April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Resources for Summer Fiction Reading Lists │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

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Now that you have time to catch up on your reading, why not revisit the  Summer Reading List from our sister publication, The Horn Book?  Is there a more wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon than with a pile of amazing books and an icy beverage? Check out the ready-to-use resources in JLG’s Booktalks to Go award-winning LiveBinder and at least mentally take notes on ways to incorporate these books into your lessons or booktalks.

DollBonesBLACK, Holly. Doll Bones. illus. by Eliza Wheeler. S. & S./McElderryBks. 2013. ISBN 9781416963981. JLG Level: B+ : Upper Elementary & Junior High (Grades 5–7).

A tragic mistake causes a chain of events forcing Zach, Poppy, and Alice on a journey to return a possessed doll to her final resting place. Traveling miles from home, the three adventurers face real danger, far removed from the innocent role-playing games of elementary school.

Creepy, but not too scary, even upper grade elementary students will want to read Black’s ghost tale. After reading the book, share and discuss Alma (Fil’m Hafızası, 2009), a film short in which much is left to viewers’ imagination . You could also pair this title with The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson (Delacorte, 2011) and Ann M. Martin’s “The Doll People” series (Hyperion).

Check out the Doll Bones book trailer, the author’s website (where you can also read chapter one), the Carnegie Public Library (check out the area myths and legends under Local History) and of course, the Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool, Ohio. Black used the article on Lotus Ware to shape her story of Orchid Ware.

he Miniature World of Marvin and James by Elise BroachBROACH, Elise. The Miniature World of Marvin & James: The Masterpiece Adventures, Book One. illus. by Kelly Murphy. Holt. 2014. ISBN 9780805091908. JLG Level: I : Independent Readers (Grades 2–4).

Marvin and James are back (Masterpiece, 2009), but not for long, as James is going away to the beach. Marvin, who is an ant, has much to explore while he waits for his friend’s return. Unfortunately, his cousin Elaine leads him to a place that looks like fun, but could be the death of both of them.

Perfect for kids who aren’t quite ready to read the intermediate level novel, readers will connect with the pair’s friendship issues, as Marvin struggles with being left behind. Broach has an excellent website filled with stories about her own life, her work, and even a curriculum activity guide. She even provides a snail mail address if you’d like to send postal letters. Murphy’s website includes information about her numerous speaking engagements and awards. You can follow her on Twitter. For these and other resources, visit the JLG BTG LiveBinder.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (or, The Pictures Question)DICAMILLO, Kate. Flora & Ulysses. illus. by K. G. Campbell. Candlewick. 2013. ISBN 9780763660406. JLG Level: A+ : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

Flora Belle Buckman is a natural born cynic. She also loves to read comics so her mother, a romance novelist, writes a contract requiring Flora to “turn her face…toward the bright light of true literature.” When the lady next door accidentally vacuums an unassuming squirrel, Flora springs to the rescue and learns that he has acquired super powers. Able to lift the heavy Ulysses vacuum and now able to communicate with people, the squirrel begins a journey that will impact every person he meets.

Fan-favorite and newly-appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature DiCamillo  delivers an unlikely hero. Readers can learn about the story behind the story in an author interview. Want to teach the novel? Candlewick has ready-to-use teachers’ guides. Read or listen to her recently made Newbery acceptance speech.

the year of billy millerHENKES, Kevin. The Year of Billy Miller. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2013. ISBN 9780062268136. JLG Level: I+ : Independent Readers (Grades 2–4).

The summer after Billy Miller hits his head, he worries if he will be smart enough for second grade. His teacher, Ms. Silver, assures him that he is. Now that Billy is older, he wants to call his papa, Dad. How will his father react? Will it hurt his feelings? And papa is struggling with his big art break. What can Billy do to help him? Little sister Sal can be a pain. She even gets glitter on his bat cave project! And his mom becomes the subject of his class project, though it’s really hard to write about her. (He’d rather write about volcanoes.) Why does life have to be so difficult?

Commonly mispronounced, you can hear the author speak his name on TeachingBooks.net. Henkes’s website includes multiple resources for many of his books. You’ll find teaching resources, interviews, games, articles and videos. A teaching guide is available for the Newbery Honor book. Don’t miss Henkes’s next book with HarperCollins by signing up for AuthorTracker.

Just as Ms. Silver taught her class about Chinese New Year, you have access to ready-to-use lesson plans on Scholastic and TeacherVision.com, which provides videos, printables, recipes and history resources. Students can create their own found poetry using primary resources at the Library of Congress. ReadWriteThink also has CCSS lesson plans for grades 6-8 on Found Poetry.

Additional Resources

Check out our award-winning LiveBinder which organizes all of the above resources. All websites are posted within the LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Simply go to JLG Booktalks to Go where you will see the LiveBinder main tabs. Each tab is a book title. Under each color-coded tab are gray subtabs with links to media, websites, and other related documents. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., The Horn Book and SLJ’s parent company.)


Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.