Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site

Newsletter, Volume 15, Number 1

Featured Subject: Deserts through Children's Books


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I can hardly believe it but, as you can see from the volume number of this issue, this is the start of our 15th year of the newsletter. When my late mother (Carol Hurst) and I sent out the first newsletter in 1996 we had no idea how successful the web site would be. We now have over 140,000 visitors a month. I am so grateful for our wonderful subscribers all these years.

Working in cyberspace can be isolating but your many kind responses have kept me connected with teachers, parents and students from all over the world. I look forward to many more years together. Please continue to let me know what you find helpful, what you would like improved, suggestions for books, topics and your ever-helpful notes about my errors.

The American Library Association announced their awards for the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott Medal.

Newbery Winner

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. (2009, Lamb/Random. ISBN 9780385737425. Order Info.) Novel. 199 pages. Gr 4-8.
Miranda is in sixth grade and living in New York City in 1979. Her mother is studying to be a contestant on a game show to win $20,000 dollars. Miranda's friendship with a school mate takes an unexpected turn when she receives a mysterious letter that may be from the future, or is it the past? This time warp story is full of wonderful characters and a vibrant recreation of the late 70's. The "Order Info" link above brings you to where you can also look inside this book.

Caldecott Winner

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The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. (2009, Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013567. Order Info.) Wordless Picture Book. 40 pages. Gr PreK-3.
This wordless Aesop fable is gorgeous. We are surprised when the lion frees the mouse he has caught and then touched when mouse finds a surprising way to return the favor. The cover of the book fittingly is absent of any title or other print to set the silent nature of a wordless book from the very beginning. A great retelling of a classic for a new generation. The "Order Info" link above brings you to where you can also look inside this book.


Deserts through Children's Books

A Literature Based Unit for Grades PreK through 9.

A theme study of the desert offers a chance to pursue the various unique flora and fauna of the dry areas as well as geology and weather. Broadening the theme to a study of the world's deserts allows class exploration of various cultures. We start with a book by Byrd Baylor and, indeed, this whole theme could lead into an author study of Baylor since most of her work is set in the deserts of the American Southwest. Read the whole article.


That's it for this issue.

Happy reading!

Rebecca Otis

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