When was the last time you paid attention to the activities in your town? What did you notice? What did you appreciate? Jane Jacobs, an author and an activist, was fascinated by the intricacies of city life. As a child, she wondered how cities sustained daily activity. She had questions about man holes, sewer systems and street design. Jacobs loved her neighborhood, and when city planners threatened to tear down her community to build a highway, she protested. She wrote letters and involved neighbors to challenge the plan. She made a difference. The highway was never built.
Jane Jacob’s story will compel readers to take a new interest in their neighborhoods. What do they appreciate about their town? How can they stay informed about proposals? Prepare learners to get involved by trying the lesson below.
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Include/Share II.C.1 Learners exhibit empathy with and tolerance for diverse ideas by engaging in informed conversation and active debate.
It’s eerie to think that Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson was published two months before the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. The stories are the same; courageous children taking monumental risks to draw attention to atrocities.
This powerful story, illustrated with remarkable images, will inspire readers to make a difference. The Afterword provides ideas to encourage children to volunteer and learn more about important topics.
Illustrator Frank Morrison is extremely talented at illuminating the feelings of each character in the story. We clearly see worry, pain, fear, satisfaction, courage and pride in the facial expressions of the characters.
The back matter includes images of children being arrested and sprayed by a powerful hose.
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Collaborate/Share III.C.2 Learners work productively with others to solve problems by involving diverse perspectives in their own inquiry processes.
March for Our Lives (https://marchforourlives.com/home/)
Straw No More | Molly Steer | TEDxJCUCairns. (https://youtu.be/Rr5Py1r9xjw)
Youth Service America. (https://leadasap.ysa.org/ideas/)
Rodney can’t sit still in class. His curiosity about the natural world draws his focus to the window to see birds, bugs and dogs. The outside world fascinates him. Being in school does not. His classmates laugh at Rodney when he fools around. His teacher can only sigh with resignation. But when Rodney visits a park during a school field trip, he is finally in a classroom that feels right. The realistic illustrations add movement to the story, inviting us to see an intimate side of Rodney with close-up images. Where’s Rodney? is a story we can all connect with because we all know someone who itching to get outside.
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Collaborate/Create III.B.2 Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by establishing connections with other learners to build on their own prior knowledge and create new knowledge.
Traditional schooling was not a good fit for Ansel Adams. His father pulled him out of school and the let the world be his new classroom. He spent most of his time playing the piano and taking pictures of nature.
Pair Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature with Where’s Rodney? Compare and contrast the stories of the two boys.
What does a pick-up game of soccer look like in your neighborhood? Where do the children play? What sounds do you hear? In The Field, by Baptiste Paul, the reader has a front row seat to watch an exciting game that takes place on a Caribbean island. Extraordinary action shots from different vantage points illustrate the story. You’ll watch the game from the top of a hill and behind large tropical leaves. A double page spread brings you close to the action where the players look like they could skid out of the book. Each illustration compels readers to wonder about the setting. Where do the players live? Why are the children playing around farm animals? Why are some houses on stilts? What materials did they use to make the soccer goal? Readers will also ask questions about the Creole words tucked in throughout the story. A guide at the end of the book offers the translations. Children who love sports and free play of any kind will enjoy this book. Curious learners will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about Saint Lucia, the Creole language, and soccer. Enjoy the book trailer.
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Think 1.A.1 Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular
Paul, Baptiste. 2018. The Field. United States: NorthSouth Books Inc.
“The Field” by Baptiste Paul and illustrated by Jackie Alcantara (https://youtu.be/BZsbvWUnM4E)
TMB Panyee FC short film (https://youtu.be/jU4oA3kkAWU)
Do you believe everything you read in newspapers? What if you read a news report about a monster living in the sea? Would you believe the story? In 1937, The Inquirer and Mirror published sea monster sightings in Nantucket. After large webbed footprints appeared in the sand, people were intrigued. Could this monster be real? The surprise ending will leave readers wondering about the validity of news.
Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Engage/Think VI.A.2 Learners follow ethical and legal guidelines for gathering and using information by understanding the ethical use of information, technology, and media.
As the subtitle indicates, the sea monster story was fake news. The people that read the story were fooled.
Ask learners the following questions:
High School Learners
Have you heard about Gabe Fleisher, a remarkable teen journalist? He writes a nonpartisan newsletter that makes government news easier to understand. Wake Up To Politics provides readers with the latest facts five days a week.
News Literacy: Book Talk With Michelle Luhtala and Jacquelyn Whiting (https://youtu.be/5i15lk9uGq4?t=2m22s)
Wake Up to Politics (https://us3.campaign-archive.com/?u=4946817b18454973fb1cd7ecc&id=ea11899aa8)
Watch This Space: Meet Teen Journalist Gabe Fleisher (https://the1a.org/shows/2018-05-03/watch-this-space-meet-teen-journalist-gabe-fleisher)
From the author of the incredible book Ada’s Violin, Susan Hood invites us into the world of female innovators and activists. This book highlights, in poetic verse, the stories of fourteen young women that made a huge difference in the lives of women. Shaking Things Up delivers jumping off points to begin to understand the lives and important work of young innovators. What a great way to introduce students to these innovators and to offer a creative way to share understandings – through poetry!
Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Think: l.A.1. Learners display curiosity and
initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic.
Culminating Activity Idea: Have students add to the existing poem or write another one in response to the shared poem to highlight their new learning. They could illustrate and find an authentic audience to share this work with.
Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World; Susan Hood, illus. by various artists. Harper, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-269945-9
If you are looking for an easy way to get a makerspace up and running, start with this inspirational book. With a few supplies, children can make games, puppets, castles and hideaways. The introduction sets the foundation for building with cardboard. Clear instructions and crisp images prepare readers before they begin constructing. “Difficulty Level” thermometers also help children choose a suitable project. Encouraging notes compel makers to work through problems and try different ideas.
Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Create V.B.1. Learners construct new knowledge by problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.
Caines Arcade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faIFNkdq96U)
Global Cardboard Challenge (https://cardboardchallenge.com/)
Image Citation: Westin, Jemma. “Out of the Box: 25 Cardboard Engineering Projects For Makers.” NetGalley, DK, 15 April 2018, www.netgalley.com/.
How cool would it be to have a farm-to-table experience in your library? All you need are kitchen scraps, a few supplies, the sun and recipes. The projects in Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell are inspiring. Gorgeous photographs and easy-to-implement plans will compel students to grow and cook food. Young chefs can join the fun by following the recipes that complement each project. Resources at the end of the book will support learners who want to garden outside.
Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Think V.A.3. Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by engaging in inquiry-based processes for personal growth.
Check out the fun contest below to challenge learners to make gardens out of milk cartons:
Image Citation: Cornell, Kari. “Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps.” NetGalley, Lerner Publishing Group, 8 April 2018, www.netgalley.com/.
If you want to grab the attention of a child, mention a Harry Potter reference and watch their eyes light up. That’s what author Charlotte Milner does in The Bee Book when she states that a “dumbledore” is a bumblebee. This fun fact presented with infographic flair will compel children to keep reading. Every page delivers interesting facts with engaging illustrations. Teachers will immediately recognize the value of using The Bee Book as a mentor text. Noting Milner’s craft for delivering information will inspire young nonfiction writers. Budding scientists will appreciate learning the significance of bees. Helpful solutions at the end of the book will inspire them to make a difference.
Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Create: I.B.3. Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.
Wondering about the waggle dance? Watch this video by the Smithsonian Channel.
Image Citation: Milner, Charlotte. “The Bee Book.” NetGalley, DK Children, 6 Feb. 2018, www.netgalley.com/.