Category Archives: 4th – 6th Grade

Hailstones and Halibut Bones by M. O’Neil

Hailstones and Halibut Bones is written by Mary O’Neill and illustrated by John Wallner is a collection of poems about colors.  Ms. O’Neill takes a variety of colors and makes them almost come to life. The language of the poems make you feel the colors and sense the mood of each color.  The descriptions she uses and the illustrations allow the reader to feel the color. It is a wonderful book to use to help students express how they feel at different times. Colors in…

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The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 The Field Guide

The Spiderwick Chronicles are a series of books that follow the Grace children through a world full of adventure and mystical creatures. In Book 1 The Field Guide, the Grace children move with their mother into an family home that is very old and falling apart. The children quickly learn that this house is very different and is definitely more than meets the eye. They are not the only ones living in this home, it is full of mythical creatures and one very interesting book, “Arthur Spiderwick’s Field…

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The Dead Family Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle

This is a summary of a story about family, fiestas, and friendship.  It has colorful illustrations.  My students enjoyed the book. The Family Diaz was going to celebrate the Day of the Dead at the the Land of the Living. The living humans were friends with the Family Diaz.They used an elevator to get to the Land of the Living. On their way there Angelito got lost and meet Pablo, who was wearing a skull mask. They both ran away from a parade and  when…

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A Handful of Seeds by Monica Hughes

I am always in search of new literature that will teach my students in different ways. Currently we have embarked on an adventure of learning, reading and writing through picture books. The book, “A Handful of Seeds” delves into the bonds of family while navigating the realities of our communities such as homelessness and death. The connections of hardy seeds and hearty children were not missed as my class of 5th graders studied the social implications of this beautifully written picture book. We learned new…

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Belle Prater’s Boy

Student’s are able to make connections with the young boy Woodrow; living with his grandparents and being awkward. They also enjoyed and make connections with trust, judgment and acceptance.   Woodrow’s mother, Belle Prater disappears, so he goes to live with his grandparents, in Coal Station, Virginia.  Next door lives his cousin Gypsy, who lost her father.   Although she is the town beauty, she has hidden sorrows of her own,  Gypsy is curious as to what happened to Belle Prater (her aunt) and is…

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Seedfolks by Paul Fleishman

   Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman is a 12-chapter book with 12 different characters. The common factor to these main characters is their neighborhood, which is dilapidated and riddled with gangs and violence. Each chapter has an individual plot, but all main characters are joined by the setting which is a vacant lot and low-income apartment complex. The book is great for teaching theme and character development. The characters are influenced by their common goal, which is to clean the vacant lot and begin to garden.…

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Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

I have read this book to several groups now and always have had an captivated audience. Duck decides to ride a bike for the fun of it and greets the animal on the farm as he passes by. After spying a parked red cruiser, he decides to take a ride. As he passes the rest of his barnyard friends, they all express their opinions in their native tongues (moo, meow, squeak, m-a-a-a, etc…) Just like people, they all think something different. Some are scared, one…

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The Jumping Tree by Rene Saldana Jr.

The Jumping Tree was written by Rene Saldana Jr. and was published in 2001 by Random House.  It tells the story of Rey Castaneda who is struggling to get through middle school.  Half of his family is in Mexico, the other half is in Texas.  His best friend often leaves for long periods of time because his family has to find field work in other parts of the United States, thus leaving him feeling alone at school.  The students are really enjoying that the book…

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Holes by Louis Sachar

The story begins with Stanley Yelnats, a kid who is under a  suppose curse. A curse that has since followed his family.  Now Stanley had a choice of jail time or go to an all  boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where they are spending their days, digging holes to “build characters.  Stanley develops determination and perseverance and new found friendships with the other campers.    Holes is  a wonderful story that my students and I  enjoyed.  I would recommend this book to other teachers. 

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Rules by Cynthia Lord

This story is  told from the perspective of Catherine, the 12-year-old sister of David, an autistic 8-year-old. Catherine is dealing with finding a place in a family that seems to be centered around coping with David’s needs. Catherine’s mom is divided between managing a home business and providing David the care and therapy he needs.  Though Catherine’s parents are, in a way, neglectful of her needs, they aren’t portrayed as bad parents. For example, there are a number of times in the novel where David is  expecting…

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