Category Archives: Novel

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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Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

This book is about a young girl who went from growing up in a wealthy home, and becoming poor when she had to migrate with her family to the United States and face the struggles of living in a new culture, working in the fields, and the death of a loved one. Highly recommend it! Students enjoy it when I have read it with them! It helps students learn about diversity and to embrace their culture no matter what that may be.

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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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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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“Bud, Not Buddy”

This novel certainly pulls on the heart strings. The author does such a good job in adding description that opens up the emotional senses that it’s difficult not to feel what Bud is going through in his journey to finding his father. Students, as well as myself, have made connections when Bud goes through loss of his mother as some students have experienced loss, it’s not hard to connect those feelings. The fact that Bud had to go through living in  temporary foster care and…

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Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a book about a sneaky clever fox that every night tricks the three farmers who live close to his den. Night after night , he steals from one of the three farmers.  But one day, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, the three farmers decide to put a stop to the nonsense and go in a search of the thief.  The farmers find the den and begin the race. Will they catch the fox?  Who is smarter the fox or the three farmers?…

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Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust is a realistic, fictional story.  The story takes place in Oklahoma during the great Dust Bowl around 1934.  The story is about a little girl (around the age of 12) who is growing up on a farm, and is a witness to the everyday struggles of her family.  She express her thoughts about the struggles with the wind and the dirt.  She gives very vivid details of what everyday life is like in such a desolate place.  Her dream is to…

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The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Must read for all upper elementary and middle school students.  Girls will be shocked and furious to see how females are viewed and treated in other parts of the world.  Boys are interested in the dynamics of war and how it affects others.  Both will gain a greater appreciation for living in the United States of America. Parvana is an 11 year old girl forced to become the breadwinner after a series of tragic events occurred in her family.  Once the Taliban took control over Afghanistan, the…

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Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped is a delightful story of first love as told by two narrators: Julianna and Bryce. The summer before second grade, Juli is excited to have a new friend when Bryce moves in across the street from her. She immediately “flips” for his blue eyes and looks. He spends the next six years avoiding her. Throughout the story, major events are told in both narrator’s perspectives.  By the eighth grade, Juli realizes Bryce is not as wonderful as she first thought.  His actions and lack…

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