Children’s Book #15: The Westing Game

Tags

1123662

Title: The Westing Game

Author: Ellen Raskin

Publication Date: 1978

Publisher: Dutton

Price: $16.99

Number of Pages: 185

Awards: Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards: Fiction and Poetry, Newbery Medal

Genre/Subgenre: Mystery

Ratings:

Popularity: 5/5

Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

A group of seemingly unrelated strangers find out that they are potential heirs to the Westing fortune, but only if they can solve Westing’s murder.

Summary:

When the luxury apartment building Sunset Towers opens, six families and individuals are personally invited to move in. Soon after Sunset Towers is fully occupied, the residents and employees are called to the nearby Westing mansion to find out that they are all heirs to the fortune of the recently murdered paper tycoon Sam Westing. However, there is a catch: one of the heirs is Sam Westing’s murderer, and for anyone to inherit his fortune the mystery of his death must be solved. The heirs are split up into pairs and given a set of clues and $10,000. The game to solve the murder begins, bringing thefts, bombs, and unlikely friendships to Sunset Towers. Just when the residents think that they’ve solved the murder, everything they thought they knew is turned upside-down, and they realize that the death of Sam Westing is more complicated than they could have imagined.

Evaluation:

I haven’t read many mysteries, but I consider The Westing Game to be an excellent contribution to the genre. The novel is full of interesting and complex characters. I particularly liked the novel’s many twists and turns – the resolution of the mystery is not fully revealed until the very end. This was a suspensive, engaging, and fun read.

Why I Chose the Book:

I remembered reading it as a child and really enjoying it. I also really wanted to know who the murderer was because I had forgotten over the years!

Read-Alikes

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Book Talk Ideas

Host a murder mystery party. Give each student or patron a character and some clues, and let them use their detective skills to solve the case.

Discussion Questions

1. Many of the characters go by nicknames or assumed identities. How does this shape the game?

2. When you first started reading the novel, who did you think was the murderer? Why? Did your suspicions change while reading the novel?

Resources

Amazon (2014). Pricing information. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Westing-Game-Ellen-Raskin/dp/0525471375/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1399674637&sr=8-1

Goodreads (2014). The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1123662.The_Westing_Game

Raskin, E. (1978). The Westing Game [Kindle Edition]. New York: Dutton.

“The Westing Game.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 9 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=097394&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

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Children’s Book #14: Out of the Dust

Tags

249581

Title: Out of the Dust

Author: Karen Hesse

Publication Date: 1997

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Price: $17.99

Number of Pages: 240

Awards: Newbery Medal, Scott O’Dell Award

Genre/Subgenre: Historical fiction, coming-of-age fiction

Ratings:

Popularity: 5/5

Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

Billie Jo struggles to overcome tragedy and loss during the Dust Bowl.

Summary:

Billie Jo and her parents are wheat farmers living in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. Billie Jo is a gifted pianist and dreams of getting “out of the dust” and taking her musical gifts elsewhere. The family struggles to maintain what little is left of their livelihood, but the Dust Bowl keeps them from successfully growing crops. When a tragic fire leads to the death of Billie Jo’s mother and newborn brother, Billie Jo and her father fall apart as a family. Additionally, Billie Jo’s hands were badly burned during the fire and she thinks she may never be able to play piano again. Billie Jo decides to run away and go west, but ultimately decides to go back to Oklahoma with her father and try to make things better.

Evaluation:

Out of the Dust is beautifully written. Through the use of free verse, Karen Hesse conveys both the tragedy and sparseness of the Dust Bowl. This book reads like a novel and poetry all at once. Billie Jo is a wonderful narrator, presenting the story in a way that is straight-forward yet haunting. I couldn’t put this novel down.

Why I Chose the Book:

The subject matter was personal to me. My grandfather’s family moved to California because of the Dust Bowl.

Read-Alikes

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Walking Through the Dark by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Book Talk Ideas

Screen a documentary about the Dust Bowl, such as Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl.

Discussion Questions

1. What does the free verse style of the novel contribute to the story? How does it shape the way we perceive Billie Jo as a narrator?

2. What role does music play in the novel?

Resources

Amazon (2014). Pricing information. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Out-Dust-Newbery-Medal-Book/dp/0590360809/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399672690&sr=1-1&keywords=out+of+the+dust

Goodreads (2014). Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25346.Out_of_the_Dust?from_search=true

Hesse, K. (2006). Out of the Dust [Kindle Edition]. New York: Scholastic Press.

“Out of the Dust.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 9 May 2014. <http://www.amazon.com/Out-Dust-Newbery-Medal-Book/dp/0590360809/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399672690&sr=1-1&keywords=out+of+the+dust&gt;.

PBS (2012). The Dust Bowl. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/

Children’s Book #13: Princess Academy

Tags

763473

Title: Princess Academy

Author: Shannon Hale

Publication Date: 2005

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Price: $17.99

Number of Pages: 314

Awards: Newbery Honor Book

Genre/Subgenre: Fantasy, coming-of-age fiction

Ratings:
Popularity: 5/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

Along with the other girls in her village, Miri is sent to the princess academy as a potential bride for the prince of Asland.

Summary:

Fourteen-year-old Miri has spent her life being frustrated that her protective father will not let her work in the stone quarry that provides her village’s primary means of trade. Fearing that her small size makes her appear weak and useless to the rest of the village, Miri has mostly withdrawn from village life with the exception of her relationships with her father, sister, and childhood friend Peder. Miri’s village is changed forever when it is prophesized that the next princess of Asland will be from the village. A princess academy is established to teach the vilage’s girls the etiquette, diplomacy, and history that they will need to be a princes. Miri finds herself suited to the academic rigors of the princess academy and soon is one of the top two students in the class. She also discovers a telepathic means of communication called “quarry speak,” which enables residents of her village to talk to each other over distances. Miri’s quarry speak skills are put to the test when the academy is taken over by bandits who want to hold the future princes hostage. Using quarry speak and her newfound leadership abilities, Miri is able to save the academy and help the right girl become the princess of Asland.

Evaluation:

I really loved Princess Academy. In addition to being well-written and engaging, the novel also presents an important message: that with hard work and conviction anyone can make a difference. Miri is an unconventional yet inspiring heroine – I think young readers will really identify with her. I really enjoyed the depictions of village life as well – Shannon Hale did an excellent job bringing this factious mountain village to life.

Why I Chose the Book:

I enjoy fairytales and school stories, so I was excited to learn about a novel that combines these two genres.

Read-Alikes

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Guinevere’s Gift by Nancy McKenzie

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Book Talk Ideas

Have students or patrons design a curriculum for a princess (or prince) academy. Ask them to determine what a future ruler needs to know and how they would teach those skills.

Discussion Questions

1. How does Miri’s self-perception change over the novel? How does her perception of her village’s view of her change?

2. What role does quarry speak play in the novel?

Resources

Amazon (2014). Pricing information. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Academy-Shannon-Hale/dp/1582349932/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1399620010&sr=8-1

Goodreads (2014). Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/763473.Princess_Academy

Hale, S. (2005). Princess Academy. New York: Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

“Princess Academy.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 20 Sept. 2005. Web. 9 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=136942&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Children’s Book #12: Moon Over Manifest

Tags

8293938

Title: Moon Over Manifest

Author: Clare Vanderpool

Publication Date: 2010

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $16.99

Number of Pages: 368

Awards: Newbery Medal

Genre/Subgenre: Historical fiction, coming-of-age fiction

Ratings:
Popularity: 5/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

Sent by her father to Manifest, Kansas for the summer, Abilene Tucker searches for answers about her father’s early life.

Summary:

Abilene Tucker is sent to Manifest, Kansas when her father receives a railway job and cannot take her with him. Because Manifest is where her father spend some of his youth, Abilene sets out to find out about his time there and what he was like as a young man. Abilene accidentally finds herself in the home of Miss Sadie the town diviner, who begins telling Abilene a story about Manifest at the end of WWI – a story that involves spies, murder, and a pretend quarantine. Through Miss Sadie, her temporary guardian Shady, and archived issues of “Hattie Mae’s News Auxiliary,” Abilene pieces together the story of her father and how he fits into the narrative of Manifest, learning about herself in the process.

Evaluation:

Although it starts off a bit slow, Moon Over Manifest quickly captivated me. I really enjoyed the variety of quirky characters in the novel – Clare Vanderpool did an excellent job developing even the smallest characters.

Why I Chose the Book:

I was intrigued by the historical eras featured in the novel and by the jump back and forth between these two eras.

Read-Alikes

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney

Leo and the Lesser Lion by Sandra Forrester

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Book Talk Ideas

One of the key narrative features in Moon Over Manifest is “Hattie Mae’s News Auxiliary,” a newspaper column that details the latest news and gossip in Manifest. Have students or patrons write their own “News Auxiliary.”

Discussion Questions

1. Throughout the novel, Abilene tries to find out information about her father as a young man in Manifest. What clues does the author give about his identity? Were you surprised by who he was?

2. The novel jumps back and forth between Manifest in 1918 and Manifest in 1936. What do the time jumps convey to the reader? What do they convey to Abilene?

Resources

Goodreads (2014). Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8293938-moon-over-manifest?from_search=true

“Moon Over Manifest.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 22 Oct. 2010. Web. 8 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=375481&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Vanderpool, C. (2010). Moon Over Manifest. New York: Delacorte Press.

Children’s Book #11: Penny from Heaven

Tags

89377

Title: Penny from Heaven

Author: Jennifer L. Holm

Publication Date: 2006

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Price: $6.99

Number of Pages: 288

Awards: Newbery Honor, Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award Nominee

Genre/Subgenre: Historical fiction, coming-of-age fiction

Ratings:
Popularity: 4/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation: 

Penny navigates tensions between her two extended families and seeks answers about the mysterious death of her father.

Summary:

11-year old Penny feels pulled in two directions: between her mother and maternal grandparents and her deceased father’s large, Italian-American family. Penny tries to spend as much time as possible with her father’s family, and spends her summer working at her uncle’s grocery store, visiting her Nonny, following the Dodgers with her uncle, and getting into mischief with her cousin Frankie. For reasons Penny can’t understand, her mother is very protective of her and doesn’t want her to spend a lot of time with her father’s family. No one on either side of her family will tell Penny what happened to her father, and it is not until a freak accident that Penny learns the truth about her father’s death and why their is tension between her two families.

Evaluation:

 Penny from Heaven was a great read – I couldn’t put it down! It provides a fresh perspective on America during WWII and post-WWII. Before reading this novel, I actually was not aware that Italian-Americans had been placed in internment camps during WWII. I think that fans of historical fiction and family stories will really enjoy this book.

Why I Chose the Book:

I love historical fiction, particularly WII historical fiction. Additionally, I haven’t read much about the Italian-American experience during WII and afterwards, so the plot of Penny from Heaven intrigued me very much.

Read-Alikes

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Painting the Rainbow by Amy Gordon

Book Talk Ideas

Pair a discussion of Penny from Heaven with a lesson on internment camps for “enemy aliens” in the United States during WWII.

Discussion Questions

1. Compare Penny’s two families – her mother’s family and her father’s family. How is Penny different when she is with each of her different families?

2. A family secret plays a major role in the plot of Penny from Heaven. How does this secret impact the relationships between characters? Do these relationships change when the secret is revealed?

Resources

Amazon (2014). Pricing information. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Penny-Heaven-Jennifer-L-Holm/dp/0375836896/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1399596866

Goodreads (2014). Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/89377.Penny_from_Heaven?from_search=true

Holm, J.L. (2006). Penny from Heaven [Kindle Edition]. New York: Random House.

“Penny from Heaven.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 20 Oct. 2006. Web. 8 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=146964&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Children’s Book #10: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

Tags

820985

Title: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

Author: Karen Cushman

Publication Date: 1996

Publisher: HarperTrophy

Price: $5.99

Number of Pages: 224

Awards: Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Middle Readers Category,

School Library Journal Best Books

Genre/Subgenre: Historical Fiction, Coming-of-age

Ratings:

Popularity: 4/5

Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

Meet Lucy Whipple, the most reluctant resident of Gold Rush settlement Lucky Diggins, California.

Summary:

California Morning “Lucy” Whipple’s world is turned upside when her widowed mother moves Lucy and her younger siblings across the country to a California Gold Rush settlement called Lucky Diggins. Lucy immediately hates California and has no desire to live in Lucky Diggins, which consists of a few tents and a saloon/general store. When not helping her mother run the boarding house that supplies their income, Lucy plots and saves to get back to her hometown in Massachusetts. In spite of herself, Lucy becomes an integral part of the Lucky Diggins community when she begins selling pies and loaning her few precious books to the miners and residents of the settlement. When Lucy is at long last given an opportunity to return to Massachusetts, she must decide whether to go back to her old life or forge ahead in her new one.

Evaluation:

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is a fantastic work of historical fiction. It has a lot of great historical details that would make it an excellent complement to California history curriculum. Lucy is a funny, smart narrator whom young readers are sure to relate to and enjoy.

Why I Chose the Book:

I love historical fiction and was interested in reading a children’s novel taking place during the California Gold Rush.

Read-Alikes

By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman

Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild by Kristiana Gregory

Addie Across the Prairie by Laurie Lawlor

Book Talk Ideas

Have students or patrons pretend that they are a young person living in Gold Rush-era California. Have them write a letter to a friend or family member talking about their day-to-day life in the Gold Rush.

Discussion Questions

1. Much of the novel comes from Lucy’s letters to her grandparents back in Massachusetts. What does this narrative style contribute to the novel?

2. Were you surprised by the ending of The Ballad of Lucy Whipple? Why or why not?

Resources

“The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 4 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=082856&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Cushman, K. (1996). The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. HarperTrophy: New York.

Goodreads (2014). The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/820985.The_Ballad_of_Lucy_Whipple

Children’s Book #9: Catherine, Called Birdy

Tags

24137

Title: Catherine, Called Birdy

Author: Karen Cushman

Publication Date: 1995

Publisher: HarperTrophy

Price: $6.50

Number of Pages: 224

Awards: Newbery Honor

Genre/Subgenre: Historical fiction

Ratings:
Popularity: 5/5
Quality: 4/5

Reader’s Annotation:

In 1290 England, knight’s daughter Catherine keeps a diary of her day-to-day life.

Summary:

Teenage Catherine is given a diary by her brother Edward so that she may record her thoughts. Catherine is a rebellious teen who does not want to be the lady her mother is trying to teach her to be. Catherine constantly gets into trouble for being rude to her parents, running off to spend time with the peasants in the village, and throwing away her needlework. When her father begins looking for a suitable husband for her, Catherine is determined to have nothing to do with it and does her best to appear unattractive and odd to the various suitors who come to visit her family. She thinks she may be doomed when her father makes a match for her with a coarse, vulgar old man with a fortune who Catherine refers to as Shagggy-Beard, but perhaps fate will bring a way out of the match after all.

Evaluation:

Catherine, Called Birdy is very funny and an excellent work of children’s historical fiction. Catherine is a very compelling heroine who makes even the dullest of days into amusing diary entries. I would absolutely recommend this book to young readers, particularly those who like historical fiction.

Why I Chose the Book:

I really enjoyed Catherine, Called Birdy when I was younger. I think it was actually one of the books that led to my love of historical fiction. I wanted to read it again as an adult.

Read-Alikes

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg

The Wicked and the Just by Jillian Anderson Coates

Book Talk Ideas

Have students pretend that they are a young person in Catherine’s society and create a character for themselves. Have them write a journal entry from the perspective of their character.

Discussion Questions

1. What do you think it would have been like to grow up in Catherine’s time? Name some ways it would be different from growing up now.

2. Do you think Catherine is a realistic example of a young woman from her time period and social station? Why or why not?

Resources

“Catherine, Called Birdy.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 3 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=077823&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Cushman, K. (2004). Catherine, Called Birdy. HarperTrophy: New York.

Goodreads (2014). Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24137.Catherine_Called_Birdy?from_search=true

Picture Book #15: A River of Words

Tags

3238642

Title: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

Author:  Jen Bryant and Melissa Stewart

Publication Date: 2008

Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Price: $17.00

Number of Pages: 40

Awards: Caldecott Honor

Genre/Subgenre: Picture book, Biography

Ratings:

Popularity: 4/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

The story of William Carlos Williams, the doctor-poet.

Summary:

A River of Words tells the life story of William Carlos Williams, a poet/doctor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. William Carlos Williams loved poetry as a boy, but went to college to study medicine with the encouragement of his mother. William Carlos Williams experimented with verse and abandoned traditional forms in favor of a more visual type of poetry. While in college, he met other artists and poets like Ezra Pound, who he would continue to be in contact with. When he earned his MD and moved home to open his practice, he continued to write poetry. William Carlos Williams spent his life as both a pediatrician and obstetrician and as a poet.

Evaluation:

A River of Words is a wonderful introduction to the poetry of William Carlos Williams. The text of the novel is paired very effectively with poetry written by William Carlos Williams. The illustrations, which have a collage-type look, are absolutely stunning – truly works of art. I think young readers will enjoy them and want to read the book over and over.

Why I Chose the Book:

I am a William Carlos Williams fan and I thought this book was beautifully illustrated.

Read-Alikes

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown

Langston’s Train Ride by Robert Burleigh

Walt Whitman by Barbara Kerley

Book Talk Ideas

Have a reading of William Carlos Williams’ poetry.

Discussion Questions

1. Of the William Carlos Williams poems in A River of Words, which is your favorite? What do you like about it?

2. William Carlos Williams wrote about ordinary things that he encountered in his day to day life. How does this make him different than other poets?

Resources

Amazon.com (2014). Pricing information. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802853021/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0802853021&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Bryant, J. & Stewart, M. (2008). A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers: Grand Rapids, MI.

Goodreads (2014). A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jennifer Fisher Bryant. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3238642-a-river-of-words?ac=1

“A River of Words.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 29 Aug. 2008. Web. 3 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=285399&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Picture Book #14: So You Want to Be President?

Tags

96125

Title: So You Want to Be President?

Author: Judith St. George and David Small

Publication Date: 2000

Publisher: Philomel Books

Price: $17.99

Number of Pages: 52

Awards: Caldecott Medal

Genre/Subgenre: Picture book, Biography

Ratings:
Popularity: 5/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

There are many different ways to be the President.

Summary:

So You Want to Be President? tells the stories of America’s past presidents through fun facts and anecdotes. The book starts with the good and bad things about being president, such as getting to live in the White House (good) and never getting to be alone (bad). The book then goes on to compare and contrast past presidents: their names, where they grew up, whether they went to college, what kinds of personalities they had, what they looked like, their talents and hobbies. The book ends by saying that each President took the same oath to enter office and that each tried to fulfill that oath in their own way and that if you want to be President, you should model yourself after the best presidents.

Evaluation:

This was such an enjoyable read! The authors have a very funny style that makes the presidents seem very normal and relatable. The book is full of fun facts that are sure to intrigue any history lover. I think this book is a great way to teach children about the presidency and our past leaders.

Why I Chose the Book:

I recently completed an assignment on presidential biographies for another class, and this was a book that I came across in my research. I wasn’t able to use it for my other project but really wanted to read it.

Read-Alikes

Lives of the Presidents by Kathleen Krull

Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Everything by Maira Kalman

To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Doreen Rappaport

So You Want to Be an Inventor? by Judith St. George

Book Talk Ideas

Have a Presidents Party: ask each student or patron to dress up as their favorite president and let them try to guess who each other are using details from So You Want to Be President?.

Discussion Questions

1. In So You Want to Be President?, the authors show that people with really different qualities can all be president. What do you think is the most important quality in a president?

2. The story has lots of interesting facts about the different presidents. Did any of them surprise you? Did you have a favorite fact?

Resources

Goodreads (2014). So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96125.So_You_Want_to_Be_President_?ac=1

“So You Want to Be President?” NovelList K-8. EBSCO, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 03 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=099116&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

St. George, J. & Small, D. (2000). So You Want to Be President?. Philomel Books: New York.

Picture Book #13: Duke Ellington

Tags

829315

Title: Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

Author:  Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

Publication Date: 1998

Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children

Price: $15.95

Number of Pages: 32

Awards: Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrator Honor

Genre/Subgenre: Picture book, Biography

Ratings:
Popularity: 4/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

How a young boy who hated piano lessons became “the king of the keys.”

Summary:

When Duke Ellington was a boy, his parents wanted him to take piano lessons, but he quit because he thought they were boring. Years later as a young man, he heard the piano again and became enraptured with ragtime. He formed a band called the Washingtonians and they began to play night clubs. Eventually their group grew and they called themselves Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. People loved Duke Ellington’s music and it was popular in nightclubs and on records so people could listen at home. Duke Ellington composed the tribute to African-Americans Black, Brown, and Beige, which he and his orchestra played at Carnegie Hall.

Evaluation:

Duke Ellington is a colorful, beautiful book and a wonderful tribute to a musical legend. The rhythmic prose and lively illustrations bring Duke Ellington’s music to life – I could almost hear it when I was reading this book. This would be a great read-aloud book!

Why I Chose the Book:

I’m a big Duke Ellington fan and I was really intrigued to read a picture book biography about him.

Read-Alikes

Squeak! Rumble! Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis

Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Jazz by Walter Dean Myers

Book Talk Ideas

Have a music appreciation lesson. Play some of Duke Ellington’s songs and talk about his style and influence on jazz.

Discussion Questions

1. What do you think made Duke Ellington’s music so popular? What did people like about it?

2. Duke Ellington’s Orchestra features Duke Ellington’s piano as well as several other instruments: the drums, trombone, saxophone, and trumpet. If you could play in Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, what instrument would you want to play?

Resources

“Duke Ellington.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 20 Feb. 2005. Web. 3 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=131889&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Goodreads (2014). Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/829315.Duke_Ellington?from_search=true

Pinkney, A.D. & Pinkney, B. (1998) Duke Ellington. Hyperion Books for Children: New York.