The Other Side

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis is about a young African American girl named Clover. Clover lives by a fence that segregates her neighborhood from the white side of town, where her friend Anna lives so Clover and Anna have find ways they can still see each other.

Recommended for children of all ages, this book does a great job explaining prejudice and racism and it is a remarkable read. Even though it tackles such a difficult topic it does so in an uplifting yet respectful way and shows both races in a positive light. This book explains this topic though a chid’s perspective where the main characters even question and try to understand why there is racism along with the readers.



Meet the author and illustrator

Teachers Guide- Before and After Reading


A Little Princess

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is about a girl named Sara Crewe. Sara’s father dies leaving her with nothing and Sara who started Miss Michin’s boarding school as one of the richest students becomes one of the poorest overnight. She is then forced to work as the school’s maid and live in the attack where she is not treated kindly at all. Will things get better for poor Sara, you’ll have to read to find out.

This book does a great job at telling a triumphant tale about a young girl who is wise beyond her years and very imaginative. I would recommend this book to children 9 and older and can be especially appealing to young girls with its strong female role model. Although this book does have some racism in it so it would be good to have this discussion with your children/students. This book was also turned into a movie which adds an extra addition to book.


Lesson Plan/Discussions

Lesson Plan With Curriculum Standards

About the Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a classic story that has won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961, voted one of the greatest novels of all time and was turned into an Academy-Award Winning film. Jean Louise “Scout” Finch along with her bother, dad, and her friend Dill live in Alabama during the Depression. Scout and her friends are curious about the famous mystery man Boo Radley who live in their neighbor. Eager to know if he is really the crazy, evil man that they have heard about they take it upon themselves to investigate. Scout’s father is also a lawyer on a case defending a black man during a time where that was not normal for a White man to do.

This book provides the opportunity to have great and powerful discussions about privilege, race and history, and because of this I would recommend it to children 12 and over. This story also has aspects of racism, sex, rape, violence and drinking so these should be considered when your child/student is reading it. This book really does a great job highlighting tolerance, justice, race, and history. It also does a great job teaching about characters and seeing different perspectives.


Lesson Plans

Units and Lesson Plans

Teaching Mockingbird

No, David!

No, David! by award winning artist and illustrator David Shannon is a hilarious and relatable story about a 5-year-old boy, David, who is somewhat of a trouble maker. Constantly breaking his mothers rules, David gets told no quite frequently but that doesn’t mean his mom doesn’t love him. This is a great story that can resonate with a lot of children. Even though parents and adults tell you no, that does’t mean they will ever stop loving you. This is a great story for children 2 and older and a great text for emerging readers with its simple and predictable text and creative illustrations that tell most of the story for you.


Teach this Lesson

Author Website

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos is about Joey Pigza who has ADHD and has a very hard time following directions and sitting still. Joey means well but he can’t help but cause trouble. Between his own obstacles at home and his challenging behavior strongly impacting his time at school, life is not easy for Joey. Joey really is a good kid he just has a hard time getting others to see that, no matter how hard he tries trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. When his teachers threaten to send him to a special education school away from all his friends Joey tires harder than ever to prove that he can be good, but will it be enough?

I would recommend this story to children 10 and older and especially to those like Joey or who know someone like him. It teaches you empathy and to understand that sometimes no matter how hard they try, some people really can’t control themselves and it isn’t their fault.


Meet the Author, Lesson Plans and More

Author Website

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is about a orphan named Mary Lennox who moves into her uncle’s mansion. Mary is a nine-year-old girl who is on the tad spoiled and demanding side. At her uncle’s mansion she discovers their garden as well as another boy (her cousin) named Colin. Mary has met her match with Colin, he is even more difficult than her. Colin has been sheltered his whole life, as he is very ill….well at least that is what he was told and his father can’t stand to look at him because he blames is son for his wife’s death. The two learn from each other and they grow along with the beautiful garden where they spend a lot of their time in.

This story is about overcoming obstacles and you watch these young children grow right before your eyes. This story teaches about the wonders of exploring and repairing what is broken. This is a happy story about learning to think less about yourself and more about all the beautiful things (and people) that nature and this world has to offer. I would recommend this book to children 9 and older. The book has also been turned into a movie for your viewing pleasures.


Introduction and About the Author

Lesson Plan Idead

Vocabulary From the Text

Number the Stars

The historical fiction and Newbery Medal award winner of 1990, Number the Stars is by Lois Lowry. This story is about a Jewish Family’s escape from Copenhagen during World War II. The story of 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen does an excellent job at showing what life was like in Denmark during the Nazi takeover, the devastating and tragic ways the Nazi’s took over and the courage it took to survive as a Jew. This courageous tale is an excellent read.

Recommended for children 9 and older this is a great story about the history of World War 1 and the Holocaust and excellent example of a brave, courageous and remarkable female role model. This story provides the opportunity for great discussions about racism, prejudice and historical events.


Teach This Lesson

How to Use This Book to Teach About World War I and the Holocaust

Author’s Website

Knuffle Bunny Too

A sequel to Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, which reached the number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for children’s book, Knuffle Bunny Too is by renowned author Mo Willems. This book is beautifully written in a creative way that is sure to catch children’s attention. With a mix of animations and real black-and-white photography, this story is about Trixie and her favorite stuffed animal who gets mixed up into the wrong hands. Another girl in her class has a very similar stuffed animal and their teacher accidentally gives the wrong ones back to the girls. What does this mean for her poor Knuffle Bunny? Will the girls find a common ground with their love for their stuffed animals?

This book is great for children of all ages but can be especially appealing to children around 4. I would also recommend this to children who also treasure a favorite teddy or doll as they will be able to relate to Trixie’s profound love for her Knuffle Bunny. This story about love is a captivating tale with incredible illustrations with such detail that the more you look at the pages, the more you fall in love with everything Knuffle Bunny.



Author Mo William’s Website

Lesson Plan and Teaching Resources

Guide to Reading Together

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Pulizer Prize winner Robert Coles and illustrated by George Ford is about the first African American child to integrate a New Orleans school. The remarkable true story of Ruby Bridges is an inspiring story that should be shared with all children. This was a very important time in America’s history and this story does an excellent job paying tribute. Ruby was a brave young girl who despite the hardships and taunting she faced by being the first African American student at her school, she did not give up even though it was clear her school didn’t want her there. With her head held high, Ruby persevered in a remarkable and inspiring way. This is a great story of a positive role-model for all.

This story is recommended to children of all ages but specifically for children 4 and older. I think this is such an important message for all children and is an excellent story highlighting what life was like in the 1960s.


Lesson Plan and Teaching Resources

Grade 3 Lesson Plan

Biography of Ruby Bridges

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