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Archive for the ‘Unit IV’ Category

Swamp, J. (1995). Giving thanks: A Native American good morning message. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
Swamp bases Giving Thanks on a traditional Iroquois message.  The story gives thanks to the Earth and all living things inhabiting the Earth.

My grade: B+
My grade is mostly due to the fact that I am not sure how entertaining this book would be to children.  The illustrations are beautiful, but the story may not hold the interest of young readers that well.

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McMillan, B. (1998). Salmon summer. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Salmon Summer follows nine-year-old Alex as he spends his summer at an Alaskan fish camp with his family. A section at the end of the book explains Alex’s heritage, native Alaskan, and defines many of the terms found in the book.

My grade: A
This book probably is not for squeamish children because many of the pictures are graphic (birds grabbing fish, cleaning of the fish, etc.).  However, it ties in nicely with today’s trends of understanding the origins of the foods we eat.

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Bruchac, J. (1993). The first strawberries: A Cherokee story. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
This Cherokee myth both explains the origin of strawberries and also serves as a reminder to readers that words spoken in anger can do great harm.

My grade: A
I will admit up front that I am partial to Cherokee tales.  A small part of my heritage is Cherokee.  I think this story is particularly sweet (pun intended) and also teaches a valuable lesson.

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Jonas, A. (1995). Splash. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.
A young girl’s pond is the source of constant activity as animals jump (or fall) in and out of it.  A repeating question asks how many things are in the pond and gives the opportunity for children to count.

My grade: A
I can only imagine how much fun young children would have with this book.  There is also plenty of chance for interaction, if the book is read outloud.  The colorful illustrations are also very appealing.

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Hughes. L. (2006). Poetry for young people: Langston Hughes A. Rampersad & D. Roessel (Eds.). New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
This collection includes 26 of Langston Hughes’ poems.  The collection is illustrated by Benny Andrews.  The shorter length of the poems make them approachable for younger readers.

My grade: A+
Editors Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel have put together a really nice edition of Langston Hughes poetry.  They have also included a thorough introduction, which gives biographical details about Hughes.  The inclusion of footnotes explaining various aspects of each poem are also a great touch.  The illustrations fit well with the poems and are beautifully rendered.

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Flournoy, V. (1985). The patchwork quilt. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
In The Patchwork Quilt, Flournoy treats the reader to a beautiful story with many layers.  Tanya learns how to assemble a quilt from her grandmother and Tanya’s mother realized the importance of the project after originally scoffing at it.

My grade:  A+
It is no wonder this book won the Coretta Scott King Award.  I love the layers – on one hand it is about a young girl connecting with her grandmother, on the other it is about valuing our elders.  I particularly liked this story because my great-grandmother was an avid quilter.  I spent my afternoons after kindergarten with her and played under her huge quilt frame.  This book brought back delightful memories.

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Aardema, V. (1981). Bringing the rain to Kapiti Plain. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Aardema recounts a Kenyan story in this book.  This tale is more an adaptation than a true retelling, though.  Aardema builds on the similarities between the story and an English nursery rhyme, “The House that Jack Built.”  The story explains how Ki-pat shoots the rain from the sky to end a drought.

My grade: B+
My grade is based on the rhythm of the story and how well suited it is to reading aloud.  The style actually reminds me more of “The Woman Who Swallowed a Fly,” but that’s likely due to the fact that I’m not familiar with “The House that Jack Built.”  I have my doubts about the accuracy of both the story and the illustrations; however, without further research, I can’t prove my doubts.

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