Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

Foer, J. S. 2006. Extremely loud and incredibly close. Mariner Books: NY.

ISBN 978-0-618-71165-9

Summary

Oskar Schell is a precocious nine year old living in New York City with his mother and father. He and his father share a love for elaborate scavenger hunts, and his father created hunts that lead Oskar on many adventures. When Oskar’s father is killed in the attacks on the Twin Towers, Oskar is devastated. He finds one final clue that his father left for him, a key. Knowing that it must unlock something important, this clue leads him on a long adventure across the five boroughs of New York, bringing him in touch with many characters, always searching for what his father left behind for him.

Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: 940L

ATOS Book Level: 4.7

Interest Level:   Upper Grades (UG 9-12)

Qualitative Summary:

The structure of this book is very complex, switching between narrators and narratives, and skipping in between different chronologies. This is a trademark of Johnathan Safran Foer’s books which are often considered to be art pieces as well as fiction. There are also complex stylistic choices such as text that gets smaller and runs together, as well as various illustrations and visiual representations of symbols in the book. It is a complex read that I think would be best suited for older high school level.

Curriculum ties:

US History could use this book to illustrate 9/11 narratives. English could use this as examples of symbolism and poetic language, as well as the experimentation with the novel form and language, similar to books like A Clockwork Orange.

Standards

Objective 1.2.1: The student will determine the contributions of literary elements in classical and contemporary literary texts. ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H
Grades 9 and 10
The student will
 Determine the significance of the following as each contributes to the meaning of a text: 
o plot sequence of events (including foreshadowing and flashback), cause-and-effect relationships, and events 
that are exposition, climax or turning point, resolution* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o characters’ defining traits, motivations, and developments throughout the text* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o details that provide clues to the setting, the mood created by the setting, and the role the setting plays in the text* ECLG 1.2.1
o conflicts that motivate characters and those that serve to advance the plot* ECLG 1.2.1
o the perspective of the author or speaker as well as the effects of first or third person narration and multiple narrators within and across text(s)* ECLG 1.2.1
o narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, asides, soliloquies, and character foils ADP H4 o various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism
 Identify the specific structural elements of particular literary forms (e.g., short story, novel, drama, poetry, essay, biography, autobiography, journalistic writing, film) ECLG 1.1.5, ADP H3 
Grades 11 and 12
The student will
 Analyze characters’ motivations, actions, and development as they relate to the experiences, emotions, moral dilemmas and ambiguities in a work of literature ADP H8 
 Analyze how voice, persona, and the choice of narrator affect the characterization, mood, tone, plot and credibility of a text 
 Analyze the contribution of dramatic monologue, chorus, asides, soliloquies, and character foils to the development of character, plot, and theme ADP H6 

 Analyze the characteristics of particular literary subgenres (e.g., satire, farce, parody, allegory, pastoral, epic, elegy, ode) as they relate to theme and purpose ADP H3

Author website: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/f/jonathan-safran-foer/

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Arthur and the Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club

Arthur and the Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club

Stephen Krensky, based on the teleplay by Terrence Taylor

9780316115483

Krensky, S. 1998. Arthur and the scare-your-pants-off club. NY: Hachett Book Group.

Summary

This Saturday is a special one for Arthur Read. The new Scare Your Pants Off Club Book is due in at the local library and he’s ready to check it out. But when he arrives at the library, he’s greeted with a long line of kids who have the same idea. Even worse, it turns out a local parents group has protested the book, and had it removed from the shelves. Arthur and his friends are on a mission to get their favorite book series back in the library, even if it means challenging the parents of one of their good friends Muffy, who think that the book is too scary for the children.

Quantitative Summary:

ATOS Book Level:             3.1

Interest Level:   Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Summary:

This book is in chapter format to appeal to children ready to read on their own. It follows closely to the story of the television show. It’s written in third person and follows the main character, Arthur, who is easily recognizable from the television series. The book has minimal illustrations, and large font. The language is simple to appeal to lower grades.

Curriculum Ties

The plot of this book is a familiar look at censorship in libraries, and can be used to reinforce the importance of the library and reading, as well as the negatives of censorship.

Standards

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

Series website: http://marcbrownstudios.com/

Innerstar University: A Winning Goal

Innerstar University: A Winning Goal

An American Girl Book

By Laurie Calkhoven, ill. Arcana Studios

97815936983362

Calkhoven, L. 2011. A winning goal. NY: American Girl Publishing.

Summary

In this choose-your-own adventure book, you are a star soccer player on the Innerstar University soccer team, along with your friends. Your friend Shelby is new to soccer but she wants to join the team, and she’d like you to help her with learning the ropes. Your team is on a winning streak right now and it’s a complicated time for you to start helping your friend, who is not very good at soccer yet. Many tough decisions are in your hands right now, do you sacrifice your winning streak to give Shelby time to get better, or do you sacrifice your friendship for the sake of winning the game? Only you can make these decisions in this book, and there are many different ways the story ends.

Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: 710L

Interest level: 8+, Middle Grades

Qualitative Summary:

The narrative structure of this book is a bit complex, requiring readers to navigate through multiple page changes depending on which outcomes they choose. It uses illustrations sparingly.  The knowledge requirements are not complex, with no real allusions to other texts, and themes that are relevant to middle-school aged girls (friendships, teamwork). The language is low, with little to no figurative language.

Curriculum Ties

This book reinforces elements of positive female friendships and teamwork. It can also be used to illustrate cause-and-effect relationships, showing how different choices influence outcomes.Students could write their own choose-your-own adventure stories with more than one outcome.

Standards

MD CCSS

Gr. 8 English

INDICATOR

  • 8. Read critically to evaluate literary texts

OBJECTIVES

  1. Analyze and evaluate the plausibility of the plot and the credibility of the characters
    Assessment limits:
    • In the text or a portion of the text
  1. Analyze and evaluate the extent to which the text contains ambiguities, subtleties, or contradictions
    Assessment limits:
    • Questions and predictions about events, situations, and conflicts that might occur if the text were extended
  1. Analyze and evaluate the relationship between a literary text and its historical, social, and/or political context
    Assessment limits:
    • Implications of the historical or social context on a literary text
  1. Analyze the relationship between the structure and the purpose of the text
    Assessment limits:
    • In the text or a portion of the text

Series website: http://innerstaru.com

The Hunger Games [Book 1]

9780439023528_custom-49e9c33a338d97f0abb78402bcdee9b1103f33a0-s6-c10Bibliographic info

Collins, S. (2010). The hunger games. NY: Scholastic Press.

ISBN: 978-0439023528

Plot Description

Survival is everything to 16-year old Katniss Everdeen, who hails from the 12th district of Panem, the nation that rose from the ashes of post-apocolyptic North America. Each year the decadent and cruel Capitol hosts The Hunger Games, wherein one boy and one girl from each district between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen to fight to the death in a televised arena event.

When her younger sister Primrose is selected as a tribute, Katniss sacrifices her life by volunteering in her place. Now she and Peeta, the son of the town’s baker and fellow tribute, will have to learn to survive against all odds. In the end, only one can win.

Quantitative Reading Level

ATOS Book Level: 5.3

Interest Level: Middle Grades Plus (MG+ 6 and up)

Lexile: 810L

Qualitative Reading Analysis

This is a highly popular series with current movies in theatres, making it a favorite amongst middle and high schoolers. It’s structural complexity is low, maintaining a single narrator and a chronological storyline. There are levels of meaning and the concepts are pretty complex (dystopian world, death of children), making it inappropriate for ages under upper middle and high school.

Content Area

  • English/Language Arts

Content Area Standard

Objective 1.2.1: The student will determine the contributions of literary elements in classical and contemporary literary texts. ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H
Grades 9 and 10
The student will
 Determine the significance of the following as each contributes to the meaning of a text: 
o plot sequence of events (including foreshadowing and flashback), cause-and-effect relationships, and events 
that are exposition, climax or turning point, resolution* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o characters’ defining traits, motivations, and developments throughout the text* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o details that provide clues to the setting, the mood created by the setting, and the role the setting plays in the text* ECLG 1.2.1
o conflicts that motivate characters and those that serve to advance the plot* ECLG 1.2.1
o the perspective of the author or speaker as well as the effects of first or third person narration and multiple narrators within and across text(s)* ECLG 1.2.1
o narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, asides, soliloquies, and character foils ADP H4 o various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism
 Identify the specific structural elements of particular literary forms (e.g., short story, novel, drama, poetry, essay, biography, autobiography, journalistic writing, film) ECLG 1.1.5, ADP H3 
Grades 11 and 12
The student will
 Analyze characters’ motivations, actions, and development as they relate to the experiences, emotions, moral dilemmas and ambiguities in a work of literature ADP H8 
 Analyze how voice, persona, and the choice of narrator affect the characterization, mood, tone, plot and credibility of a text 
 Analyze the contribution of dramatic monologue, chorus, asides, soliloquies, and character foils to the development of character, plot, and theme ADP H6 

 Analyze the characteristics of particular literary subgenres (e.g., satire, farce, parody, allegory, pastoral, epic, elegy, ode) as they relate to theme and purpose ADP H3

Curriculum Suggestions

Hunger Games can be looked at as an example of dystopian literature, and in particular the characterizations of heroes and villains, as well as the symbolism in the novel.

Links to Digital Content

 

Awards

  • #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • #1 USA Today Bestseller
  • Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2008: Children’s Fiction
  • New York Times Notable Children’s Book Of 2008
  • An American Library Association
  • Top Ten Best Books For Young Adults Selection
  • An ALA Notable Children’s Book
  • 2009 ALA Amelia Bloomer Project List
  • #1 On Winter ’08/​’09 Children’s Indie Next List
  • Indies Choice–Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book Honor
  • 2008 Cybil Award–Fantasy & Science Fiction
  • 2009 Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Teen Choice Book Of The Year Finalist
  • YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten, 2009
  • NYPL “Stuff For The Teen Age” List, 2009
  • CCBC Choices 2009
  • A New York Times Editors’ Choice
  • A Kirkus Best Book Of 2008
  • A Horn Book Fanfare
  • School Library Journal Best Books Of 2008
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2008
  • LA Times Favorite Children’s Books, 2008
  • Barnes & Noble Best Books Of 2008: For Teens and Kids
  • Borders Best Books Of 2008: Teens
  • Amazon Best Books Of 2008: Top 100 Editors’ Pick; Top 10 Books: Teens

(from http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/the_hunger_games_69765.htm)

Subjects/themes
Politics, Dystopias, Violence, Survival

Hanukkah at Valley Forge

Hanukkah at Valley Forge

Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Greg Harlin

9780525477381

Krensky, S. 2006. Hanukkah at Valley Forge. NY: Penguin.

Summary

On a cold winter night General Washington surveyed his troops, worrying about the state of his men in the war. As he wandered about the camp, he found a young soldier huddled over a flame in a hut, whispering words he didn’t understand. The soldier was startled by him, but explained what he was doing. In his homeland of Poland he would have to hide what he was doing, but he was celebrating the first day of Hanukkah.

The soldier told General Washington the story of Hanukkah, the battles that the Israelites won, and how they survived eight days on only enough oil for one day of light. Washington was touched by this story and the miracles that came to a people who needed it. The story of Hanukkah brightened Washington’s spirit that evening.

Quantitative Summary:

ATOS Book Level:             4.0

Interest Level:   Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Summary:

This picture book focuses on a story that is based on true historical events: George Washington did mention to a Jewish merchant who he had lunch with that he had learned the story of Hanukkah from a soldier at Valley Forge. This story imagines the dialogue of George Washington based on some of his writings, and it fictionalizes the scenario of his learning the story of Hanukkah to fit in with the narrative of the war and how it may have affected him.

The narrative structure of the book is of Middle low complexity; it features a significant flashback, telling the story of the Maccabees and interspersing Washington and the soldier’s dialogue. The book distinguishes between these narratives by background colors of the pages, blue for the current time, and orange for the time of the Maccabees. The pages have a few paragraphs of text each, and may be best as a adult-guided reading book.

Curriculum Ties

This is a great way to tie holidays into history curriculum. It’s also a good look at the history of Judaism in the scheme of world religions.

Standards

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

 

 

Author website: http://www.stephenkrensky.com/

ABC Animals

ABC Animals

American Museum of Natural History

9781454903864

American Museum of Natural History. 2013. ABC animals. CA: Sterling Publishing

Summary

This book will help you learn the alphabet with fun facts about an animal for every letter. From the long, sticky tongued Armadillo to the plant-eating Zebras, this book is an informative and brightly colored reference on many of your favorite animals.

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          5

Gunning-Fog Score         5.8

Coleman-Liau Index        12.3

SMOG Index      6

Automated Readability Index     5.6

Average Grade Level      6.9

Qualitative Summary:

This is a board book picture book that features 26 animals, one for each letter of the alphabet. The readability score ranks the animal facts at being on a 6th grade level, therefore it may be an adult-guided book for younger students. Each page features three different animals, with brightly colored backgrounds and colorful photographs of the animals. While there are many generally known animals such as the lion and the giraffe, there are also more obscure animals featured such as the Hoopoe bird and the Okapi, a close relative to the giraffe.

Curriculum Ties

This is a preschool to early-elementary level science book in that it can help acquaint children with animals. Children can use this book to connect pictures to names, letters to sounds and animals, as well as simple facts about each animal.

Standards

MD CCSS

Kindergarten

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

INDICATOR
1. Develop and apply comprehension skills by reading and analyzing a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print

INDICATOR
2. Analyze text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

INDICATOR
3. Analyze elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Science

TOPIC
D.
INDICATOR
1. Recognize that living things are found almost everywhere in the world and that there are somewhat different kinds of living things in different places.

OBJECTIVES
Observe, describe, and give examples and describe the many kinds of living things found in different places in Maryland.

Using pictures, films and illustrated texts identify, describe and compare living things found in other states such as Texas and Alaska to those found in Maryland.

Explain that the external features of plants and animals affect how well they thrive in different kinds of places.

Author website: http://www.amnh.comm

Ten, Nine, Eight

Ten, Nine, Eight

Molly Bang

9780688009069

Bang, M. 1983. Ten, nine, eight. NY: Greenwillow Books.

Summary

This is a beautifully illustrated lullaby that counts down from ten washed toes, all the way down to one girl who is ready to be put to bed by her family.

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          0.8

Gunning-Fog Score         3.2

Coleman-Liau Index        5.5

SMOG Index      1.8

Automated Readability Index     -0.4

Average Grade Level      2.2

(http://www.readability-score.com/)

Qualitative Summary:

This is a very simple read that promotes basic counting skills, which are the foundation of young math skills. Each page deals with a descending number as a young girl is prepared for bed. The numbers discussed can be found in the illustrations, allowing for children to count aloud and make connections. One sentence per page makes it a simple read, and it is written as though it would be a read-aloud book. It has a simple chronology and its language is low complexity.

Curriculum Ties

This book would be a great count-along book, and a great pre-cursor book to nap-time. It also features a family, and could be used in units on family and family “rituals.”

Standards

MD CCSS

TOPIC
E.
Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

INDICATOR

1. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts of print to determine how print is organized and read

OBJECTIVES
Understand that speech can be written and read

Read a minimum of 15 books, both literary and informational

Identify title, cover page, front and back of book, table of contents, page numbers, and describe what information is presented on the title and cover pages

Track print from left to right and top to bottom

Make return sweep to next line of text

Match oral words to printed words

Differentiate numerals, letters and words

Recognize that printed words are separated by spaces

Recognize that letters build words and words build sentences

 

Standard 1.0 Knowledge of Algebra, Patterns, and Functions
TOPIC
A.
INDICATOR
1. Identify and copy numeric patterns

Author website: http://www.mollybang.com/Pages/biodetail.html

Awards:

  • Caldecott Honor Book