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Molly

Rockefeller

Annotations
Science Fiction/ Fantasy Annotations


Hunger Games 2008
By Suzanne Collins
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2008.
Pages 374

Summary:

This book is told from the point of view of Katniss Everdeen. The book is set in a
futuristic world where America is split into 12 districts plus the capital city. The Capitol is
the wealthiest place and is in complete control of the districts. All of the districts are in
poverty and must send all of the things they make to the Capitol. The Capitol forces
each district to select one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to fight each
other to death once a year. Katniss is selected from her district and must depend on her
skills with a bow and arrow that she learned from her father who was killed. In the
arena where they are forced to fight each other Katniss and the boy from her district,
Peeta, begin to fall in love with each other, which adds yet another factor to the story.

Personal Response:

This book was definitely a page-turner and kept me on the edge of my seat. I
loved how the book was centered on teenagers and young adults, yet had real
problems that that age group normally does not deal with. This forces them to
critically think about what they would do if they were in their shoes. I loved this
book because it made me wonder what a world like that would look like and how
completely insane it would be to force children to fight to the death. I kept thinking
about what I knew on ancient Greek stories and how they applied to the book,
especially the story where they sacrificed 7 people from the village to keep the
monster out. This book and the series are some of my favorites.

Strengths/Weaknesses (Considerations):

S: This book truly engages the reader and gives enough information about
the characters so each reader can connect to someone in the book and find meaning
from what they are reading. Although this book has a rather serious tone and theme,
the author still makes the book have humor and happiness. The use of descriptive
words that are used allows for great visualization. This book has also been turned
into a movie, which often times gives students the motivation to read the book
before they watch the movie.

C/W: I believe that there arent true weaknesses to this book. Overall I think
the book allows the readers to critically think about how this is set in the future and
how war affects people in many ways and the various ways to fight for survival.


How this book might be used:

I would use this book with middle schoolers and have them read it by
themselves and use book groups to talk about the different themes and the deeper
meanings in the book. I believe that this book would allow students to better define
what friendship looks like and how it is defined, how war affects lives, and family
roles. The reason I would do upper middle school is because they would be able to
see different themes occur and would be at an age that is relatable to the characters.
After reading the book and discussing the different themes I would have students
find all the uses of symbolism in the books. In groups students would make posters
and present their ideas.

Folktale

Across the Alley By Richard Michelson
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Published October 2006 by GP Putnams Sons Books for Young Readers
Realistic Fiction Diversity Religion Ethnicity
32 pages

Summary:

This book is about two boys who live across from each other in different
apartment type buildings where there is an alley that separates their rooms and the
windows face each other. The two boys become friends by talking to each other at
night and soon discover that they want to learn about each others talents, yet there
is a stigma on them being friends outside of the safety of their rooms. Abe is Jewish
and Willie is black. The two are pressured from their parents and grandfather to
become something and practice that skill; for Abe it is to play the violin and for
Willie it is to play baseball. Yet, once the two boys teach each other how to do their
skill/hobby they discover that they should be reversed, Willie is a natural violinist
and Abe picks up on baseball easily. The turning point in the story is when Grandpa
finds Willie playing the violin instead of Abe.

Personal Response:

I found this book to be extremely remarkable and touching. Its a picture
book that is able to address the topic of prejudice and children being pressured by
outside sources. It shows how sometimes it takes innocent children to show that
there really shouldn't be this divide or something standing in the way of friendship.
Also, the illustrations in this book were amazing and beautifully done. I loved this
book and will be adding it to my library.

Strengths/Weaknesses:

There are many strengths to this book because it makes a pretty serious
topic fun and enjoyable for any reader of any age. I also found that this book has
many different layers and that depending on the age and experiences of the reader

there will be different things they are feeling and relating to. I think it's a great book
to read to upper elementary students or middle school because of the depth of the
content.

There arent many or any real weaknesses to this book, other than the fact
that I think there could have been more explanation to the reasons why they
couldnt see each other or what was going on in the boys head of why they couldnt
be friends in the day light, instead of just at night.

How this Book Might be Used:

This book would be great to do as a read aloud with students in upper
elementary school. I would use it with 5th or 6th graders because I think they are
developmentally ready to discuss some of the context that the book covers. This
book would go extremely well with talking about prejudice and breaking through
stereotypes, which can be a little bit more difficult to discuss with younger students
in such depth. I think that stereotypes and prejudice are extremely important to
begin talking to and with students at an early age so that they are exposed and can
learn. This book gives students a way to learn about an experience that they might
not have encountered. After and during the read aloud I would have students get
into groups and come up with questions that they have about what is happening in
the book and make comments on what they are thinking and whats going on in
their mind. Some of their questions could be Why did people in the temple move to
the other side when Willie sat down? This is something that students might be
confused about and not fully understand what peoples mindsets are behind that
type of action. The level of this context shows that the students need to be more
mature to go at this topic at a deeper level.

Social Studies Text


Title The Train of States
Author and Illustrator
Peter Sis
Publisher, Year Published and pages
Greenwillow Books 2004
Summary:
The Train States is a nonfiction picture book that has Uncle Sam on a train going from state to state. On each
page it gives the information of the states capital, motto, state tree, state bird, state flower, and the date of the
statehood. This information has a basic layout that is easy to follow and appealing to the eye. Each state is
represented as a train car and is decorated depending on what the state represents.

Personal Response to Book:
When I was first flipping through this book, I found it to be amazing at how much information it was able to
give states about each of the 50 states. Its basic information to give students/readers an idea of what is
important to that state and what can be found in that particular state. I thought this book would be great to
keep in my classroom for any age level in elementary school because students could easily pick it up and look at
pictures and begin gaining background knowledge on the United States of America.
Related CCSS, Iowa Core or Professional Standard:

3.5. Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate
information relevant to a given topic efficiently.

This book is related to this standard based on the way the book is set up. The state capital, tree, flower, and

bird uses symbols towards the bottom of the page to represent what each one is. This will allow students the
opportunity to use these keys and sidebars to distinguish what the text is saying.
Social Studies Standard: III: People, Places, and Environments:
This book meets this standard because students will be learning about the different environments of each state
and the various places across the United States.
Age/ Grade Level and How It Would Be Used:
I would use this book with the 3rd or 4th grade while introducing the states to them. This book does a great
job with introducing the states by giving bits of information. I would allow students to use this book to gain a
little bit of information and decide which state they want to research or learn more about. This means that the
book would be kept in the front of the room so students could look at it on their own while working on various
social study units. I would also read our state out loud so students would understand the set up of the book.
I could also use this book in a different way only hitting on a few states at a time. While talking about a state
that comes up in our history lesson I could use this book to look up that particular state to gain more
information and broaden our background knowledge before we begin that lesson.

Science Text
Title
Living Color
Author and Illustrator
Steve Jenkins
Publisher, Year Published and pages
Houfhton Mifflin Company 2007
Summary:
This picture book is about various animals and is sorted by their color; red, blue, yellow, green, orange,
purple, and pink. Gives bits of information about each animal listed in the book. Talks about what the purpose
of the animals color and how its used to help them in their environment or even attract a different type of
animal. Each animal was illustrated by a collage and is very accurate.

My Personal Response to Book:
I found the book to be very informational in the sense of what was being said about the different animals in
the book. I found it to be interesting, but I wouldnt use this book as a read aloud from start to finish because
of the layout. This book would be best one-on-one.
Related CCSS, Iowa Core or Professional Standard:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2

Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide
a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

Book meets this standard because the book is set up in a way that has different details about each
animal, yet the main idea of the book is how the color of the animals helps them in some way or why
it is important. So students will have to they will determine the central idea of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.6

Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in
the text.
Students will be able to meet this standard while using the book b/c as they read and complete their
projects they will have to understand why the author wrote the text and what its purpose is.
Age/ Grade Level and How It Would Be Used:
I would use this book with 6th graders in a science class to go over the different types of animals. We
would read some out loud, but this is more of a book where students could read it individually while doing
research on various animals and what/how their colors help them survive. This would be a great book to
encourage students to find what intrigues them to do more research and want to read more on their own.
Students at this age group are more likely to want to research on their own or with a partner, which means
this book would be best used as a possible research material. It would be kept in the front of the room with
other books on that particular subject.

This book would also be an awesome trade book where students can pass it around the room to get their
minds thinking about what they want to learn more about for animals. Because of the books layout, students
will be intrigued by how color affects an animal.

Math Text
Title
One Is a Snail Ten Is a Crab
Author and Illustrator
By April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre
Illustrated by Randy Cecil
Publisher, Year Published and pages
Candlewick Press 2003
Summary:
One Is a Snail Ten Is a Crab is a mathematical book that works on adding, grouping, and multiplying.
The whole book has the reader count be the amount of feet are on an animal and then on the next
page has that animal plus the snail, therefore adding one. This pattern continues until you get to the
number ten, then the grouping and multiplying begins. It shows that if you group two crabs together
you will get 20, which you can also get by 2 multiplied by 10. This begins to give students the
connections to see how grouping works and that you dont have to count each individual foot to get
the total. Instead you can skip count by 10s, 5s, etc.
Related CCSS, Iowa Core or Professional Standard:
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.2

Count within 1000; skip-count by 5s, 10s, and 100s.

Students are meeting this standard by using this book because it introduces skip counting
and grouping by 10s and 5s (within 1000) to find the total number of legs on the various
animals.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.5

Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning
introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
The book truly gets students thinking about how the story was formatted because its main
purpose was counting and then skip counting/ grouping. Students will need to understand
format in order to follow the book and truly understand the contents in the book.
Age/ Grade Level and How It Would Be Used:
I would use this book at the beginning of a math unit in 2nd grade or in the middle of a math unit
working on skip counting by 10s or skip counting in general. If used in the beginning of the lesson it
would better give students a visual of what is happening and give them the opportunity to better
connect how skip counting works. We could even count all of the feet to fully grasp the concept.
Whereas if I used this book in the middle of a lesson or end of the lessons on skip counting it would
be more of a review for the students. I would have them read along with me and say the numbers out
loud before we read what the answer would be and then we would read the book to see if we were
correct.

Biography

ashley bryan words to my lifes song


By Ashley Bryan
Photo credit to Bill McGuinness
Published 2008
58 pages

Biography Diversity

Summary:

This is an autobiography about Ashley Bryan. Its written in a format that has
some of his quotes on every page that are mixed in with a text where he describes
his life in a storytelling way. The quotes are highlighted and stand out so the
readers eye goes straight towards them. Throughout the book there are
photographs taken by Bill McGuinness that capture Ashley working with others and
creating his own art work. This is a story that shows how Ashley and his family
began with nothing and how he became such an amazing artist who does drawings,
paintings, stained glass, and more.

Personal Response:

Before reading this book I had never heard of Ashley Bryan and immediately
after finishing the book I got online and looked him up. I was able to see many of his
pieces in his book, but online I was able to see more of a variety and range of his
actual work that hes completed throughout his life. I found that the way he grew up
was very interesting and came to realize all of the work he had to do to get to where
his is today. I think this would be a great book to have on my shelf for students who
are interested in pursing art as their career, especially since it shows someone who
started with nothing.

Strengths/Weaknesses:

This book had many strengths, for instance it has a lot of vibrant colors that
truly make the reader engaged and want to look inside the book. Throughout the
book the pictures change from photographs to drawings and to paintings which
really shows the reader how fantastic and able this particular artist is in his style of
art. I also really enjoyed how the author showcased some of his quotes from poetry
and life throughout the novel. This really pointed out his beliefs and reflections on
what life is all about and what he finds to be important. Many of these quotes are
very inspirational.

There were a few things to take in consideration about this book. For one,
each page is jam packed with various pictures that are in a collage with a quote in
the middle. This can be a bit distracting while reading it, so I would make sure to
guide students through the beginning part of the book so that they arent distracted
by all of the features. Other than that, I think the language is easy for students to
read and the content isnt difficult to understand.

How I would use this book:

I would use this book with 3rd graders or any grade above that because the
language is easy to understand and I believe students at various grades would be
able to use it and apply it to what they are learning about. I would not directly assign
this book for students to read. I would give it as a book talk and keep it in my
classroom for the students to use and read on their own or for an assignment. I
wouldnt assign this book because I think some students would be able to better
connect to the story and draw from it. If I had a student who was particularly

interested in art I would suggest it to them so that they can think about how art has
impacted someone elses life and how they too can succeed.

Realistic Fiction


Across the Alley By Richard Michelson
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Published October 2006 by GP Putnams Sons Books for Young Readers
Realistic Fiction Diversity Religion Ethnicity
32 pages

Summary:

This book is about two boys who live across from each other in different
apartment type buildings where there is an alley that separates their rooms and the
windows face each other. The two boys become friends by talking to each other at
night and soon discover that they want to learn about each others talents, yet there
is a stigma on them being friends outside of the safety of their rooms. Abe is Jewish
and Willie is black. The two are pressured from their parents and grandfather to
become something and practice that skill; for Abe it is to play the violin and for
Willie it is to play baseball. Yet, once the two boys teach each other how to do their
skill/hobby they discover that they should be reversed, Willie is a natural violinist
and Abe picks up on baseball easily. The turning point in the story is when Grandpa
finds Willie playing the violin instead of Abe.

Personal Response:

I found this book to be extremely remarkable and touching. Its a picture
book that is able to address the topic of prejudice and children being pressured by
outside sources. It shows how sometimes it takes innocent children to show that
there really shouldn't be this divide or something standing in the way of friendship.
Also, the illustrations in this book were amazing and beautifully done. I loved this
book and will be adding it to my library.

Strengths/Weaknesses:

There are many strengths to this book because it makes a pretty serious
topic fun and enjoyable for any reader of any age. I also found that this book has
many different layers and that depending on the age and experiences of the reader
there will be different things they are feeling and relating to. I think it's a great book
to read to upper elementary students or middle school because of the depth of the
content.

There arent many or any real weaknesses to this book, other than the fact
that I think there could have been more explanation to the reasons why they
couldnt see each other or what was going on in the boys head of why they couldnt
be friends in the day light, instead of just at night.

How this Book Might be Used:


This book would be great to do as a read aloud with students in upper
elementary school. I would use it with 5th or 6th graders because I think they are
developmentally ready to discuss some of the context that the book covers. This
book would go extremely well with talking about prejudice and breaking through
stereotypes, which can be a little bit more difficult to discuss with younger students
in such depth. I think that stereotypes and prejudice are extremely important to
begin talking to and with students at an early age so that they are exposed and can
learn. This book gives students a way to learn about an experience that they might
not have encountered. After and during the read aloud I would have students get
into groups and come up with questions that they have about what is happening in
the book and make comments on what they are thinking and whats going on in
their mind. Some of their questions could be Why did people in the temple move to
the other side when Willie sat down? This is something that students might be
confused about and not fully understand what peoples mindsets are behind that
type of action. The level of this context shows that the students need to be more
mature to go at this topic at a deeper level.

Historical Fiction Annotation


Number the Stars
By Lois Lowry
Published 1989
Historical Fiction Religion War
138 Pages

Summary:

This is a historical fiction novel that focuses on a family who helps a Jewish
girl escape to freedom from the Nazis. This storys view point is told from
Annemarie who is 10 years old and lives in Copenhagen. Its set in the World War II
era. The story follows the ten year olds family on their quest to help and keep safe
Ellen who is a Jew ad Annemaries best friend. They do this by having Ellen act like
Lise who is Annemaries older sister who had been killed earlier in the year. There
are numerous times where they are tested and almost found by the Gestapo.
Annemarie is put to the test when she delivers something to the boat where the
Jews are being hidden and sent out to Sweden when she is stopped by an officer.
This is one of the climax of the story and you must read it to find out what happens
next.

Personal Response:

I read this book for the first time when I was in fifth grade and absolutely
loved it and found my passion for learning more about World War II. So, when I
heard that we had to find a historical fiction book my mind went straight to this
book and a I found my old copy and reread it. I absolutely loved it again and was
able to find different meanings for the book than I did the first time I read it. I felt
like I was connecting to different characters and able to think more deeply about

how it would actually feel to be put in that situation and what I might have done. I
also thought more about the time it was set and from all of my research and history
classes I was able to better picture different things based on what I already knew
about that time period.

Strengths/Weaknesses:

There are many strengths to this book. One is that the book is written for
students in elementary school so it uses vocabulary in a way where they will
understand it and relate to the material. This allows them to better understand an
experience in the past that is often very difficult for someone to comprehend.
Another strength is that book doesnt purely focus on the historical part, instead it
focuses on the story and getting to know the characters. There are many times
where you are laughing with them or getting scared and anxious that they will get
caught. The story is a real page turner that even was awarded the Newbery Medal in
1990 as the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
While I was reading this book I was trying to find ways that it could improve
or something to consider. The only thing that I could come up with is that the book
could use more detail when describing the Gestapo or something that was
happening during that time period so that it is easier to relate to. Other than that the
book was amazing.

How this book might be used:

I would use this book with fourth or fifth grade students because it is written
in a way where they will understand what is being said and are at a developmental
level where they can relate and understand what was happening in the world in the
past. World War II can be a difficult subject to understand because of what
happened. I believe that at this age the students will be ready to begin conversations
and learning about what happened. I would use this book as either a read aloud or a
choice book for a group book for students. This way I could be somewhat apart of
the conversations incase students were to have questions about what they were
reading and didnt understand a portion of the text. I would use readers theater
because there are many scenes in the book where we could act them out or students
create their own script of what they might of done if they were to face an officer
from Gestapo. I believe there are many other things that could be done for a
reflection and while reading to book to engage with students and deepen their
understanding. If I were to use this book at an older age I would have students do
more research on the topic because I think they would be better able to do this
independently and without teacher help.

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