook on lifelong learning goals by showing me that there is much more out there than just the programs that I know. It taught me to go and look for more tools to add to my tool belt, which I have learned has infinate space.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
What surprised me is how much I can take away for my life away from school. I have already started putting things in place for the school year, and things to use at home.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I love the concept, and I think you guys need to advertise it more. Maybe send an email out to the library coordinators, if you do not already do that.

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
It will open your eyes to tools you did not know were there.

Thing #22- Ning

The Ning that I joined belongs to my district at I took a few mintues to get a aquainted with the actual sight. I find it very similar to a wiki or a blog. What I do like about Ning that is different from the wiki or blog is that there is a discussion feature that is similar to Instant Messaging each other, but instead with a big group.

Another group that I joined is Sarah Dessen's I love her books and I enjoyed getting to see it. (I also enjoying putting my name in for some free books!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thing #21- Vodcast

Photostory is something that I have used before and enjoy using. My students created booktrailers for a book report. During all of this, I had to create a book trailer for one of my master's classes. I have posted the one I did and student example.

Thing #20- Videos

On, I found this great video about the future of libraries:

From, I found a video with an intro into U.S. History:

Teachers can only create so much, and so many of our students are visual learners. By using Youtube and Teachertube, you can grab many resources without having to create!

Okay, here is a little treat...this video always makes me smile!

Thing #19- Web 2.0 Awards List

So many tools, so little time!! One thing that made me proud was the fact that I have used at least a few of these sites...GO ME!!!

So after scrolling through them for awhile, I decide to use one that is part personal and part library. I signed into (This site is blocked by my district, but I plan on talking with them about that.)

This site is used in order to create a family tree. I did the basic sign-up, which is free, but you can do more in depth ones, but you have to pay for those. Essentially, this site is for families to put together family trees. You can invited people to work together on it. My mom has been working on one for awhile but I have yet to seen one put down on paper so I sent her this site.

For using this in the library, I see creating some for books with many characters. I could also use it when students are researching their own family trees.

This tool is very easy to use and I think the students would have fun using well as teachers.

Thing #18- Online Productivity Tools

The tool that I am going to focus on is Google Docs. This is a program that I started playing with at the end of this school year. I used most of the different applications; Document, Presentation, Spreadsheet, and the Form. I have found all of them useful, especially the Form application.

I am going into a unique situation. I am going to be the librarian at the school that I have taught at for 2 years. There are many pros and cons to this, and there are expectations that are there from the old librarian. In order to better understand what each person needs, I have created a Form on Google Docs to survey the teachers and their needs.

There is one pro that outweighs all of the others....COLLABORATION! You and a group of people can work on a test...and you do not have to send it back and forth through email, saving it under all of these different names every time.

The one con that I have found is that the documents do not always work well when you are trying to change things at the same time. The idea is that you should be able to change things and the other person see it, but I have noticed that there are many kinks in this.

Overall, Google Docs is something that I plan on using A LOT of in the months to come!

Thing #17- Rollyo

This is SO SIMPLE! I would not believe how easy it was to create a group of websites to search for something. I actually created two different search areas, one for fun, Celebrity News, and one for the library, Reviews. If you look to the left, you will see the search bar that is powered by Rollyo.

I really think this is going to be beneficial for students. They can search the web, but only using the sites that you want them too. What a great idea!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thing #16- Wikis

Talk about a key word on the Web 2.0. I have made so many wikis in the past 9 months it is crazy. I will say at first they scared me to death. I understood blogs and what they represent, but the wiki sites seemed confusing to me.

I will say that not all wiki sites are created the same and each are unique in the resource they offer. Below I have two of the sites that I have used and the pros and cons behind each: Pros: Free with no advertising if used for educational purposes, a discussion feature that can be used to make sure that people are collaborating. Cons: No spell check and has issues with formatting at times. Pro: Free with no advertising, spell check and formatting relatively easy. Con: No discussion, side bars can be tricky to format.

Overall, my experience with wikis has been a positive one and I look forward to more projects in the future!

Thing #15- Library 2.0

While completing my master's this term came up often. Questions like: How are you you going to adapt to the new ideas?; What are you going to do to make sure you are still needed?; and What training are you doing for technology?

In my opinion, the printed word will be around forever, just not in the same way. Just like going from scrolls to paper, we are know going to go from paper to e-readers. Just because we are going to do this does not mean that we, as librarians, are going to become obsolete. But we have to make sure we change with the times.

Technology is apart of the Library 2.0 but it is not the only part. We need make sure we are there to support Web 2.0 and all of its facets, but we also need to teach the patrons how to explore the tools.

I had a professor in my undergrad work say that we all needed to be like a willow tree and bend and sway with the changes. I believe that is what a Library 2.0 is a place that bends and sways with the times.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thing #14- Technorati

Having entered the blogging world just about a year ago, I had never heard of Technorati. After playing with it for a little while, I can see where it can be useful. If you have a really great website you want to get out there then you can register it with them. I also liked that they had a lists of the most popular tags out there.

One thing that I did not like is that you have to register your blog for it to come up, but at the same time that will keep a lot of the nonessential blogs off of the site.

I love reading reviews of books, so I typed in Young "Adult Literature Reviews" and was able to find a lot of cool sites for reviews. This is a site I will use and commend to people who enjoy following blogs!

Thing #13- Tagging and Discovering Delicious

During one of my master's classes, I actually had to get a Delicious account and practice bookmarking and tagging. After the class I really didn't mess with it too much until talking with the librarian I am replacing and realizing that I could do a lot more with it then let it sit there. This summer I have added so many different sites that I am going to have to start tagging more thoughtfully. Between following technology blogs, cool Web 2.0 tools, authors, and other librarians, my list is growing very long.

In using this with research, I can see teachers find some awesome websites and bookmarking them and then allowing students to use the book marks. I did a book trailer assignment last year and I had typed all of these links to a sheet of paper. Giving the students my blog address and then having them use the sites on there is much more time efficient.

I am also going to use it to give teachers great sites about books, instructional methods, and technology tools.

Look to the left! I was able to put my bookmarks on my blog.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thing #12- Commenting

I will be honest...I have never been a big commentor. That is not to say I do not have opinions about what is being said, but more that I just rant at the screen instead of type. ;-)

Why I was reading the ideas about blogs and commenting, two things really stuck out to me:
1. It has to be a meaningful comment. Commenting just to comment is more destructive than anything else. It is like blogging with nothing to say.
2. Students do not know how to comment. This needs to be fixed. With Web 2.0 breaking down our doors, we need to teach students how to survive using the tools and quit fighting the tide!!

The five blogs that I looked at are:

The blogs that I found are:
What really grabbed me about this blog is is the logo that was at the top of the page. Talk about great marketing. What kept me there was the thoughts posted about library budgets.
This summer I am taking "The Art of Storytelling" for my Masters. The latest blog on here is
"Readers of the Caribbean" Literacy Workshop- How Children Learn Cultural Stereotypes of the Caribbean Through Literature . This is what we have been focusing on in class is the cultural stereotypes and the different stories that are out there that do it. I cannot wait to show it to my professor!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thing #11- Library Thing

Using Library Thing is fairly simple. One of the things I like most is the fact that you can add to your collection and the students can see it. I embedded the widgit into the blog and it was so easy. Now it will just take me awhile to add in all the books I have read.

I think that this could be used in the classroom by teachers to share what they are reading. Making a connection like that to our students and showing them that reading is important could impact the students.

I did go and look at one of the groups and that was the "Banned Books of 2010". Some of them were old books some of them new books. It was interesting to see the passion that people take in their literature and how many people follow that group.

Thing #10- Online Image Generator

I had to do a Wordle just because... I LOVE WORDLE!!! I have used it on so many wikis and I very much enjoy using it. I can see using it to introduce vocabulary or a new unit. It is also great for students to use if the are describing a character. The only downfall is that you have to Print Screen and paste into Paint in order to save. (

The other one I played with is Trading Card Maker. When my students read Rikki-tikki-tavi, the struggle to visualize what a mongoose was. A trading card like this with information about the animal is a great way to give them information. You could also use this to make posters about historical figures, time periods, math equations, characters from a book, and science terms. (
I really enjoyed playing with both of these programs. More tools to my already large toolbelt!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thing #9

For me the Google Blog Search was both the most confusing and the easiest to use. When I first started playing around on it, I was very broad on my search topics. After playing with it for a little bit, I realized how specific I needed to be. I was then able to manipulate it to bring up more of what I was looking for and not just fluff.

One of the best tools I found when I was looking at blogs came from I love and so when I found I fell in love. It is basically Wordle but it puts the word in to a picture for you, such as an apple, heart, etc. You can even upload the picture you want the words in the form of. I cannot wait to share this with my students and staff!!!

Thing #8

RSS feeds are something I have just started used at home. With Internet Explorer there is that lovely orange button that you can push on webpages to subscribe to different sites. Talk about love at first sight! The downfall is that I could not take that to every computer with me. With Google Reader, it is right there and I take it to every computer. Now if it would just upload my Delicious account. :)

Now applying this technology in the school would be great when all teachers need to follow a blog. And with so many useful blogs, it is a great tool to keep up with them. Another thing is once you find something of interest, you can share it with your fellow staff members!

As a librarian, I am loving the Google Reader because it is helping me keep up with all of the authors that I like to read!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thing #7- Cool Google Tools

I knew that Google was doing all kinds of things with new applications. I did not know the extent of them. I set up a Google Alert for Hunger Games, and with it I found this great website complete dedicated to one of my favorite books...just plain awesome!

I also set up a calendar for me and my husband and I tried sharing it with him, but the problem with that is that he does not have a gmail account.

I have also been playing with the different Google Docs applications. I really enjoy using them, but with some of it I need to practice with the tools.

I do know that for the Calendar would work well for scheduling things in the library. I also think that it could be used for when a teacher is working with students on a project. A calendar could be set up and viewed by students with specific notes on what to do and the time line. My students already use Google Docs in English. The teacher can do in and edit their work. I believe it works really well for what they want.

The other interactive tool I have used is Google Maps. When teaching Night, I went on Google Maps to show them the journal he took. Google Maps had it already mapped out with pictures to go with it. It was a great visual to show my student!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thing #6- Mashups

After playing with Flickr for awhile, I chose to use, the Mosaic Maker. My search was New York City Skies. I found some pretty cool pictures.
My thoughts on using this in the library is to create poster to do a booktalk on. Not something that will give away a lot of information, but just a few clues as to what is going to happen.
This site is also something that I would like to use for myself.

Thing #5- Flickr

One thing I love about the library is books like this...the old, beautifully bound copies. My grandmother had a ton of these, and I loved to just look at them. By bringing in pictures of old books, the students can get a taste of the history.

Using Flickr is very easy and straightforward. I had heard about it, but never put it into action. There are some very talented photographers out there. I would never have seen the Creative Commons Site if not directed to it. I am excited to start working with Flickr!

Thing #4

I got all signed up for 23 Things. My principal even said I could count the hours! Some of these things I have used before or at least heard of, but I am enjoying getting a chance to play with them before the school year starts!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thing #3

This blog is something that I started with my Master's and have continued to use in order to keep all the useful things I am doing together. I am pretty familiar with blogs, but with things changing everyday, there is always something new.

I have not had a change to comment on anyone else's blog as of yet, but I look forward to that aspect of this process .

Starting 23 Things- Thing #2

After watching the video for "7 1/2 Habits", a few of the habits hit home. #1- Begin with the end in mind, really hit the nail on the head for me. I very rarely do this and I often become frustrated.

Teaching these habits to the students not only will teach them life long learning now, it will teaching then good "habits" to get into for life!