Wednesday, October 26, 2016

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea original by Jules Verne, retold by Pauline Francis

In 48 pages, Francis summarizes Verne’s famous 19th century science fiction novel, which begins in Brooklyn in 1867.  There have been reports of a sea monster in the Pacific Ocean and the United States government is assembling a team to investigate.  Monsieur Arronax, a french scientist and the narrator of the story, receives a letter inviting him to join the team and accepts the invitation, thus beginning the adventure ahead.  This British edition condenses the original novel into ten spare chapters and includes an introduction, a five page glossary, and two exercises titled “Test Yourself” but read like pop quizzes intended for a teacher to assign.  This slim volume has a decent enough cover, but the digital color illustrations sprinkled through the text leave much to be desired.  Still, teachers wanting a basic introduction to the text for developing adolescent readers may well find this edition among the most useful for building schema and providing scaffolding  for the classic. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Francis, Pauline.  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  London: Evans Brothers Limited, 2010.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Football: The Math of the Game by Shane Frederick

It's back to school and back to football! Why not get the best of both worlds as the season kicks off? Football: The Math of the Game shows students the basic rules of the game while demonstrating that this great American pastime is all about the math. How big is the football field? How many degrees does the running back turn on a slant route? Aside from learning about mathematical concepts and how they connect to the game of football, the book also mentions statistics of standout players and explains, through the use of mathematics, how such statistics contribute to their teams’ successes and failures. Football: The Math of the Game is a great way to get students thinking beyond the classroom and how a subject area such as math can be applied to more than just number problems. The book is accessible to students reading at a 5th grade level and above. It contains a small glossary with both math and football vocabulary.--Claudio Leon

Frederick, Shane. Football: The Math of the Game. Mankato: Capstone Press, 2012. Print.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This Newberry Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winning memoir is the story of author Jacqueline Woodson’s own childhood, growing up in South Carolina and Brooklyn in the 1960s and 70s.  Told in free verse, close attention is paid to both the minute details and character-shaping events that make up a childhood.  The Civil Rights Movement lays the backdrop for Woodson’s tale of how family, religion, and school shaped her idea of home and sense of personal identity.  Highly recommended for middle grade fans of free verse and realistic fiction.  --Anne Lotito-Schuh