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Historical Fiction with a Twist: Al Capone Does My Shirts

Historical Fiction with a Twist: Al Capone Does My Shirts

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko, is historical fiction told in a quirky and interesting way. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Published in 2006, and named as a Newbery Honor selection, this novel introduces readers to Al Capone, Alcatraz (when it was a working prison), and the challenges of living with a sister who has a disability, in a funny and modern way. Students will instantly relate to the protagonist, Moose, even though he is living on Alcatraz Island with prisoners, in 1935.

From the Book Jacket:

Today I moved to Alcatraz, a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I’m not the only kid who lives here. There are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cooks or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. And then there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don’t want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Al Capone Does My Shirts for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

In 1935, Autism was not understood and treated as it is today. At the heart of Moose’s story is his sister Natalie who is autistic. The family desperately wants to get Natalie the treatment and education that she needs to flourish, which is what brings them to Alcatraz of all places. The story set on Alcatraz Island with the infamous Al Capone, as a resident during the Great Depression, sets an interesting and unique backdrop for a story about coming of age that kids today can still understand and relate to.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Dedication and Endurance with Sounder

Dedication and Endurance with Sounder

Sounder by William H. Armstrong is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies to explore the deep south and the life of a sharecropper family.

Sounder was published in 1969 and went on to be awarded the Newbery Medal in 1970. It has also been made into a feature film that earned several Academy Award nominations in 1972.

From the Book Jacket:

The boy knows that times are tough for his family. Every night, his father goes out hunting with their great coon dog, Sounder, to try to put food on the table. But even with the little they bring back, there is still never enough for the family to eat.

When the boy awakens one morning to a sweet-smelling ham on the table, it seems like a blessing. But soon, the sheriff and his deputies come to the house and take the boy’s father away in handcuffs. Suddenly the boy must grow up fast in a world that isn’t fair, keeping hope alive through the love he has for his father’s faithful dog, Sounder. 

Readers who enjoy timeless dog stories such as Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows will find much to love in Sounder, even as they read through tears at times.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Sounder for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

This book takes a quiet look at the life of a poor, black sharecropping family in the south. it gives students an eye into the turmoil and adversity many families such as this faced at that time. Using literature in this way can help students really empathize with the issues and gain an understanding of the history of those that came before us here in America. It is a tale worth using in your classroom.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Explore a Week in the Woods

Explore a Week in the Woods

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements takes the idea that money doesn’t buy happiness to an interesting level. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

 

 

 

From the Book Jacket:

The fifth-grade Week in the Woods is a beloved tradition of Hardy Elementary, where Mark Chelmsley (the Fourth) is pretty much killing time before his parents send him off to an exclusive prep school. But then Mark realizes the Week might be a chance to prove to Mr. Maxwell that he’s not just another of the slacker rich kids the teacher can’t stand.

But it may be too late for Mark to change Mr. Maxwell’s opinion of him. On the first day of the Week, the tension between teacher and student explodes, and in a reckless moment, Mark puts not only himself but also Mr. Maxwell, in grave danger. Can two such strong adversaries work together to save their lives?

I offer a complete novel study to accompany A Week in the Woods for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

From outside appearances, Mark has it made coming from a wealthy family. As you get into his head you realize having money isn’t as great as it may sound. Mark faces adversity in a different way and has to work to break through the predetermined opinion people may have of how easy his life must be. It makes you stop and think before judging, no matter the subject. Add to that the adventure of being lost in the woods and this is a really interesting read that will capture the attention of your students.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Take an Adventure From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Take an Adventure From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is a classic story of adventure that kids for generations have loved. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Published in 1967 and awarded with the Newbery Medal in 1968, this novel has intrigued students for over 50 years. Many still cite this book as one that stands out as favorite from their childhood.

From the Book Jacket:

When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie, find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler gives students a taste of the bustle of New York City, a taste of the art world, and a unique look inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For many, this opens a world to one they never have experienced before and leads to a hunger for more as their imagination flows.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia series, written by C.S. Lewis was a fantasy series published between 1950 and 1956.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably the most well-known book of the series and many mistakingly believe it is the first in the series, but it is really book #2. The first book in the series is The Magician’s Nephew. The Horse and His Boy is #3, Prince Caspian is #4, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is #5, The Silver Chair is #6, and the final book of the series is The Last Battle.

The fantasy world of Narnia is full of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals. Each book focuses on children and their central roles in the history of the Narnian world. Throughout the series, children are magically transported to Narnia from the real world as they work with the Narnian lion, Aslan, to protect Narnia from evil. 

The Chronicles of Narnia series is the best-known work of C.S. Lewis. The stories parallel his childhood during World War II and he weaves in his theology work throughout the series in subtle ways. There is a Christian thread through the books, but it is not overt. This makes the books good for use in both Christian and public schools alike. The base of the story, good vs. evil, is one that can be analyzed and interpreted by all. 

 

 

I offer complete novel studies (click on covers below) to accompany each of the Chronicles of Narnia books for use in the classroom or homeschool. You can also buy the entire series of novel studies bundled together for a discount. Each unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom and follows a similar layout as shown in the video for The Magician’s Nephew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are have been movies made, some big-budget releases by Disney, for some of the books. There are also rumors that Netflix will be producing a series on their streaming platform in the near future to accompany all the books in the series.

Fantasy lovers have been enthralled with the Chronicles of Narnia for decades. They are often the books that spark the love of the genre for readers to branch off to older-aged works such as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, has noted that the series was one that had a profound impact on her as a child and helped to influence her fantastical mind in authoring the Harry Potter series. Your students will be in good company and will likely fall in love with the Narnian world as countless others have over the past 70 years.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Persevering through Love and Loss: Turtle in Paradise

Persevering through Love and Loss: Turtle in Paradise

The Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm is a wonderful historical fiction novel set in Depression-era Key West. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

 

 

This historical fiction published in 2010, will give students a taste of life during the Great Depression and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Author, Jennifer L. Holm, writes in a humorous style that garnered this book both the Newbery Honor of 2011 and the Golden Kite Award.

From the Book Jacket:

Life is nothing like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor, and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls with love.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Turtle in Paradise for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Turtle is a relatable and funny protagonist that students will enjoy. Her journey of being disillusioned with being different from other kids and finding “her people” leads the reader through the adventures that 1930’s Key West had to offer. The scenery and adventures paint a picture of fun and paradise even as Turtle works through personal struggles that don’t feel so great. This journey is one that many kids can relate to or gain empathy from and apply to their own relationships.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.