27 March 2008

My Wednesday Book Club, 2nd semester

In the fall I posted about the books I've been reading with Curious Girl's class most Wednesdays. I go for lunch, and read to the girls afterwards, and then CG and I head over to her violin lesson and spend the afternoon together. Here are the book selections from the winter/spring Wednesday club, starting with city books to go with their city unit (Some other city books to consider are recommmended at the Miss Rumphius Effect, by the way). Then I tried to work on some art books (although every book for this age is an art book, too), and mostly tried to work on books with strong and interesting girl characters. I have only one or two more books to read, as the end of the school year is fast approaching and I'll be on the road again for most of one week. The very last book I'll read to them is one we are writing together! I'll post about our collaborative authoring project separately. Here's what we've read together so far this year:
  • Knufflebunny Too, by Mo Willems. This Caldecott-honor book hardly needs any additional publicity from me, but the girls loved it. It's a great story of two city girls resolving the problem of two Knufflebunnies in one classroom! And a great two page spread of Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. This was the first book we'd read together that many of them had already read, or where they knew the characters (since almost all of them knew Knufflebunny, which a surprising majority pronounce just like Curious Girl does, "snufflebunny." Actually, there's an interesting phonetic moment in the book where we learn that Trixie pronounces the K in knuffle.)
  • Black Cat, by Christopher Myers. I actually don't care for the scansion in this book about the ramblings of a black city cat, but the illustrations are amazing. Lots of cats-eye insights into what makes a city. We had a great conversation about whether there is a fire in the apartments/projects shown on one page, or whether the author just likes to draw with red and yellow. It's a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.
  • Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson, by Sue Stauffacher. A biography of Althea Gibson, presenting her as a girl whose mentors recognized her gifts and could see beyond her rough edges and childhood ways. Great colors--we had a good discussion of what the colors meant in the different illustrations when Althea was mad or playing tennis.
  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,by Mordecai Gersten. I tear up at the end of this Caldecott-winning book every time. It's a true story about Philippe Petit, who did walk a tightrope between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. One of Curious Girl's classmates said at the end, "I wish it were about a girl."
  • The Silk Princess, by Charles Santore. While I think the font is too small on the pages, that's a minor quibble about a wonderful story. Ever wonder how silk got discovered? By a very brave little princess long ago in China. Gorgeous illustrations and a strong girl story: what's not to like?
  • The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County, by Janice Harrington. I love, love, love this book, about a girl whose dream is to catch the most beautiful chicken in her grandmother's yard. Both she and the chicken learn a thing or two as the book progresses, and the collage art is amazing. The scansion is superb-this is a book meant to be read aloud.
  • Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing and Sylvie Kantorowitz, a great story about a resourceful girl whose bedtime-avoidance drawing comes to life (and how she finally gets to sleep). Great kid-like, crayon-y drawings, and a cool story.
  • Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully. After the comment about The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, this was a natural selection: a Caldecott-winning story about a young girl whose enthusiasm for the tightrope and empathy for her teacher leads both of them to new heights. I see there are some sequels, too. (This same author has several other series, including one about a mouse family. Check out the utterly delightful wordless book School.)
  • Nora's Stars, by Satomi Ichikawa. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Nora's nighttime adventures during a visit to her grandmother's rather magical house--dolls and toys come to life and the stars do some amazing things, and Nora makes a smart choice about the stars and the sky.
  • Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. Told from the perspective a a young girl thinking about her elderly great aunt, this book reveals the wanderlust and love of beauty passed down from generation to generation within a family. "You must do something to make the world more beautiful," each character learns.


Leighton said...

A lot of these are new to me, but I certainly remember Miss Rumphius! I'm glad to see the recomendations for the others.

Bardiac said...

Wow, these make me want to read some kids books! :)

Songbird said...

I know some of these; it's been a while since we had a picture book reader around the house. These all sound great!

Magpie said...

Thanks - that looks like a great list to import into my Amazon wishlist!!

And I love your use of 'scansion' - I don't think I've ever seen/heard it used before, but I know just what you mean.

halloweenlover said...

We don't have any of those, I'll have to check them out.

Thanks for the congrats!