The Story of Ruby Bridges

Bibliographical Information: Coles, Robert, and George Ford. The Story of Ruby Bridges. New York: Scholastic, 1995. Print.

Brief Annotation: Ruby Bridges is the first African American student to walk into an all white school in the 1960’s, it was the most controversial situation but that did not stop Ruby Bridges to continue her learning.

Genre: Non-Fiction

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this: Readers who like to learn about the civil rights movement or the African American culture.

Rating/Response: 5 Students will be intrigue at how far the world has gone with segregation.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Why are you in school?

Reading Strategy: Inferences

Rationale for Strategy: This book is good for inferences because students can learn inference how history was changed.

Posted by: Lisa Lor


Library Mouse: A World to Explore

Bibliographic Information: Kirk, Daniel. Library Mouse: A World to Explore. New York: Abrams for Young Readers, 2010. Print.

Brief Annotation: This book follows the adventures of two mice who live in the library.  With the help of each other, they realize that they can research anything and create their own adventures.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 1-5

Readers who will like this: Students who love books and going on adventures will love this book.  They will gain a new insight about reading books and find that there are so many different kinds of books and ways to read books that they didn’t know before.

Rating/Response: 4 – This book is a little long but I love the ideas that it brings up and the adventures that the mice go on.  This book is a great introduction to what researching means and what students can research.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Does anyone know what the word research means?

Reading Strategy: Inferences

Rationale for Strategy: This book will definitely get the students thinking and wanting to make predictions about what may happen on the adventures that the mice take.

Posted by: Breanna Richey

Smoky Night

Smoky Night

Bibliographical Information: Bunting, E. (1994). Smoky Night. San Diego: Harcourt Brace.

Brief Annotation: This book is in the view of a boy who experienced the Los Angeles riots.  He loses his cat during a fire that is set on his apartment building and spends his time worrying about finding it.

Genre: Inferences

Grade Level: Kindergarten-4

Readers who will like this: I think this book is great for anyone who has lost someone or something and is worried they may never find it again.  I think the illustrations and pictures in this book are also very interesting and I think readers will really appreciate them.

Rating/Response: 4.5 As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed the images in this book.  They are much different from your average book and incorporate what appear to be real pictures and show the depth of despair in the riots taking place.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do we already know about riots?

Reading Strategy: Inferences

Rationale for Strategy: I chose this book because making inferences with it is very easy.  The pictures provide readers with multiple questions they can ask as well as the story line.

Posted by: Brittany Billiet

Have You Seen My Duckling?

Bibliographic Information: Tafuri, Nancy, and Nancy Tafuri. Have You Seen My Duckling?New York: Greenwillow Books, 1984. Print.

Brief Annotation: This nearly-wordless tale shows us the journey of a mother duck taking her babies on a search for one missing duckling.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Children who like animals; children who like reading pictures; children who like guessing.

Rating/Response: 4 – This book is really simple and has very clear yet detailed illustrations. Fantastic for early readers just getting into comprehension strategies.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: How do you think mother ducks keep track of their ducklings? What do you think happens if one wanders off?

Reading Strategy: Inferences, Science

Rationale for Strategy: Since the book lacks a narrative and only has minimal text, it’s a great introduction to making inferences by “reading”  the illustrations. Students can guess what’s happening and what is about to happen based on what they see in the illustrations, and have a conversation about it. This would also be a good book to tie in with early science lessons about habitats – you could ask students to infer what kinds of other animals the mother duck would find based on the habitat they’re in (a pond).

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

Seven Blind Mice

Bibliographical Information: Young, E. (1992). Seven Blind Mice. New York: Philomel Books.

Brief Annotation: This book is about seven mice who cannot see what they are bumping into.  Each mouse guesses a different object but none of them can figure out what the whole object or thing is.

Genre: Inferences

Grade Level: Pre-K-3

Readers who will like this: I think this book is perfect for children who are just learning to make inferences.  I think it provides great illustrations for them and helps them use their imaginations when guessing what comes next.

Rating/Response: 4.5 I enjoyed this book because it was a great way to introduce inferences in the classroom.  I think using books similar to this one for inferences is important.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever wondered what something was and guessed it was something that it wasn’t?

Reading Strategy: Visualization

Rationale for Strategy: I chose this book because it is a classic book that has been used for many years.  I remember reading it when I was a child but not remembering why.  It was good going back and reading it again and understanding what the lesson is behind them.

Posted by: Brittany Billiet

Half of an Elephant

Bibliographic Information: Gusti. (2006). Half of an Elephant. La Jolla: Kane/Miller Book Publishers.

Brief Annotation: The world split in half, so everything lost half of itself, including an elephant, who searches to find his missing half.  Through the journey, the half of an elephant discovers other things about himself.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 2-4

Readers who will like this: Children who like animals as the main characters; children who like interesting/different illustrations (not just drawings/paintings.

Rating/Response: 4 I thought this book was very interesting and different from any other picture books I’ve read.  It has an unusual story and the illustrations are made of all sorts of objects (things found in the garbage).

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever lost something?  How did it make you feel?

Reading Strategy: Inferences

Rationale for Strategy: This book would make a good book for teaching inferences because students can make predictions about what the elephant will do next on his journey to find his other half or if he will find his other half.  Students can also infer how the elephant and the other characters feel during the story.

Posted by: Jenna Bosch

The Umbrella

Bibliographic Information: Brett, Jan. The Umbrella. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004. Print.

Brief Annotation: This is a story about a young boy named Carlos, who lives in Costa Rica. He explores the Monteverde Cloud Forest with only an umbrella. He is determined to see lots of animals. He leaves his umbrella at the foot of a giant fig tree and climbs up to get a better look. As Carlos is up in the tree, numerous animals climb into his umbrella, one after the other, each one larger than the last. Unfortunately he does not see all of the animals, only the frog, but he states at the end that he will go back the next day in search of seeing animals once again.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K – 4

Reader who will like this: Any child would love this imaginative story about animals because the language is so vivid and the illustrations are extremely detailed. This book also includes a cultural aspect, and components of it are written in the Spanish language. Therefore, students that speak Spanish would enjoy this story as well.

Rating/Response: 5 – This is such a cute story with beautiful illustrations. It would be fun to use as an introductory read aloud for a unit or lesson about Costa Rica or more specifically, the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you think the story will be about based on the cover and the title?

Reading Strategy: Inferences

Rationale for Strategy: Jan Brett’s illustrations offer wonderful opportunities for making inferences, as the pictures on the side foreshadow what will happen next in the story. This is a common trend amongst her storybooks. Furthermore, the story kind of progresses in a pattern, allowing students to infer which animals will jump in the umbrella next and what they will do when Carlos comes back down to the ground.

Posted by: Emma Henke

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash

Bibliographic Information: Noble, Trinka Hakes. The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash. New York: Dial, 1980

Brief Annotation: A class trip to a farm becomes more exciting than expected when a cow starts crying, pigs eat the student lunches, and the hens are frightened by the boa constrictor in the hen house.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: Kindergarten-2

Reader who will like this: Students who enjoy themes that include animals or farms, and students who enjoy books with crazy situations

Rating/Response: 3, This is an enjoyable book with a cute story line and beautiful illustrations, the book is set up in such a way that children are always trying to figure out why something happened and what will happen next.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Why do you think Jimmy’s boa would eat the wash?

Reading Strategy: Inferring

Rationale for Strategy: Students will be naturally curious about what will happen next in this book, so it is a good choice for introducing the topic of inferring.

Posted by: Olivia Cyr

Betty Doll

Bibliographic Information: Polacco, Patricia. Betty Doll. New York, 2001

Brief Annotation: Betty experienced it all, never leaving Mary Ellen’s side. She offered comfort, love, and support for Mary Ellen. As Mary Ellen grew older, Betty watched as she went to college, found a job, got married, and had children. When Mary Ellen was diagnosed with cancer, she wrote a letter describing Betty’s life with her for her daughter, Trisha. The book is centered on the experiences Mary Ellen and Betty had together.

Genre: Non-Fiction

Grade Level: 2-5

Reader who will like this: Students who enjoy reading nonfiction pieces will have interest in this book. Students will be able to relate to the story if they ever owned something that was meaningful and special to them.

Rating/Response: 3. I found Betty Doll to be a warming story. I caught myself thinking about my baby blanket that I used to bring everywhere with me. The book was easy relatable and had a touching theme.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What is something that means a lot to you? Something that you can’t live without?

Reading Strategy: Synthesizing

Rationale for Strategy: Students will activate their background knowledge on the importance of childhood belongings that were passed down through their family. They will understand the memories behind such belongings like that of Betty Doll and Trisha. Students will make inferences about the experiences Mary Ellen and Betty spent together. 

Posted by: Kelsey Peterson

Tar Beach

Bibliographic Information: Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. New York: Crown, 1991.

Brief Annotation: Cassie Louise Lightfoot imagines herself flying over the city. She feels free and rich owning anything she flies over. She calls the George Washington Bridge, the Ice Cream Factory, and the Union Building her own. She plans to give the Union Building to her dad for him to own, then he won’t have to search for work and her family can live happily.

Genre: Fantasy

Grade Level: 1-2

Readers who will like this: Students who have a big imagination will enjoy this book. Tar Beach explores the creativity and imagination of an eight year old.

Rating/Response: 2. Tar Beach was an interesting story of an eight-year-old girl. I enjoyed the unique story line and the colorful illustrations.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Where would you go if you were able to fly?

Reading Strategy: Making Inferences

Rationale for Strategy: Students will explore the process of making inferences when reading Tar Beach. Students can predict where Cassie is going and understand why.

Posted by: Kelsey Peterson