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Campers Choice – Grades 2-3 — 18 Comments

  1. Let the Children March b Monica Clark-Robinson Illustrated by Frank Morrison
    This book address the children’s crusade that helped Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement make significant changes in history. The inside cover has a timeline where each date is a poster held by a child. The timeline continues to the back cover. There are additional notes and resources in the back of the book. The illustrations are compelling and add richness to precisely chosen words that described brave actions undertaken by the children from Birmingham and surrounding areas as they marched for freedom. They stepped up to take the places of parents who could not afford to risk going to jail and losing their jobs. Unfortunately, thousands of children were arrested and packed into jail cells. Media attention was garnered and President Kennedy joined in the pleas for civil right changes. These marches are hard to make understandable to young children, but this book does a superb job.

  2. Islandborn by Junot Díaz

    This book has amazing illustrations! It is so colorful and clearly shows off a brilliant imagination. The story is based off a school assignment where all the kids are supposed to draw a picture of their first home, the class is a diverse group of kids from all over the world. The problem for the main character, Lola, she was a baby when she left the island and can’t remember anything. It sets her on a mission to talk with people in her neighborhood who describe what they remember the most from the island. In the end, Lola realizes that the island is in her whether she can remember it or not. It is a great book because the teacher tells the class that all the pictures are windows that can be looked through when you are unsure about where a classmate immigrated from. There are some Spanish words intermingled in the text that won’t detract from the story if a child doesn’t know the meaning. Overall, a great book to teach about how diversity is good and everyone has a story.

  3. Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker
    This is definitely a great chapter book for your accomplished readers and high-potential boys. I really was impressed by the excellent literature being offered for girls in our Camp Read A Lot books, but there is also a real need for great books addressing the challenges boys face trying to fit in, specifically, gifted and high-potential boys. This book fills that need! It took me a while to settle in with this book, but once hooked, I read it in one sitting. The main character, Waylon, is a fourth grade boy. Various characters and their fitting-in problems are presented, and two cliques emerge, The Others and The Shark-Punchers. Waylon has a sister with problems, also. Wow, I thought, “There isn’t much of this book left to read. How is the author going to solve all these problems before I get to the end!” Ms. Pennypacker came through. This book is rich with issues kids in 3-8th graders struggle with. There are opportunities to do further research on many scientific ideas Waylon presents. Super science, social, safety, and geography projects could be generated from reading this book as a class. 5 Stars

  4. Wallpaper by Thao Lam/2018/Owlkids Books

    Wordless picture book = the sky is the limit when it comes to uses of this book with a classroom and/or individual students. Amazing illustrations and the storyline is about a shy girl-new to a community-and the layers of ‘wallpaper’ signify so much regarding her culture, life, friendships, and more. 5 Stars for Sure!

  5. Americans by Douglas Wood
    I met Douglas at Camp Read a Lot a couple of years ago, so when I saw this book I knew I wanted to pick it up. This is a book that could be used for a variety of topics including, but not limited to Patriotism and Immigration. It talks about all of the ideals that the US stresses and has illustrations that including some of the people and events that happened at those times. I suppose you could read the Right Foot book too, but this is a more serious and calmer book rather than the informational one with less delicate pictures. Another job well done by Douglas. *****

  6. A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston (c.2016)

    This is a picture book for both child and adult. The simple story line has a girl inviting a boy to go on an adventure where one’s imagination in reading, takes over. As they explore, the illustrations, which include type and the classic story references, feed the reader’s imagination.
    I picked this book because I am an Oliver Jeffers fan. I would use this book as a fun read aloud to simply spark imagination. Perhaps I would use it as a mentor text to talk about how good writers get ideas.
    5 stars

  7. GRAVITY by Jason Chin/2014/Roaring Book Press

    ‘Innovative!’ is what the book jacket states. A hilarious banana peel, and much more, makes its way through the story and scientific explanation of GRAVITY. Fact pages at the end of book.

  8. What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamanda
    Yamanda has written several books with the “what do you do” theme and I love them all. This one is the story of a persistent problem and a child who isn’t sure what to do about it. Once he starts looking at the problem in a new way, he realizes it’s just an opportunity presenting itself if a challenging way. I love this book as a read aloud for students at the beginning of the year or at any point when the class seems to be having a difficult time.
    5 stars

  9. I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoet
    A story about a simple act of kindness
    This is a simple picture book with a profound message. Delightful illustrations tell the story by allowing students to see what is happening and create the story for his or herself. It is helpful to point out the characters on the book cover so the students can understand the action more quickly, but as the pages turn, students can see how the children feel in different situations.

  10. I Am Sacagawea by Brad Meltzer/illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
    Series “Ordinary People Change the World”
    I chose “I Am Sacagawea” for my camper’s choice book, but I could’ve chosen any of the books in this series by Brad Meltzer. The books take you through the lives of some “ordinary people who changed the world.” Some of the people are very familiar to elementary students — George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, MLK Jr, Rosa Parks; but some are not so familiar — Amelia Earhart, Lucille Ball, Gandhi, Sacagawea. The story is told in first person, with graphic novel illustrations giving more information and some humor to the text. The illustrations are very “graphic novel”ish, so are not meant to show the actual likeness of the person — different cultures are pretty much drawn the same way. Each book has a sentence on the back cover that kind of summarizes the change this person made; Sacagawea’s sentence is “I will blaze my own trail.” The books also show why maybe a lot wasn’t expected out of this person (ex. Sacagawea: “People had different expectations of me. In fact, they didn’t expect much at all. ….Someone who was a girl. Someone who was young. Someone who was Native American.” Then the last page of the book reads, “Make your own path. Shatter expectations. That’s what I’ve always done. I am a girl. I am a teenager. I am a mother. I am Native American. I am powerful. I am Sacagawea, and I will blaze my own trail.” My 2nd grade students loved the books in this series. I used a grant to get most of the books that are published and then we spent that last month of school reading them. I read them aloud during our carpet time and the students would also choose to read them during free reading time. They got to know the books very well, looking for similarities in different books and things that always seemed to pop up or characters they recognized from other books. They also LOVED the timelines and photographs at the end of the books. One book didn’t have the timeline — I can’t remember which one — and my students were really disappointed. I look forward to using these books next year and hope to add to my library with books I don’t have yet and ones that will be published soon.

  11. Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard
    I am a music lover and appreciate Bach’s works. I liked the illustrations with an easy abbreviated storyline of Johann’s life and accomplishments. I would read it as a read aloud to show how Bach had the gift to write music through patterns and the music he had in his head. IThis book may inspire a student to use for our history night. I rate it a 4.

  12. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

    I absolutely love this book and I would use it for a mermaid storytime. I love the inclusiveness and acceptance and love that this book promotes. The relationship between Julian and his abuela is very special. We need diverse books like this one in our libraries and in our classrooms so all children can find themselves in the pages. 5/5 stars

  13. Bob, Not Bob by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrations by Matthew Cordell (now a Caldecott winner!)
    This book begs to be read aloud. The premise is that our main character Louie has a cold, and that is impacting his ability to clearly enunciate his words. So when he tries to call for his Mom, it sounds more like Bob….which happens to be the name of his slobbery dog. This book arrived in my library at the very end of the school year and I shared it with a few classes as a fun book before vacation started. They LOVED it and all wanted to check it out. This is definitely a book that helps promote the pure enjoyment of reading because it is so funny, and based on something they can all relate to. The details in the illustrations are funny, too, with a little heart inside the Bobs that are supposed to be Mom. Definitely a title that readers could read multiple times and notice something new.
    4.5 stars

  14. Remembering Vera by Patricia Polacco (2017) is written with Patricia’s typical style and references to history and family. I heartwarming book about Vera the pup, who becomes a hero of the US Coast Guard. I love her books because Patricia weaves her heritage and real life experiences into the stories.
    I would use this book when talking about achievements and heroes as a way to convey that humans aren’t the only species to do great historical tasks. Students could also research other animals such as, Balto the dog who delivered medicine to combat diphtheria or Ham the fist chimp to travel in space.
    At the end of the book is a worth while author’s note and a picture of Patricia (and maybe a grandchild) at Vera’s gravesite. *****

  15. The Ball That Did Not Like to Bounce, by Brandon Vreeman
    This book is about a ball that doesn’t want to bounce. While his ball family and friends tell him just to bounce and be happy, he just can’t find himself wanting to bounce. He finally meets some bowling balls and realizes that not all balls have to bounce. I would use this book to talk about how we may all look similar, we don’t all have the same ideas, wants, or needs. The illustrations in this book are bright and eye catching. I give this book 5 stars.

  16. A Different Pond, written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui

    A beautiful and powerful story about fishing, family, and traditions of a Vietnamese family living in South Minneapolis. The author, Bao Phi, actually came to Minnesota with his parents as refugees in 1975.
    While most of us go fishing for recreation it is a necessary task for this family in order to eat. Even when Dad works two jobs and mom also works they need to fish for food. I highly recommend this book!! The illustrations are perfect for this story. It is perfect for a read aloud and should be in every library.

  17. The T-Rex who Losts his Specs! By, Jeanne Willis
    I would use this for a classroom read aloud or leave out for free reading. It is a silly story of a dinosaur who lost his glasses and all the funny things that he did. I think it is important for kids to laugh. I would also use this in writing. I would have students pick something they could lose and write a silly story about it.
    I rate this book 4 stars

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