Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 8, 2015

Recommended Grades: 4-6

The story of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker was passed down to the author as part of the North American Indian oral tradition.  Hiawatha is a brave Mohawk warrior who has lost his family in battle and wants revenge against the evil Chief, who is inciting fighting among the five Iroquois tribes.  When the Peacemaker (prophet) appears one day to unite the warring tribes, he uses Hiawatha to communicate his message.  This message of peace not only changes the ways of the Iroquois people forever, but also transforms Hiawatha’s mind and heart.  

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography/Traditional Literature: Read aloud Hiawatha and the Peacemaker as part of a unit on Native American culture.  The author’s note indicates that Robertson heard the story of Hiawatha from a Native American elder while visiting relatives at Six Nations of the Grand River when he was a child.  Hiawatha and the Peacemaker provides background as to how the Great Law of Peace came to govern the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.  David Shannon’s beautiful illustrations complement the telling of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker nicely.  Pair Hiawatha with The Very First Americans.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Recommended Grades: 4-6

George loved words.  But, he was unable to read or attend school because George was enslaved.  Through sheer determination, he learned the alphabet, then he taught himself to read.   George created poems in his head and recited them at a nearby college campus while selling fruits and vegetables for his master.  Soon, the students on campus were buying his poems!  George Moses Horton was the first southern African-American man to be published. 

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:  Pair Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton with Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, Light in the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass and discuss the resilience of African-American people during a time when African-American literacy was discouraged.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo by Cassandre Maxwell

Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo

Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 10, 2015

Recommended Grades: K-4

From the time he was a little boy, Abraham Dee Bartlett loved animals. He spent every night reading about animals and dreamed of working with them when he grew up. In 1859, Bartlett was asked to become the Superintendent of the London Zoo. His love and respect for animals led him to become a pioneer in veterinary medicine and to create an environment for animals in zoos as we know them today.
Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography: Driven by his lifelong interest in animals, Bartlett worked tirelessly to ensure that the animals in the London Zoo were happy and healthy. Read loud Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo to your class prior to a field trip to the zoo, or as part of a study on animals. Readers learn about Bartlett’s meticulous attention to the science of animal care, why there are explanations at exhibits, the reason behind enclosures as we view them today, and especially his appreciation for wild animals.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue by Robert Burleigh

Recommended Grades: 3-5

A humpback whale travels along the Pacific coast, but hidden in the water is a forgotten fishing net.  When the whale becomes trapped, the story, based on a true event, reminds us of the important connection between humans and animals. 

Mentor Text: Word Choice

trapped photoBurleigh uses fantastic word choice and description in Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue.  His use of sensory words to describe the whale’s journey are beautifully complemented by Minor’s paintings. When students write informative texts, useTrapped! A Whale’s Rescue
as a mentor text to model great word choice.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for review.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Recommended Grades: 5-8

When Sylvia Mendez and her family moved to a new town in California, she was excited to attend her neighborhood school.  But, she was told she had to go to the Mexican school instead.  Sylvia didn’t understand why – she was an American citizen who spoke perfect English.  This is the story of segregated schools in California and one family’s  fight to end it. 

Separate is Never EqualLesson Idea: Mentor Text: Civil Rights: Read aloud Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation as part of a unit on civil rights.  Segregation based on race was common throughout the United States in the 1940s and much of what we know about segregation comes from our knowledge of segregation in the southern states.  In actuality, The Mendez v. Westminster School District case paved the way for the desegregation of schools in America.  The landmark case Brown v. Board of Education desegregated schools in the entire country, seven years after the Mendez victory.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.