fbpx
Select Page
Overcoming Life’s Obstacles with a Friend at your Side.

Overcoming Life’s Obstacles with a Friend at your Side.

Beverly Cleary is a legend in children’s literature. Two of my favorite books are Dear Mr. Henshaw and the sequel, Strider, which take you on the journey of young Leigh Botts in his acceptance to his parent’s divorce and the road to acceptance of himself. They are great books to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Beverly Cleary has always strived to write books “about kids like us”. Her books are beloved because they are so relatable to her readers. Leigh struggles with his parent’s separation and his father’s absence due to his job as a truck driver. In Dear Mr. Henshaw Leigh connects with a favorite author and develops a pen pal relationship that helps him work through his feelings and anxieties.

From the Book Jacket for Dear Mr. Henshaw:

Beverly Cleary’s timeless Newbery Medal-winning book explores difficult topics like divorce, insecurity, and bullying through the thoughts and emotions of a sixth-grade boy as he writes to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw.

After his parents separate, Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother. Struggling to make friends and deal with his anger toward his absent father, Leigh loses himself in a class assignment in which he must write to his favorite author. When Mr. Henshaw responds, the two form an unexpected friendship that will change Leigh’s life forever.

From the beloved author of the Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse series comes an epistolary novel about how to navigate and heal from life’s growing pains.

Leigh’s story of growth and acceptance continues in Strider when he takes in a stray dog (Strider) that helps him accept his place in the world, introduces him to a love for running, and gives him hope for the future.

From the Book Jacket for Strider:

Strider has a new habit. Whenever we stop, he places his paw on my foot. It isn’t an accident because he always does it. I like to think he doesn’t want to leave me.

Can a stray dog change the life of a teenage boy? It looks as if Strider can. He’s a dog that loves to run; because of Strider, Leigh Botts finds himself running — well enough to join the school track team. Strider changes Leigh on the inside, too, as he finally begins to accept his parents’ divorce and gets to know a redheaded girl he’s been admiring. With Strider’s help, Leigh finds that the future he once hated to be asked about now holds something he never expected: hope.

See what people are saying about the Dear Mr. Henshaw and the Strider Novel Studies by The Teaching Bank!

I offer complete novel studies to accompany Dear Mr. Henshaw and Strider for use in the classroom or homeschool. Each unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

hand holding pen writing a letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly Cleary does a masterful job of showing Leigh’s growth through her portrayal of his letter writing and narration which makes a wonderful example for point of view instruction. Many kids can relate to Leigh’s feelings of loneliness, insecurity, sadness over a divorce, missing a parent, trying to find their way and/or talent, and having a beloved pet that gives them unconditional love. The universal relatability is what makes Dear Mr. Henshaw and Strider such wonderful novels to use 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.

Grieving and Missing May

Grieving and Missing May

Missing May by Cynthia Rylant is a poignant story to analyze the stages of grief a family goes through after losing a loved one. 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.

Missing May was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1993. Prolific author, Cynthia Rylant, has taken the topic of grief and moving through the stages and written in a way that young readers can relate and empathize.

From the Book Jacket:

Ever since May, Summer’s aunt and good-as-a-mother for the past six years, died in the garden among her pole beans and carrots, life for Summer and her Uncle Ob has been as bleak as winter. Ob doesn’t want to create his beautiful whirligigs anymore, and he and Summer have slipped into a sadness that they can’t shake off. They need May in whatever form they can have her — a message, a whisper, a sign that will tell them what to do next. When that sign comes, Summer will discover that she and Ob can keep missing May but still go on with their lives.

A beloved classic about grief, gardens, and the enduring love of family.

See what people are saying about the Missing May Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Missing May 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.

wood rocker on a porch

Missing May is a poignant story of a young girl who has faced far too much loss in her life. How Summer adapts to that loss and helps those around her move through grief to renewal is a memorable and honorable story that kids can empathize with.



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.

What if you had a second chance to be a better person?

What if you had a second chance to be a better person?

What if you had a second chance to be a better person? That is the singular question in Gordon Korman’s novel, Restart. Chase Ambrose was a classic bully. A bully of the worst kind who terrorized fellow classmates and adults alike and who always seemed to get away with it, until…

Restart is a great novel to use in your classroom to address bullying issues and really help students think about how their actions affect others and ultimately themselves.

 

 

Restart was published in 2017 so it is a fresh and modern book that students can easily relate to.

From the book jacket:

Chase’s memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.

He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl, in particular, is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.

 

 

 

See what people are saying about the Restart Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I offer a full novel study for Restart that you can use with a whole class, small book groups, or individual students. It is easily adaptable and contains both a printable option and a Google Drive™ option.

Person falling off roof

Restart is a great book that really helps kids think about how their actions affect others and how this affects their reputation for the long haul. It’s a good resource to use for bullying prevention activities that aren’t preachy and will help students see their own character and help them want to “restart” themselves down the right and kind path.


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 the Depths of Childhood Grief with On My Honor

Explore the Depths of Childhood Grief with On My Honor

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer is a poignant tale of how a young teen deals with the guilt and grief over the death of his friend. This Newbery Medal-winning book is great to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

You can read author Marion Dane Bauer’s description of how she came up with this story based on real-life events from her childhood here to gain insight on the “behind the scenes” of the story.

Hopefully, your students won’t have any first or secondhand experience in dealing with a tragedy such as this. It can strike at any time. My teen daughter has had to deal with this during this past summer after the death of four of her close friends in a car accident. She doesn’t deal with guilt regarding the accident but has had to struggle with the why. How did a carefree summer night just like so many others change everything in an instant? How quickly it forces young people to face mortality and mature overnight.

On My Honor does a good job of portraying this experience in main character Joel.

From the Book Jacket:

Joel’s best friend, Tony, is a daredevil. It was Tony’s idea to make the long bike ride to the Starved Rock state park, and Tony’s idea to stop for a swim in the dangerous Vermillion River. So why does Joel feel so much guilt when tragedy strikes?

See what people are saying about the On My Honor Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I offer a complete novel study to accompany On My Honor 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.

rapids and a stream

Literature has such a power to help us deal with events in our life that we can’t understand. It helps us realize that in our feelings we are not alone. This is a wonderful book to help students understand survivor’s guilt, how things can change in an instant, and how to deal with grief over someone we’ve loved and lost.



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.

Underdogs use the Power of Friendship to Become Freak the Mighty

Underdogs use the Power of Friendship to Become Freak the Mighty

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick is a must-read. Philbrick combines heart, adventure, suspense, drama, and heartbreak to make this an instant classic that all your students will love. This is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Freak the Mighty was first published in 1993. The tale is timeless. Max is an outcast. He feels stupid, too large, hated for the crimes of his father, basically unloved and all alone in the world. Kevin is smart and adventurous but has a disease that prevents him from doing all he wants to do. When Max and Kevin form an unlikely friendship they fill each other’s weaknesses with their own strengths to create Freak the Mighty. Together there’s no stopping them!

From the Book Jacket:

Max. Freak. Best Friends. Forever.

“I never had a brain until Freak came along…”

That’s what Max thought. All his life he’d been called stupid. Dumb. Slow. It didn’t help that his body seemed to be growing faster than his mind. It didn’t help that people were afraid of him. So Max learned how to be alone. At least until Freak came along.

Freak was weird, too. He had a little body-and a really big brain. Together Max and Freak were unstoppable.

Together, they were Freak the Mighty.

 

See what people are saying about the Freak the Mighty Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Freak the Mighty 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.

Large boy holding smaller boy on his shoulders watching the sun set.

Freak the Mighty touches on so many topics: learning disabilities, family issues, low self-esteem, physical disabilities, adventure, heroics, and loss. It is a tale that just about every upper elementary to middle school student can relate to or empathize with. It will help them look differently at those that have been deemed the outcasts to help them unleash the gems that are hiding in plain sight.

Until 9/30/19, you can find Freak the Mighty in the Scholastic TAB Book Order for only $1. It’s a great time to stock up on this novel for 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.