Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green is a novel-in-verse about Bailey, and eleven-year-old girl who believes in miracles. Her parents are separating and Bailey wants nothing more for them to get back together. While her parents are in marriage counseling camp, Bailey and her brother stay with their grandmother. Here Bailey discovers all sorts of unbelievable things and creatures, and learns not only that miracles do exists, but she learns what she is made of.

This is a beautiful and whimsical story that takes you on a magical journey where Bailey finds herself. This is a great story for children ages 8 and up and can be especially appealing to children who’s parents are separating or have already separated. It is also a great story for those that believe in miracles and mermaids. Not to mention this book is written in free verse, showing how poetry can tell incredible stories.


Author Website


Love That Dog

Love That Dog  is by Sharon Creech, a Newbery Medal winning author. This book is a poetic tale about a boy named Jack who hates poetry. However, from the push of his teacher (Ms. Strechberry), Jack learns maybe he does have more to say than he thought and poetry is a great way for him to say it. Maybe this poetry thing is for him after all.

This is a great story to read to all ages, but great for children in grades 5-8 to read to themselves, and it is an excellent example of the powers of poetry. Written in free-verse, diary format this book shows how poetry can be a release, such as when Jack works through losing his dog, which is a great message to young readers, especially though reluctant about poetry.


Teach this Book (Summary, About the Author, and Discussion Questions)

Author’s Website

Discussion Questions

All the Broken Pieces

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg is about Matt Pin’s story during the Vietnam War. Written in verse, you learn about how Matt is still being haunted by the way even though it has been a few years since he was able to escape to America, after his mom ‘gave him up’. This story is about prejudice as Matt struggles being White and Asian and comes to terms with the real reason his mom made him leave.

This story is about grief, forgiveness, prejudice, love and overcoming tragedies. Recommended for children 11 and older, this is an excellent story combining the history of the Vietnam war and poetry. This is an excellent story for children struggling with their own grief as it highlights how powerful poetry can be and it is also a great story that teaches children about a part of history.


Meet the Author, Book Readings, Book Guides, Lesson Plan and more

Author’s Website

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A 2002 Caldecott Medal winner and a Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards winner, The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier. This is a remarkable story that highlights the incredible Martin Luther King Jr. and it does an excellent job paying tribute to such an influential activist in the civil rights movement. With beautiful illustrations that bring this story to life, children will really get a sense of how truly incredible Dr. King was.

I think all children should be frequently taught about Dr. King because his legacy deserves to continue and he marks an essential time in our history. This story does a great job showing Dr. King’s life as well as the injustices that he was fighting. This story also uses quotes from Dr. King himself as well as language that makes his story understandable to all children, but might be best for children 8 and older. This book is inspiring as a book about Dr. King should be!


Meet the Author, Book Readings and More

Scholastic Discussion Guide

Brave Girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

Brave Girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is about the story of Clara Lemlich. When Clara arrived in America she couldn’t speak English, and quickly learned that she had to grow up fast as she was put to work instead of school. This story about determination shows how one brave girl was not willing to give up! She worked very hard for what she believed in, which was that little girls should not be treated less than. Through her determination and handwork Clara led the largest women workers walkout in America’s history.

This powerful story is an excellent example of standing up for what you believe in and never excepting defeat. This book’s important message is recommended for all ages, but I would specifically recommend it to children 4-years-old and older. This is also an amazing story about a strong and influence female-role model.


Meet the Author/Illustrator, Book Trailer, Lesson Plans and More

Teaching Guide

The Pout-Pout Fish

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Disen and illustrated by Dan Hanna and Daniel X. Hanna is one of my favorite children’s story. Between the clever rhyming verses that are very catchy and easy for kids to catch on to, to the powerful underlying message of spreading joy and happiness to those who are sad. I enjoy this book because It shows how being nice to someone and cheering them up can really make their day.

Voted Bank Streets Best Children’s Book of the Year in 2009 I would recommend this story to children of ages but can be especially appealing to early childhood. This story does a beautiful job showing the struggles of depression and self-loathing and how magical and helpful being kind to someone can be.


Pout Pout Fish Website with Activities and About the Author/Illustrator and More

Kindergarten Lesson Plan

My People

Coretta Scott King Award winner, My People by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr. is a beautiful and poetic story about being African American using poems from Langston Hughes and gorgeous sepia photographs. This story is incredible and really helps you appreciate how special and beautiful people are. This story includes photographs of African American with a message that applies to everyone. This happy story positively illustrates diversity and is exemplified by Langston Hughes captivating poems. This story is recommended to all ages and people but specifically children 5 and older.


Charles R. Smith Jr. Website

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.


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Author Website

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