RM Winter 2016 FLIP

The Right Book: A Review of Children’s Literature for Teachers

Jonda C. McNair & Clemson University Students

One of my favorite books in this column is titled The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus , and it is an award-winning biography of Peter Mark Roget (pronounced “ROH-ZHAY”) and his love of books and (especially) words. Roget recognized the power of words and “believed that everyone should have this power—everyone should be able to find the right word whenever they needed it.” This column features a selection of books across many genres and sub-genres (e.g., biography, informational text, contemporary realistic fiction, free verse, and wordless) about a range of topics such as animal vision, rocks, desegregation, the world of Islam, and drawing. In addition, I made sure to include books that are diverse in numerous ways (e.g., race, disability, religion, etc.) in the hopes of making readers of this journal familiar with children’s literature that is representative of the culturally diverse world in which we all live. I am pleased to have written this column with several Clemson University students who participated in a Creative Inquiry project with me. Creative Inquiry is a program sponsored by the university that allows students and faculty to engage in activities and discovery across a range of disciplines. I welcome any feedback from readers about this column: jmcnair@clemson.edu . I hope that after browsing this column, you will find the “right book” for you and your students.

pages, readers will be able to delve into the mind of Roget and visualize words through his eyes. Readers of all ages will enjoy flipping through the pages of this Robert F. Sibert Medal winner and Caldecott Honor book while celebrating the power of words.

Reading Matters Literature Matters

Dreaming In Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices

Charleyboy, Lisa & Leatherdale, Mary Beth (Eds.). (2014). 128 pp. Annick. 978-1-55451- 687-2 $19.95 (Young Adult) --by Brette Carey This moving compilation provides insights into the lives of modern Native Americans. The short stories, poems, and art highlight the

hopes, talents, and successes of an eclectic mix of young Native Americans. Their actions and feelings can serve to inspire other Native Americans (as well as cultural outsiders) to act on their talents and dreams. Lee Maracle writes in the Foreword: “the works [in this collection] . . . are part of an amazing struggle to go forward, into modernity, onto the global stage, without leaving our ancient selves behind” (p. 10). The photography and art, also created by young Native Americans, add to the emotions of the collection. Each word and every photograph draws the reader closer to these contemporary people from all walks of life (e.g., model, comedian, artist, musician, actress, etc.) This collection of works by young Indigenous people examines the complexities of what it means to be a Native American in modern society and would be appealing to high school students. With its stories of tragedy, conflict, and success, this collection will draw readers in from start to finish.

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus Bryant, Jen. (2014). Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Unpaged. Eerdmans. 978-0-8028-5385-1 $17.50 (Primary/Intermediate) --by Katie Hoffman & Sarah Lawson “ If only all the ideas in the world could be found in one place, then everyone would have one book where they could find the best word, the one that really fit. Peter carried this idea with him like a secret treasure.”

Draw Colón, Raúl. (2014). Unpaged. Simon & Schuster/PaulaWiseman. 978-1-4424-9492-3 $17.99 (Primary) Have you ever wanted to take a trip to a faraway land? Well, it is easier than anyone could ever imagine! This wordless picturebook is about a boy who takes the reader on a journey, and it begins in his

--by Amanda Overholt

During the late 1700s in Europe, there was a shy, young boy named Peter Roget who found friendships with books and loved to write lists. He started writing lists using all of the Latin words he knew and eventually, created a book that was made up of the lists he had created. As he got older, he continued to add to his book, and in 1852, he finally published his book called Thesaurus. Author Jen Bryant and illustrator Melissa Sweet worked together to produce a wonderfully unique biography that draws readers in through both the text and illustrations. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is written in a lyrical way and the illustrations are created using watercolor, collage, and mixed media that make this book extremely appealing. With a scrapbook-feel to the illustrations and carefully crafted word art throughout the

bedroom when he reads about the continent of Africa. The boy then begins to use his imagination by drawing pictures of the different animals that he saw in his book on easel paper. While on his safari adventure, he meets many animals such a gorilla who appears to be eating the sandwich that was sitting on the boy’s bed at the beginning of the story. There are zebras who appear to pose for him. He even meets a heard of stampeding giraffes.

| 70 | Reading Matters | Volume 16 • Winter 2016 | scira.org


Made with