Wednesday, September 12, 2018

September Grades 3-4 Book Club: A Boy Called Bat

For September's Book Club, we read A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold. Gavin, Hunter, Isaac, Mark, Mira and Will were present. This is some of what we discussed, based on suggestions from the author's publisher. We filled out worksheets with pictures and words for answers and talked about our favorite things quite a bit. 

A Favorite Room                                               
Bat’s room was his favorite place in the whole world. In his room, Bat felt completely comfortable. (PAGE 6)
Write about or draw a room where you are completely comfortable.

-"A room with a bunk bed and a dresser are ideal."
-"My bedroom is my favorite room."
-Someone drew a picture of their favorite room.
-"My bedroom: dressers, drawers, beds"
-A room with yellow walls, a tie-dye rug and a beanbag chair are what I hope for in a room

What are your six favorite things in your favorite room? Make a list or draw pictures of your favorite things.
[Bat’s room had] a roll-down bamboo window shade and a fine closet full of shelves and a pullout trundle in case someday a friend came to spend the night. It had a ceiling fan and a reading lamp and a rug with a picture of a train track printed on it. (PAGE 9)

-A 4K TV
-TV, XBox, toys, chairs, blankets
-Tarantula, Lego Death Star, Lego Executor, Lego Star Destroyer, Lego AT-AT, ATTE

A Classroom Pal                                                               

Image result for a boy called bat picturesBat’s teacher Mr. Grayson has an “open-door Babycakes policy” in his classroom. What does that mean? How does Bat feel about Babycakes?

-That the kids can go to Babycakes to hug and get comforted by the rabbit.
-Bat loves Babycakes because he often needs to get away from the other kids and be by himself.

Bat’s Five Senses 

We talked about things that Bat liked and didn't like, including his intolerance of loud noises. This brought about a discussion of Asperger's and experiences that the kids have had with it. 

Figures of Speech and What They Mean
People sometimes use expressions that they do not mean to be taken literally. These are called “figures of speech.” Because Bat takes most things people say literally, he can have trouble understanding the meaning of figures of speech. For example, in the passage below, Mr. Grayson says “I’m all ears,” when what he means is “I’m paying all my attention to you.”

“Mr. Grayson,” Bat said. “I need your help.” Mr. Grayson put the cap on his pen and set it down. “I’m all ears,” he said. That was a funny expression, and for a second Bat pictured Mr. Grayson made entirely of ears, with ears for eyes and an ear for a nose and two tiny rows of little ears for teeth. (PAGE 98)

This brought about a trading of other funny figures of speech, such as "letting the cat out of the bag" and "I've got my eyes on you."

Exploring Interests                                                             
An old lady, old like a grandmother, sat on the bench in the waiting room. She held a box on her lap. Bat stopped in front of her. “What kind of animal do you have in that box?” “It’s my cat, Pickles,” the lady said. “He’s not feeling one hundred percent.” “What are his symptoms?” Bat asked. “Are you the veterinarian?” the lady asked. “No,” said Bat. “Not yet.” (PAGE 106)

What is Bat’s main interest and his career goal?

-To become a veterinarian. 
-He reads lots of animal encyclopedias in order to learn more.

Describe your main interest and a career that you might pursue. What's the name of a book or a genre that you might read in order to help you attain this goal?
-Sniper: I once interviewed a sniper. I'd read more books about it.
-Military Pilot: WWII books.
-Baker or artist: Cookbooks!
-Chef or miner: Cookbooks and science books.
-Navy Pilot: WWI and WWII books.
Invent a new car/start a car company: I'd read books about people who started companies.

Please rate this book from 1-5, with 1 being a book you did not like at all and 5 being one of the best books you read:
Three 3s
Two 4s
One 5

For October's Book Club, we will be reading the sequel to A Boy Called Bat, Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold.

"When Bat's older sister Janie gets a part in the school play, and can't watch him after school, it means some pretty big changes. For one, someone else will have to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons."

We will meet on Wednesday, October 10 at 3:00 p.m. Please be sure to pick up a library copy of the book at the Circulation Desk (and to register for Book Club). 

October Grades 3-4 Book Club Suggestions

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

"For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world—even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor.
When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons, Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends, and Bat wants everything to go back to normal.
He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance. . . ."

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

It's been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy's grandmother in Australia. Now that she's back, Livy has the feeling she's forgotten something really, really important about Gran's house.
It turns out she's right.
Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn't forget Livy, or her promise. He's been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can't remember who--or what--he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it's time to keep that promise.
Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever.-catalog summary

Grump by Leisl Shurtliff

Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed "Grump") has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind.
     At first, life aboveground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems. . . .
     When the queen commands him to carry out a horrible task against her stepdaughter Snow White, Grump is in over his head. He's bound by magic to help the queen, but also to protect Snow White. As if that wasn't stressful enough, the queen keeps bugging him for updates through her magic mirror! He'll have to dig deep to find a way out of this pickle, and that's enough to make any dwarf Grumpy indeed.-catalog summary

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.

The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

January Grades 3-4 Book Club: Paper Things

For January's Book Club, we read Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Abigail, Alba, Amelia, Ava, Claire, Finley and Lauren were present. This is some of what we discussed, based on suggestions from Candlewick Press.

Gage leaves his home and takes Ari with him. What personality traits lead him to make this decision? Do you think he is a good brother?

-I think he's a good brother. When he was leaving, he was confident that he could get a better life. He was confident and brave.
-I think he was a bad brother because he didn't give Ari a chance to decide.
-I think that Gage is very independent because he doesn't to be with Janna. He kind of pulls Ari into it but he gives her time to decide.
-She wants to stay with Janna and Gage didn't give her a chance to decide.

Which scenes best show Ari’s strengths as a person? Which scenes shed light on her weaknesses? Did the experience of homelessness change her? If so, how?

-She's really brave when she spoke to the reporter during crazy hat day. She hadn't even told her best friend yet.
-I think she's brave when she keeps on going and she doesn't go back to Janna right away.
-She's really brave in trusting her brother. She didn't know if she was going to ever get a home again.
-It was hard for her not to be clean and the other girls were teasing her. 
-She was weak when she saw Keisha at the soup kitchen and pretended that she wasn't there. She was too embarrassed by her circumstances.

Discuss Ari and Sasha’s friendship. Do you think they will remain best friends? Why or why not?  

-I think that they don't remain best friends. Keisha takes over Ari's spot.
-They aren't going to remain friends. Ari will realise that Sasha is not the friend to have if she dumps her so quickly.

Both family traditions and school traditions are important to Ari. What traditions are important to you? Why?

-Pajama night on Christmas Eve. It's important because it's fun and special. 
-I was born in Spain. We go to Spain every winter break. There's a tradition there that you eat grapes during the countdown to midnight. I love doing that with my family.
-On Christmas, we always open a package from our relatives in Kentucky. I get a B&N gift card and a Hallmark ornament. It's like getting to see my grandparents again.

Ari says, “Ever since I can remember, I’ve had this theory that when each person is born, he or she is given an imaginary sack with the same number of happy moments, same number of horrible-news moments, same number of please-let-me-die-now embarrassments” (105). What do you think of this theory? Support your argument.

-I think it's a good theory to think. You're thinking on the bright side. Her life has been so terrible and now her life will have to be upbeat.
-I disagree. She said at the end that she has horrible news moments. She was looking at the bad side of things.
-I also disagree. It depends on the person's life. 

Why doesn’t Ari tell others that she and Gage are struggling? What would you have done in her situation?

-I think she doesn't tell others. She's embarrassed of what others might think. No one will feel bad for her. They will just walk away from her. If I was in that situation, I might tell my teacher. I might not.
-I agree.
-I think she's not telling because people might feel too bad for her. I would only tell my best friend if that happened to me and tell her not to tell anyone else. 
-I would have told my friends part of the truth. I would have told white lies to excuse why I was acting the way I was. 
-I think she's embarrassed to tell other people. She used to be pretty popular and the teachers liked her. I think I would have told my friends and asked them to help me a bit. 

Daniel creates a bucket list. What things would you like to do before you leave your current school?

-I move all the time so I don't care.
-I would find another school.
-I move all the time.
-I would make a bucket list for college. I would publish books and go to all of the states.
-I want to fling mashed potatoes on the ceiling in the cafeteria. And I want to put ice under my feet and slide all the way down the hallway. I want to sleep in the school.

For February's Book Club, we will be reading Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel. 

In Fortune Falls, where superstitions are real, and all children must pass regular "luck tests" to see if they are worthy, ill-fortuned Sadie has always been deemed as unlucky, and shunted aside for her luckier younger brother--but when she finds an unusually intelligent black cat named Jinx, her fortunes begin to change for the better.

We will meet on Wednesday, February 14 at 3:00 p.m. Please be sure to pick up a library copy of the book at the Circulation Desk (and to register for Book Club). 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

February Grades 3-4 Book Club Suggestions

Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel

In Fortune Falls, where superstitions are real, and all children must pass regular "luck tests" to see if they are worthy, ill-fortuned Sadie has always been deemed as unlucky, and shunted aside for her luckier younger brother--but when she finds an unusually intelligent black cat named Jinx, her fortunes begin to change for the better.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan

An award-winning, big-hearted time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. A great pick for fans of Margarita Engle and Eileen Spinelli.

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.

But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Dèja can't help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?

Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren't alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December Grades 3-4 Book Club: The Bad Beginning

For December's Book Club, we read A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. Abigail, Alba, Amelia, Ava, Claire, Finley and Lauren were present. This is some of what we talked about.

Which one of the Baudelaire children do you most identify with? Violet? Klaus? Or Sunny?

-Sunny, because she has the ability to bite stuff.
-Klaus because he's a reader
-Violet because she's creative and she likes to invent stuff. Plus, she's brave.
-Klaus, because he likes to read and he has a bunch of books. He had a big library at the house that burned down. :(
-I am a mixture between Violet and Sunny. Sunny took risks and Violet is funny, kind and fun. Violet threw the grappling hook and risked her life to save Sunny.
-Klaus because he likes to read a lot.
-Violet and Klaus because he likes to read and can memorize anything in his books. Violet is creative and she likes to help her siblings.

-Maybe Count Olaf burned down the house to kill the parents in order to get the money.
-A mysterious fire happened and they don't know how it started.

Why are all the adults in this story so darned incompetent? In the end, which adult is the very worst? Is it Count Olaf? Or is Mr. Poe just as bad? Maybe Justice Strauss should have done more to help?

-I think Justice Strauss should have fought harder for the kids.
-Mr. Poe because he doesn't listen to the kids, even when the truth is right under his nose.
-I think Mr. Poe because he could have helped with many things (he could have checked on them to make sure they are okay).
-I think Count Olaf because he tries to marry a 14 year old to get her money.
-I think Mr. Poe and Count Olaf because Olaf wasn't protective and he only gave them one bed. Mr. Poe didn't check on them and to see if they were doing okay. He didn't listen to them when they told him about Count.
-Count Olaf and Mr. Poe. But Mr. Poe isn't as bad as Count Olaf.
-I also think Count Olaf is worst because he ties Sunny to a tower.
-Mr. Poe is worst because he coughs a lot (he can get them sick) and he didn't come to check on them even though he promised he would. He didn't have time for them. Even though the kids made the effort to get to the bank, he ignored them.
-If Mr. Poe hadn't contacted Count Olaf, they might not have been in the play.
-The guys who work for Olaf might not be as bad as they seem.
-Count Olaf and Mr. Poe are equally bad. Count Olaf was going to marry Violet and steal her fortune. That's creepy that he wanted to marry his own child. 
-Mr. Poe should have listened more to the kids. The kids should tell Mr. Poe that he needs to start listening to them.
-SPOILER!!!: the kids were supposed to go to a relative closer to them (in the second book)

Compare and contrast Count Olaf and Justice Strauss. Why on earth won't Mr. Poe just let the Baudelaires live with that nice lady?

-He was following the rules and would only let them live with whoever was closest to them.
-I think Mr. Poe is following the rules. He should have realized that Justice Strauss would be the better guardian. Maybe he could have done a split arrangement so that the kids live part of the time with Justice Strauss and part somewhere else.

What role does money play in the story? How is the Baudelaires' enormous fortune both a blessing and a curse for them?

-It's a blessing because they can buy whatever they want. But it's a curse because everyone wants to steal their money from them.
-It's a blessing because they can buy themselves better things than Count Olaf will give them. It's a curse because Count Olaf tries to marry Violet so that he can control her (his wife's) money.
-I think it's a blessing and a curse because when they ask for money to do things for Olaf, they are forced to use their own. It's a blessing because they would have enough money to support themselves if they run away.
-They can't use the money until they are 16. If they ever wanted to go, they could break the law and use the money.

What's up with all the creepy eyes in Count Olaf's house? Is he really always watching the Baudelaires?

-They are actually the eyes of his team. They are behind the walls watching them. The eyes could be little cameras. Or he could be obsessed with different kinds of animal eyes. He might be using magic.
-I think it's a symbol for something and it represents something.
-He has an eye tattoo on his ankle. I agree, maybe it's a symbol of something evil.
-There could be many tattoos on Count Olaf that we just haven't seen yet.
-The eye on his ankle might be something that Count Olaf really wanted to remember (the group was split on whether the memory was good or bad).

When the children lose their parents, does their relationship with each other change? How?

-I think they are closer because they realize they have to stick together to take care of each other.
-I think they have decided to stick together. 
-They have decided to stick together because they have no one else to count on. And then they continued to stick together.

Why is this book divided into thirteen chapters? Does Lemony Snicket just love unlucky things?

-I think Lemony Snicket does it on purpose. He made it even more unhappy with that number of chapters.
-I think that it could have been a coincidence but I think he did it on purpose. People might not have noticed it at once.
-He made it 13 chapters because he wanted to lengthen the story. And he wants to get the reader to feel like they know the story and the characters.
-I don't think that it's a coincidence because it's supposed to be an unhappy book. If people recognized the number of chapters, they might notice the story and the structure. 

Please rate this book between 1 and 5, with 5 being one of the best books you've read.

-Everyone ranked it a 5!

For January's Book Club, we will be reading Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.

When forced to choose between staying with her guardian and being with her big brother, Ari chose her big brother. There's just one problem—Gage doesn't actually have a place to live.

We will be meeting on Wednesday, January 10 at 3:00 p.m. Copies of the book will be available at the Circulation Desk. Please be sure to register so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to provide!

January Grades 3-4 Book Club Suggestions

 Frindle by Andrew Clements

When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Two is a crowd when Peter and his little brother, Fudge, are in the same room. Grown-ups think Fudge is absolutely adorable, but Peter and his pet turtle, Dribble, know the truth. From throwing temper tantrums to smearing mashed potatoes on the wall, Fudge causes mischief wherever he goes!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November Grades 3-4 Book Club: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

For November's Grades 3-4 Book Club, we read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Alba, Ava, Fiona, Lauren and Luna were present. Here's some of what we talked about!

Edward is repeatedly lost by those who love him. Have you ever lost something you treasured? How did you deal with it?

-I used to have a puppydog toy, which I would tell my friends was real, and one day I lost him. I cried and then I forgot about him.
-I have a stuffy that I sleep with every night. We were at a hotel and I left it in the sheets. The cleaners at the hotel thought they had found it but it was the wrong bunny! I cried.
-I got an Orca from Sea World and lost it. I kept thinking that it was where I used to live and blamed my brother. I was sad.

The day the maid misplaces Edward, Abilene runs from room to room, calling for him. Why does Abilene loves him so much? What emotion does Edward feel in return and why?

-Abilene really loves Edward. Edward feels like she can be annoying sometimes. He definitely loves her less.

This book is Edward's story, but all of the people who take him in have their own stories, too. Which was your favorite story and why?

-When he was with the fisherman because he was happy there and wasn't cranky. It seemed fun.
-My favorite story was with Bryce and Sarah. I was sad when she died. I liked how Edward loved them.
-My favorite part was with Bull and the dog because all of the homeless people would whisper secrets to him and call him by his own special name.
-I liked when Edward was with Bull and Lucy because I like dogs but also because he was with them so long, he learned to love them. And he listened to the hoboes and what they had to say to him.
-I liked when Edward was with Sarah and Bryce because that's where he was most happy.
-I think that Edward loved the grandma and grandpa and Sarah and Bryce the most.

What might happen to the characters after Edward leaves? How does Edward change their lives?

-I think when he got kicked from Bull and Lucy, Lucy would have tried to have jumped off the train to find him
-I think Abilene was very sad and tried to look for him. I think she put up Missing posters.
-In third grade, we had to write about inanimate objects and I wrote about a pencil that didn't like its owner. I think Abilene, Bryce and Bull were the most upset.
-Everyone that Edward traveled with thought that he was alive. They talked to him and acted like he was alive.
-I think when Edward got his head cracked, Bryce showed how much he loved him by giving him up to get him repaired.

The old doll helps Edward change his attitude and open his heart again. She tells him, "If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless" (page 189). What does she mean? Have you ever encountered someone who changed the way you thought or looked at the world?

-I think she meant that if Edward doesn't ever love anyone on his journey, then why go on the journey
-Wonder did that for me

What are some of the life lessons Edward learns on his journey, through good times and bad? What life lessons have you acquired in your life that you would like to pass on to someone else?

-To be less cruel
-To love people
-To be more loving
-When Sarah died, he learned that everyone dies
-From Lawrence and Nelly's daughter, Lolly, he learned that he should be nice 
-He learned that everyone thinks of him differently (Nelly thought he was a girl)
-Bull and Bryce treated him the same (they went on adventures)
-He represented a child that they lost to Nelly and Lawrence
-Lolly could have been a nice person but maybe her sadness about her brother's death made her a mad person (sad and mean) and she let her emotions out on Edward
-Lolly probably changed because she thought differently about the world after her brother's death
-Lolly wanted to know why the highchair was out and it brought out bad memories of her brother's death.

Please rank this book between 1 and 5, with 5 being the best.

There was one 3
There were three 4s.
There was one 5.

For December's Book Club, we will be reading A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket.

After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune.

We will meet on Wednesday, December 13 at 3:00 p.m. Please register (and pick up your library copy of the book) at the Circulation Desk so that Miss Lisa knows how many people to expect!

September Grades 3-4 Book Club: A Boy Called Bat

For September's Book Club, we read A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold. Gavin, Hunter, Isaac, Mark, Mira and Will were present...