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Reader's Theater

Grandview Newspaper

Second Grade 2006-2007

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Rickie and Henri
by Jane Goodall
This is a quiet yet candid story about Rickie, a chimpanzee who lost her mother in a brutal hunter's attack, and who was taken from the rain forest to be sold in Brazzaville, Congo Republic. Goodall does not shy away from the imagined suffering a chimpanzee infant would experience in such circumstances yet the story remains elegant. Rickie bonded with the Congolese man who took her home and found it intolerable when he left on a business trip, so she became deeply attached to the family dog, Henri. School Library Journal Excerpt (Unit: Habitats, Animal Behavior, Friendship)

Owen and Mzee: The Story of a Remarkable Friendship
by Isabella Hatkoff
Video Clip News Stories:

- News Story WABC

- News Story CNN

When the six-year-old contributor to this book saw the photograph documenting the extraordinary friendship between a baby hippo (Owen) and a 130-year-old giant tortoise (Mzee), she persuaded her father to help tell their story. Originally an e-book, the hardcover version begins with images of the duo, whetting readers' appetite and providing reassurance as the potentially disturbing plot unfolds. After a scene depicting a pod of hippos near the Sabuki River in Kenya, the text describes the 600-pound baby's displacement and separation from the group during the 2004 tsunami. Children witness the challenging rescue and meet the knowledgeable staff at an animal sanctuary. From Owen's first approach for protection to Mzee's unexpected tolerance, the photographs, mostly by BBC photojournalist Greste, capture the pair eating, swimming, snuggling, and playing together. School Library Journal Excerpt (Unit: Habitats, Animal Behavior, Friendship)

The Other Side
cover cover by Jacqueline Woodson
A story of friendship across a racial divide. Clover, the young African-American narrator, lives beside a fence that segregates her town. Her mother instructs her never to climb over to the other side because it isn't safe. But one summer morning, Clover notices a girl on the other side. Both children are curious about one another, and as the summer stretches on, Clover and Annie work up the nerve to introduce themselves. They dodge the injunction against crossing the fence by sitting on top of it together, and Clover pretends not to care when her friends react strangely at the sight of her sitting side by side with a white girl. Eventually, it's the fence that's out of place, not the friendship. School Library Journal Excerpt (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Friendship, Diversity)

Across The Alley
cover coverby Richard Michelson
The poignancy of two boys who can be friends only at night is revealed brilliantly in both text and rich watercolor art. Willie's dad, a starter in the Negro leagues, expects that his son will pitch in the majors. Abe's Jewish grandfather, a violinist in the old country before World War II, is sure that his grandson will be the next Jascha Heifetz. What neither man knows is that the boys have been sharing their talents across the alley at night. When Abe's grandfather discovers that it's Willie's beautiful music he has been hearing, he invites him to perform at the temple. As Willie's dad, Abe's grandfather, and the two boys walk there, people stare at them, and Willie's dad says, "Ignorance comes in as many colors as talent." Nobody wants to sit by Willie and his father in the temple, but the boy is as victorious at the recital as Abe is at the baseball game later that afternoon. Best of all, supported by their loving families, the expectation is that they now can be friends in the light. -- School Library Journal Excerpt (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Friendship, Diversity)

Freedom Summer
cover coverby Deborah Wiles
(Set in Mississippi during the summer of 1964.) "John Henry Waddell is my best friend," begins the narrator of this story, set during a summer of desegregation in the South. John Henry is black and the narrator is white, so the boys swim together at the creek, rather than at the whites-only town pool, and the narrator buys the ice-cream at the segregated store. When new laws mandate that the pool, and everything else, must desegregate, the boys rejoice, until the town fills the pool with tar in protest and the narrator tries to see this town, "through John Henry's eyes." -- American Library Association
(Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Friendship, Diversity)

An Apple for Harriet Tubman
cover cover by Glennette Tilley Turner
Based on a distant relative's recollection about the woman who would become the conductor of the Underground Railroad, this story follows Harriet from her early slave days to adulthood as a free woman. As a child, her favorite job on the plantation was picking apples in the orchard. She washed and polished them for the people in the Big House, but she was never allowed to eat any of them. When she did steal one, she was beaten. Apples became a symbol for Tubman of freedom and wealth. As an adult, she was eventually able to purchase her own house in upstate New York. On her property she planted many apple trees, the fruit of which she shared with the people in her town.-- School Library Journal Excerpt (Unit: Civil Rights, Feelings, Hopes, Dreams)

That's Good, That's Badcover

coverby Marjorie Cuyler
At the zoo a boy is lifted into the sky by his balloon. "Oh, that's good. No, that's bad! "--because the balloon pops when it hits a tree deep in the jungle. "Oh, that's bad. No, that's good! "--because the wide-eyed lad falls into a river and climbs onto a hippo, who takes him to shore. Thus incidents that appear to be positive turn out to be negative (and vice-versa) as the child confronts an extremely colorful bevy of animals, including baboons who chase him up a tree, a hissing snake whom he mistakes for a vine, a kindly elephant who pulls him out of quicksand and a stork who flies him back to the zoo, into the arms of his parents. After reading the book, children wrote their own "Good/Bad" stories. Our podcast features the work of Mrs. Vicker's class.
-- Publisher's Weekly Excerpt (Unit: Character, Setting, Problem, Solution)

My Two Grandmotherscover
by Effin Older
Lily has two grandmothers, Bubbe Silver and Grammy Lane. They both pass on their family traditions to Lily, so she gets to enjoy golfing, gefilte fish, and Hanukkah with Bubbe and snowshoeing, red flannel hash, and Christmas with Grammy. Then Lily invites both women to her house for the "first traditional grandmothers' party." .. -- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Family, Feelings)

Mailing May
cover coverby Michael O. Tunnell
Five-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff begs to visit her grandmother, but her parents cannot afford to send her. In Idaho in 1914, the train is the only way to make the 75-mile trip over the mountains. The Pierstorffs come up with an unusual solution? Mailing May. Sending her as a package is a third of the cost, and since her mother's cousin Leonard handles the railroad mail car, she does not have to travel alone.
-- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Family, Feelings, Letter Writing)

The Gardener
cover coverby Sarah Stewart
Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds, plenty of stationery, and a passion for gardening to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim. .. it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece, which she hopes will be powerful enough to make even Uncle Jim smile.
-- Book Flap excerpt
(Unit: Communications, Letter Writing, Generosity, Sharing)

Dumpling Soup
cover coverby Jama Kim Rattigan
A large, loving Hawaiian family gathers to celebrate the new year with Marisa making mandoo, or dumplings, a traditional holiday feast. Told from the seven-year-old child's breathless point of view, the event is also a tribute to diversity. The Yang family, like much of the population of Hawaii, includes members of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and haole (white) descent. And everyone loves mandoo, especially the funny-looking ones that Marisa makes. Though the text is low-key, the characters and their affection for one another are infectious. -- School Library Journal (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Family Traditions)

My Very Own Room
cover coverby Amada Irma Perez
Tired of sharing a room with her five brothers, an eight-year-old Mexican American girl longs to find a corner of the house she can call her own ("a place where I could read the books I loved, write in my diary, and dream"). She persuades her mother to let her take up residence in a storage room, and the whole family gets involved in refurbishing the new space. An uncle who is heading back to Mexico donates his bed; one brother finds a wooden crate to use for a bookcaseAand the books come from the library. Based on Perez's own childhood, this bilingual picture book paints an affectionate portrait of life in a big family that often provides a home base to newly arriving relatives and friends ("There was always a long line to use the bathroom, but the toilet seat was always warm") and offers strong testimony to the heroine's resourcefulness.
-- Publisher's Weekly (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Wants and Needs, Family)

cover coverby Christopher Myers
Ikarus Jackson, a new boy on the block, surprises his neighbors one day by flying above the rooftops with his "long, strong, proud wings." People start to whisper, though, and soon those whispers turn to taunts, disdain, and finally even dismissal from school. One quiet girl, someone who knows loneliness herself, doesn't think the winged boy is strange. She runs through the streets, searching the clouds for her exiled schoolmate, only to find a policeman yelling at him to get down from the edge of a building where he perched with the pigeons: "Could the policeman / put him in jail for flying, / for being too different?" She musters her strength to tell the laughing onlookers to leave him alone, and she tells her new friend "what someone should have long ago"--that his flying is beautiful.
-- Amazon (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Diversity)

Moosekitos: A Family Reunion
cover coverby Margie Palatini & Henry Cole
The moose with the enormously long "moosetache" returns in another adventure. This time, he organizes a family reunion. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. Although Moose wants everyone to spend time together, the extended family members quickly separate to enjoy different pursuits. Only the invasion of a swarm of "blasted buggy biters" can unite the kinfolk as they huddle together in a "moosekito" net woven out of Moose's "moosetache." Cole's bright, pencil-and-acrylic illustrations are busy and full of humor, with words often printed on top of the art. The characters' faces are expressive and packed with personality. Enlarged, colored text in different fonts emphasizes key words. The puns are fun for confident readers, and work well when read aloud. -- School Library Journal
(Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Family)

Dear Annie
cover coverby Judith Caseley
Beginning at her birth and continuing at least until she can read and write, Annie's grandfather sends her frequent loving messages on appropriately decorated notepaper. At first Annie's mother writes the replies. Soon Annie becomes involved, dropping the envelope into the mailbox, dictating to her mother, and finally writing herself. She and her grandfather write of their lives and their visits--of sleigh rides and ice skating, of drinking hot chocolate and reading library books. -- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Communication, Language for Social Interaction)

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