Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book talk: Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed (Newbery 2013 contender)

When you see the title of this novel - Twelve Kinds of Ice - you might be confused. Twelve kinds of ice? Actually, yes. The kids in this novel are used to cold weather, but they wait all year for ice. Ice lets you explore, play, skate, and create.

Field ice is the first sign that ice is serious about sticking around. Sure, you can't skate on it, but it's nature's way of telling you that real winter is moving in. [Show picture on p. 15]. Those kids on the bus are not going to be able to concentrate at school now, I'll bet. 

Imagine that you could turn your summertime vegetable garden into a skating rink in winter. That's garden ice, and it's so much fun. First, you level the ground, creating a smooth surface with no bumps. Next you get your ice rink boards from the barn, and you pack snow over that before you turn on your water ice to create an upper level of ice. Voila: your own ice stadium, with the sky as your roof. The other kids can't wait: they all show up - the whole neighborhood - and there's even a schedule: the girls can figure skate from 3:30-4:30, and then the boys can play ice hockey from 4:30-5:30. Everyone argues about whose turn it is to sweep the ice, of course. Ice can be a lot of work, you know, but it's worth it.

There are other worlds of ice: some mundane, like the first ice you find in the pail, and some more mysterious, like dream ice and black ice.

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrations by Barbara McClintock. 61 pages. 2012: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Booktalk to grades 2-6. Newbery contender: 2013.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book talk: Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Newbery 2013 contender)

[For this book talk, you are going to be the main character, Auggie, but you’ll wear a bag – any bag as long as you can see/breathe – over your head for the entire book talk.]

Hi, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is August, or Auggie for short. I’m the main character in the book you’re gonna read, called Wonder. Yeah, I can hear you murmuring about the bag on my head. No, I am not going to take it off. I repeat: no, I am not going to take this bag off. Why? I’m glad you asked.

Because the second I take this bag off my head, some of you will gasp. Some of you will snicker. Some of you may even call me names and point. I’m used to seeing kids put their hands over their mouths when they see me. Heck, I’m even used to their parents doing that, and yes, it is extremely rude and cruel. I’m not giving you the satisfaction of that.

I get judged on my face all the time, every second of every day. People forget what they’re doing or saying when they see me, and not in a good way. Would I like a chance to escape my fate/face? Haha: did you get the pun? Okay, I’ll repeat it, so listen carefully. Would I like a chance to escape my fate/face? Get it: my face is my fate? Oh, never mind. Actually, mind. Because of the way I look, I’ve been homeschooled my whole life. And now my parents are going to send me to a real school, where my face will be subjected to your judgments, comments, and criticism all the time. My parents are nervous about it. Very, very nervous.

You think you could be me? Even for one day? I bet you wouldn’t last one hour.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. 2012: Knopf. 315 pages. Booktalk to middle grades (intermediate) and middle school. Newbery contender, 2013.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book talk: Goal! by Mina Javaherbin (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

[For this booktalk, don't show the cover yet! Start with the following brief discussion first.]

What do you own that is nearest and dearest to your heart? Don't think of a person. Think of an object: it could be a toy, a book, a trophy, a photo, a stuffed animal, or a piece of jewelry. If your house was burning, this is the object you'd grab before you ran out. Okay, do have your item in mind? What did you pick? [Take a few brief responses.]

[Show cover.] This is Ajani. His soccer ball is his most treasured item. It means so much to him, and it's not easily replaced. But it's just a soccer ball, right? Well, yes and no.

Ajani lives in a township in South Africa where no one has much money: if you have a decent soccer ball, you guard it from the bullies who will certainly steal it. These bullies are bigger than Ajani and his friends and they ride around on bikes. Ajani's soccer ball provides endless hours of fun and friendship for him, so it's more than just a ball. In many parts of the world, children who want to play soccer have to make their own makeshift balls out of whatever they can, and that makes the game so much harder to play.

Ajani and his friends are pretty clever: they always have a guard, and they know what to expect. Soccer is their favorite game ever, and in that respect, they're just like you.

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by A.G. Ford. 2010: Candlewick. Unpaged. Booktalk to grades K-3. Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book talk: The Fox in the Dark by Alison Green (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

[For this booktalk, you will be focusing on one picture in The Fox in the Dark, which is pp. {5-6}, rabbit in his den, lantern at his feet, text starting "But...Rat-a-tat-tat!"]

[Display pp. 5-6]. Have you ever been really, really scared? Have you ever been outside in the dark and felt terrified? Have you ever had to run inside your house, slam the door, and turn on a light, shaking in fear?

Take a look at Rabbit. He is petrified with fear! He saw a fox in the dark! If you look closely at this picture, he's picturing fox's pointed teeth, fierce expression, sharp claws, and overall scariness!

Oh, hey! Look outside Rabbit's window! Is that Duck? Duck is Rabbit's good friend, and Duck wants to come inside, it seems. Would you let Duck inside if there was also a fox out there in the dark?

The Fox in the Dark by Alison Green, illustrated by Deborah Allwright. 2009: Tiger Tales/ME Media LLC. Unpaged. Booktalk to K-2. Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013 (Primary).

Book talk: Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett (Virginia Readers' Choice)

[Show cover]. Meet blue chameleon. Poor guy. He's blue in two different ways: can you think about that for a second? [Pause.] Obviously, he is blue, right? But he also looks as if he's feeling blue: he's feeling sad, down, discouraged. I wonder why...

[Turn to first page.] Well, no wonder! He's thinking, "I'm lonely." Well, that should be easy to solve: right?

[Turn the page.] Hey?! What just happened? Why did he turn yellow? [Wait for answer.] Yes, chameleons can change colors, but what's he mimicking? [Wait for response.] A banana! Does a banana make a good friend? No! A banana only makes a good snack! Poor chameleon...he's confused. You really cannot be happy being friends with a banana.

[Turn page.] Oh my goodness! What color is he now? He's pink! He's trying to befriend a pink bird called a cockatoo! But take a close look at the cockatoo's face: what expression is he wearing? Suspicion, distrust: that cockatoo does not want to be friends, clearly.

[Return to cover image.] Chameleon, you're off to a rocky start. No wonder you look so blue.

Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett. 2010: Simon & Schuster. Unpaged. Booktalk to pre-K through 2nd. Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013 (Primary).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Booktalk: Immi's Gift by Karin Littlewood (Virginia Readers' Choice)

Immi lives up in the frozen north, a land of ice and snow. It is cold and icy – a white world as flat as the eye can see. Immi goes ice fishing for her supper in this lonely place, and instead of a fish, she catches a little wooden bird. How strange!

You can’t eat a little wooden bird, can you? [Show pages 5-6]. But it’s beautiful, and she wears it on her necklace, next to her little white wooden bear. Those two make an odd pair: don’t they, the colorful bird and the white bird. They’re very different, as if they’ve never met one another.

[Turn the page.] Color starts to seep into her world. She fishes a red flower! [Turn page.] Then an orange starfish … a green leaf ….a purple feather. Where is all this color coming from?

Look at her igloo! It’s the brightest thing in the land. Her world doesn’t seem as cold and lonely anymore. Where on earth did that little colorful wooden bird come from? What does all of this mean for Immi?

Immi’s Gift by Karin Littlewood. 2010: Peachtree. Unpaged. Booktalk to K-2. Virginia Readers’ Choice, 2012-2013 (Primary).

Book talk: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

[Pacing, agitated.] I lost my favorite hat…actually, I think it’s my only hat, and I’m a bear, so I really need my hat back because I’m out in the cold weather all the time. I’ve spent the whole day walking around the woods looking for my hat and asking various animals if they have seen my hat. Wait…did I ask you this yet? Have you seen my hat? [Wait for reply.] No?!?

Well, let me tell you. Those other animals are no help at all. I asked a snake hanging from a branch, and you know what he said? [Mimicking snake] “I saw a hat once. It was blue and round.” Well…that’s helpful! I mean, mine is red and pointed and he’s telling me about some random hat he saw once. Thanks a lot, snake!

I asked another animal – he was kind of weird-looking, to tell you the truth, and he didn’t even know what a hat was! Useless! Absolutely useless!

Okay, I gotta dash. But if you happen to see my hat – which is RED – please just let me know! Don’t make me come back here again!

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. 2011: Candlewick Press. Unpaged. Booktalk to pre-K through 2nd. Virginia Readers’ Choice, 2012-2013 (Primary).