RM Winter 2016 FLIP

A Baby Elephant in theWild O’Connell, Caitlin. (2014). Photo-illus. by Caitlin O’Connell and Timothy Rodwell. Unpaged. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 978-0- 544-14944-1, $16.99 (Primary) --By Makenzie Mikesell & Sydney Childs Born weighing 250 pounds, the size of a grown black bear,

A Rock Can Be Salas, Laura Purdie (2015). Illus. by Violeta Dabija. Unpaged. Millbrook. 978-1-4677-2110-3, $17.99 (Primary) --by Makenzie Mikesell Author of the “Can Be . . .” series, Laura Purdie Salas, takes the reader on a journey around the world exploring the many

places rocks are found and what they are used for. Part of the text reads, “A rock is a rock. It’s sand, pebble, stone. Each rock tells a story, a tale all its own. A rock can be a . . . Tall mountain Park fountain Dinosaur bone Stepping-stone.” Salas uses lyrical rhyming text to turn what some might consider a boring, dull rock into a rock that sparks light or even a rock that glows at night. Readers will not only be engaged while reading, but they will also be captivated by Violeta Dabija’s vibrant illustrations. Dadija uses primary colors, as well as, colors that contrast and highlight the rocks mentioned. At the end of the book author, Laura Purdie Salas, offers an informational guide (“More About Rocks”) providing additional facts about each of the rocks she presents in her story. In addition, Salas provides readers with a glossary to define terms (e.g., carbon, fossil, gargoyle, and phosphorescent) used throughout the book that may be new or unfamiliar for readers. Still want to know more about rocks? Salas suggests books about rocks for further reading. “A rock is a rock . . . Now go and discover what else it can be!”

is a baby elephant named Liza. Liza lives in Namibia and learns how to walk on the day she is born. When she is only a few days old, she is able to travel 10-20 miles with her family to a watering hole for food. Her family shows her what foods are safe to eat, how to control the 40,000 muscles in her trunk, and how to keep cool by taking a mud bath. From getting stuck in the mud or falling into deep water, Liza’s sisters, cousins, mother, grandparents, and even aunts stay close by to rescue her. O’Connell’s book has a large font size and simple vocabulary for emergent readers to learn all about elephant babies and the communities in which they live. O’Connell and Rodwell document the growth of baby elephant Liza in her natural habitat through vivid photographs. The photographs are up-close and capture the bond between mother and baby elephant. At the end of the book the author provides readers with “Did You Know” facts to expand their knowledge about elephants even more.

Reading Matters Literature Matters

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation Tonatiuh, Duncan. (2014). 40 pp. Abrams. 978-1-4197-1054-4, $18.95 (Primary/ Intermediate) --by Shannon Frydenlund & Sarah Dickenson Many of you have heard of Brown vs. Board of Education ,

Rain Reign Martin, Ann M. (2014). 226 pages. Feiwel and Friends. 978-0-312-64300-3, $16.99 (Intermediate) “I am Rose Howard and my first name has a homonym. To be accurate, it has a homophone , which is a word that’s pronounced the same as another word but spelled differently. My homophone name is Rows” (p. 3). Rose has a running list of groups of homonyms that she

--by Laura Dekle

but have you heard of Mendez vs. Westminster School District ? Separate Is Never Equal tells the story of Sylvia Mendez and her Hispanic family’s fight for the desegregation of Mexican schools in the 1940s. This lesser-known case follows the Mendez family through its struggles in the California school district seven years before the legendary Brown vs. Board of Education decision. This authentic book would be a great resource to use in highlighting the fight for desegregation focusing on racial groups other than African Americans. It portrays the story through the eyes of third grader Sylvia in a fictional manner but with factual events and dialogue that “comes directly from court transcripts” (p. 39). The book includes various textual features commonly found in nonfiction such as a glossary and an index. It concludes with an Author’s Note that provides additional detailed information about the account of the Mendez family. Duncan Tonatiuh, winner of the Pura Belpré Award for illustration, uses his signature style yet again to beautifully paint the story behind this lesser-known, but legendary case. Through the easy to follow storyline, and captivating illustrations, Separate Is Never Equal portrays the Mendez family’s fight for justice and equality and reminds readers of its continued relevance in today’s society.

keeps and regularly updates. She says, “I like homonyms a lot. And I like words” (p. 4). In addition to her love of words and rules (and numbers, especially prime), Rose loves her dog, Rain. Rose and Rain wordlessly understand each other and have an established daily routine that they enjoy, until one day a violent storm hits Rose’s town and results in Rain’s disappearance. Rose’s passion to find Rain pushes out of her comfort zone, and her unconditional love for her dog motivates her to search far and wide, over many towns and many months. Her love for Rain later becomes the catalyst for a selfless decision that Rose makes concerning both her and Rain’s future. Ann M. Martin masterfully and authentically presents Rose’s form of autism and her behavior because of it. From a distance, Rose’s idiosyncrasies might seem strange or nonsensical, but Rose’s narration of the story explains her thoughts and actions in a way that helps readers to understand the inner workings of her mind. This book is appropriate for upper-elementary- aged students. The story is endearing, true, hard, and real.

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