Sunday, October 18, 2009

News From the Library--October 19, 2009

A Different Point of View

As we celebrated Columbus Day this week, I read Jane Yolen's haunting book Encounter to the fourth graders. As well as being an excellent example of the literary device point of view, it gives students a new perspective on Columbus and what his discoveries meant to the indigenous peoples who lived on the islands he discovered. The book is told from the point of view of a Taino Indian boy who warns his tribe not to welcome Columbus and his men and it concludes with a chilling image of the boy as an old man. David Shannon's remarkable illustrations add greatly to the impact of this rather sad story. An interesting discussion followed in which we came to the conclusion that while we admire Columbus' bravery and persistence, there was a heavy price paid for his discoveries.

Also in the Library this week...

Kindergarten--What happens when a town mouse and a field mouse fall in love with the same pumpkin? The pumpkin becomes enormous! In The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll and Jeni Bassett, two mice both feed and water the same pumpkin each with his own hopes for a prize at the end. In a great example of compromise one wins the prize for the biggest pumpkin as the other agrees to help him move it with the promise of being able to carve it into the biggest jack o' lantern. This is one of our favorite Halloween stories in Kindergarten.

First Grade--I found this charming book several years ago and always save it for the first graders. Even now, upper grade students fondly remember it and ask to see it every year. A Pumpkin Story by Mariko Shinju is the story of a man who builds an entire village out of pumpkins--pumpkin houses, pumpkin furniture, a pumpkin hotel and even a pumpkin swimming pool!

Second Grade--Another of my favorite Halloween books is A Job for Wittilda by Marc and Carolyn Buehner. Poor Wittilda the witch has 47 cats and needs to feed them. She looks for a job and finally lands one as a delivery person for Dingaling Pizza. And in her quest for the job (on her broom, of course) she rescues one more cat bringing her total to 48 pizza loving felines.

Third Grade--There isn't a much more darkly moody story about a witch than Chris VanAllsburg's The Widow's Broom. The illustrations are exquisite and the wonderful twist at the end delights third graders.

Fourth Grade--see opening post

Fifth and Sixth Grade--This week we "dissected" non-fiction books in preparation for making bibliographies. Students used their "scalpels" (pencils) and their "lab sheets" to find the title, author, publisher, publishing city, and copyright date in several books. Next week I will show them how to use one of the online bibliography makers (that I wish had been available when I was in school!).

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