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.

Pieces of Property…

freedomovermeFreedom Over Me

By: Ashley Bryan

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books – New York, NY, September 13th, 2016

Awards: Newbery Honor Book – 2017, Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book – 2017, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book – 2017

Theme: As documents from an estate fall into the hands of the author, he takes a spin on them in a very interesting way. The documents he uses as the premise of this book are real slave auction papers and an appraisal from a plantation that each of these eleven slaves were apart of. The author explores the over arching theme of value – both monetarily and through life experience and dreams of becoming free.

Summary: The story is told through the perspective of eleven slaves, apart of the Fairchilds Estate, which is soon to be sold. Each individual has an incredible skill and talent, but one that is not valued as they are only seen as property. However, the text gives a voice to the voiceless and their dreams are heard through free verse writing.

Response: How did the book make you feel? How does it relate to your own experiences? Did you make any connections to other books you have read?

This book was very emotional for me as I was reading. The author created a story for each of these individuals and gave them a craft, a story, and a voice through their dreams of freedom. It was truly marvelous the way the words fell on the page – written in free verse form. At the end however, it is where it all began to sink in – the small glimpse of reality that I can gather from all of this, when the real documents were put into the book.

Ironically, I just finished reading Brown Girl Dreaming. These texts were related in ways they shouldn’t have been – African Americans, 100 years later, still struggling to find their place in the world and remaining voiceless because of fear.

“But on paper, things can live forever. On paper, a butterfly never dies.”

Brown Girl Dreaming

By: Jacqueline Woodson brown-girl-dreaming

Genre: Poetry – Free Verse

Published: Puffin Books – New York, NY, August, 28th, 2014

Awards: Coretta Scott King Award – 2015, Newbery Honor – 2015, National Book Award for Young People’s Literature – 2014, NAACP Image Award – 2015, Sibert Honor Winner – 2015, and the E.B. White Read Aloud Award – 2015

Theme:  This free verse poetic tale covers many themes, as a young girl battles being African American in the South – where freedom is supposed to be real. As the aspect of freedom is explored in this book, other themes such as: family, equality, racism, friendship, and belonging.

Summary: Jacqueline Woodson lives in a world of uncertainty. Plagued by the narrow mindset of many white Americans in the south – “Jackie” struggles with the move to South Carolina and subsequent visits as she and her family later move to New York. Jackie attempts to come to terms with the narrow mindsets, but also battles an internal battle of finding her own personal identity away from the strict mindsets of her teachers and family. Jackie views the world in a way that no one seems to understand – and attempts to find her way through one particular avenue.

Response: What elements of the author’s style and language drew you into the book? Explain and give examples.

Generally, I enjoyed how the book was written from the author’s own perspective and life experience. As well, the authors style – written completely in free verse – helps to eloquently tell the story in a song like fashion. Some parts of the text are written in scattered perspectives, and others simply flow as her mind pours with ideas and thoughts in a way that makes us all wonder and think about life as we know it.

“No past.No future.
Just this perfect now.”

“When we can’t find my sister, we know / she is under the kitchen table, a book in her hand, / a glass of milk and a small bowl of peanuts beside her. / We know we can call Odella’s name out loud, / slap the table hard with our hands, / dance around it singing ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain’ / so many times the song makes us sick / and the circling makes us dizzy / and still / my sister will do nothing more / than slowly turn the page.”

“I do not know if these hands will become Malcolm’s—raised and fisted or Martin’s—open and asking or James’s—curled around a pen. I do not know if these hands will be Rosa’s or Ruby’s gently gloved and fiercely folded calmly in a lap, on a desk, around a book, ready to change the world . . .”

“Sometimes, I don’t know that words for things,
how to write down the feeling of knowing
that every dying person leaves something behind.”

“Then I let the stories live
inside my head, again and again
until the real world fades back
into cricket lullabies
and my own dreams.”

A Migrant’s Tale

61zny2d40vlPancho Rabbit and the Coyote

By: Duncan Tonatiuh

Genre: Fiction

Published: Abrams Book for Young – New York, NY, May 1st, 2013

Awards: Pure Belpré Honor for Narrative – 2014, Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for Younger Children – 2014

Theme: Although with the main characters being a rabbit and a coyote, and mimicking the tale of Little Red Riding Hood – this book mirrors the experiences of many individuals from Mexico trying to come over to the United States. The book mirrors the theme of immigration, but also discusses the hardship and destruction of the lives of those trying to find a better life.

Summary: Pancho Rabbit’s father has left for many years, trying to gather and make enough money so that his family can move to a better place. Papa Rabbit is scheduled to come home, but as the day turns to night fall he never returns. Young Pancho Rabbit sets out on a quest to find him – packing all the food and goodies that the family prepared for Papa’s arrival. However, along the way Pancho Rabbit meets a Coyote as a travel companion, but things turn for the worst for young Pancho as their journey comes to a close.

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.

Although immigration is a topic of much debate in this country, I would use this book as an anchor to this heated topic. I would use this in a social studies setting when addressing any aspect of immigration – not just those from Mexico to the United States. More specifically, I would use this as a resource in a compare and contrasting model to the immigration of many people to America – like those to Ellis Island and in other early American migrations, versus the current migration we have today. Ultimately, I would speak on the positive sides – the similarities and the want to have a better life. The students would explore these different topics, and relate it to the world today: brainstorming social justice for these people and how to accept them into our country.

“You are……”

You are (Not) Small91hafs5l57l

Written By: Anna Kang

Illustrated By: Christopher Weyant

Genre: Fiction

Published: Two Lions Publishing – Allentown, PA, August 5th, 2014

Awards: Theodore Seuss Geisel Winner – 2015

Theme: As this short, cute, and funny book targets developing readers the theme that can be taken from this book is perspective. As the story has different fuzzy characters they all have different perspectives about the other – classifying and characterizing them differently then the way they personally feel. Simply, it is all about perspective.

Summary: Are you small or big? Are you not small? Are you not big? This short story goes through two fuzzy characters debate on who is big and who is small. As they can not come to an agreement – a surprising twist of characters show up and help them settle their differences.

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 this book is very short, and the text is quite repetitive – this book takes on the theme of perspective in a very appealing and friendly way to young readers. Everyone may see the same thing – a person, an activity, a sport etc. but experience it in a completely different way. This short story takes that on as the perspective of the characters differ in how they see themselves in relation to how someone else sees them. I feel this is a valuable lesson to teach children about honoring those different perspectives and viewpoints that others may have about something and respecting them: a valuable lesson to learn even at a young age.