The method and reason behind the madness...

The selections: Mainly, I have chosen books that were recommended during my "Transacting with Literature" class taught by Dr. Wooten at the University of TN. Some of these books were recommended by Dr. Wooten and some were introduced to me by my fabulous classmates. Additionally, some of the books were added to my database because I just love the book. Many of my entries are formatted in the annotated bibliography format in order to meet the requirements for the aforementioned class. However, many of my entries were made and labeled purely for my own convenience. How this page works: You can search by searching keywords in the top left hand corner of the page. You type in words that might relate to something you are studying or reading about and the blog will spit out the books that are labeled with those keywords. For example, WWII, give it a try. Also, you can click on the labels on the right hand side of the page or the bottom of each blog to find similar or related books. My goal: I hope to be able to add to this electronic database every time a friend recommends a book. Eventually, I would love to be able to type a key word into my search and pull a list of books to meet my needs. My request: If you are visiting this site and you can think of some books I must read, please send me an email and let me know. I'll create an entry for the book and label it appropriately to work with my other entries.

Four Seasons for Little People

Number the Stars

A Shelter in Our Car

Gunning, Monica. (2004). A Shelter in Our Car. Illustrated by Elaine Pedlar. Children's Book Press.

This moving story follows the story of a little girl and her mother who are struggling to get by after having moved to America from Jamaica. After the recent death of little girl's father, they have found their circumstances a little more difficult than they had originally planned for.

This is a great story to help children understand more about immigration and homelessness.

The Hundred Dresses

Estes, Eleanor. (2004) The Hundred Dresses. Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. Sandpiper. ReviewWanda Petronski lives way up in shabby Boggins Heights, and she doesn't have any friends. Every day she wears a faded blue dress, which wouldn't be too much of a problem if she didn't tell her schoolmates that she had a hundred dresses at home--all silk, all colors, and velvet, too. This lie--albeit understandable in light of her dress-obsessed circle--precipitates peals of laughter from her peers, and she never hears the end of it. One day, after Wanda has been absent from school for a few days, the teacher receives a note from Wanda's father, a Polish immigrant: "Dear teacher: My Wanda will not come to your school any more. Jake also. Now we move away to big city. No more holler Polack. No more ask why funny name. Plenty of funny names in the big city. Yours truly, Jan Petronski."
Maddie, a girl who had stood by while Wanda was taunted about her dresses, feels sick inside: "True, she had not enjoyed listening to Peggy ask Wanda how many dresses she had in her closet, but she had said nothing.... She was a coward.... She had helped to make someone so unhappy that she had had to move away from town." Repentant, Maddie and her friend Peggy head up to Boggins Heights to see if the Petronskis are still there. When they discover the house is empty, Maddie despairs: "Nothing would ever seem good to her again, because just when she was about to enjoy something--like going for a hike with Peggy to look for bayberries or sliding down Barley Hill--she'd bump right smack into the thought that she had made Wanda Petronski move away." Ouch. This gentle Newbery Honor Book convincingly captures the deeply felt moral dilemmas of childhood, equally poignant for the teased or the tormentor. Louis Slobodkin, illustrator of the 1944 Caldecott Medalist Many Moons, brings his wispy, evocative, color-washed sketches to Eleanor Estes's time-proven classic about kindness, compassion, and standing up for what's right. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Selznick, Brian. (2007) The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Scholastic Press.

This book has been applauded for the incredible graphics by the talented Brian Selznik. Here are a few from the book:

The Black Pearl

Odell, Scott.

My Brother Sam is Dead

The following review was taken from THIS site:
My Brother Sam is Dead tells the story of the Revolutionary war through the eyes of Tim Meeker, a young boy whose brother Sam has left the Yale and his family to fight with the Rebels. Tim can't decide if he's a Tory (sympathizer with the British) or wants to see America a free country. Ultimately the decision doesn't matter as life gets more difficult and the war continues on.

Growing up American, everything I've ever heard about the Revolutionary War has been through the eyes of brave, strong Patriots who fought tooth and limb for our freedom. This book has helped me see there is a whole other side to the story. There were towns of colonists who were just fine under British rule and didn't see a need for independence. Yet they had to make sacrifices too, for a country they didn't even believe in. I've always seen Tories as unpatriotic ignorant old people whose love for the Mother Country would never die. My opinion of them have changed as a result of this book. I think every student studying U.S. history should read this book. It will help them gain a deeper appreciation for their freedom, it will help them see there are two sides to every story, and hopefully it will help them see that war is not the best solution to a problem.

Owl Moon

Yolen, Jane. (1988) Owl Moon. Illustrated by John Schoenherr. NY. Penguin Group USA Inc. Review
Among the greatest charms of children is their ability to view a simple activity as a magical adventure. Such as a walk in the woods late at night. Jane Yolen captures this wonderment in a book whose charm rises from its simplicity. "It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling." The two walked through the woods with nothing but hope and each other in a journey that will fascinate many a child. John Schoenherr's illustrations help bring richness to the countryside adventure. The book won the 1988 Caldecott Medal.

Secret Signs; Along the Underground Railroad

Riggio, Anita, (2002) Secret Signs; Along the Underground Railroad. Boyds Mills Press.

*Sign Language
*Underground Railroad

Out of the Dust

Hesse, Karen. (1999) Out of the Dust. Scholastic.

Here is a great middle school wiki all about the great depression with reference to Out of the Dust