Book Utopia! and a Giveaway!

Today I'm linking up with Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade for her Show and Tell Tuesday linky party about BOOKS.. I couldn't resist.. I'd spend all my free time reading if I could just find someone to do all of this housework and laundry for me!

So Denise asked up to share books that we love, and I would be writing a post forever if I listed them all, but I had to blog about a few stories I have recently discovered and read with my Sixth Grade Smarties.
The first is.. believe it or not... from my basal series [Treasures] called "Let it Shine."  It is the story of Rosa Parks.  Let it Shine is part of a larger book called  
Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters
(If you want to learn more about this book, click on the picture above to go to AMAZON)
The story of Rosa Parks in this book is AMAZING for upper elementary and middle school students.  NONFICTION my friends.. NONFICTION!  My smarties really got into learning more about the type of person she was.  It went well beyond the basic fact that Ms.Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus.  It was also a perfect lead into my biography writing unit that we began.
At one part in the story, Rosa Parks speaks of getting "bullied" by members of the Ku Klux Klan.  My kiddoes weren't really familar with that concept, so of course, off I went to find a companion picture book that would explain the concept, but not SCARE them at the same time. 
 Enter: Mississippi Morning by Ruth Vander Zee.
(Again, click on the book to head to AMAZON)
This book is wonderful.  It tells the story of young James William who loves his Pa and is so proud to help him out.  He begins to learn throughout the book that his father is not all that he says he is, and his opinion of him changes.  FABULOUS BOOK TO REINFORCE CHARACTER ED and your own beliefs.. especially if you still have curriulum to cover.. TWO BIRDS.. ONE STONE <hint hint>

So then.. why stop there... I had to include another book.  Why not pull in a little test prep without the kiddoes KNOWING it was test prep.. no need to get them amped up too early, but a formative assessment would be great. 
Enter:  Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith

(Again, click on the book head to AMAZON)
This is a book of poetry and one poem in particular hits it home:  Seven Ways of  Looking at My Father.  Perfect companion to compare/contrast.. a HUGE ELA test skill.
I was in LOVE LOVE LOVE for more reasons than Valentine's Day last week.  It was Reading and Writing UTOPIA!  Don't you love when your best laid plans come together and the kids just GET IT!
That was my moment last week, and how great that Denise decided to talk about books THIS week... KARMA my friends, KARMA.
After talking to a few colleagues, I spent the weekend overhauling what I created for my smarties and posted the product {HERE} if I've inspired you.  I'm feeling generous tonight as well, so if you leave me some comment love below about a book you have found LESSON UTOPIA with lately, I'll randlomly pick a number on FRIDAY and send you a copy of the activity packet for your very own.

If I have inspired you to think about the books you love, head over to see Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade and link up!


  1. I think I must get Let it Shine. That looks fabulous!! I like to introduce my kids to famous people they don't much about. My new favorite lady is Sojourner Truth. We just don't teach enough about her! I'm not sure this is Lesson Utopia (love that term) but I have tried hard this year to use the same book/story over several days (CCSS). I always thought kids would get bored if I referred to the same story for too long but they don't. It really does make a difference when you can go back to a book you have already read and use it for a variety of skills.
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  2. Love the diversity of the books you present. None of which I own... yet! I'll be looking into a couple of these very soon!

    Teaching In Oz

  3. Thanks for the recommendation of the Mississippi Morning story. I'd never heard of that book, and my current anthology is lacking in stories that track changing characters' relationships!

  4. Thank you ladies for commenting! I hope that these books will generate some Book Utopia in your classroom! I love finding titles that are new and different.

    Congratulations to GINA~ She was chosen by the random number generator to receive a copy of my lesson pack on Mississippi Morning for FREE.

    Stop by again soon and visit!


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