McDaniel, L. (1995). Six months to live. New York: Bantam Books.
Genre: Teen Fiction Chapter book series
Grade Level: 7-9 grade
From the moment I read the little summary on the back of the book I was already intrigued. When I was younger, I LOVED reading these types of books because as a person of that age, you try to imagine yourself dealing with the same issues (at least I do anyway). Within the first three chapters, I already found myself getting the goose bumps when she was describing how she felt receiving the news. I squirmed when she was describing how it felt to be injected (I hate shots) and just found myself not being able to put the book down. Just by trying to imagine what I would do if I were in Dawn’s shoes made me realize how blessed we have it to not be going through such a terrible disease like cancer. In the beginning of the book, Dr. Kneeland came in and talked to both girls about having a positive mindset and I couldn’t help but think about my mom right away. My mother always told me when I was sick to keep telling myself I wasn’t. She would always tell me, “Your mind is the biggest weapon you owe so if you start to think it, you start to believe it.” This exact motto is what the doctor was trying to do with the girls: have them think positive. Throughout the book there was that reoccurring theme of always living the moment regardless whether they had cancer or not and I loved it since that is what I live by: living life positively and in the moment.
The plot of the story was told from the beginning, she is a normal 13-year-old girl who now has cancer and has to live through it and the changes that come with it. Although that was told straight off the bat, I think the plot was also in the middle when both her and her best friend are told they are not sick anymore but then they both receive the news that they are. This plays with the reader’s emotions (at least mine) because you go from happy because they are cancer free to sad because they are sick especially when Dawn receives the news that Sandy passed away. The setting mostly takes place in the hospital and a summer camp. The story is told in third person limited since you can only tell what Dawn feels at times. I think the reoccurring theme thorough out the book is to live the moment, which I love since I live by that everyday. Honestly, the book was so good; I would definitely read it with my students if I were to ever teach that grade level.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to compare and contrast the different characteristics of each character throughout the book.
Why did Dawn’s friends treat her differently when they found out she had cancer?
In the middle of the story, both Dawn and Sandy go to a summer camp. Have you ever been to one? If not, what camp would you want to go to? Share your experiences.
Why do you think Sandy’s dad refused to let her get the bone marrow surgery?
1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1078588/ ( This is the movie “My Sister’s Keeper,” with the permission of the families, I would play this movie in class and have them compare characters.
Park, B. (1999). Junie B. Jones and the mushy gushy valentime [i.e. valentine]. New York: Random House.
Genre: Comedic Fictional Chapter Book
Grade Level: 3rd
I absolutely love the Junie B. Jones series! I remember reading them as a kid and I loved reading her stories and how crazy she was! With this book specifically, I loved how she had her own secret admirer. As soon as she said she was missing one, I knew it was going to be Jim because as a reader it is always the person you least expect. I loved reading her reaction to everything and just reading the book made me think about how much I loved these books as a kid. I can relate to this book in particular in the series because I love Valentines Day and as a teacher, I plan to make it a fun day in the classroom as well.
The setting is in Junie B. Jones’ classroom and on the playground. The first plot of the story is when Junie B. Jones has to figure out what card is missing. After she finds the card, she needs to figure out who gave it to her since it is signed, “your secret admirer.” The theme is Valentines Day and “puppy love” and I absolutely love it since I am a huge hopeless romantic.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to create their own “Valentines Card” of appreciation to their parents.
2-3 discussion questions based on the book:
Why were Lucille and Grace arguing outside on the playground?
What prize did Junie B. Jones win when she turned in her Valentines cards?
Why did Jim want to keep “liking Junie B. Jones” a secret?
Standards-based lesson activity: Students will go around and write something nice on everyone’s paper on their desk. The point of this activity is to get everyone to realize that everyone gets along and have students feel good about themselves after reading their own paper.
Tak, B., & Hopman, P. (2011). Soldier bear. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
Grade Level: 5-7 Genre: Historical Fiction
I actually really liked this book, and I am not one to like books related to war. When I began reading the book, I thought it was a made up story but after realizing it was based on a true story, I thought it would be awesome to bring to the classroom. The only personal connection I have with this book was my dad was in the Marine Corps so when I began to read about how “not scared” they were, it reminded me about my dad and the stories he would tell us. I would definitely use this book in my class because I feel the story is told in a manner that is both informative but entertaining. I would use this book as an outline to teach my students about World War II and use both events in history and book topics to come up with prompts for the students. I would also use this as a way to get my students to be more appreciative of people serving in the military and have everyone write a letter to a soldier overseas.
The setting takes place during the time of World War II in Iran, Egypt, Italy, and Scotland. The point of view is told in third person omniscient. The main theme of the book is seeing how the bear grows and changes throughout war and seeing how the soldiers around him act as well. I would think there are multiple mini plots throughout the book. Obviously, the main issue is surviving the war but many little plots include getting approval from sergeants to take the bear with them, dealing with the bear when he is scared, and having people trust that the bear is harmless.
Students will be able to compare and contrast events from the book to other events that happened in World War II.
What are the Pros and Cons of bringing a wild animal to war?
If you could choose any animal to bring to war with you, what would you bring and why?
Did you like the ending? Why or why not? Would you have done the same thing? What would you have done differently?
Palacio, R. (2012). Wonder(p. 213). Random House Children’s Books.
Grade level: 4-5 Grade, Genre: Fiction for Children
I absolutely loved this book. I really do not know whether it is because I was really emotional this week but this book brought me to tears, laughs, and overall just made me more appreciative of those around me. When I began to read the book I did not know what to expect and was surprised that it didn’t begin to talk about race since this week’s theme was cultural diversity. It wasn’t until a few pages in that I realized this is the perfect book for diversity amongst kids. I can relate to this book a lot from reading how Auggie felt, to the way Via reacted to the kids at school. Personally, I have two autistic cousins and it would make me so angry to hear them speak about how they were bullied at school. Since I couldn’t go to their school, I remember always feeling frustrated because I couldn’t do anything to stop the other kids so reading how Auggie felt really hit home for me.
Another person I related a lot with was Via. Now, although I do not have a little brother with a deformity, I do have a little brother who is overweight. Growing up, I always stood up for him when I would hear the kids make fun of him and he would always just shrug it off. I also related most to Via when she said, “So I’ve gotten used to not complaining, and I’ve gotten used to not bothering Mom and Dad with little stuff.” Growing up, I was blessed to have a big family but with being the big sister comes a lot of responsibility. At one point I was babysitting seven kids and it drove me crazy but I learned to not bother my parents with the little things and just do things on my own. Again, although in the book the environment at home was completely different from mine, I could really relate to Via.
The story takes place in multiple places but the main places were at home and at school. In the beginning of the book, the story was being told in first person point of view by Auggie but towards the middle and end it was told in third person from Via’s point of view, Jack’s, Justin’s, Miranda’s, then back to Auggie. The reoccurring plot in the book was how people treated Auggie due to his facial deformity. The only theme I could think of was how Auggie and those around him changed as the book went on.
Objective: Students will be able to compare and contrast the characters of the book and write about their actions and feelings.
What does Auggie do when he wants to cry?
If you received a phone call from the principal asking you to show a new student around like Auggie, would you want to? Why or why not?
How would you feel if you were in Auggies shoes? Would you want to go to school why or why not?
Student will need to write a one-page story about a time where they defended someone or bullied someone. They need to include where it happened, why it happened, how they felt after, and what they would change about the incident.