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Third Grade 2005-2006

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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)

The Story of Jumping Mouse
cover cover by John Steptoe
"You will reach the far-off land if you keep hope alive within you." The words of Magic Frog give courage to the young mouse on his long and perilous journey to reach the wonderful land of legend. He faces many obstacles on his quest and sacrifices much to help others in need. But the mouse's compassion and faith in himself prove to be a source of great power...and bring him rewards even beyond his dreams.(Amazon)
(Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Talent, Risk Taking, Resilience, Perseverance)

In the Snowcover
by Vicki Churchill
A delight to the eye and the intellect, In the Snow, like At the Beach (Holt, 1994), is an impressive and successful description of selected Chinese characters. A walk through a forest on a snowy day offers opportunities to illustrate 10 pictographs?tree, forest, pond, rest, rain, snow, sun, moon, sparkling, and bright. The colorful cut-paper pictures are a mix of intricate detail and striking design. Children and adults will marvel at the creativity and skill of the artist. The illustrations offer much to contemplate so that even those giving the book a casual glance will find themselves intrigued. The glossary is an excellent resource; it includes a cut-paper picture, the character, its meaning in English, a transcription in Mandarin Chinese, and "approximations" of pronunciation. -- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Communications, Diversity, Chinese New Year)

cover cover
by Jerdine Nolen
At the end of the school year, Mortimer takes a plant home from his third-grade classroom. Throughout the summer, Plantzilla continues to grow and Mortimer continues to love and nurture it. Strange things ensue. His quiet, boring, well-ordered household, complete with well-mannered cat and prize-winning Chihuahua, is totally disrupted: the plant starts to grow tentacles and to eat meat (the dog disappears) and perform all sorts of amazing feats. The boy's parents begin to worry, but the protagonist is delighted with his clever plant. --
-- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Communications, School Post Office)

Dark and Full of Secrets
cover coverby Carol Carrick
Christopher drifts too far away from shore while snorkeling in the pond, then panics when he can't touch bottom. His dog comes to his rescue.--
-- Amazon
(Unit: Feelings, Overcoming Fears)

Thunder Rose
cover coverby Kadir Nelson
Thunder Rose is an African-American child born on a stormy night abuzz with booming thunder, flashing lightning, and hailing rain. Her parents are awestruck by her remarkable gifts, which include forming a ball out of lightning, speaking in full sentences minutes after her birth, and snoring through a booming, thunderous rumble. It is clear that Rose is no ordinary child. She can lift a cow over her head and almost drink it dry, and as she grows, she does incredible metalwork with scraps of iron she finds around the ranch. She uses her handiwork to restrain cattle, round up would-be rustlers, and lasso and squeeze the rain out of the clouds. She fearlessly faces down a couple of tornadoes and calms them with her "song of thunder." Nolen and Nelson offer up a wonderful tale of joy and love, as robust and vivid as the wide West. -- School Library Journal (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Talent, Risk Taking, Resilience, Perseverance)

The Blue Roses
by Linda Boyden
(Sample the book on Lee & Low Website)
Since Rosalie's birth, her grandfather has cared for her while her mother works in a fish cannery. Their happiest times are spent in their garden among the flowers. There are several rose bushes of various colors, but the child is disappointed that there aren't any blue ones. When Rosalie is almost 10, her grandfather dies. She and her mother miss him terribly until Rosalie dreams of him in a magnificent garden with blue roses. ... What sets Boyden's work apart is her depiction of contemporary Native American culture, with Rosalie's family living in a small-town community. -- School Library Journal (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Family, Feelings)

Hooray For You!: A Celebration of "You-ness"
cover coverby Marianne Richmond
In this celebration of the individual, Richmond encourages readers to embrace their unique traits and talents. Written in rhyme, the text defines "you-ness" as something "Quite hard to describe,/it's your style of being, your rhythm or vibe./It's the grand sum of you that sets you apart./Your body and brains plus your spirit and heart." -- School Library Journal (Unit: Individual Development & Identity - Talents, Traits)

Grandfather Tang's Story: A Tale Told with Tangrams
cover coverby Ann Tompert
Two competitive fox fairies go through rapid physical transformations until a hunter's arrow reminds them of their true friendship. This original tangram tale is framed by the loving relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter as they share the story under the shade of an old tree, and culminates in a tangram of an old man and a girl likewise resting. Tangrams, ancient Chinese puzzles in which a square is cut into seven traditional pieces (each called a tan), are arranged into patterns used to help tell the story.
-- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Family, Visual Arts, Global Connections)

Boxes for Katje
cover coverby Candace Fleming
After the war, there was little left in the tiny Dutch town of Olst. The townspeople lived on cabbages and seed potatoes. They patched and repatched their worn-thin clothing, and they went without soap or milk, sugar or new shoes." Set in post-World War II Holland and based on an actual incident, this story illuminates a little-known episode in history. To offset the devastation left by the war, the Children's Aid Society and other relief agencies encouraged American students to send boxes of basic necessities to victimized children. When Katje in Olst receives such a box from Rosie in Mayfield, IN, the two begin a correspondence that eventually triggers a relief effort that enables this small Dutch town to make it through an unbearably frigid winter.
-- School Library Journal
(Unit: Friendship, Extending Help, Global Connections)

Red-Letter Day
cover coverby Patricia Lakin
The characters are multicultural and multilingual, and women are shown in the work force. In Information Please, library services include computer searches and word-processing programs. The librarian willingly takes her lunch hour to deliver a book to a senior citizen. Mail carrier Norma Rivera explains the mail process to a group of third graders in Red Letter Day. -- School Library Journal
(Unit: Communication, Language for Social Interaction)

The Jolly Postman
cover coverby Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Fifteen years ago, long before anyone else thought of tucking actual letters and notes inside a book, Little, Brown published The Jolly Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. This wonderful book gave children a chance to read letters sent from one fairy tale or Mother Goose character to another. Among the funny notes was one from Jack, who lolled on a sun-drenched island, thanking the Giant for the gold that let him afford such a nifty vacation. All this amusing correspondence was deftly illustrated and the book attracted hordes of eager readers.
(Unit: Communication, Language for Social Interaction)

A More Perfect Union
cover coverby Betsy and Giulio Maestro
Once again, the Maestros have produced a simple, attractive, and informative book about a milestone in American history. Here they cover the birth of the Constitution from the initial decision to hold the convention, through the summer meetings in Philadelphia, the ratification struggle, the first election, and the adoption of the Bill of Rights. The facts are put forward clearly, but in no way is this a detailed account. Left out, for example, are the events leading to the Convention and the debates on the slavery issue which occured during its course. Instead, the focus is on the most basic issuethe decisions on the organization of the government which resulted in the Great Compromise. -- School Library Journal excerpt
(Unit: Patriotism, Constitution)

The Flag We Love
cover coverby Pam Munoz Ryan
In a series of earnest verses, Ryan (One Hundred Is a Family) introduces young readers to our national symbol and the ideals for which it stands ("Americans stand together/ Before ceremonies start/ And promise their allegiance/ With their hands across their hearts"), while prose insets offer historical tidbits in a sidebar format....should delight Yankee Doodle dandies everywhere, and could help spark discussion on the basic elements of democracy. -- Publishers Weekly
(Unit: Patriotism)

I Pledge Allegiance
cover coverby June Swanson
Describes how and why the Pledge of Allegiance was written, how it has changed in wording over the years, and precisely what it means.
-- Titlewave
(Unit: Patriotism)

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