By Liz Arrambide, Children’s Department
Celebrate National Hispanic Month Tues. Sept. 15 thru Thur. Oct. 15, 2015 with a few titles that will put an “¡Ole!” into your day!
- Flutter and Hum: Animal Poems/ Aleto y Zumbido.: Poemas de Animales by Julie Paschkis
This Poem book is “sabroso”, Mmmm! delicious! I can easily picture a child in my lap and each of us studying the wonderful detailed drawings and the animal poems that make us smile. It doesn’t matter if we are reading about a snake that only can say one letter “SSS” or a turtle that moves slowly so rubies and emeralds do not fall from her shell. In both English and Spanish the book is “muy rico”/ very rich with delightful illustrations to savor.
- Green is a Chile Pepper: a Book of Colors and Round is a Torilla: a book of shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
In this lively picture book, children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal.
- Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/ Marisol McDonald no combina by /por Monica Brown.
Marisol has flaming red hair like her Scotch American dad and nut brown skin like her Peruvian mom. She loves dressing in a wild mixture of polka dots and stripes. Peanut butter and jelly burritos are her favorite lunch food. One day she decides to dress and act like everyone else, so she will match. Is it worth making the change? A great bilingual English/Spanish read aloud for grades 1-3.
- Musicians of the Sun by Gerald McDermott
This is based on an Aztec legend. The Lord of the Night was worried because the people worked all day and night in the dark. They did not laugh or sing. So the Lord of the Night asked the Wind to help free the Three Musicians from the Lord Sun. This is a well told and beautifully illustrated version of this Mexican legend.
- Playing Loteria/ El juego de la Loteria by/ por Rene Colato Lainez.
A Young boy from the U.S. is visiting his grandmother in Mexico. He only knows a little bit of Spanish and she speaks only a little bit of English. How will they be able to talk to each other? This is a lovely bilingual story where they learn each other’s language through the Mexican version of Bingo. This is called Lotería. They discover that loved ones have a special way of understanding each other.
- Sip, Slurp, Soup, Soup/ Caldo, Caldo, Caldo by Diane Gonzales Bertrand
In Houston, Texas a family gets ready for Caldo Day. “Caldo de res” is a Mexican soup with lots of vegetables, potatoes, cilantro, stew meat and garlic. The special soup calms a cough, soothes sore muscles and makes everyone feel better. While mom makes the soup, the rest of the family buys the tortillas at the Tortillería, where tortillas are made. You can almost taste the fresh tortillas and delicious soup. A recipe for caldo is included. ‘¡Disfrute! Enjoy!
- Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale by Laurie Krebs and Aurelia Fronty.
Children from all over Peru come by bus, boat, train, truck and walking for the Sun King’s Festival in Cusco, Peru on June 24. They participate in the dancing, the parades and the wonderful parties. This is a beautiful book that shows the different areas of Peru.
- Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que Rico! By Pat Mora.
North and South America grow delicious foods. When Columbus and other explorers brought to Europe some of these new foods, the people all gained needed weight and became healthier. Find out about some of these wonderful vegetables and fruits that started here in the Americas. These are described in short poems called haikus with brief descriptions of these foods; corn, blueberry, chile, chocolate and more! Yum!
Books for Grades 4-8:
- 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis J F FLO Grades 5-8
The author came to the U.S. in 1961 from Cuba with his two brothers. He was 9 years old and part of Operation Pedro Pan, where 14,000 children were sent to the United States without their parents to escape the Castro regime. This novel is based on his experience. This is a fascinating book.
- Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan Grades 4-7.
Naomi Soledad Leon is 11 and has been brought up by her grandmother. Life is not perfect, but she and her younger brother, who is slightly deformed, are doing fairly well in a trailer park in California. Then her alcoholic mother, who has been gone for 7 years returns with a no good boyfriend. Gran gets into the car and takes the two children on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in search her father who is a fine man. This way her daughter, will not have legal custody of the children. This gives an amazing look into life in Mexico.
- Enchanted Air: Two Cultures/ Two Wings by Margarita Engle. Grades 5-8
This book of memoris is told through poems. Ms. Engle lived in Los Angeles and spent summers with her mother in Cuba. She finds herself divided because the two countries she loves are at war. Will her family in Cuba be alright after the Invasion of the Bay of Pigs? Ms. Engle was the first Latina to win a Newbery Honor with her book, Surrender Tree.
- How Tia Lola Came to Visit/ Stay by Julia Alvarez. Grades 3-6.
Miguel Guzman lives with his sister and mom in Vermont after the divorce. In comes a crazy aunt, his mother’s sister, from the country of the Dominican Republic. Miguel is afraid that his friends will meet his nutty aunt. In time, all of the town warm to Tía Lola, as she cooks exotic foods and learns English. The story is full of humor as Tía makes a lot of mistakes in her new language and her visit becomes permanent.
- The Revolution of Eveyln Serrano by Sonia Manzano. Grades 5-8.
Written by the actress who plays Maria on Sesame Street, this is a very special inside view of what life was like in the Puerto Rican Part of New York City during the civil rights movement in 1969. Fascinating!
- Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 miners from 2,000 feet below the Chilean desert by Marc Aronson J 363.11 ARO Grades 4-8.
This is a true account of the miners that were trapped in 2010 in a copper mine in Chile. You’ll be amazed at the diagrams of the mine. There is only one safe place for the men in the miles of the mine. The world didn’t have the technology to save the men. They had to invent it. Oil drillers, astronauts, submarine specialists and experts around the world came together and tried different ways to get the men out. Whose way will work? Or will any of them be able to reach the men in time? A breath taking, true life thriller.
- Under the Same Sky by Cynthis DeFelice Grades 5-8.
Joe Pedersen’s family owns a large farm in New York State. The workers all are from Central America. Joe has never paid attention to the operation of the farm until he wants to earn money for a motorcycle. He learns a lot that summer as he picks strawberries and cares for cabbage along with the migrant workers who tend his farm. He realizes that life for his friends is far more complicated than he imagined. His life too becomes difficult because he wants to help, but he may have to break the law. A great read!
by Stacy Parish (Children’s Department) and Liz Arrambide (Children’s Department)
“I love Rick Riordan’s (pronounced RYER-den, rhymes with FIREmen, sort of) books! I have read his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, his Heroes of Olympus series, and his Kane Chronicles series. What other juvenile fiction books based on Greek, Roman and/or Norse Mythology are available?”
Well, we are just so very thrilled that you asked! Below is a suggested reading list compiled by the beautiful minds in the Children’s Department of the Main Branch of WCPL. You can also find some great recommendations at Amazon.com, and straight from the (Trojan) horse’s mouth at Rick Riordan’s website and blog at http://www.rickriordan.com.
Underworlds series by Tony Abbott (Greek)
- J F Abb
- In the first book in the series, The Battle Begins, Owen is just an average kid with an average life, until his best friend Dana disappears right before his eyes. Owen brings their friends Jon and Sydney into the loop, and they embark upon a mysterious, mythological search-and-rescue mission. AR level 3.6.
Loki’s Wolves by Kelley Armstrong (Norse) AR level 4.4.
Frostborn series by Lou Anders (Norse)
- J F And
- A millennium ago, Arthur Pendragon’s last surviving grandson led the survivors of Britain through a mystical gate to a land of bright magic and dark creatures. Now, a thousand years later, the descendants of those exiles face a threat that could destroy their peaceful, prosperous kingdom. AR 4.9.
The King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett (Greek)
- J F Bar
- Sixteen-year-old Telemachos has a great life on his island home of Ithaka, which is ruled by his mother Penelopeia while Telemachos’ father Odysseus is away fighting the Trojan War. But Ithaka’s citizens are demanding a new king, and it is up to Telemachos, with only a vague and mysterious prophecy to guide him and his two best friends to accompany him, to find Odysseus and bring him home. AR level 5.5.
Juliet Dove, Queen of Love by Bruce Coville (Greek) AR level 5.0.
The Mythic Misadventures series by Caroline Hennesy (Greek)
- J F Hen
- Pandy, aka Pandora Atheneus Andromaeche Helena, has a fantastic prop for a show-and-tell project at school. She knows the box that Zeus himself gave to her father must never ever be opened, but accidents happen, right? And now it’s up to Pandy to capture all seven evils that escaped from the box, or go down in history as the girl who ruined the world. This fun series begins with Pandora Gets Jealous. AR level 5.5.
The Last Girls of Pompeii by Katheryn Lasky (Rome)
- J F Las
- In the summer of AD 79 in the city of Pompeii are two girls named Julia and Sura who lead very different lives. When the girls learn of the plans their parents have for each of them, coupled with the impending eruption of Mount Vesuvius, they are forced to confront the true meaning of freedom. AR level 5.1.
Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub (Greek) AR level 4.5-5.5
The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence (Rome)
- J F Law
- In the first book of this clever and engaging series, The Thieves of Ostia, amateur detective Flavia Gemina and her friends must solve the mystery of who beheaded the guard dog belonging to her neighbors (who are secretly Christians.) Although some of the descriptions of the violence that occurs may be too graphic for more sensitive readers, this book provides an intriguing glimpse into the customs, attitudes, and culture of the Holy Roman Empire. AR level 5.2.
The 13th Sign by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (Greek)
- J F Tub
- What if there were 13 zodiac signs instead of 12? And what if you accidentally unlocked the 13th one, Ophiuchus, and that infuriated the other signs? In this fast-paced book, Jalen does exactly that, and along with her best friend and her brother must battle in the streets of New Orleans to get the signs back where they belong. AR level 4.4.
Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka (Various eras/locations) AR 3.5-4.0.
- J F Sci
By Liz Arrambide, Children’s Librarian
Occasionally families ask us what books do we have to teach very young children how to read. Most of the books we carry are designed for older children. Megan Sheridan has written an excellent article on this blog explaining fun ways to teach basic early literacy skills.
For families that want to teach their young children (under age six) how to read there is an excellent book: “How to Teach Your Baby to Read: the gentle revolution” by Glenn Doman and Janet Doman. Glenn Doman and his research team started in the 1950’s to see what they could do to help children with brain injuries increase their capacity to learn. The researchers learned that their methods helped the children to learn to read. They were surprised to find that a brain damaged child could read at ages three and four when their peers could not.
The institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential began to theorize that very young children seem to be learning differently than children who are six years or older. A child learns language by being shown an object and then being told the name of the object. The team experimented and found that this type of learning can be extended to teaching a child to read. Very young children can learn that the sound ”ball”, a physical ball and the word “ball” all mean the same thing. Their in-depth research showed that this facility of the brain disappears at age six.
As a young mother, I was intrigued with this book. I tried their methods with my then two and half year old child. We had a lot of fun and she learned to read really well. When she started Kindergarten, she tested at a third grade reading level. I’ve tutored others in reading since then. It was much easier for my daughter to learn to read using this method. She didn’t have to be taught about “consonant blends” or the “er” sound etc. She didn’t go through these stages. For interested families, this revised edition offers a fun and easy way to teach very young children to read.
By Liz Arrambide, Children’s Department
In the Children’s Section in Franklin, whenever we are asked (and it’s often) “Do you have more fiction books about World War II?”, usually the class has been reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. So here are some great reads that feature different aspects of World War II:
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (JF LOW in the Newbery Medal Collection)
- In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.
- Is it Night or Day? By Fern Schumer Chapman (JF CHA)
- In 1938, Edith Westerfeld, a young German Jew, is sent by her parents to Chicago, Illinois, where she lives with an aunt and uncle and tries to assimilate into American culture, while worrying about her parents and mourning the loss of everything she has ever known. Based on the author’s mother’s experience, includes an afterword about a little-known program that brought twelve hundred Jewish children to safety during World War II.
- The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone (JF STONE)
- During World War II, eleven-year-old Felicity is sent from London to Bottlebay, Maine, to live with her grandmother, aunt, uncle, and a reclusive boy who helps her decode mysterious letters that contain the truth about her missing parents.
- Romeo Blue by Phoebe Stone (JF STONE)
- During World War II, Felicity Bathburn is living in Bottlebay, Maine, with her eccentric relatives and their foster child Derek, whom she has grown to love, but when a man claiming to be Derek’s true father arrives and starts asking all sorts of strange questions Felicity becomes suspicious of his motives.
- I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by Laura Tarshis (JF TAU)
- Sand flew up into Danny’s eyes. And then from behind him, a huge explosion seemed to shatter the world. The force lifted Danny off his feet and threw him onto the ground. And then Danny couldn’t hear anything at all.
- Blue by Joyce Hostetter (JF HOSTETTER)
- When teenager Ann Fay takes over as “man of the house” for her absent soldier father, she struggles to keep the family and herself together in the face of personal tragedy and the 1940s polio epidemic in North Carolina.
- Ted & Me by Dan Gutman (JF GUMAN)
- When Stosh travels back in time to 1941 in hopes of preventing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, he meets Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Includes notes about Williams’ life and career.
- Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall (JF PEARSALL)
- In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission. Includes historical notes.
- The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss (J 940.5315 REI)
- A Dutch Jewish girl describes the two-and-one-half years she spent in hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmer’s house during World War II.
- I survived the Nazi invasion, 1944 by Laura Tarshis (JF TARSHIS)
- In one of the darkest periods in history, one boy struggles to survive. In this gripping new addition to the bestselling I SURVIVED series, a young Jewish boy escapes the ghetto and finds a group of resistance fighters in the forests of Poland. Does he have what it takes to survive the Nazis — and fight back?
- A boy at war : a novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer (J F MAZ)
- While fishing with his friends off Honolulu on December 7, 1941, teenaged Adam is caught in the midst of the Japanese attack and through the chaos of the subsequent days tries to find his father, a naval officer who was serving on the U.S.S. Arizona when the bombs fell.
- Courage has no color : the true story of the Triple Nickles : America’s first Black paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone (J 940.541273 STO)
- Examines the role of African-Americans in the military through the history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought against attacks perpetrated on the American West by the Japanese during World War II.
- The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the impossible became possible on Schlinder’s List by Leon Leyson (J 92 LEYSON)
- This is an amazing story of a young boy who lived in Poland when the German Nazis invaded. The Nazies rounded up all the Jewish people and only let them live in certain areas of the cities. Leon and his father evemtually worked for a man named Schlinder. Leon was ten years old and the youngest person on the now famous Schlinder’s list. This is his true story.
Supporting School Age Children and their Reading at Williamson County Public Library Children’s Section
By Liz Arrambide, Children’s Librarian
Frequently Asked Questions
What resources are available at the library to help my children find books that they can read?
Answer: We have lists available in the Children’s Section that are some of our favorite books for different grade levels. Feel free to ask us where they are. These are also available on our website. Click on our Kids page. On the right you’ll see “Let’s Read Books Lists”. This will link you to lists of books by grade level.
My child is reading at a specific reading level. How can I find books with that reading level and are your books color codes by reading level?
Answer: Many schools use Accelerated Reader (AR) reading levels. The child takes a STAR test on the computer. AR reading levels are given in two numbers such as 3.2. The first number is the grade level. In this case the child is reading at a third grade reading level. The second number is the month. This child is reading at a third grade, second month reading level. We do not have the books color coded by reading level.
You can use our on-line catalog to find books by AR Reading Level.
- Go to our website: http://lib.williamson-tn.org/
- On the left put your cursor on “Find books and more”.
- Click on “Classic Catalog”.
- In the first box that says “title”, use the down arrow and change it to read “ keyword”.
- Determine the interest level of your child. Select one of the following.
- LG (lower grades) Kinder thru 3rd grade
- MG (middle grades) 4-8th grades
- MG+ (Middle Grade Plus) 6-8th grades
- UG (upper grades) 9-12 grades
- Write the AR in capital letters. Then enter the interest level also in capitals. Then write the numeric level. So I would write: AR LG 3.2 and up comes a list of all the books at that level.
- You can limit it by Selecting Children’s. Then click on “modify search”. Put a check on” limit search to available items”. Select the “location” you want.
- This method works fairly well. Sometimes books that are at other reading levels also are pulled up. Double check that the BL (book level) is the one that you are looking for.
There is also good website: The AR Bookfinder
This site can also help you find the AR Book level for books that you have at home. You can also use it to find the AR reading level of the books on our reading lists. They now also have the Lexile level.
My children prefer to browse looking for books. How can I help them find books that are not too hard or too easy?
Answer: Have the child open the book and read a page. The child holds up a finger for every word missed. If more than five words are missed on a page, the book is too hard. This is often called the 5 finger rule. You can also tell by how fast or slowly the child reads. If she is reading the text very slowly and not missing any words, it still could be hard for her to read a chapter book at this speed. Try a book a little easier.
At school my child has a DRA reading level. How do I find books at that reading level?
- The DRA test is given by the teacher rather than by a computer test, such as the AR Star test. Here is a chart that gives the reading levels by various reading programs/tests.
- Here is an article that explains about how to find books using the DRA level.
How do I find a book using Lexile Reading Levels?
- Here’s a good article.
- This website finds books according to Lexile.
- In the Williamson County Library Catalog follow the directions of #3 above. Instead of putting in an AR Reading level, write the number of lexile followed by Lexile. So if you write 830 Lexile you will get a list of books that we own at that level.
My child is struggling with the basics of reading. How can I help him learn to read?
Answer: There is an excellent website named Progressive Phonics. It has a systematic collection of books that teach you how to instruct your child. The books are in color. They are funny and have parts for you to read aloud and for your child to read out loud.
What are some fun ways to learn the words they don’t know?
- Notebook: You can keep a notebook and offer to write down the words that your child doesn’t know. This way you know what patterns need to be taught or reviewed. If you need to, you can look them up on the Progressive Phonics website.
- Play Memory: Make 2 flash cards on index cards for each of 10-15 words. Mix the cards up and turn the cards over. Each person takes a turn, flipping over two cards at a time. When the person finds a pair, he keeps them until the end of the game. The person with the most pairs at the end of the game, wins.
- Personal Speller: Make on a computer or in a notebook, a personal speller. This is a list of words in alphabetic order that the student has trouble understanding or spelling. This helps the student learn to read and spell the words and is very handy to have for writing assignments. This works well for older students.
- Post words that are being learned on the refrigerator or on a dry eraser board.
- For difficult words or word patterns, find a little tune to use as a memory devise. The B-I-N-G-O part in the song Bingo works well for the “ight” word family.
- For words that may be difficult to learn, may try writing the word using art supplies. Words like “though” might be hard to learn, but fun to do in crayon, glitter and glue. Spending the time on each letter might help make a connection. This can be hung on a cabinet, so it is easily seen.
My child is reading above grade level. How do I find books that are appropriate for his/her maturity?
Answer: We have grade level lists. These books are appropriate even for younger children. We often suggest lists that are above the grade level that match their reading level.
We know our child’s reading level. Does she/ he have to read at that level all the time?
Answer: Particularly children who are reading above their grade level find that they like to read at different reading levels. Sometimes they will read books that their peers are reading. Sometimes they enjoy quick, fast reads. Other times they want a challenge. It is good for students to read at various levels. This way they’ll read books that are meant for their age group as well as enjoy the challenge.
My child’s teacher says that although he is in third grade, he reads at an eighth grade reading level. How do I find appropriate books?
Answer: This is a challenge. One way to approach it is to find books at the next reading level up. So in this case, it would be fourth grade. If he stretches up to eighth grade, he’s going to miss a lot of great books and be in material that he’s not ready for. Going through the fourth grade and then the fifth grade lists, he’s going to have a lot of fun and occasionally will find a more challenging read and enjoy it. Another great resource is The Volunteer State Book Award lists. These are books and authors that are selected by librarians across the state for their great writing and have been published in the last few years. The kids vote on their favorites at the end of the year. We keep lists from preceding years, because these books are still great books and we have lots of copies.
I want to read out loud to my kids. What are good books to read?
Answer: Parents often find that it helps to read one grade level above where the children are. This way, they are exposed to ideas and vocabulary that the parent can explain.
If you need help, feel free to ask the Children’s and Young Adult library staff. They’ll be glad to make suggestions. Have a great adventure!