Friday, October 30, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

Title: Freedom Summer

Author: Deborah Wiles

Illustrator: Jerome Lagarrigue

Publisher: Antheneum Books for Children

Topic: African Americans, Race relations, Friendship, Prejudice and Racism

Age: 4-8

Opening: John Henry Waddell is my best friend.

Summary: In 1964, Joe is pleased that a new law will allow his best friend John Henry, who is colored, to share the town pool and other public places with him, but he is dismayed to find that prejudice still exists.


Discussion questions at Teach Peace Now website.

4th grade lesson plan with activities for the classroom: 

Lesson plan template with activities for the classroom: 

Why I Like the Book:

This is a touching and simply written story that tackles the very complex issue of racism and prejudice in the south and the 1964 civil movement that would change the south, Freedom Summer. The story is written in first person and told by Joe, a young white boy who is friends with John Henry, an African-American boy. Freedom Summer follows two best friends in a time and place where segregation and racial inequality ruled. When a law is finally passed that ensures the two boys could finally visit public places together, they realize, it takes more than just a new law to change old ways of thinking. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Maple & Willow Together

Title: Maple & Willow

Author: Lori Nichols

Illustrator: Lori Nichols

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, November 4, 2014

Topic: Sisters, Friendship, Nature

Age: 3 - 5

Opening: Maple and her little sister, Willow, were always together.

Summary: Nature loving sisters, Maple and Willow smooth over a rough patch in their friendship in their own unique way.


Check out this story hour kit from the author’s website 

Why I Like the Book:

The author illustrator captures sisterhood perfectly! Having younger sisters myself, I saw so much of myself and them in Maple and Willow. I cracked up when Maple came out of hiding to correct Willow’s counting. The sweet pencil illustrations wonderfully shows the relationship between sisters and siblings in general. Siblings play together, and learn from each other. Siblings argue, siblings fight, but most importantly, siblings love each other and at the end of the day, want need each other. This story shows young children how to appreciate their sibling’s similarities and differences in all of their interactions.