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25 Ways to Celebrate Virginia Readers’ Choice Primary and Elementary November 2005. Presented by: Peggy Howell, Retired Librarian FCPS peghowell@aol.com Ann Voss, Librarian Fairfax County Public Schools Ann.Voss@fcps.edu. BOXES FOR KATJE Candace Fleming Picture Book Historical Fiction

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25 ways to celebrate virginia readers choice primary and elementary november 2005

25 Ways to CelebrateVirginia Readers’ ChoicePrimary and ElementaryNovember 2005

Presented by:

Peggy Howell, Retired Librarian FCPS


Ann Voss, Librarian Fairfax County Public Schools




Candace Fleming

Picture Book

Historical Fiction


All ages

Read aloud

This story is a fictionalized account of how a Dutch village repaid the kindness of an American town that had sent all kinds of things needed by the people in Oist, Holland, during a very cold winter shortly after World War II.



  • Social Studies
  • What caused the difficulty in Oist, Holland?
  • How did Mayfield, Indiana become involved?
  • What acts of kindness are found in the book?
  • Why do you think that the American town sent lots of boxes of supplies to the town?
  • What are similar events today in which children and towns become involved.
  • Are the events of today natural disasters or man-made?
    • Tsunami
    • Hurricanes
    • African countries
  • Have children research events in the past year and how children could help
  • Can connect this book to a collection for local or other charities; character education.
  • See about starting a pen pal club as Katje and Rosa did in the story
  • Why did the town of Holland decide to say thank you in the way they did?
  • Science
  • Perhaps some research can be done on the tulip and
  • why it is a flower from the Netherlands.
  • There might be time to grow tulip bulbs depending on when the story is read.
  • Language Arts
  • After reading the story ask the children if they can remember
  • what was included in each box.
  • How do the illustrations support the text?
  • Compare with other books about giving such as
    • Quiltmaker’s Gift


Barbara O’Connor


Realistic fiction

School story

Boy and girl protagonists

Read aloud

Bird does not have a happy home or school life so she finds friendship with Miss Delphine, her neighbor who is home taking care of her ill father. Then Harlem Tate comes to school and she determines to make friends with him. At first he is not receptive, even though he is teased as much at school as she is. At last she persuades him to join her in preparing for a spelling bee, which she really wants to win in order to find “fame and glory”

and go to Disney World.



  • Social Studies
  • Good book for character education
  • Could develop discussion about the treatment of Bird and Harlem in school.
  • Language Arts
  • Early chapters give good introduction to inference in novels
  • Compare with Because of Winn Dixie
    • Habits of small towns
    • Loneliness
    • Friendship with the older inhabitants of the town
    • Climax and resolution
  • Compare the two characters in this book
    • Have children guess why Harlem does not complete the spelling bee
  • What was the relationship between Harlem and the two men in his life?
  • Why do you think that Miss Delphine got a rose tattoo?
  • What did you think of the ending? Was it a good ending?
  • Use as introduction to room spelling bee
  • What did Bird mean when she said she discovered “fame and glory”
  • Ms. O’Connor does have a web site to check for her other books.


Suzanne Collins


One of the longer books

Fantasy adventure

1st in a trilogy

Boy and girl protagonist

Great for boys who like adventure stories

Read aloud

Gregor’s father has disappeared. While Gregor is tending his sister he falls through a graee in the laundry room of his apartment house and finds himself in a world populated by giants insects, spiders, and rats. He realizes that this may be where his father is and so begins an adventure and a quest to fulfill a prophecy.



  • Science
  • Research the animals found in this underworld
  • Research the underworld both the natural one and ones found under cities, including those in the time of Rome. What is under the city of Washington, D. C. or New York?
  • Older readers can determine if the animals act
  • according to their animal instincts in the book
  • Language Arts
  • Discuss the fulfillment of prophecy
  • Why is his sister not afraid of the animals?
  • How do the other human characters interact
  • with Gregor and his sister?
  • 1st in trilogy
    • Gregor the Overlander and the Prophecy of Bane
      • In this he defeats a rat, but can he kill it?
    • Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
  • Compare with L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time
  • Read the first line “Gregor had pressed his forehead against the screen for so long, he could see the pattern of tiny checks above his eyebrows” Have children write what they think will come next before reading the book or book talking it.
  • The website http://suzyred.com/2005gregor.html has some additional connections.


Mary Quattlebaum


Realistic Fiction

Foster children

Boy and Girl protagonist

Ben Watson has lived in a number of foster homes and finds himself happy in his new home, especially since there is a toddler as a member of the family. But then the toddler’s teen age mother tries to get her son back and Ben is sure that she will abandon the child again, just as his own mother had done.



Social Studies

Older readers might research the foster home program in their area, if there is one.

Language Arts

Chart the main characters

Why did Ben take Grover from the front yard?

What was the role of Tracey’s sister in the book?

Chart the events that lead to the final climax

Compare with other books on foster children including those by Betsy Byars and

Katherine Paterson.



Karen Levine


Holocaust Story


When a class of Japanese students studying World War II discover a suitcase in a museum that had belonged to a little orphan girl they ask the curator of the exhibit to find out all she can about the girl. This is the story of her search for information about Hana interspersed with information about Hana’s life. This is based on a documentary and the books may include a CD.



Social Studies

Brief introduction to World War II and the Holocaust may be necessary as background knowledge for some students.

Locate Czechoslovakia on a map

Some students may want to do research on the war in Czechoslovakia or elsewhere in Europe

Analyze how the search for Hana is carried out and how this compares with the research students are doing and the research in The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine.

Language Arts

Review the elements of a biography. Does this book qualify as a biography? Why or why not?

Compare with other stories and biographies about the Holocaust especially comparing the characters and how they dealt with the events they faced. This is a good time to discuss what self vs. world means when discussing conflict in a book, even though this book is a biography.

Check bibliographies of books on the Holocaust for children such as Number the Stars


There is a wonderful website from Allen & Unwin with activities and information related to this book: http://www.allenandunwin.com/Teaching/trhanassuitcase.asp


Ballots created by

FCPS Teacher Materials Preparation Center



Click on “Picture Tasks” tab of the Adobe file, and see the new features availabe including “How to use…”, and exporting pictures, editing, printing, and more. This tab has been enabled by TMPC to give us more options with these ballots. They are available for all four lists.



Michael Morpurgo

Grades 4-5

Good read aloud

Survival story

Dog Story

Male protagonist

Bit of history

Michael is washed up on a Pacific island along with his dog, Stella. He soon discovers that someone else lives on the island, as Kensuke provides him with food and water. At first the two are adversaries for Kensuke does not want Michael to alert anyone to him being on the island but after he saves Michael from an attack by men of war the two become friends and Michael learns the secret of Kensuke’s world.



Social studies

Map the route that was taken by Michael and his parents on the boat

Research World War II and some of the Japanese who did survive after the war on the islands.

How did the experiences of the war in the Pacific differ from that in Europe? Compare with Hana’s Suitcase.


Select an island in the Pacific and research it’s flora and fauna.

Research the animals and plants found on Kensuke’s Island. Could Kensuke and Michael have survived? What were the red bananas?

Do people hunt animals on the islands as people did in this book?

Language Arts

I found this close to the Tom Hanks movie, complete with the soccer ball. Some older students might compare the book with the movie (although I don’t think was a “G”.

Compare the two main characters using a T-chart

What did you think of the ending? Should Kensuke have left the island with Michael and tried to discover the history of his family?

There is a packet available that you can see about on http://www.teachit.co.uk/index.asp?A=1&M=2&S=351



Jacqueline Woodson

Grade 5 (more advanced)

Realistic fiction

Written in poetry

Male protagonist

Dealing with family disaster

Lonnie’s life changed when he was seven years old and his parents were killed in a fire. Now four years later he is still trying to deal with the loss of his parents and also finding his place among his peers and with his foster mother. He looks back at events in his young life as well as describes the life he now leads.



  • Science
  • What is sickle cell anemia?
  • See http://www.scinfo.org for information on sickle cell anemia
  • Language Arts
  • Compare with ­Love That Dog by Creech
  • Good for poetry introduction
    • Different types of poems
    • Have children write their own list poem – p. 33
    • Children might write their own haiku poetry
    • What other forms of poetry do the children find in the book
  • Research the black authors mentioned in the book –
  • Richard Wright and Langston Hughes
  • Analyze Lonnie’s character – giving examples from his writing
  • Check http://suzyred.com for additional activities for this title.


Diane Stanley




Male and Female Protagonist

Read Aloud

Books by I. M. Fine have become very popular with young readers. They are page turners with strange events, kind of Stein type books. Suddenly strange things start happening to the readers of the books, including hissing and crawling around the floor, and seeing ghosts. Fanny thinks that these strange events are related to the books and sets out to locate the author in order to stop the events. She and her friend trace I. M. Fine to a town in Pennsylvania and discover why she is placing mind games in her books and how she plans to end the world as we know it.


Social Studies

How to adjust to a move to a new city

How does one do research using the Internet and other sources, including human

Atlas Skills – Is there a Wimberly, Pennsylvania? There is one in Texas.

Children can use the Atlas to determine if there are other towns named Wimberly

Research the history of jelly worms. (some jelly worms are used as fish bait as well as food)

Why did the father make money on the stock market after he heard about the jelly worm craze? This could lead to a brief unit on the stock market.

Map skills - What is the best way to get from Baltimore to Pennsylvania?

Older students (if 6th grade read) might see connection between

the witch trials in Salem and the mass hysteria in this book.

Language Arts

Have children do research on their favorite author using books in the library as well

as author sites on the web

Compare book to Search for the Shadowman by Joan L. Nixon,

which also had a sample for doing research

Do author study of Diane Stanley, introducing her picture books and biographies s well as her novels.

Have children develop their own writing of a strange event that could occur because of reading a book.

Why would the end of reading change the world? Read Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco for an example of what happens when people forget how to read.

How do children act against their move to a new city?

Compare with other books where children use their own persuasion to change things,

such as books by Avi.



Margaret Peterson Haddix


Boy and girl protagonist

Realistic Humor

Fun read aloud

Sukie and her brothers are concerned because their parents do not scold them for things they do which are wrong. Instead they make strange statements that are not related to what the children have done. How they figure out what is going on and how they handle it makes for a fun read by a author who often writes stories for older children.



Social Studies

Students might ask their parents if they read

any books or articles about how to raise children.

Children can write what parents might have correctly said

when the children did something wrong.

Children can come up with own funny statements about things

that go wrong at home or at school.

Language Arts

Character study of members of the family

Compare with other Haddix easier books

Older readers might want to read some of the more adult Haddix books and see what differences in style there could be.

Sukie has a problem encouraging her brothers to join with her. Other books in the list present a similar problem as Fanny must persuade Beamer that something is wrong with the Chiller books, and Bird must persuade Ham to participate in the bee with her.

Compare how this is carried out in the three books or any similar title where persuasion is necessary.

This could lead to a persuasive writing lesson.



Carol Fenner

Realistic fiction

Family relations

Boy character


Easier reader

Brief read aloud

Ruddy does not like his grandmother as she seems so stiff and formal, but when he is snowed in with her one winter he finds that she can be a different person.




Would be good to read during snowy weather and make connections to snow, its effect on your community, weathermen, etc. Can also make connections with other natural disasters, such as the hurricanes

and how the preparation, etc. might compare.

Language Arts

How does grandmother change in the story?

List the different things she does to show how she changes.

Does Ruddy’s opinion of his grandmother change and why?

List the things which Ruddy and his grandmother

do during the storm

Have children had a similar experience such as no electricity. How did they deal with it and what were some of

the things they had to do?

Children might imagine what life might be without some of the things they now have and

what they would do without television, electricity, etc.

timber lane elementary school library 2737 west st falls church va 22046
Timber Lane Elementary School Library 2737 West St., Falls Church, VA 22046
  • Dear Timber Lane Students in Grades 4-6,You may be too young to vote for political candidates, but you are not too young to vote for the Virginia Young Reader book of the year! In mid-winter, Timber Lane library will hold an election to pick a favorite book from a list of ten titles selected by the Virginia State Reading Association. Just like in a real election, you will need to register. Registration is easy and fun! After reading a book or hearing it read aloud, you will answer five easy online questions about the contents of the book. Quiz questions refer to repeated themes and events in each book. THERE ARE NO TRICK QUESTIONS. To pass, you will need to answer four questions out of five correctly. If you don't pass the first time, you can repeat the quiz. Once you have passed a quiz, print out your scoreboard sheet and give it to the librarian. Prizes will be awarded for each passed quiz. Four scoreboard sheets will give you an opportunity to vote in the Virginia Young Reader election. If you pass in seven scoreboard sheets, you will earn a reading T-shirt at the end of the year assembly.
  • For more information about the Virginia Readers’ Choice Program visit this website:http://www.vsra.orgl
  • For more information about the Virginia Reader’ Choice titles click here: link:http://www.vsra.org/VRC/elementary06.html
  • These books will be available at Timber Lane library and at the public library.
  • To take a quiz, come to the Library.

Please come to the

Timber Lane Library

to take a quiz!


Voters getting their ballots.

  • Voters filling out their ballots in the booths.
  • Voters casting their ballots.
virginia readers choice primary
Virginia Readers’ Choice Primary
  • Actual Size by Steve Jenkins  Houghton 
  • Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 
  • How Groundhog's Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry    Hungry Hen by Richard Waring 
  • Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie by Gloria Whelan  Sleeping  
  • The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison    
  • Little Flower by Gloria Rand 
  • The Monster Ate My Peas by Danny Schnitzlein   
  • Muldoon by Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole Straight to the Pole by Kevin O’Malley

How Groundhog's Garden Grew

by Lynne Cherry    Squirrel teaches Little Groundhog how to create a garden and grow his own food so he will stop stealing from his friends' gardens.  The Groundhog and the reader learn about gardening from seed gathering to planting to sharing the bounty of the harvest.  An introduction to how plants grow.



This part of the author’s webpage lists books to link with Groundhog’s garden, how she researched this book, and describes her passion for children and gardening. Wonderful connections to life cycles, environmental issues,

and good health habits.

Check this out on her website! How Groundhog's Garden Grew

SCHOOL GARDEN WIZARDhas been created for America's school's K through 12 community through a partnership between the

US Botanic Garden and Chicago Botanic Garden. Click here to read everything

you need to know to create a garden at YOUR school!

CLICK to hear Kids Growing Food director Margaret Barker, Beth Reese (Tuckahoe elementary) and Lynne discuss benefits of school gardens & the TOOL KIT for school garden advocates (scroll down to see below) on the Kojo Nmamdi Show on WAMU, Washington DC


Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka  

Josh insists on wearing a paper bag over his head all day long until his sister finally questions him and reveals the reason.  His sister helps Josh solve his problem and the story ends on a happy note.



  • Author’s web page: http://www.studiojjk.com/, includes information on his other books.
  • Does a Yak Get a Haircut? By Fred Erlich
  • Clip, Clip, Clip: 3 Stories About Hair by Kathleen Krull
  • No Haircut Today by Elivia Savadier
  • Dave’s Haircut by Damon Burnard (Dave gives himself a haircut, too!)
  • Paper bags from grocery stores. What store would not want its logo all over the elementary school! A Baghead parade…just make sure there are no obstacles on the parade route.
  • Paperbag crafts-what else can you do with a paperbag once your hair grows back? Could your students pretend to be a Powhatan Indian, and the bag is deerskin?

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

In this nonfiction book, the author cleverly illustrates the actual size of a variety of animals.  Each animal illustration is accompanied by interesting facts and physical dimensions.  Some animals fit on the page, only a part of others will fit on a page spread or fold out.  The index includes a scaled down illustration of each animal, and more information.  



“All the animals in this book are shown at actual size, so you can see how you measure up to both creatures great and small.”

What an invitation is the opening paragraph to students to measure themselves, animals, bugs, and life around them! Could a class build one of the creatures, such as the moth? And, what an invitation to make cut tissue paper collages. Math, art, science SOL cross curriculum opportunities abound.

Other measuring books:

Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy

How Big is an Ant? by Mara Rockliff

How Big is a Whale? by Jenny Johnson

Also by Steve Jenkins for measuring and comparison:

Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest

Biggest, Strongest, Fastest

Big and Little

And, have you seen Prehistoric Actual Size?


Hungry Hen by Richard Waring

“There once was a very hungry little hen, and she ate and ate, and grew and grew, and the more she ate, the more she grew."  And so the greedy fox sitting upon the hen house watches each day as the hen eats and grows.  He thinks to himself, I will just wait another day because there is more of her everyday.  As the hen grows, the fox gets thinner and thinner.  How big will the hen get, how long can the fox wait? 



A great site with activities, songs to complement this title

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodileby Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret LippertCrocodile is hungry and Mrs. Chicken looks like a good choice for dinner. To save herself, Mrs. Chicken tells crocodile they are sisters. Mrs. Chicken doesn't have much time to prove they are related because crocodile is getting hungrier and hungrier!The Rooster's Giftby Pam ConradYoung Rooster thinks his Gift is making the sun rise, until one morning when the sun rises without him.

Bobwritten and illustrated by Tracey Campbell PearsonBob the rooster is big, bold, and beautiful, but he doesn't know how to crow. How he finally learns, after several false starts, to use his talents to save the day, and outwit the predator.


Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie by Gloria Whelan 

In northern Michigan Holly wants to start school.  Her mother knows she will need a warm coat, but her father reminds her there is no money for one. But, through the mother’s determination, she and Holly gather juneberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries from summer to fall.  They make jams, jellies, pies, and muffins to sell and earn enough for a new coat for Holly. 



This book is an economic lesson in wants and needs, natural resources, and scarcity. How would your class handle this problem?

How does northern Michigan plants, and weather compare with your students’ environment?

Click on the author and artist links for more scenes of Michigan.

The author’s homepage with pictures of her home in northern Michigan, and her many books


The artist’s home page with lots of photos of his environment


one marble one student one vote
One marble, one student, one vote

Ten titles are read to all Kindergarten through 2nd grades. Upper grade students vote if they have read/listen to 4 of the 10 titles on Elementary or/and Middle School lists.

Then it is time to vote—using the one marble, one student, one vote method. Each student drops their marble in a plastic cup in front of their favorite title. The most votes wins! We chart votes per class, per grade level, and for the entire school.

After the winners are announced on April 15th,

we chart the state winners as well. Ann Voss

Keeping track of students, what they have read, and quizzes passed. (Nancy Davis, Annandale Terrace ES, Fairfax County Public Schools)

Virginia Readers Choice 2005-2006: Elementary Titles

Name ___________________________ Teacher _________________

After you read or listen to a book read aloud, write your initials next to the author's name. In order to vote for your favorite book, you must read yourself

(or have listened to) four books.

Initials Title Author Passed Quiz Boxes for Katje Candace Fleming 

_____ Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia Barbara O’Connor 

_____ Gregor the Overlander Suzanne Collins 

_____ Grover G. Graham and Me Mary Quattlebaum 

_____ Hana’s Suitcase Karen Levine 

_____ Kensuke’s Kingdom Michael Morpugo 

_____ Locomotion Jacqueline Woodson 

_____ Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine Diane Stanley 

_____Say What? Margaret Haddix 

_____ Snowed in with Grandmother Silk Carol Fenner 


The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison  

When Uncle Ray in South Carolina cannot visit his niece in California, he makes Oliver K. Woodman, a carved life size, hinged wooden man.  Ray puts Oliver by the road with a note asking travelers who pick him up to send postcards of their trip with Oliver.  He receives a variety of cards from people who happily give Oliver a ride to California and Tameka's house.  Tameka and her parents return with Oliver, by airplane, to South Carolina.


Activities for Journey of Oliver K. Woodman, and

the sequel Searching for Oliver K. Woodman

These are pdf files filled with LOTS of activities, including a pattern for making Oliver!





Little Flower by Gloria Rand 

The book is based on a true story of a pot bellied pig that saved its master's life.  The lovable Little Flower is not just another pretty face!  She is a good companion to her owner, and a pig that uses her head in an emergency. 

How about these pigs?

Wilbur in Charolotte’s Web by White

Mercy Watson to theRescue by DiCamillo

Babe and Ace by King

How about helping others?

Crackers by Bloom

The Biggest and Brightest Light by Perlyn

Laughing Day by Anders


The Monster Ate My Peas by Danny Schnitzlein 

A young boy agrees to give a disgusting monster first his soccer ball, then his bike in return for eating the boy’s peas.  When the monster asks for his puppy, the boy makes a surprising discovery.



  • A creative six page guide including language arts, science, and art activities.
  • Little Pea by Rosenthal, the pea wants dessert first!
  • Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise by Landry. The peas come to life on her plate!

Muldoon by Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole Muldoon, the West’s family dog, describes jobs helping the family throughout the day from his point of view. The illustrations tell the real story of the day. 

  • Henry Cole’s very cool website: http://www.henrycole.net/index.php?scrWidth=1280
  • Point of view books:

Diary of a Wombat by French

Diary of a Worm, and

Diary of a Spider by Cronin

  • http://www.booksbyomalley.com/
  • Snow titles, new & old favorites:
  • In the Snow: Who’s Been Here? by George Two siblings follow the clues in the snow about what animals are out in their neighborhood.
  • The Snowy Day by Keats
  • What Do You Know? Snow! by Hudson, includes activities
  • This Place in the Snow by Bond, snow day cooperation
  • The Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd, just don’t touch the pole with your tongue!

The committee hopes your students

will be saying this next spring:

Virginia Readers' Choice

I Voted!