W is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary by Tracey Fern

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publication Date: November 10, 2015

Recommended Grades: 3-5

From an early age, Noah Webster liked to use big words.  He loved learning and even became a school teacher.  It was during his time in the classroom that he realized that the newly formed America needed its own language, because American children came from many different countries and didn’t speak like British children.     

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:  Pair W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary with Noah Webster and His Words to build background knowledge of a man who was known as “America’s own Dr. Webster.” W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary goes into specific detail for the reasons behind the creation of the American Dictionary as well as what people thought of Noah at that time in American history.

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.

My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Born in 1797 to slave parents, Isabella Baumfree was sold several times before being bought by the Dumont family, where she stayed for sixteen years.  After escaping from slavery and living and working in New York City, Isabella chose her own name, Sojourner Truth – for she would always travel and she would always tell the truth.  

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:Personal Narrative: Read aloud My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth as a mentor text for a writing unit on personal narratives.  Note how the author wrote a biography of Sojourner Truth, but wrote it from Truth’s point of view.  Discuss how the author had to conduct research in order to understand Truth’s voice and be able to portray it in this text, including using Truth’s own quotes.

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

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M.

Recommended Grades:   3-5

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at a Canadian train station, he knew he could care for it.  Harry was a veterinarian.  But he was also a soldier in training for World War I.  Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s hometown, and he took her along to training camp in England.  Winnie became the regiment’s much-loved mascot, but who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to battle in France? Harry found just the right place for Winnie: the London Zoo.  There a boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie. 

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography: Building Background Knowledge: Read aloud Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh and pair it with Fur, Fins, and Feathers by Cassandre Maxwell for students to get a background look at the London Zoo as a care-taking spot for Winnie.  Additionally, you could read aloud Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh to give students a look at the background of Winnie while pairing it with Winnie the Pooh stories.  Share the end papers with students which provides primary sources of Harry, Winnie, and Christopher Robin.

©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.

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.