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Resources Books that Teach Service-Learning Values.ppt

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 79

									Resources: Books that Teach
  Service-Learning Values

 By
 Wayne Bock
 Service-Learning Coordinator
 Southeast Region
ISSUE: Child Soldiers
Children Soldiers
                                            Ishmael Beah has written a
                                            memoir about his years as a
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier   child soldier in Sierra Leone.
                                            Orphaned by the civil war
                                            there, he was carrying an AK-
                                            47 by the age of 12. Pumped
                                            up by drugs, he was forced to
                                            kill or be killed.
                                            When he was 15, UNICEF
                                            took Beah to a rehabilitation
                                            center. He was eventually
                                            adopted by an American
                                            woman and brought to the
                                            United States, where he
                                            attended high school and
                                            graduated from Oberlin
                                            College.
Other Resources
• Child Soldiers by Leora Kahn
• Soldier's Heart : Being the Story
  of the Enlistment and Due
  Service of the Boy Charley
  Goddard in the First Minnesota
  Volunteers by Gary Paulsen
• Child Soldiers in Africa by
  Alcinda Honwana
• Children at War by P. W. Singer
• http://www.amnesty.org/en/chi
  ldren
• http://www.child-
  soldiers.org/home
ISSUE: Refugees from War
     Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan


Brothers in Hope is the true story of young
Garang , who was about eight years old
when his Sudanese village was brutally
attacked and his family torn apart. Out in the
fields tending livestock when the attack
occurred, he escaped the initial assault.
Soon he discovered that many other boys
were in the same situation. The boys banded
together and began walking. Garang and
about 30,000 other boys walked from Sudan
to Ethiopia, then on to Kenya, a trip of almost
1,000 miles. In his own words, he describes
his journey and how he and the other Lost
Boys became a family to each other, taking
care of one another and supporting one
another through unbelievable circumstances.
Told in a simple and straightforward manner,
and accompanied by illustrations that are at
once unpretentious and sympathetic,
Brothers in Hope is a stirring journey of faith,
perseverance, and hope.
They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky

                       Raised by Sudan's Dinka tribe, the Deng
                       brothers and their cousin Benjamin were all
                       under the age of seven when they left their
                       homes after terrifying attacks on their
                       villages during the Sudanese civil war. In
                       2001, the three were relocated to the U.S.
                       from Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp as part
                       of an international refugee relief program.
                       Arriving in this country, they immediately
                       began to fill composition books with the
                       memoirs of chaos and culture shock
                       collected here. Well written, often poetic
                       essays by Benson, Alepho and Benjamin,
                       who are now San Diego residents in their
                       mid-20s, are arranged in alternating
                       chapters and recall their childhood
                       experiences, their treacherous trek and their
                       education in the camp ("People were
                       learning under trees"). Other pieces
                       remember the rampant disease and famine
                       among refugees, and the tremendous
                       hardship of day-to-day living ("Refugee life
                       was like being devoured by wild animals").
Other Resources
• Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
• The Devil Came on
  Horseback: Bearing
  Witness to the Genocide in
  Darfur by Brian Steidle,
  Gretchen Steidle Wallace,
• http://www.refugeesintern
  ational.org/
ISSUE: Racial Prejudice
Ruby Bridges
                    Through My Eyes


How would you
have felt if you
had been the
first black child
to ever set foot
in an all white
school? In this
poignant story,
we are allowed
to see through
the eyes of six-
year-old Ruby
Bridges who,
escorted by
federal
marshals
through mobs of
screaming
segregationists,
became the first
black child to
enter a white
school.
Other Resources
• Kaffir Boy : The True Story of
  a Black Youth's Coming of
  Age in Apartheid South
  Africa by Mark Mathabane
• http://www.understanding
  prejudice.org/
• http://remember.org/guid
  e/History.root.stereotypes.h
  tml
ISSUE: Genocide
Yellow Star /Number the Stars
The Yellow Star

          FOR CENTURIES, the Star of David was a symbol of
          Jewish pride. But during World War II, Nazis used the star
          to segregate and terrorize the Jewish people. Except in
          Denmark. When Nazi soldiers occupied his country, King
          Christian X of Denmark committed himself to keeping all
          Danes safe from harm.

          The bravery of the Danes and their king during that
          dangerous time has inspired many legends. The most
          enduring is the legend of the yellow star, which
          symbolizes the loyalty and fearless spirit of the king and
          his people.
          Milkweed

Milkweed opens in 1939 and tells the story
of a homeless, nameless boy—a “nobody”
until he takes up with other street kids and
embraces the identity of a gypsy—Misha
Pilsudski. Misha is fascinated by the
Jackboots, and spends his days stealing
food for himself and the orphans. When he
meets Janina Milgrom, a Jewish girl, and
follows her family to the Jewish ghetto, he
loses his fascination with the Nazi soldiers.
He slips in and out of the cracks of the
walled ghetto, getting food for the
Milgroms. For the first time in his life he
has a family until resettlement and
deportation snatch them away. This good-
hearted boy is once again a “nobody” and
eventually makes his way to America,
carrying only the memories of his adopted
family with him.
Other Resources
• Stalin
• The Forsaken : The American
  Emigration to Soviet Russia by
  Timotheos Tzouliadis,
• Pol Pot
• Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields :
  Memoirs by Survivors by Dith Pran
• North Korea This is Paradise! by Hyok
  Kang
• Not on Our Watch : A Mission to End
  Genocide in Darfur and Beyond by
  Don Cheadle, John Prendergast
ISSUE: Immigration
The Immigrants/Harvest
 Harvest                George Ancona




Grades 4-6--This photo-documentary focuses on the
lives and work of Mexican migrant workers as they
pick various crops on the West coast. The narrative
switches back and forth from the personal stories of
the campesinos to information on the actual
harvesting, at times abruptly. Readers learn of the
workers' difficult lives and how, despite backbreaking
labor and poor conditions, they take pride in what
they do and struggle to help their families get ahead.
Interspersed are first-person accounts by the workers.
The volume concludes with two pages on the life and
work of Ceasar Chevez. The full-color photographs
are generally of high quality; some will make a lasting
impression on readers.
Other Resources
• Ashes of Roses Mary Jane
  Auch
• Keeping Quilt by Patricia
  Polacco,
• Red Midnight Ben
  Mikaelsen
ISSUE: Slavery
   Dream Freedom          Sonia Levitin




DREAM FREEDOM is a story inspired by
actual events. It focuses on the very
serious issue of human slavery as it exists
in modern-day Africa. The book offers
viewpoints from both sides, weaving back
and forth between stories of enslaved
Dinkas in the Sudan and the reactions of
American children who learn of the
Africans' plight and are determined to help
them.
Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery

 Today, millions of people are being held in slavery
 around the world. From poverty-stricken countries
 to affluent American suburbs, slaves toil as
 sweatshop workers, sex slaves, migrant workers,
 and domestic servants. With exposes by seven
 former slaves--as well as one slaveholder--from
 Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East,
 and the United States, this groundbreaking
 collection of harrowing first-hand accounts reveals
 how slavery continues to thrive in the twenty-first
 century. From the memoirs of Micheline, a Haitian
 girl coerced into domestic work in Connecticut, to
 the confessions of Abdel Nasser, a Mauritanian
 master turned abolitionist, these stories heighten
 awareness of a global human rights crisis that can
 no longer be ignored.
 Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy


Slavery is illegal throughout the world, yet
more than twenty-seven million people are
still trapped in one of history's oldest social
institutions. Kevin Bales's disturbing story
of contemporary slavery reaches from
Pakistan's brick kilns and Thailand's
brothels to various multinational
corporations. His investigations reveal how
the tragic emergence of a "new slavery" is
inextricably linked to the global economy.
Other Resources
• Elijah of Buxton by
  Christopher Paul Curtis
• Henry's Freedom Box by
  Levine,
• A Crime So Monstrous:
  Face-to-Face with Modern-
  Day Slavery by E. Benjamin
  Skinner
ISSUE: Community Safety
Anti-Bullying
 Wringer


Palmer LaRue is not looking forward to the
day he turns 10. His town has an annual
Pigeon Day. When a boy turns 10 in this
town, they become "wringers" and strangle
the pigeons wounded during the annual
pigeon shoot. He must either accept this
task or find the courage to say no. His
buddies soon discover Palmer is hiding a
pet pigeon in his room. He finds friendship
with Dorothy, the girl across the street.
Palmer finds it is hard not to go along with
the crowd.
    Give a Boy a Gun                  Todd Strasser

Bang!
Gunshots echo through the gym. Two
heavily armed students hold their
classmates hostage at a high school
dance. Their motive: revenge for the
bullying and taunting they’ve been forced
to endure in school for years. A stunning
work of fiction taken straight from today’s
headlines, GIVE A BOY A GUN, is a stirring
wake-up call to stop violence and teasing,
and to explore the role of guns in the lives
of teenagers.
        Mr. Lincoln’s Way
"Mean Gene" is the bully of the school, the
one who has been taught to hate anyone
different from himself. But Gene has also
been taught, by his grandfather, to identify
and love birds. He knows everything about
birds, from the types of trees they like to
nest in to the kind of food they need to eat.
Mr. Lincoln latches onto this talent and
nurtures it, asking Gene to be in charge of
figuring out what should go into the
school's atrium. As Gene eventually
blossoms, so do the ducks who live in the
atrium--and as he helps herd the ducklings
towards the pond, so is he led by Mr.
Lincoln towards greater understanding and
tolerance.
Other Resources
• http://www.redcross.org/
• http://www.dhs.gov
  (Homeland Security)
• http://www.ready.gov/am
  erica/index.html
  (Emergency Supply kit
  information)
ISSUE: Child Labor
    Counting on Grace
Inspired by a Lewis Hine photo of a child at work in a
Vermont cotton mill in the early twentieth century,
Winthrop imagines the story of Grace, 12, torn from
her one-room schoolhouse and forced to work long
hours in the textile mill as a "doffer," turning cotton
into thread, alongside her mother, in the spinning
room. The child-labor story is gripping--the dangerous
working conditions, the work of activists who sought
to publicize the abuse--and although sometimes the
research overwhelms the story, Grace's present-
tense narrative makes the history heartbreaking.
Grace is no sweet victim. Furious at having to leave
school and distressed by her failure to satisfy her
French Canadian immigrant family, she quarrels with
her best friend and smart ex-classmate, who
deliberately injures himself on the machines to get
back in school. The fiction is framed by notes about
Hine and a bibliography that will lead readers to such
books as Russell Freedman's Kids at Work: Lewis
Hine and the Crusade against Child Labor (1994) as
well as to accounts of abuse today.
•   Child Labor
•   A girl working in the reconstruction effort carries a
    tile on her head in the city of Choluteca, Honduras.
•   An estimated 158 million children aged 5-14 are
    engaged in child labor - one in six children in the
    world. Millions of children are engaged in hazardous
    situations or conditions, such as working in mines,
    working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture
    or working with dangerous machinery. They are
    everywhere but invisible, toiling as domestic servants
    in homes, laboring behind the walls of workshops,
    hidden from view in plantations.
•   In Sub-Saharan Africa around one in three children
    are engaged in child labor, representing 69 million
    children.
•   In South Asia, another 44 million are engaged in
    child labor.
•   Children living in the poorest households and in rural
    areas are most likely to be engaged in child labor.
    Those burdened with household chores are
    overwhelmingly girls. Millions of girls who work as
    domestic servants are especially vulnerable to
    exploitation and abuse.
•   Labor often interferes with children’s education.
    Ensuring that all children go to school and that their
    education is of good quality are keys to
    preventing child labor.
        Kids at Work/ Growing Up in Coal Country
This is a fascinating history of the anthracite coal industry in
                                                                     Photobiography of early twentieth-century photographer and
Pennsylvania from the point of view of child laborers. How
                                                                     schoolteacher Lewis Hine, using his own work as illustrations.
boys grew from "breakers" (who sorted the coal), to "nippers"
                                                                     Hines's photographs of children at work were so devastating that
(keepers of the underground gates), to "spraggers" (human
                                                                     they convinced the American people that Congress must pass child
brakes for careening coal cars), to mule drivers, and finally to
                                                                     labor laws.
full-fledged miners is worth the price of admission in itself. But
Bartoletti's book goes way beyond this to describe the
company towns, the labor disputes, and the ethnic animosity.
She recreates a way of life. Wonderfully evocative black and
white photos and selected excerpts from oral histories of
survivors complete the picture.
  Online lessons on child labor at http://www.childlabor.org
 Child Labor in America
Joyce Kasman Valenza and Carl Atkinson
Children have always worked, often exploited and under less than healthy conditions. Industrialization, the
Great Depression and the vast influx of poor immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, made it easy to
justify the work of young children. To gain a true understanding of child labor, both as an historical and
social issue, students should examine the worlds of real working children. This unit asks students to
critically examine, respond to and report on photographs as historical evidence. Students will discover the
work of reformer/photographer Lewis Hine, whose photographs give the issue of child labor a dramatic
personal relevance and illustrate the impact of photojournalism in the course of American history.
Overview | Procedure | Evaluation and Extension
Objectives
Students will:
develop an understanding of the importance of historical inquiry;
recognize the factors which contributed to the Industrial Revolution in the United States;
evaluate primary source materials as artifacts for greater understanding of the past;
function as historians by formulating their own questions from encounters with primary source documents
and images;
identify the problems confronted by people in the past, analyze how decisions for action were made and
propose alternative solutions;
understand that political, economic, and social history are connected; and
recognize the impact of citizen action on public policy.
Time Required
2 - 3 weeks, in 45 - 60 minute class periods, depending on activities selected.
Recommended Grade Level
Middle and high school
Curriculum Fit
U.S. history, industrial development, social issues, economics, literature, art
Other Resources
• http://www.unicef.org/prot
  ection/index_childlabour.h
  tml
• http://www.dol.gov/dol/to
  pic/youthlabor/
• http://www.childlaborphot
  oproject.org/childlabor.ht
  ml#us
• http://www.childlabor.org
ISSUE: The Environment
The Environment
The Wartville Wizard


  This story takes place in the town of
  Wartville. Wartville citizens are illegally
  dumping their trash and litter: soda
  bottles under flowers, juice cans by
  mailboxes, and candy wrappers and
  papers on the road side. Every day the
  trash pile continues to grow. One man
  continues to clean the town litter, and one
  day, he realizes he has the power to get
  rid of all the litter forever. He magically
  sends each piece of litter back to the
  person who dropped it. The town has a
  meeting to decide how to handle the
  problem.
           Hoot
Carl Hiaasen plunges readers right
into the middle of an ecological
mystery, made up of endangered
miniature owls, the Mother Paula's
All-American Pancake House
scheduled to be built over their
burrows, and the owls' unlikely
allies--three middle school kids
determined to beat the screwed-up
adult system.
   The Great Kapok Tree
This book is a plea for the rainforests of the
earth. The green foliage of the equatorial jungle
covers the pages and hides some of the
creatures who become spokesmen for the
forest. Two men approach a huge kapok tree
and the larger man commands the smaller one
to cut it down and then departs. Cutting a kapok
tree of that size is no easy task and the man
soon tires and falls asleep at the base of the
tree. One by one the animals approach him and
whisper reasons for letting the tree live into his
ear as he sleeps. Wakening he sees the
creatures, including a human child, clustered
around him. They fall silent, letting his own
senses do the communicating now, and he
drops his ax and walks away.
                     Owl Moon


A girl and her father go owling on a moonlit
winter night near the farm where they live.
Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge
through snow "whiter than the milk in a cereal
bowl"; here and there, hidden in ink-blue
shadows, a fox, raccoon, field mouse and
deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy
builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl's
call once without answer, then again. From
out of the darkness "an echo/ came threading
its way/ through the trees." Schoenherr's
watercolor washes depict a New England few
readers see: the bold stare of a nocturnal owl,
a bird's-eye view of a farmhouse.
Other Resources
• The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
• Missing 'Gator of Gumbo
  Limbo : An Ecological
  Mystery by Jean
  Craighead George,
• http://mdc.mo.gov/
• http://www.epa.gov/
ISSUE: Hunger and Homelessness
Darfur Stove Project
•   what is a darfur stove?
•   Imagine having to knowingly put yourself at grave risk just to
    feed your family. Imagine the fear of being hours from safety
    with no hope of protection. Imagine having to rely on food
    rations to live — and being forced to sell some of them to buy
    wood just to avoid the risk of rape. No one should have to
    image this yet it is reality for thousands of women every day in
    Darfur.
•   Now imagine there is a solution. And imagine you can be part
    of it.
•   the solution: the berkeley-darfur stove®
•
•   The Berkeley Darfur Stove® is four time more efficient than
    traditional 3-stones fires and two times more efficient than clay
    stoves. The efficiency and design of the stove has many
    benefits including:
•   less time outside of the camps collecting fuel wood, reducing
    the risk of exposure to rape.
•   fully enclosed flames reducing the danger of the dense straw
    and stick shelters from burning down.
•   reduction of smoke production compared to other stoves,
    reducing smoke inhalation and lung disease.
•   saving time by cutting down fuel wood treks, allowing women
    to pursue income generating opportunities.
The Devil
Came on
Horseback:
Bearing
Witness to the
Genocide in
Darfur by Brian
Steidle

Not on Our
Watch: The
Mission to End
Genocide in
Darfur and
Beyond by Don
Cheadle

Darfur Diaries:
Stories of
Survival by Jen
Marlowe
Under the Overpass
As a college student in Santa Barbara, Yankoski was
comfortable with his life. However, listening to a
Sunday sermon one morning, he began to wonder
whether his faith would remain as strong if his
privileged upbringing and typical college existence
were taken away. So began his decision to put his
faith to the test. After discussing his plans with his
family and various advisors, he and a friend took a
leave of absence from their studies and their
middle-class lives to enter the world of the homeless.
They spent five months in 2003 on the streets of
Denver; Phoenix; Washington, DC; and other cities.
Playing their guitars and panhandling, they relied
entirely on charity. The harshness, hunger, dangers,
and indignities they faced are reported in detail.
They formed friendships with other homeless people
and watched many of them struggle with
alcoholism and drug addiction. Yankoski steers
clear of preachy or patronizing tones, and his dry
sense of humor makes the book thoroughly
readable. Teens will appreciate the frankness with
which he approaches the day-to-day challenges
and his personal struggles
  Just Juice                 Karen Hesse


Nine-year-old Juice Faulstich, the middle child of
five sisters, plays a pivotal role in her family. She
takes care of her younger sisters, watches over
her pregnant, diabetic mother, and helps her
depressed father in his metal workshop. Though
plucky and resourceful at home, Juice has had a
hard time at school: She's been kept back in
third grade because she can't read. Feeling that
she'll never catch up and that she's really
needed at home, she is often truant.
Money is tight for the Faulstich family. Juice's
dad has been laid off from his job in the mines
and most family meals consist of jelly
sandwiches. Worse yet, her dad, secretly
illiterate, has just received a letter warning him
that they will lose their house if he can't raise the
money for back taxes.
Other Resources
• http://www.nationalhomeless.org
  (some activities)
• http://www.endhomelessness.org/
• http://www.hud.gov/
• A Shelter in Our Car (Hardcover)
  by Monica Gunning
• Uncle Wille and the Soup Kitchen
  by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan
• http://www.feedthechildren.org/
Officer Buckles and Gloria
How would you use this book?


• Community Safety
• Animals in Danger (Animal
  Welfare)
• Friendship
Peggy Rathmann’s
Web Site of
Resources for the
book
      Bill and Pete




Bill and Pete is an imaginative, somewhat quirky tale of
two true friends. This book describes friendship in how it
should be, that no matter how different two people
are, sometimes the opposites make the best friends.
The idea that a crocodile (Bill) and his toothbrush
(Pete), became best friends is a little bit odd, but it
exercises the imaginations of the children reading it.
The illustrations, though simple, get the point across
perfectly.
ISSUE: Literacy
   Thank You Mr. Falker
Thank You Mr. Falker, The Story (from Patricia Polacco)

THIS STORY IS TRULY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. IT IS ABOUT MY
OWN STRUGGLE WITH NOT BEING ABLE TO READ.
THIS STORY HONORS THE TEACHER THAT TOOK TIME TO SEE
A CHILD THAT WAS DROWNING AND NEEDED HELP. I AM A
DYSLEXIC, DISNUMERIC AND DISGRAPHIC. CAN YOU IMAGINE
WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO TRY AND LEARN ALONG WITH OTHER
STUDENTS WHEN I NEEDED SPECIALIZED HELP...HELP THAT
WASN'T AVAILABLE IN THOSE DAYS. I REMEMBER FEELING
DUMB, THAT TERRIBLE FEELING ABOUT MYSELF WAS
COMPOUNDED BY BEING TEASED BY A BULLY. THAT BOY
CHANGED MY LIFE AND MADE ME FEEL SO UNSAFE AND SO
SAD THAT I DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL ANYMORE. MR.
FALKER, MY HERO, MY TEACHER, NOT ONLY STOPPED THIS
BOY FROM TEASING ME, BUT HE ALSO NOTICED THAT I WASN'T
READING WELL AND GOT A READING SPECIALIST TO HELP

TO THIS DAY, I REMEMBER THE FIRST DAY THAT WORDS ON A
PAGE HAD MEANING TO ME...MR. FALKER HAD REACHED INTO
THE MOST LONELY DARKNESS AND PULLED ME INTO BRIGHT
SUNLIGHT AND SAT ME ON A SHOOTING STAR. I SHALL NEVER
FORGET HIM...SO THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN BOTH TO HONOR
MR. FALKER, BUT ALSO TO WARN YOUNG PEOPLE THAT MEAN
WORDS HAVE A TERRIBLE POWER...AND THAT THEY SHOULD
DO ALL THAT THEY CAN TO SEE THAT TEASING STOPS AT
THEIR SCHOOL.
THANK YOU, MR. FALKER,
 Fahrenheit 451
Guy Montag is a fireman who lives in a
society in which books are illegal. His job
is not to extinguish fires, but to light them.
He burns books, and all the firemen wear
the number "451" on their uniforms
because that is the temperature at which
books burn. But the role reversal of the
firemen is not the only difference between
present-day society and the world in
which Montag lives. People of Montag's
world take no interest in politics or world
issues. The only point of life is pleasure.
Montag's wife, Mildred, spends her time
watching the televisions that take up three
of the four walls in their parlor, or listening
to the seashell radios that fit snugly in the
ear. It isn't until Montag meets a young girl
named Clarisse that he realizes that there
might be more to life than the electronic
entertainment that absorbs everyone.
Clarisse makes him think about the world
beyond the wall television and seashell
radios; she makes him wonder about life.
Pink and Say highlights the brief but intimate
                                                      Pink and Say
friendship of two young boys, Pinkus Aylee
(Pink) and Sheldon Curtis (Say), during the Civil
War. When wounded attempting to escape his
unit, Say is rescued by Pink, who carries him
back to his Georgia home where he and his
family were slaves. While the frightened soldier
is nursed back to health under the care of Pink’s
mother, Moe Moe Bay, he begins to understand
why his new found friend is so adamant on
returning to the war; to fight against "the
sickness" that is slavery. However it isn’t until
marauders take Moe Moe Bay’s life, that Say is
driven to fight. Although ultimately, both boys are
taken prisoners of the Confederate Army,
fortunately Say survives and was unable to pass
along the story of Pink and Say to his daughter
Rosa, Patricia Polacco’s great grandmother. As
it was told, Pink was hanged just shortly after
being taken prisoner, therefore Patricia’s book
"serves as a written memory" of him.
    Richard Wright and the Library Card



How far would you go in order
to get your hands on books?
ISSUE: Special Needs and Disabilities
 The Acorn People

Even though he knows the camp
is for disabled children, Ron Jones
anticipates sunny days of hiking,
swimming, and boating as a
counselor at Camp Wiggin. But he
arrives and realizes how severely
disabled the children are, it seems
too much to bear. Until he meets
his campers—The Acorn People.
A group of kids who teach him
that, inside, they are are the same
as any average kid, and with
encouragement, determination,
and friendship, nothing is
impossible.
Vernon has his hands full, between trying to bring
                                                       Crazy Lady!
his grades up enough to pass seventh grade and
helping his large family make ends meet now that
his mother has died. He and his friends pass the
time on the streets of his destitute Baltimore
neighborhood by making fun of a local rowdy
alcoholic, Maxine, and her retarded son, Ronald.
Then a dispute in the supermarket brings Maxine
and Vernon together. When Maxine helps Vernon
find a tutor for school, Vernon feels he must repay
her by helping her out around the house and with
Ronald. Soon Vernon has come to care deeply
about the crazy lady and her son, helping Ronald
participate in the Special Olympics, and visiting
Maxine in jail so she can sign her welfare checks.
Vernon sees that behind the alcohol, Maxine is an
intelligent, capable, and caring mother. However,
Maxine’s alcoholism is spinning out of control,
and despite his efforts to find a way to keep the
family together, Vernon finds himself in a situation
that is too much for him. By the end of the book
Vernon has gained the respect of his own family
and realizes how important their support and love
for him have been.
       Loser                   Jerry Spinelli


Loser tells the story of Zinkoff, a lovable
"loser" who is neither smart enough to
recognize when his exuberant behavior is
inappropriate, nor competitive or worldly
enough to care. Despite the teasing of his
peers, Zinkoff's main goals are to have fun,
explore his surroundings, and see the best in
others. This is what makes Loser such a
wonderful read: it celebrates the child in all of
us, while at the same time it points out the
problems inherent in growing up. Fortunately,
Zinkoff is not alone in making his journey: his
sister Polly, his 1st and 4th grade teachers,
and a heroic snowplow driver all support him.
His mother and father do too, which is
important because there are plenty of bullies
unable to appreciate what Zinkoff has to
offer. Fans of Spinelli's work will enjoy this
vivid and poignant, though not especially
dramatic, coming-of-age tale.
Freak the Mighty
Outcasts Maxwell
and Kevin, the
former a giant of a
boy who lacks
intelligence and the
latter a genius in leg
braces, team up for a
series of imaginative
adventures that bring
them undreamed-of
discoveries.
Other Resources
• Melissa Parkington’s
  Beautiful, Beautiful Hair
  Pat Brisson
Issue: Intergenerational
• When I Am Old with You by
  Angela Johnson,
• Pictures of Hollis Woods by
  Patricia Reilly Giff
• Reminisce       (Write your
  own book of memories)
• I Know a Lady by Charlotte
  Zolotow,
The Patchwork Quilt

•   Grandma has an idea. When she was a little girl her
    own mother made her a beautiful patchwork quilt.
    Now Tanya, her granddaughter, is showing some
    interest in Grandma's quilting. Therefore, she's going to
    make a quilt of her own. A "masterpiece" is what it's
    going to be. So when any family member has a
    special outfit made or has to get rid of a beloved set
    of pants, Grandma's always there, handy with the
    scissors. Slowly everyone in the family gets his or herself
    added to the quilt, until one day Grandma gets sick.
    There her quilt sits on the back of her old chair,
    gathering dust. Fortunately, Tanya knows she can take
    charge. Her mother agrees to do the sewing and
    Tanya cuts fabric. Even her brothers get in on the act.
    Soon enough Grandma is well again, the quilt is
    finished, and everyone is now a part of it.
Issue: Gardening
                    The Victory Garden

How can kids serve their country? Learn
about gardening and give adults something
to think about other than family members
fighting a war?
Other Resources
• http://www.revivevictorygarden.org/
  During World War I and World War II,
  the United States government asked
  its citizens to plant gardens in order to
  support the war effort. Millions of
  people planted gardens. In 1943,
  Americans planted over 20 million
  Victory Gardens, and the harvest
  accounted for nearly a third of all the
  vegetables consumed in the country
  that year. Emphasis was placed on
  making gardening a family or
  community effort -- not a drudgery,
  but a pastime, and a national duty.

								
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