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Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Written by Abraham Lincoln

Illustrated by James Daugherty

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Four score and seven years ago……..Do you know the rest?  The Gettysburg Address is probably one of the most famous speeches made in history.  Everyone is at least familiar with some of it or the president who spoke it.  In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln stood under a November wintery sky and delivered a two minute speech that changed history.   James Daugherty has created wonderful pictorial interpretation of this infamous speech.   Each page contains a part of that speech with  an interpretation of that particular part of the speech.   Students with higher reading skills will be the target for this book, while the illustrations will appeal to many others.

I remember having to memorize this speech in 5th grade. Oh what a joy it would have been to have a book such as this in which to do the memorizing.  The illustrations bring the book to life, capturing the events in bright, bold colors.  The illustrations also help the reader with comprehension.   After the speech is finished the author has added descriptions of his paintings and his interpretation.  This book would be a wonderful tool in teaching the Gettysburg Address.

Along with the speech itself, there is a bit of added history from Daugherty.  President Lincoln was not informed until just a few days prior, that he would be speaking at all.  It is rather remarkable that Lincoln felt his speech was a “flat failure”, yet here we are 100+ years later and it is still remembered as a turning point in our progress as a nation.  The most poignant line that we as a nation should strive for is still as relevant today as it was back then – “a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth”.

  • Gettysburg AddressTITLE: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
  • AUTHOR:  Abraham Lincoln
  • ILLUSTRATION: James Daugherty
  • PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman and Company
  • REVIEWER: Cheri Liddy
  • ISBN: 978-0-8075-4550-8
  • GENRE: History

Falcon in the Glass

Written by: Susan Fletcher

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Renzo is an apprentice learning to blow glass and earn his own place among the best glass makers in mediaeval Venice. But he only has two weeks to prove that he can do all of the required steps or be left as a drudge waiting on others in the shop for the rest of his life. What he doesn’t know is that there are things, and people more important than blowing glass into a beautiful goblet or bowl. While trying to save himself and his family, he must decide whether or  to save others. His understanding of the problem will make readers ask if they would take such chances for strangers.

Fifth grade readers will enjoy this look into the dark and mysterious canals of Venice. They will also be enthralled by the early process for making glass and the hard work and extreme heat required.

The story shows what happened to people who lived on the fringes of society at that time. It is a most sobering look at how orphans were left to fend for themselves as outcasts in an earlier time.

The dialogue and action make the story fast paced and engaging for grade 5 readers, as well as those younger and older. For classroom or home use, this book makes a fantastic read aloud option for children from grades 3 – 9.

Extras: End pages give information for readers wanting more information about blowing glass, old Venice during the Renaissance or the annual Carnivale that continues even today. Readers can also meet the author and get more extras by going to: KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com

  • Falcon in the GlassTITLE: Falcon in the Glass
  • AUTHOR: Susan Fletcher
  • PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013
  • REVIEWER: Elizabeth Swartz
  • FORMAT: Hardcover/300p
  • ISBN:  978-1-4424-2990-1
  • GENRE: Historical Fiction
  • LEXILE: 660

 

Geometry (Ace Your Math Test)

Written by Rebecca Wingard-Nelson

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Geometry (Ace Your Math Test) delivers a succinct review of geometry concepts, vocabulary and skills. Although this book is written on a fifth grade reading level, it is appropriate for older students and will most likely appeal to middle and high school students interested in test preparation.

In one or two-spread chapters, the text presents math concepts such as triangles, perimeter, Pythagorean theorem, symmetry and the coordinate plane. Topics are typically presented through a minimum of text and include a call-out box with definitions, one to three brief steps of explanation and sample test questions; however, some topics are covered through only definitions and sample questions.

The book does not provide repetition, practice sets or multiple examples. Instead, it offers only the highlights of the topic and a quick refresher question or two. The concise text may appeal to those who struggle with reading comprehension. For those who want more practice, additional practice worksheets are available at (http://www.enslow.com/displayitem.asp?type=1&item=3529#.UbJ4gqIo7EY).

The book design offers lots of white space, clear diagrams, and easy-to-find topics. Geometry also offers an introduction about taking tests, frequent sidebars with helpful test-taking hints and explanations of many geometry symbols. The hints vary, but are mostly simple ideas such as “mark your answers clearly” and “focus on each problem.” The sample questions include “multiple choice,” “show your work” and “explain your answer” examples. This variety and the specific techniques addressed with each one may be valuable to homeschoolers or other readers who are not used to standardized or typical classroom tests. The backmatter includes books and websites for further practice as well as an index.

  • GeometryTITLE: Geometry (Ace Your Math Test)
  • AUTHOR: Rebecca Wingard-Nelson
  • PUBLISHER: Enslow Publishers
  • REVIEWER: Heather L. Montgomery
  • EDITION: Paperback: 104 p.
  • ISBN: 978-1464400100
  • GENRE: Nonfiction/Math/ How-to
  • LEXILE: 860

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Written by Kathi Appelt

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The scouts in this exciting adventure in the deep, boggy southern swamp happen to be two raccoons but that only adds to the enjoyment in store for fifth grade readers. The readers will understand the pair are on duty inside an abandoned car even though the raccoons have no idea of what a car actually is in the outside world. The idea of it adds humor without end as recurring thunder storms add a bit of zip and lightning to their otherwise cozy outpost.

But back in town, twelve-year old Chap Brayburn is doing everything in his power to help save the swamp. It was always a special place where his grandpa would spend time and then come back and tell endless stories about it. Now there are developers from the far away big city that want to buy the swamp and change it forever. Chap is not about to let that happen and pledges to do whatever he can to save it because he knows that’s what his grandpa would do if he were still alive.

It will take more money than one boy and his Mama can make by cooking and selling sugar pies.  But through comprehension of many well placed clues, readers will begin to see parallel plots between the ‘coon brothers and Chap and their hopes will rise for the salvation of the swamp. Many surprises and twists are in store for readers in this excellent new book by award winner Kathi Appelt, who is well known for her books, The Underneath and Keeper. This will make a fantastic read aloud for home or school for grades 4-7 even though it has been assigned a reading level of 5.4 for the average independent fifth grade reader.

Readers will appreciate the short chapters, fast paced action and good hearty belly laughs.

  • True Blue ScoutsTITLE: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
  • AUTHOR: Kathi Appelt
  • PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books For Young Readers
  • REVIEWER: Elizabeth Swartz
  • FORMAT: Hardcover/327 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4424-2105-9
  • GENRE: Fiction: Adventure, Humorous
  • LEXILE: 810
  • EXTRAS: Meet the Author Video and other extras at KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com

 

 

July Titles

Pdf: July Titles 5th Grade

 

The Arab World Thought of It by Saima S. Hussain, ISBN 978-1-55451-476-2

… It is a picture and text guide to exciting and little known facts about some things very familiar to readers, but who may not know much about the Arab contributions to our world. …

 

Deviants: The Dust Chronicles by Maureen McGowan, ISBN 978-1-6121-83671

Get ready for a fast-paced read through a well-thought out dystopian world. Glory, sixteen years old, is left alone in a harsh post-apocalyptic society, not only to fend for herself but also to take care of her crippled brother. …

 

The Garden of My Imaan by Farhana Zia, ISBN 978-0-7636-5685-0

A lively story about choices facing today’s Muslim American girls.  Aliya is a typical fifth grade girl: she wants to talk to a boy she has a crush on …

 

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup, ISBN 978-0-7636-5685-0

Princess Adela wishes everyone would stop treating her like, well, a princess. She would rather dirty her hands in the garden than learn how to embroider or waltz or drink tea. …

 

Losing It by Erin Fry, ISBN 978-07614-6220-0

The most unlikely kid finds comfort by running.  Bennett Robinson and his dad bonded over baseball games and hamburgers, talking more about the Dodgers than his mom’s death …

 

Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair by C. C. Payne, ISBN 9780761462255

“Let your light shine” is the piece of advice from Grandma Bernice that Lula does NOT want to follow.  She is bullied by her former BFF, Kali, and she is afraid to try out for the talent show.…

 

Mirage (Above World) by Jenn Reese, ISBN 978-0-7636-5418-4

In book two of the Above World series, Aluna, the sea-dwelling Kampaii, and her three genetically modified friends race across the desert to the great city of Mirage…

 

Ruby Redfort: Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child, ISBN 978-0-7636-5468-9

Ruby’s parents get thrown overboard a ship. They are assumed dead. All the sea animals seem to have gone crazy. …

 

Showtime: Meet the People Behind the Scenes by Kevin Sylvester, ISBN 1554514878

Ruby’s parents get thrown overboard a ship. They are assumed dead. All the sea animals seem to have gone crazy. …

 

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey by Gary Golio, ISBN 0547239947

This is the latest in a series of books by Gary Golio about Jazz musicians. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey is a brief, but compelling biography of John Coltrane’s journey …

 

The Ugly One by Leanne Statland Ellis, ISBN 978-0-547-64023-5

Micay, Beautiful Round Face, is known by far too many in her Incan tribe as Millay, the Ugly One. She keeps to herself as much as possible because her ugliness has been a source of torture for her as long as she can remember. …

Lara’s Gift

Written by Annemarie O’Brien

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Above everything else, Lara loves the dogs. Lara works with her father, a kennel steward raising borzoi — a special kind of wolf-hunting dog.  In imperial Russia, where the Tsar still rules, the winters are endless and the wolves must be kept at bay, therfore the dogs are highly valued. Lara knows how the kennel works, but she also dreams of what will happen to the dogs she loves. These dreams let her get to the births faster, and ease their pain earlier. Lara’s mother says the visions are a blessing; her father says they are a curse. Lara herself must come to terms with the visions before she can go to battle for her own destiny. How can she convince her father and herself that despite her gender and her visions, she should continue to work with the dogs?

Lara’s challenging coming-of-age story is also a study of contrasts. The coziness of the kennels contrasts with the vast Russian wilderness. The sweetness of the dogs she works with contrasts with their fierceness when dealing with wolves. And her own image of her work stands starkly against what the norms for a Russian girl at that time. This will make an exciting read aloud for third grade and up, though fifth grade and sixth grade readers may want to zoom ahead on their own too.

We move back into time and across the continents, not only with the story, but with the words O’Brien uses. Her characters use Russian slang, which is explained in the glossary. Their tone feels slightly formal, which also befits the estate they are living in. And in O’Brien’s extensive author’s note, she offers a short history of the area, a history of the dog breed, and a note cautioning readers not to run out and get one of these giant dogs.
Laras Gift

  • Title: Lara’s Gift
  • Author: Annemarie O’Brien
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-307-93174-0
  • Genre: fiction, historical
  • Lexile: 1010

Showtime: Meet the People Behind the Scenes

Written by Kevin Sylvester

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Ever seen Taylor Swift in concert? She’s amazing, so talented. Her concert is sold out months in advance. Do you imagine Taylor just showing up the afternoon of the show, dressed, holding a guitar? If only it was that easy. Showtime: Meet the People Behind the Scenes gives just a glimpse into the work and people that come together to make the Taylor Swift experience become magical for her fans.

When you open the book, don’t expect to see photos and articles about your favorite entertainers. What you will see is exactly how many other people are involved in the production of just one concert or play. Fifth grade readers will be amazed, literally hundreds of people are needed to bring the Taylor Swift concert to you.

Ever give thought to who made the guitar Taylor is playing? Long to know how long it took to make that guitar? Want to know how to become an instrument maker?  All of that information is in Showtime.

Did you know artists’ need songwriters, choreographers, vocal coaches to become and to protect their onstage persona? Yes, Taylor doesn’t just jump on stage and make up everything as she goes along. It takes a lot of time, a lot of creativity and a lot work from a lot of other people to make sure everything is perfect for the entertainer.

Then, there’s set and costume designing. Every single detail of the stage starts as an idea, moves onto a 2D picture, then is modeled at a 1:25 ratio. That means someone has to spend the time to make minature replicas that represent the idea. The model is used to check lighting, see if there is a chair blocking an actor, is the backdrop going to overwhelm the entertainment and much more. Costume designing not only makes the clothes, but searches out for period clothing, tailors the sizes, assures that the costume stays clean after each performance. Details. Details. Details!

Many other professions are highlighted as well. Truckers, critics, advertisers, pyrotechnicians, and promoters all play huge roles in the entertainment industry. All of these people start their job way before Taylor Swift gets on stage.

What is great about this book is the way each profession interviews someone actually doing that job. Readers get a greater level of comprehension with these added features. You get a feel of what life is like to hold down that job. At the end of each chapter/profession is a really informative list of what it takes to be in that field. It says under “Want to be a Pyro Person?” that the top requirement is to “do well in school…do well on tests…know how to study.” In other words, you can’t just wake up in the morning and decide to do this job. To have a career in entertainment takes a true commitment and drive to be the best. Do you have what it takes?

  • ShowtimeTitle: Showtime: Meet the People Behind the Scenes
  • Author: Kevin Sylvester
  • Publisher: Annick Press
  • Reviewer: Ann Norris
  • ISBN:1554514878
  • Genre: Careers, entertainment industry
  • Lexile: 1010

Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair

Written by C. C. Payne

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“Let your light shine” is the piece of advice from Grandma Bernice that Lula does NOT want to follow.  She is bullied by her former BFF, Kali, and she is afraid to try out for the talent show.  She wants any friend beside Alan who is a confirmed geek.  She wants very badly to fit in and nothing she does brings her closer to that goal.  None of that matters to Grandma Bernice who brings love and joy to Lula’s life along with  a whole lot of instructions.  Lula doesn’t appreciate Grandma Bernice’s sayings until she dies unexpectedly.  Lula has a hole in her life that she doesn’t know how to fill.  Mama doesn’t have the time to do all that Grandma Bernice used to do.  Kali still attacks and the talent show looms.  She feels ready to explode.  When she least expects it, Lula feels that Grandma Bernice is with her, helping her to find a way to “let her light shine.”

Lula’s strong Southern voice takes center stage in this school story.  She puts in little asides by saying “Here’s a little tip for you…” mimicking the way Grandma Bernice gives advice in bite-sized pieces but with her own style.  The characters are lovingly drawn and uniquely individual.  Once Lula finds the courage to go to Kali’s house to give her Grandma Bernice’s last hand-made quilt, she has embraced her grandmother’s teachings and can face the world again.  Because the voice is so strong, this book is a good class read aloud.  Students could make a book trailer using Lula’s tips as a script for a literacy activity.  There are discussion questions on the author’s website: (http://www.ccpayne.net/lula-bells-discussion-guide/).

  • Lula BellTITLE: Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair
  • AUTHOR: C. C. Payne
  • PUBLISHER: Amazon Children’s Publishing, 2012
  • REVIEWER: Risa Brown
  • EDITION: Hardcover, 266 p.
  • ISBN: 978-0-7614-6225-5
  • GENRE: Middle-grades fiction, school stories
  • LEXILE: 950, Reading level 5.6

Deviants: The Dust Chronicles

Written by Maureen McGowan

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Get ready for a fast-paced read through a well-thought out dystopian world. Glory, sixteen years old, is left alone in a harsh post-apocalyptic society, not only to fend for herself but also to take care of her crippled brother.

The book follows  the well established tradition of dystopian novels going all the way back to the 18th century, and maybe even earlier. The Brave New World, 1984, The Chrysalids, Fahrenheit 451The Giver are but a few of the novels that depict a society trying to cope with a world gone awry. In more recent memory we have The Hunger Games.

Maureen McGowan crafts a detailed world for her characters to live out their lives. Asteroid showers and volcanic eruptions have almost destroyed the earth. The population of this novel lives in the domed city of Haven. As in all dystopian novels there is the inside, in this case Haven, and the outside. But is inside a comfortable place? The inhabitants comprise the Management, living a life of luxury; the Employees, eking out a miserable existence; the parasites who do nothing; and the Deviants of the title, whose life is in danger. Discussion points can be many; for example, the rise in the number of dystopian novels, world-creation and the evolutionary path.

Brief descriptions paint the complete picture: “Impossible to believe that one family lived alone in the nearly 5000-square-foot space.” This in today’s McMansion world! There is an ease of comprehension.

Glory is a Deviant, her gift (?) that, if emotionally aroused, she can kill merely by making eye contact with another, be it rat or human. Her brother has a different Deviance, and is a parasite besides. In Haven’s harsh society he would probably be expunged. Glory hides him away from the authorities, scrambles to find food enough for two on rations for one. It is a hard world, and a cruel one. The threat of being thrown ‘outside’ where the Shredders roam, and the dust destroys is ever-present.

The story moves along briskly. There is friendship and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice; above all a feisty heroine who keeps us glued to the page, even though we fault her for her faulty decisions. A great read.

  • DeviantsTitle: Deviants: The Dust Chronicles
  • Author: Maureen McGowan
  • Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Hardback:   312 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-6121-83671
  • Genre: Novel
  • Lexile Score: 970

The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations, and Amazing Facts

Written by Saima S. Hussain

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The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations, and Amazing Facts Is written for fifth grade level readers and above. It is a picture and text guide to exciting and little known facts about some things very familiar to readers, but who may not know much about the Arab contributions to our world.

Young readers are curious and ready to discover facts that maybe even their parents don’t know so reading this or studying this in the classroom will keep them engaged with new and fascinating information.  The scalpel, for instance, might be familiar to the reader, but the fact that the first one was the invention of an Arab physician may come as a surprise. Teachers and librarians will agree that this book is full of interesting factual information that will enhance World History and Social Studies.

The book aligns with the core standards for the fifth grade through middle school level reader and the language is easy to comprehend. The additional pictures and captions will assist even a lower level 5th grade reader with a great understanding and will spark more interest in what some might feel is a dry historical topic.

More information about the series is available on the website of the publisher at www.annickpress.com but the last pages of the book will also give further reading, samples of the Arabic Alphabet, and common words translated into original Arabic words giving extra activities for the 5th grade classroom teacher or for parents who home school their children.

The book is a great addition to classroom, library, or home collection of books for the 5th grade level reader and will serve as a great resource when comparing other cultures and their contributions to our world. Discussions and further study regarding language, sports, medicine, architecture, and astronomy will be enhanced with The Arab World Thought of It.

  • The Arab WorldTitle: The Arab World Thought of It
  • Author: Saima S. Hussain
  • Publisher: Annick Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-55451-476-2
  • Reviewer: Terri Forehand
  • Genre: Nonfiction, culture, inventions
  • Lexile: 1140
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