Written In Stone

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I have had this book on my list for a long time. I have read her previous book, A Shepherds Heart, and it was an instant classic to me and one to read to each of my three boys. She is a local Oregon author and has been making waves of literary awareness with beautifully written stories about hope and hardships. My only frustration is that I do not get to share her books enough with students.

I had the perfect opportunity while substitute teaching a fourth grade class to share this book. The class was in the middle of writing paragraphs about the NW Coastal Indians. (And I just happened to have her book in my bag!) I read from the middle and it was perfect for the students to gain an appreciation of how the character, Pearl, felt when she saw her ceremonial things being sold in a storefront. These students had wonderful mask totem poles out in the hallway and were creating amazing books about the artifacts and lives of the Coastal Indians. I love going into classrooms like this!

But, I believe until reading this book I never got the feeling of such loss and understanding of a group of people who began to diminish when museums came to buy their things. I’ve taken my kids to the museum. I have had multiple fieldtrips to the NW museums of Coastal Indians with student groups. Yet, this book is more than facts and flat legends of tribes of long ago. It is truly a connection piece to  speak to a classroom or learner. As this book tells the story beyond facts and  brings a reader near the time and place we can only wish to embrace a character for the saddness surrounding them.

Artfully done the author takes us to the steps of a child wandering in the midst of a struggling time. And when I visit the museum again the glass cases will seem so agonizingly different when I can only wish to hug those pieces of extraordinary beauty one more time for such a dear character as Pearl who knows what is lost in preservation.

It’s exciting when a book can be picked up and connected so well to learners. All the students thanked me for reading a short bit of this book to them. I hope many teachers can do the same to bring such a deep learning experience and heart to this topic. Accolades to Written In Stone! And more accolades for Rosanne Parry for touching beyond the filling in of facts to mere tests and core concepts but to a place we all wish learners can go. Perimeters of understanding.

It is a super book to read-a-loud for this historical content and it is perfect to read for a home school unit or just those who find themselves drawn to historical fiction. The author can be found here. http://rosanneparry.com/books/written-in-stone/ Check out the teacher’s guide and possibly get her to skype with your class!

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Filed under 4th - 5th Grade, Middle School

First Great Readers!


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I am having the best time with a Saturday Reading Academy of first graders! Our goal is to inspire reading to young challenged readers through Readers’ Theater. I am a fan of Readers’ Theater and love to partake as much as possible when teaching. Although getting those firsties to begin reading with voice is a bit of a challenge. But seek no further! Mo Willems has some support your way with Elephant and Piggie books! (AKA: author of the hilariously funny Pigeon books) I simply read one color of the big speech bubbles and the group in front of me reads the other. The print is large enough to all read on the carpet and no need for any other equipment.

They love being Piggie or Gerald the Elephant. He makes reading so fun but when first graders can play along and read the o-so-funny and easy word conversations, it is a charmer for reading with those challenged readers. The next best thing is that they are so excited to buddy read with someone else and play parts. Gosh. I do, do, do love Piggie and Elephant! Thanks Mo!

We read these two one Saturday. But my first love began in a bookstore when I read with my own kids side by side. I had tears of fun and joy when reading….see post “More Mo! More Mo! in K-First”

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Filed under Kindergarten - 1st Grade, Toddler

Operation Redwood

imagesI’d like to share a review from my son. I just can’t keep up with reading all the books he reads and this one has been on my list for a long time. I love that it is about a young person who wants to make a difference. Which I believe is what really changes the world. I couldn’t have said it better. Here is my son’s review for his kid newspaper:

I just recently read this book and I wondered if our audience would like it. The name of this book is Operation Redwood By S. Terrell French. This book is a good book because although it is fiction, it tells about real events. Such as Julia Butterfly Hill who… Ha ha ha. I can’t tell you what she did because you haven’t read the book. But you’re going to like it because in the story she inspires the main character to go for the GUSTO and reach high. This is a story about friendship, loyalty, hacking (just a little), disappearing forests and little sisters. But mostly it proves that if you go far enough (even if you’re a kid) you can make the difference that can change the world.

Thanks Wes. A great review!

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Tuesdays At the Castle

images-3images-4Who knew a castle could have new rooms added every week? And it knows who will be the next heir. This is no ordinary castle who takes a liking to only the purest of hearts and to those whom only have the kindest nature. Celia the young princess knows this all too well. She also knows every detail, twist and turn the castle takes and she awaits each Tuesday for the new room to add to her map. Befriending the castle is all too easy for Celia but her troubles increase when her parents are no where to be found and some evil doers try to overtake the castle. Celia and her siblings have to learn to trust the castle walls and find favor by doing what is right and true. They of course find themselves trapped for a time but with the help of the castle they purge the dastardly with daring and humorous bravery.

I do love a story that talks about virtues and the importance of manners. You’ll find this a magical treat. It takes enough twists to keep you wanting to turn the pages and you will want to read the next one too! Wednesdays At The Towers. Oh my there is one more title too! Thursdays with the Crown. A delightful series. Enjoy!

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Turtle in Paradise… Warms The Winter

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Alas, the summer has gone far away with the windy, wet weather. Even with the warm Oregon rain, I find myself looking back to summer.  I guess it has been a long time since posting. I was almost ready to give up when I ran into one follower this summer, (that is not one of my dear friends.) She is an avid reader of about 12. I said I was sorry I was not able to post and I would tell her my best book read recently.  It was a wonderful surprise as they had just read this same book but on tape. It was marvelous to discuss the connections we liked and then she shared how it was great to share in the car with her parents. I love books on tape! It is great to share a story with a family while traveling.  This might help everyone think warm thoughts.

Okay, if you miss summer or just want a good book that sets your mind on blue waters and adventure then this is it. Don’t let the lovely cover scare you to thinking it is only a girl book. It really is a tomboyish character who holds her own with a group of misbehaving boy cousins. I think it is a great book for boys and girls. Super for read-aloud or on tape!

This historical story is set in Key West, Florida in 1935. There is enough adventure with sights of treasure, keeping the Diaper Gang at arms length, and making it through a storm which bands the town together. Most my favorite stories  connect to family. Caught between a mother  chasing dreams and finding herself in hot new surroundings Turtle begins to be thankful for family and comes out of her shell. Being family is sometimes hard but ‘O’-so-very-important. Much is learned in this charming novel but in a very rambunctious way, keeping the pages turing.

 

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Filed under 2nd - 3rd Grade, 4th - 5th Grade, Middle School

Pickle Impossible

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I found this book title on a book list and thought it looked great for an adventure set in France for middle grade readers. It is full of kidnapping, get-a-ways, and near misses from hang gliding villain types to mysterious plans in the mountains. All along with a jar of pickles in hand. I loved it! What a fun read with quite a new story line. And it is all about saving the family heritage too. It’s just a good book with perilous adventure seeking to do good deeds.

Recently I took this book on a 6th grade substitute job, I started reading the 3rd chapter where the most action started. The kids worked quietly, on task and pleaded for me to read more. We could not finish but they made me stop at the Librarian’s desk to give her the title so they could finish the story some day.  This is the author’s first book and so it does not get much publicity. Ask for it and get it on your library list or bookstore order.

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Each Little Bird That Sings

Sometimes you get done with a book and it reveals a little touch of faith, an empowering event of personhood and just a delightful breath of goodness that is told in a story about someone’s life, that is somewhat in all of life. Deborah Wiles is one to have captured such surety in this book.

A  girl named Comfort with a dog named Dismay, who finds out just what life can challenge when a sniffling cousin named Peach who can annoy and take down just about any funeral service with snorting tears and somehow it ends in joy. Comfort finds friendship, loses friendship, loves friendship and ultimately gives friendship when she least desires. As a result she gains the understanding of true service. A family motto in the funeral business, ” We live to serve.”

I love this book. I hope you do too.

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