“…but do I really care what anyone else thinks.”



Written By/Illustrated By: Raina Telgemeier

Genre: Graphic Novel/Autobiography

Published: Scholastics/Graphix – New York, NY, July 12th, 2009

Awards: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award – 2012, Iowa Children’s Choice Award – 2012, Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Publication for Teens – 2011, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee – 2010, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for Nonfiction – 2010

Themes: This graphic novel accurately and and in a very comical way depicts growing up in the ever-present “awkward middle school/high school” years. The themes that are portrayed in this novel are: growing up, identity, and learning to except yourself.

Summary: As Raina is racing her friends to her house one night after girl scouts, she trips and she falls – but when she gets up everything that she fell down with is no longer with her. Oh my! Her two front teeth are missing. This incident begins the middle school and high school journey of Raina (and her two missing teeth). This graphic/comic book style novel tells us the story of Raina as she grows up and all that she experiences. From having braces, – multiple times – an earthquake, mouth surgeries, boys, and finding a new friend group Raina goes through it all as she finally begins to realize what is important.

Response: Respond to the design and layout of the book. What do you think of the cover design, size of the book, font, spacing, and visual elements?

The text is written as a graphic novel, and to me, made the book what it is. Through the comical details of the pictures, coupled with the short and interactive text the story is extremely enjoyable and entertaining given the layout of the book. It flows incredibly well and you simply do not want to but the book down! Overall, the visual elements are very appealing to the eye and the design is easy to follow and read.


A Splash of Red

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

Written By: Jen Bryant 13642600

Illustrated By: Melissa Sweet

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: Knopf Book for Young Readers – New York, NY, January 8th, 2013

Awards: Robert F. Sibert Honor Book – 2014, Schneider Family Book Award – 2014, An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, and Winner of the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

Themes: As the true story of Horace Pippin is detailed we find themes of disability, overcoming that disability, and finding the positives within times of despair.

Summary: From the beginning of his life Horace Pippin has always loved to draw. Drawing with anything and everything he could get his hands on. From drawing for his family, classmates, and his fellow soldiers when he goes to war – everyone wants Horace to draw. However, a tragic accident plagues Horace’s ability to draw and work. Through much determination we find out if Horace’s perseverance pays off in the end.

Response: How might you use this book in the social studies, science, or mathematics curriculum? Write about a specific activity you might do that relates to the content of this book.

Straying a bit away from this prompt, I feel that I would use this text in an art classroom or with an art curriculum. This book is powerful in its amount of factual information – detailing the life of Horace Pippin. I, in my limited experience, have not found many factual picture books that apply to a non-American artist. As well, it has a powerful and worthwhile message that all student could use, apply, and learn from in the real world.

“We are both whole. We are both at home.”

A Boy and a Jaguar

51zefryggsl-_sx258_bo1204203200_Written By: Alan Rabinowitz

Illustrated By: Catia Chien

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – New York, NY, May 6th, 2014

Awards: Schneider Family Book Award Winner – 2015, PW’s Best Books – 2014, Picture Books; Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People – 2015, Children’s; ALA Notable Books for Children – 2015, Younger Readers: Green Earth Book Award Shortlist – 2015, Ezra Jack Keats Award New Writer Honor – 2015

Themes: A true story unravels an extraordinary tell of a young boy and his fondness for animals – especially jaguars. As the story progress this love for animals transforms into themes about giving a voice to the voiceless, and overcoming hardships that one can not control.

Summary: A boy has a love for animals (but most importantly jaguars), and what is truly amazing is that the boy can talk to his animal friends. However, the young boy can not speak to anyone else because he has a stutter. He finds refuge within the animal world – as they too do not have a voice and these are the only creatures that seem to understand him. He makes a final promise to them to give them a voice, if he too can find his own. As the story progresses we see this young boy grow into someone miraculous.

Response: What was the main problem that the main character faces? How is this problem similar to a problem that most children have faced before? How does it relate to your own experiences?

The main problem that the character faces is his disability. Many children will go through and struggle with a disability or a physical/cognitive difference from the majority of their peers at some point in their educational journeys. With this story, I really respect the fact that the end of the book embraces overcoming the disability, and STILL having it. The main character learns to work with his stutter, but still (at times) struggles with having a disability – which is crucial for students who also struggle with a disability to understand.

For myself, I watched as my older brother struggled and continuously had battles he had to face in his education. With referrals, placements, teachers not expecting much of him, and people using his disability to poke fun at him – I feel he never got the valuable instruction nor was he taught how to overcome the label, to which hinder his general abilities today.



Tim Tingle – A Multicultural Author

Below is the link to my presentation on Tim Tingle: 



TeachingBooks. (2011, August 9). Tim Tingle. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from https://www.teachingbooks.net/interview.cgi?id=96&a=1TeachingBooks. (2011, August 9).

Tingle, T. (n.d.) Tingle’s bio. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from http://www.timtingle.com/tingle-s-bio.html

Tim Tingle, Jeanne Rorex Bridges (Illustrator), T. (2013, April 7). Tim Tingle. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/116578.Tim_Tingle

“Tim Tingle.” Something about the author, edited by Lisa Kumar, vol. 287, Gale, 2015, pp. 178-181. Something About the Author, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GLS&sw=w&u=boon41269&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CXRMMDA642091500&it=r. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

“Tears are for happiness…”

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

i-lived-on-butterfly-hill-9781416994022_hrWritten By: Marjorie Agosìn

Illustrated By: Lee White

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers – New York, NY,  March 4th, 2014

Awards: Pura Belpre Award – 2015

Themes: As a war emerges in Chile much uncertainty arises for its people. Through out the novel the author writes of themes of hope, human rights, equality, friendship/family, and the role of politics in society.

Summary: A revolution is occurring in Chile, the home of Celeste Marconi. Within this revolution her family is torn apart as she goes to the US and her parents go into hiding. She leaves all she knows – her language, city, family, and way of life – not knowing when and if she will return. She goes to the US uncertain and scared also not knowing the damage being done to her country and parents.

Respnose: What factual information did you learn? Did anything surprise you? How do you know if this information is accurate? (information books, biography, some historical fiction).

Well, initially, I never knew (or could not remember) that Chile actually went through a period of being ruled under a dictatorship – where many of the authors descriptions of events actually occurred. There were book burnings, kidnappings, curfews, unbelievable rules, and how people went into hiding and were exiled. I took to the internet to find that much of the information was true from the story. However, what surprised me was that the dictatorship lasted far more than a handful pf years – but 17. For over a decade the Chilean people were sentenced to live a life of rules, beatings, anxiety, and living in constant fear. All in all, I was very surprised of the “realness” that the author depicted.

As Brave As…

As Brave As You

By: Jason Reynoldsas-brave-as-you-9781481415903_hr

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Published:  Atheneum Books For Young Readers – New York, NY, May 3rd, 2016

Awards: Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book – 2017, Schneider Family Book Award – 2017, Kirkus Prize Winner

Themes: As the title tells, one of the major themes of this book for young readers is bravery. However, it takes a spin on the aspect of bravery – concentrating on the true meaning and who really is brave in situations. As well, the other themes that the text dapples with is friendship, family, and forgiveness.

Summary: For Genie and Ernie, they spend half of the summer with their grandparents – moving from the big city of Brooklyn, New York to the country in Virginia. The boys figure out a lot while they are away from their consistently fighting parents. The learn the truth about their family and secrets are revealed. Ernie thinks he knows what love is. They both learn to love and forgive their grandparents. How to shoot guns and come back from terrible accidents. Ultimately however, they learn how blood is much thicker than water.

Response: What values were conveyed through this book? How were these values or social views conveyed to the reader?

The true values of family resonate through this book is the boys attempt to understand bravery and how they are brave within each other, and how their family members also possess the qualities of bravery. Although the concept of bravery drives the story and theme – the value of family and the love for family members is ever present. This value is coupled with forgiveness of family members, and how family is one of the strongest bonds that one can have (what ever type of family that may be – blended, friend family, cat family etc). The author conveys this value of family through the entire text with first, fighting and potentially divorcing parents, the bond of brothers, getting to know grandparents and other close friends, and all that the boys go through. From birds, and inside-outside room, late night walks, rolling down hills, and shooting guns, and being scared the author conveys it all through the entire ride of the story.


“Everything, and everyone, is Interconnected.”


We Are All Made of Molecules

By: Susin Nielsen

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Published: Wendy Lamb Books- New York, Ny, May 12th, 2015

Awards: Snow Willow Award Nominee, Shelia A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize Nominee

Theme: In today’s society we all should embrace the aspect of diversity within families. This story embraces just that. As the theme of this book is diverse families and learning how to grow, learn, and love a non-traditional blended family.

Summary: As Stewart, his cat, and dad move in with Ashley’s and her mom they had no idea that Ashley’s dad and boyfriend would be living in the back yard. As well, Stewart and Ashley never knew how much they disliked this move or each other. They both battle themselves, their parents, the cat, and the many obstacles of middle school and all of the secretes that each of them keep.

Response: What is the theme of the book or a poem within a collection? Do you think this is a worthwhile theme for elementary children? Explain.

Although elementary school children would not be able to read this independently, they would greatly benefit from listening or being read to this book/sections of it. Blended families are an extremely relevant aspect in todays societies, as well as divorce and co-parenting. Being that the entire theme of this book evolves around this central theme, and learning how to cope, adjust, and understand the other perspectives of people in your life – I feel that this is extremely relevant to read to elementary school kids to share in their own, very probable, lives and to teach acceptance of other peers lifestyles.