Monthly Archives: June 2013

Our Gracie Aunt

By Jaqueline Woodson

Illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Published by Jump at the Son, 2002

Johnson and Beebee have been left alone before, but this time it seems like their mother isn’t coming back.  When a social worker brings the children to their Aunt Gracie to stay, they are suspicious of how things are going to go.  They adapt quickly, but still miss their mother.  One day they visit their mother, and they are able to understand that she loves them but cannot take care of them right away.  They are overjoyed to go back to their aunt’s house for the time being, where they have a good life and know they are also loved.

A great book for illustrating what happens to some children in foster care, and the difficulties they face.  This book is complex enough to use with even high schoolers who can address the themes of the book and the subtle emotional turmoil that the kids find themselves in.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012

Chloe sees that there is a new girl in class.  Her name is Maya.  Chloe refuses to play with Maya or show her any kindness, and judge her because she doesn’t wear the nicest clothes.  One day Maya is gone, and when the teacher gives a lesson on the importance of kindness, Chloe is struck by the lost opportunity to show kindness to Maya.

This moving picture book is great for all ages, though probably more appropriate for older elementary kids who can more easily identify with how Maya is treated, and then how Chloe feels when an opportunity is lost.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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My Car

By Byron Barton

Published by Greenwillow Books, 2001

Sam loves his car, and tells all about its features.  He drives his car to work, where he is a bus driver.

Great for young children who love automobiles.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

 

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Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

by Virginia Lee Burton

Published by Houghton Mifflin 1967

Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Mary Anne are very hard workers; however, as the age of steam ended and gasoline and diesel engines were sought after, Mike Mulligan could not find work for Mary Anne.  One day, he reads about a new town hall that is going to be built in Popperville, and he and Mary Anne rush over and offer to dig the cellar for the town hall in only one day.  Dig it, they do, until they realize that they have dug the cellar around them with no way out.  A clever boy posits that they could leave Mary Anne in the cellar and make her into a furnace for the hall, and Mike Mulligan could be the janitor.  Mike and Mary Anne agree to the plan, and Mary Anne is part of the town hall henceforth.

Great books for kids who love machinery.  Good option for discussing conflict as well, both as they attempt to dig and then after when they need to decide what to do once they are stuck inside the cellar.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

By Tomie de Paola

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1973

Tommy has a grandmother and a great-grandmother that he visits each week.  Great-grandmother stays upstairs because she is very old, and Grandmother takes care of her.  Tommy calls them Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, and he loves spending time with them.  When Nana Upstairs dies, Tommy learns about losing someone, and the grief that comes with it.  

This book teaches about death and losing a loved one– great for all ages of student, particularly younger elementary.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

By William Joyce

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012

Morris Lessmore loves books.  One day, his whole world is torn asunder and he wanders.  Soon he discovers the “nest” of flying books, and he stays to take care of them until he becomes old.  All the while, he is writing is own story.  On the day that he leaves, his story is finished, and the book about Morris stays in the library and gains the ability to fly.  Soon, a new proprietor– a little girl– discovers the library and begins the cycle all over again– starting with a book.

This book is rich with symbolism, imagery, foreshadowing, and more.  This is a wonderful book to use with middle and high school students to talk about literary devices in Language Arts and English classes.

Awards: Kirkus Starred Review

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Steam Train, Dream Train

By Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

Published by Chronicle Books, 2013

From the creators of Good Night, Good Night Construction Site comes a charming romp through dreamland in the head of a train-obsessed little boy.  All the animals load the train with goodies, and then go to sleep.  

Great book for the train-obsessed little boy.  No curricular connections.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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