Archive for the ‘Reading Connections’ Category

Are your students required at some time during the year to read the genre of historical fiction? Using this genre in the classroom can help students make connections and see parallels between past historical events and events of today. Historical fiction can be a mystery, or set during the American Revolution, or a significant historical event.

Need some reading suggestions?

ALA has posted their list of the Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth for 2011. Or try the titles awarded the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction for young readers.

More Reading Suggestions from ALA:

These are our recommendations for the best historical fiction for children and teens written so far during 2012.

  • A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson
    Narrates the tale of twelve-year-old Charles Dickens who, despite poverty and long hours of factory work, still has time to discover and share the stories of other residents of 1824 London.  Gr. 3-5
  • Crow by Barbara Wright (Teaching Resource)
    Moses Thomas’s summer vacation in 1898 does not go as planned, and while he deals with family problems and fickle friends, Moses comes to be more aware of the escalating tension between the African American and white communities of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Gr. 6-12
  • A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Teaching Resource)
    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thirteen-year-old Tetsu and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona where a fellow prisoner starts a baseball team, but when Tetsu’s sister becomes ill and he feels responsible, he stops playing.  Gr. 5-8
  • The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
    In St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1888, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret–that she has the ability to raise the dead–but when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.  Gr. 7-12
  • Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall
    In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission.  Gr. 5-9
  • May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (Teaching Resource)
    When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, twelve-year-old May’s father pulls her from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier.  Gr. 3-7
  • The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (Teaching Resource)
    Deza Malone, the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, accompanies her mother and older brother on a trip to find her father, an African American man who left to find work after the Great Depression hit. They end up in a Hooverville outside of Flint, Michigan, and her brother attempts to be a performer while Deza and her mother search for a home.  Gr. 4-7
  • My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve
    Ten-year-old Franziska Mangold escapes Nazi Germany on the kindertransport she boards in Berlin, and when she arrives in London, she takes on the name Frances and struggles with her identity as she pieces together a new life without her family.  Gr. 7-12

More Teaching Resources

Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.


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I recently began reading the book, The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott, that uses the tragedy of the Titanic as the background setting. Tess a young seamstress working for designer Lucille Duff Gordon survives the sinking of the RMS Titanic, and finds herself torn between loyalty to her employer and to the sailor who saved her when Lady Duff Gordon’s version of their escape differs from the truth. Although written for adults, the book has been read by many teens as well.

With the approaching 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, these are some books and teaching resources for use in the classroom.

2012 New Books About the Titanic

Ghosts of the Titanic by Julie Lawson (Gr. 5-8)
Kevin and his family travel to Halifax after inheriting a home from a man they have never met, and, while exploring the estate, Kevin discovers some mysterious artifacts that transport him back in time to the deck of the “Titanic,” where he races to save a young woman and her child from a tragic ending.
Educator’s Guide includes discussion questions, interdisciplinary activities, and online resources.  Holiday House

Iceberg, Right Ahead by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson (Gr. 6-10)
Explores the lasting legacy of the “Titanic” tragedy, discussing how the sinking of the ship led to new regulations and the formation of an ice patrol that later became the U.S. Coast Guard, earned the “New York Times” a lasting reputation for news, caused a Senate inquiry, destroyed the lives of several survivors, and fascinated people around the world for a century.
Writing Activity Lerner Books

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (Gr. 5+)
Draws on stories from survivors and archival photographs to describe the history of the “Titanic” from its launch to its sinking.
Teacher Resource Deborah Hopkinson

Additional Books

All Stations! Distress! by Don Brown  (Gr. 3-5)
Presents an illustrated account of the Titanic’s deadly voyage on April 12, 1912, when two thousand passengers, rich and poor alike, fought to survive the tragedy while partially filled lifeboats launched into the night with seven hundred people as some family members stayed behind.
Guide includes a summary, booktalk, author information, vocabulary, discussion questions, activities, and related resources. Young Hoosier Book Awards

Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic by Suzanne Weyn (Gr. 8-12)
In the early twentieth century, four sisters and their widowed mother, a famed spiritualist, travel from New York to London, and as the Titanic conveys them and their acquaintances, journalist W.T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor, home, Tesla’s inventions will either doom or save them all.
Video Book Trailer Scholastic

S.O.S Titanic by Eve Bunting (Gr. 6-9)
Fifteen-year-old Barry O’Neill, traveling from Ireland to America on the  maiden voyage of the Titanic, finds his life endangered when the ship hits an iceberg and begins to sink.
Teacher’s Guide includes a synopsis, discussion questions and activities for before, during and after reading, and cross-curricular activities. Harcourt

T Is for Titanic by Debbie Shoulders (Gr. K-5)
An alphabet book that explores the stories, documents, and artifacts surrounding the Titanic and its disastrous fate.
Teacher’s Guide Sleeping Bear Press

Titanic Sinks! by Barry Denenberg (Gr. 5-8)
Retells the events surrounding the sinking of the RMS “Titanic,” describing the ship’s construction and launch, and featuring authentic photographs and illustrations from the period.
Read the Book Online We Give Books

Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912 (Dear America series) by Ellen Emerson White (Gr. 3-6)
In her diary in 1912, thirteen-year-old Margaret Ann describes how she leaves her lonely life in a London orphanage to become a companion to a wealthy American woman, sails on the Titanic, and experiences its sinking.
Discussion Guide Scholastic

The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf (Gr. 8+)
Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.
Discussion Questions Teton County, WY, Library

Teaching Resources About the Titanic

Adventure on the Titanic Interactive GameNational Geographic
On Board the Titanic GameDiscovery Channel
Remembering the Titanic Pinterest Board features pictures of artifacts from and about the Titanic. – Pinterest
Remembering the Titanic has lesson plans. – Lynne Farrell Stover (James Madison University)
Titanic InteractiveHistory Channel
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Teacher’s Guide features lesson plans and activities. – Premier Exhibitions
Unseen Titanic
features two galleries of interactive images. – National Geographic

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Did you know that the Oreo cookie is celebrating its’ 100th anniversary? Nothing makes us remember childhood more than these little crème-filled chocolate cookies. Eat them whole, twisted apart and licking the crème filling, or dunking in milk.

Oreos are so popular they even have their own Facebook and Twitter pages.

So I thought today I would feature some books about the love of cookies.

  •  Bad Boys Get Cookie! by Margie Palatini
    Wolves Willy and Wally try to satisfy a sweet-tooth craving by dressing up as private detectives and chasing down a runaway cookie.
    Story Map
    Margie Palatini
  • Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
    Defines words such as cooperate, patient, proud, modest, respect, compassionate, and others with sentences about cookies.
    includes author and illustrator information, cross-curricular activities, related books and websites. Illinois Monarch Award
  • Good Day Bunnies: The Great Spring Cookie Hunt by Harriet Margolin
    On a warm spring day, rabbit twins Becky and Bumper search the yard for the cookies their grandmother has baked and hidden for them.
    Lesson Plan
    includes an introduction with prediction questions, vocabulary, conversation questions, and activities.  KYReads
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? by Laura Joffe Numeroff
    A little boy offers a mouse a cookie and a chain reaction is set in motion illustrating how one thing leads to another.
    Teacher’s Guide
    Reading Rainbow
  • Mr. Cookie Baker by Monica Wellington
    After a day of making and selling cookies, Mr. Baker gets to enjoy one himself.
    for Mr. Baker’s Sugar Cookies. Monica Wellington
  • Oreo® Cookie Counting Book by Sarah Albee
    Readers can count down as ten OREO cookies are dunked, nibbled, and stacked one by one until there are none.
    include math ideas using oreos. Trumpet Club
  • Tough Cookie by David Wisniewski
    When his friend Chips is snatched and chewed, Tough Cookie sets out from the bottom of the jar to stop Fingers.
    Activities Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Jane Manning
    Was it Piggy, Kitty, Bunny, Dog, or Mouse? They each have a motive–all of them like cookies–but no one wants to take the blame for this cookie caper.
    Story Patterns Kiz Club

There are additional book-related teaching resources for books about cookies in the Linda’s Links to Literature database.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or Linda’s Links to Literature.

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The movie based on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will be released on March 23, 2012.
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.
In 2008 this book was named as a best book by Booklist, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal. The book has been challenged due to the violent themes and was number five on the 2010 Top Ten Challenged Books.
The Hunger Games is book one in the trilogy that includes Catching Fire (Book 2) and Mockingjay (Book 3).

Teaching Resources for The Hunger Games

The Linda’s Links to Literature database has 40+ book-related resource links for The Hunger Games.

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The movie based on The Lorax by Dr. Seuss will be released on March 2, 2012.
The book tells the plight of the environment and the disappearance of the trees and how the Lorax speaks for the trees against the greedy and villainous Once-ler. But hope is still alive because there is still a single Truffula Tree seed left.

Teaching Resources for the Lorax

Random House is celebrating Read Across America on Facebook by giving away Lorax-themed prizes—one prize winner every day until 3/9/12.

The Linda’s Links to Literature database has 40+ book-related resource links for The Lorax.

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Expand the knowledge of your students with these books and resources about the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, on his birthday February 12.

A Few Books from the Database About Abraham Lincoln

  • Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale written by Deborah Hopkinson  (Gr. K-3)
    In Knob Creek, Kentucky, in 1816, seven-year-old Abe Lincoln falls into a creek and is rescued by his best friend, Austin Gollaher.
    Activity focuses on fact and fiction. Young Hoosier Book Awards
  • Abe Lincoln Remembers by Ann Turner   (Gr. K-5)
    Abraham Lincoln tells his own story—from his childhood in a log cabin to his Civil War years.
    Guide includes questions and activities. Indiana Department of Education
  • Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner (Gr. 1-3)
    Abraham Lincoln uses his hat as a filing cabinet.
    Teaching Ideas include comprehension questions and activities. Simple Literature
  • Abe’s Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport  (Gr. 2-6)
    An illustrated biography of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States and the man responsible for seeing the country through the Civil War.
    Teacher’s Guide includes pre-reading, questions, and cross-curricular activities. Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
  • Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire (Gr. K-5)
    Text and illustrations present the life of the boy born on the Kentucky frontier who became the sixteenth president of the United States.
    Crossword Puzzle Family Education
  • Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz  (Gr. 2-5)
    Relates the story of the Gettysburg Address.
    Discussion Guide Scholastic                                                                                                                               
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman  (Gr. 5+)
    Photos and text tell the life story of President Abraham Lincoln.
    Guide includes questions and activities. Indiana Department of Education
  • The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming  (Gr. 5+)
    A dual biography of Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, using photographs, letters, engravings, and cartoons to look at their childhoods, courtship, marriage, children, and other joys and traumas of their years together, including their deaths.
    Teacher’s Guide includes discussion and writing by chapter, vocabulary, and activities. Random House
  • Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman  (Gr. K-3)
    A young girl is curious about Abraham Lincoln and sets out to find out more about the life of the nation’s sixteenth president.
    Book read online by the author. YouTube
  • A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A. Adler (Gr. 1-3)
    Follows the life of the popular president, from his childhood on the frontier to his assassination after the end of the Civil War.
    Activity Guide includes comprehension questions, vocabulary, cross-curricular activities, and an Internet activity. Live Oak Media

The Linda’s Links to Literature database has 35+ books and 80+ book-related teaching links about Abraham Lincoln.

Related Teaching Resources

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Start planning now to introduce books for Groundhog Day which is celebrated on February 2 in the United States and Canada.
Introduce the differences between fact and opinion by using books about Groundhog Day.

Is it fact or opinion?

  • A groundhog is also called a woodchuck.
  • Groundhogs forecast the coming of spring.
  • A groundhog is probably afraid of his shadow.

Here’s some free book-related teaching resources to introduce this day.

Our database has book-related teaching resources for 15+ books featuring Groundhog Day.

More teaching resources…

Linda’s Links to Literature is an Amazon.com affiliate.

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