Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes


Bibliographic Information: Coerr, Eleanor. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. New York: Putnam, 1977. Print.

Brief Annotation: Sadako is one of the fastest runners in her grade.  However, she soon is diagnosed with “the atomic bomb disease” or leukemia.  She soon begins the challenge of making one thousand paper cranes as legend has it, those who make one thousand will be healed by the gods.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 3-6

Readers who will like this: Children that can handle empathy, as this story can be something that is hard to connect to.  Children that also may have a loved one who has cancer can connect with this book.  But it is also a book of hope.

Rating/Response: 4. This book is one that really challenges the students because it shows that there are hard times in life, and there isn’t always a happy ending.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Does anyone know someone who is very ill like with cancer?

Posted by: Natalie Hager


Folks Call Me Appleseed John

untitled (21)

Bibliographic Information: Glass, Andrew. (1995). Folks Call Me Appleseed John. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

Brief Annotation: This is a story about Johnny Appleseed and his brother Nathaniel. Nathaniel goes to live with John but wasn’t expecting to find him living in the wilderness.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 2-4

Readers who will like this: Students who are interested in history

Rating/Response: 4, this was a good book about a story from Johnny Appleseed. I think it would work well in a unit about Pioneers and the 19th century.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Does anyone know who Johnny Appleseed was?

Posted by: Alyssa Timmerman



Bibliographic Information: Drummond, Allan. (2002). Liberty. Canada: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.

Brief Annotation: This story is about the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Liberty is written through the eyes of the little boy that was assigned to give the sculptor a signal.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 1-2

Readers who will like this: Students that are interested in history, students who like New York

Rating/Response: 4, I really like this story because it teaches us about a very important and well known statue in the United States. I think it’s important that young students are exposed to books like this.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Can you tell me about the Statue of Liberty? What does it look like?

Posted by: Alyssa Timmerman

The First Miracle


Bibliographic Information: Archer, J., & Aitchison, C. (1994). The first miracle. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Brief Annotation: This is the story of a young boy who happens upon the birth of Jesus and experiences the first Christmas.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 3-5

Readers who will like this: Children who like history with a twist

Rating/Response: 5. Everyone knows the story of Christmas, but this book gives readers insight into what it could have been like if you happened to be there. I think kids will like hearing this story from another point of view. An easy activity to go along with this would be to have students write their own account of the first Christmas and what it would have been like if they were there.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever witnessed a miracle?

Posted by: Christina Angell

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World


Bibliographic Info: Bildner, P. (2005). The Shot Heard ‘Round the World. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Annotation: This is a story of a young Brooklyn Dodger fan and his life revolving around the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951.  Even though the Dodgers lost and didn’t go to the world series, the boy never lost hope in his team and could not wait for next season.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 4-6

Readers who will like this book: Young boys who enjoy sports, or especially baseball, will like this book.

Response/Rating: I liked this book.  Not being a huge baseball fan, it still kept my interest and was a page turner.

Question: What is sportsmanship?

Posted By: Natalie Gannon

Henry’s Freedom Box


Bibliographic Information: Levine, E. (2007). Henry’s Freedom Box. New York: Scholastic Press.

Brief Annotation: Henry is an African slave in the southern United States in the 19th century.  He grows up and marries Nancy, a slave from another master.  When his wife and children are sold to a master far away, he hatches a plan to gain his freedom: He mails himself in a box to Pennsylvania.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: K-4

Readers who will like this: Children who have endured hardship or have been separated from their families; children who have learned or begun to learn about slavery in America.

Rating/Response: 4 This was a great book.  It tells just one of the stories of the hardships that African slaves suffered in America.  It will tug the heartstrings of every student in the classroom.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you know about slavery in America?  What things do you know that African people suffered?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

The Cats in Krasinski Square


Bibliographic Information: Hesse, K. (2004). The Cats in Krasinski Square. New York: Scholastic Press

Brief Annotation: The main character, a young Jewish girl living in Poland, finds a way to outsmart the Gestapo and their sniffing dogs who are trying to stop the smuggling of food to Jews in the Ghetto.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers who will like this: Children who have some sort of emotional connection with the Holocaust; children whose family members survived the Holocaust; children who show an affinity for or a like of justice.

Rating/Response: 2 I only rated it a 2 out of 5 because the story doesn’t tell much.  It is definitely well-written, and I think young children could understand the feelings well that are portrayed from the main character in first-person, but it is definitely a supplementary text and probably wouldn’t have much time spent on it.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you think this book could possibly about?  If I told you it was about the Holocaust (assuming the Holocaust has already been explained to them), would that change your guess?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

Famous Children: Picasso


Bibliographic Information: Hart, Tony, and Susan Hellard. Picasso. London: Gollancz Children’s Paperbacks, 1994. Print.

Brief Annotation: Pablo Picasso is one of the world’s most famous artists, but what was he like as a child? This book covers Picasso’s early life.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers Who Will Like This: Readers who like art, children who want a role model

Rating/Response: 4 This book was a good introduction to Picasso, told in a way that is easy for young children to understand. It would be a good book to read in art class.

One Question You Would Ask Before a Read Aloud: Have you ever heard of a man named Pablo Picasso? What do you know about him?

Posted By: Maria Muellerleile

Home Run


Bibliographic Information: Burleigh, R., & Wimmer, M. (1998). Home run: The story of Babe Ruth. San Diego: Silver Whistle.

Brief Annotation: Babe Ruth is a legend who is known everywhere. He is known to have made baseball the popular sport we all know today, but he wasn’t always the babe. He was a young boy once too. This book takes us back to his childhood where it all began.

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Grade Level: K-2

Readers Who Will Like This: Readers who like sports; Readers who like learning about history; Readers who like baseball; Readers who are a fan of Babe Ruth

Rating/Response: 4.5 I am a baseball fan so this is a very fun and entertaining read for me. I like the way the sentences are structured and great illustrations. This is a good book students can comprehend with no extra help.

One Question You Would Ask Before a Read Aloud: Who likes to learn about baseball? Who knows this man on the cover? Why is he so important? Who likes baseball or other sports?

Posted By: Maren Rodriguez

Chinese CInderella and the Secret Dragon Society


Bibliographic Information: Mah, Adeline Yen. Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Print.

Brief Annotation: Running away from an evil stepmother, Chinese Cinderella looks to find safety in martial-arts school. Here she joins the Secret Dragon Society. Find out what that entails…

Genre:Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 5th

Readers who will like this: Girls and boys who like chinese culture. Girls and Boys of Chinese origin.

Rating/Response: 4, I enjoy the classic “fairy tales”  and any twistor modern angle of them are fun to read. I think this was an interesting way to tie in multiple cultures. The sort is intriguing and a fun read over all.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you think the Secret Dragon Society is? What happens there?

Posted by: Annie Hart