Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 2016 Grades 5-6 Book Club: Raymie Nightingale

For November's Book Club, we read Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. Cadence and Grace was present. This is what we discussed, guided by questions provided by Candlewick Press.


What role does friendship play in the lives of Raymie, Louisiana, and Beverly? Are there any characters in this book whom you would like as a friend? Why or why not? 

-They have a rough friendship. Beverly is tough on all of them. Louisiana is always so positive. Raymie is always the average: Beverly is like one side of her personality and Louisiana is like the other side. 
-They didn't expect to become friends at the beginning of the book
-I'd like Louisiana as a friend because she's so positive.
-I feel like I'm a little related to Beverly. I can be tough like her.


Magical thinking is the belief that a thought, action, or event can cause something else to happen without any logical reason for that to be true—for example, the belief that wearing a certain shirt will make your favorite sports team win a game, or that avoiding stepping on cracks will keep something bad from happening. There are many examples of magical thinking in Raymie Nightingale. How many can you identify? 

-She thought if she won the Miss Florida Tire contest, she would get her picture in the paper, become famous and her dad would come back.
-Raymie said to herself that she knew she wasn't getting her dad back but she's still going to try.
-Beverly thinks that her dad will come back or that she can find him.
-Beverly thought she could see NYC from the top of a tower (in Florida).
-Louisiana thought that Archie would come back.   


What three words would you use to describe Raymie? Louisiana? Beverly? Describe how the traits of these characters come to life in the book. 

-Raymie: quiet, smart, independent. Louisiana: bright, bubbly, positive. Beverly: mean, hateful, has a good side


Over the course of the story, each of the Three Rancheros has the opportunity to move from being powerless to taking action. How do Raymie, Louisiana, and Beverly each take charge in their lives? 

-Raymie takes charge by realizing that life will not be perfect and her father will not come back. Louisiana takes charge by winning the competition. Beverly gives others the chance to be nice to her.






Which character seems to be the most changed by the story’s end? 

-Raymie. Because she goes from being lonesome, Beverly-Louisiana kind of girl, and then she goes to saving Louisiana's life.


The secondary characters in Raymie Nightingale are beautifully portrayed. What are your impressions of Mrs. Borkowski, Mrs. Sylvester, Louisiana’s grandmother, Raymie’s mother, Alice Nebbley at the nursing home, Ruthie, and Ida Nee? Why are these characters important? What do they bring to the story? 

-Borkowski is crazy, Mrs. Sylvester is an adult version of Louisiana, Ida Nee was not responsible


A question that echoes throughout Raymie Nightingale is “What is life all about?” Does the story give us answers? 

-Life is crazy
-Life can be messed up
-Life isn't always what you expect it to be


Raymie often describes having the feeling that her soul is shrinking. What do you think she means by this? What do you think she feels in those moments when she says her soul is inflating or growing bigger? 

-She has a very strong conscience
-Her soul is shrinking because she's depressed.


In December, we will be reading The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. We will be meeting on Wednesday, December 14 at 3:00 p.m. Please be sure to pick up your copy of the book and to register at the Circulation Desk so Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to buy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

December Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

In 1940, during the Blitz, Katherine, Robbie and Amelie Bateson are sent north to a private school in Rookskill Castle in Scotland, a brooding place, haunted by dark magic from the past--but when some of their classmates disappear Katherine has to find out if the cause is hidden in the past or very much in the present.



The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

In 1929 New York City, twelve-year-old housemaid Martha O'Doyle suspects that a wealthy recluse may be trying to communicate with the outside world through the paintings on her gallery walls.



Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

Finley Hart is sent to her grandparents' house for the summer, but her anxiety and overwhelmingly sad days continue until she escapes into her writings which soon turn mysteriously real and she realizes she must save this magical world in order to save herself.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November 2016 Grades 3-4 Book Club: Pax


For November’s Book Club, we read Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Cassidy, Reagan, Madison, Gwen, Ellie, Claire, Maida, Robert, Quinn, Cameron, Charles, and Thomas were present. Here are our thoughts.


Discuss the meaning of the phrase that appears before the story begins: “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening” (p. 10). What does that phrase mean to you? Why do you think the author did not name a specific place or area as the setting of the book?


-I think the phrase means that sometimes people in different areas do not know what is happening in another area of the world.
-It's based on the forest and it doesn't really matter where it is 
-It's somewhere, sometime
-It's a time of war
-When the fox is on the riverbank and Peter's father sees him, I thought there was time travel
-Pax knew that it was Peter's dad because of his smell





Discuss the connection between Peter and Pax.  Why must Peter release Pax? What makes Peter leave to look for Pax after he arrives at his grandfather’s home? 



-Peter's dad took them to a place to drop off and he knew that it was a warground
-I think Peter wants to go because Pax and Peter have a very strong relationship. He's had Pax since he was a kit. He wished that he had stood up to his dad regarding Pax. 
-He heard the coyotes and he knew that Pax would not be safe
-You would always look for your pet if it disappeared or was taken away
 



Why is it so important to Vola to live alone? What does she mean when she says, “The plain truth can be the hardest thing to see when it’s about yourself” (p. 189)? How does that phrase pertain to Vola? How does it pertain to Peter.



-It's important for Vola because she killed someone in the war and she thinks she needs to live alone




Vola tells Peter, “People should tell the truth about what war costs” (p. 130). What costs of war does each of the characters in this book pay?


-Gray pays with his life
-Runt pays with his leg, and his hearing, for awhile
-Vola pays with her leg
-Peter's father pays with his soul
-Peter's grandfather paid 






Discuss the concept of “nonduality,” or “two but not two,” that Vola explains to Peter (p. 186). How does this concept help Peter understand his connection to Pax? What does it mean to Vola?


-Peter is connected to Pax because Peter raised him 


What does Vola mean when she asks Peter if he is “wild or tame” (p. 105)? What do those words mean to you? Why is it hard for the wild foxes to accept Pax when he finds them? Apply the concept of wild or tame to each of the main characters in the story to help explain their personalities. 


-Gray is tame
-Pax is tame
-Bristle is wild
-Runt and Vola are wild
-Peter is tame


Why do you think the author decided to tell the story from dual points of view with alternating chapters describing of the separate adventures of Peter and Pax? How does this structure help the story move forward and enhance your understanding of the plot? 

-I think she did that so that you know what is happening in their at the same time
-Because they are split up, it lets you know where they are in their search for each other




Describe the steps in Peter’s journey that help him to understand that, when he finally finds Pax, he must let him go. Describe the steps in Pax’s journey that lead him to stay with his new family in the wild.



-He knew that Pax needed to live with his new family because he was taking care of his new family
-He made a new family and friends and he doesnt' want to leave them. 
-Peter will always leave the porch door open.





Discuss the meaning of the final words in the book: “Sometimes the apple rolls very far from the tree” (p. 277). Why do these words appear as handwritten text? What do these words mean for Peter?



-In the middle of the book, the grandfather says that the apple doesn't fall from the tree
-Pax and Peter are from the same tree and they rolled far from each other in their journey back to each other
-If you are searching for something, it might be far away and take a long time to get to it. You might have to go through a lot in order to reach your goal.
-It's a crazy journey to get back to the same place. 
-Peter is the tree and it only grows one apple, which is Pax. The apple, Pax, rolls far away. 



-Peter wrote this phrase on his card from Vola



Please rate this book from 1-5, with 5 being the best:

-2 3s
-3 4s
-5 3s

 

We will be meeting on Wednesday, December 7 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss The Wild Robot by Sara Pennypacker. Please pick up a copy at the Circulation Desk and sign up for Book Club!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 2016 Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

For October's Grades 5-6 Book Club, we read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.  This is what was intended for discussion.




1. Discuss the relationship between Bruno and Gretel. Does their relationship seem realistic?
2. At age 12, Gretel is the proper age for membership in the League of Young Girls, a branch of Hitler’s Youth Organization. Why do you think she is not a member, especially since her father is a high-ranking officer in Hitler's army?
3. What is it about the house at Out-With that makes Bruno feel “cold and unsafe”? How is this feeling perpetuated as he encounters people like Pavel, Maria, Lt. Kotler, and Shmuel?
4. Describe his reaction when he first sees the people in the striped pajamas. What does Gretel mean when she says, “Something about the way [Bruno] was watching made her feel suddenly nervous”? (p. 28)
5. Bruno asks his father about the people outside their house at Auschwitz. His father answers, “They’re not people at all Bruno.” (p. 53) Discuss the horror of this attitude. How does his father’s statement make Bruno more curious about Out-With?
6. Explain what Bruno’s mother means when she says, “We don’t have the luxury of thinking.” (p. 13) Identify scenes from the novel that Bruno’s mother isn’t happy about their life at Out-With. Debate whether she is unhappy being away from Berlin, or whether she is angry about her husband’s position. How does Bruno’s grandmother react to her son’s military role?
7. Bruno issues a protest about leaving Berlin. His father responds, “Do you think that I would have made such a success of my life if I hadn’t learned when to argue and when to keep my mouth shut and follow orders?” (p. 49) Do you think he still feels that way at the end of the novel?
8. A pun is most often seen as humorous. But, in this novel the narrator uses dark or solemn puns like Out-With and Fury to convey certain meanings. Bruno is simply mispronouncing the real words, but the author is clearly asking the reader to consider a double meaning to these words. What is the narrator trying to convey to the reader? How do these words further communicate the horror of the situation?
9. When Bruno dresses in the filthy striped pajamas, he remembers something his grandmother once said. “You wear the right outfit and you feel like the person you’re pretending to be.” (p, 205) How is this true for Bruno? What about his father? What does this statement contribute to the overall meaning of the story?
10. Discuss the moral or message of the novel. What new insights and understandings does John Boyne want the reader to gain from reading this story?


For November's Book Club, we will meet on November 9 at 3:00 p.m. We will be reading Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. 

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who's determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship -- and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

 Copies of the book will be available behind the Circulation Desk. 


November Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada's twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn't waste a minute--she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan--and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?


Moo by Sharon Creech

Following one family's momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow. When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn't know what to expect. She's ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents "volunteer" Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna--and that stubborn cow, Zora. This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.



Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who's determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship -- and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October 2016 Grades 3-4 Book Club: The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry


For October’s Book Club, we read The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry. Cassidy, Reagan, Madison, Gwen, Ellie, Claire, Maida, Robert, Quinn, Cameron, Charles, and Thomas were present. Here are our thoughts.


If I could be a character from this book it would be:

-Suzana
-Suzana
-Cameron
-Wyatt
-Wyatt
-Wyatt  


If I could change one scene in the book, it would be:

-I would change when Cameron and Wyatt Facetimed
-I would change that they didn't just let Matt eat frozen pizza and watch TV
-I would change the scene where the guy in the dragon breaks his arm. I want him to fall and break both arms and legs.
-So that Wyatt was flying a real dragon.
-I would change the scene in the plane. They wouldn't be looking at aereal photos and just jump out the window.
-No backpack was taken out.
-The guy fell out of the dragon onto the roof of the White House.
-The guy falls on the taxi driver.


My favorite character is:

-Wyatt
-Wyatt
-Wyatt
-Matt
  

The character I wouldn’t want to sit next to on a plane would be:

-Matt

-Cameron
-Cameron
-Cameron (the guy who toots a lot)
-the fake President (he has a snake in a box)
-Suzana 
-Suzana because she raptors people


The one character I wouldn't mind sitting next to for a long ride on the bus would be: 

-Matt because he's funny

-either of the two weird guys because I'd want to make them angry and then get to eat frozen pizza every day
-Suzana 
-Suzana because she's a fun girl
-Suzana because she's a girl and she's kind of like me (it's an adventure and I'm up for it)
-Suzana and Matt because he'd make a conversation interesting
-Wyatt or Suzana because they sound like good characters
-Wyatt because he takes down the president and people ask a lot of questions
-I wouldn't want to sit next to the farter. I would like my own seat.      




Were you confused by anything in this book?:

-Why did the fake Bresalov have a chunk taken out of his ear?


If you saved the President's life, would you ask him/her for a favor in return? Would you go big or small?:

-Big. I would ask for 15 tires in a mansion, cats, more animals, a porcupine, a Hillary Clinton pillow.
-I would not ask for something in return. You don't need to ask for something in return for saving someone's life.
-Go small, give me $50
-I would want to meet Simone Biles.
-$15 million
-I'd go small and ask for a horse. And a stable.
-I would go big and ask for a million dollars and buy a big sign that says "no big brothers"
-I'm going big, asking for a paintball arena (weapons and ammo) and a hockey rink
-I would want a mansion with a private skate park, a wave pool and air-soft guns
-I want money whenever I need it and a pill that would make me gluten-free (I wouldn't have celiac), a mansion, a wave pool, mansion on the moon
-I would buy a wave pool, a mansion on Mars, $1,000, an XBox, a paintball ring and gear, skate park, skating rink and giant LEGO mansion    



Please rate this book from 1-5, with 5 being the best:

3-1
4-3
5-7


We will be meeting on Wednesday, November 2 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Please pick up a copy at the Circulation Desk and sign up for Book Club!