Thursday, January 18, 2018

January Grades 5-6 Book Club: Beyond the Bright Sea




For January's Book Club, we read Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk. Anthony, Claire, Emma, Madison, Maida, Reagan and Ryan were present. Here's what we talked about, based on suggestions from Penguin Books were the publisher.


Osh says, “I ended up here because my country was not really my country. It was just where I lived. Where some of us were less than others. Where it was sport, to hurt us.” (pg. 87) What do you think happened that caused him to leave everything behind? What challenges did he face when starting a new life on a small isolated island?

-Germany
-He's very calm and maybe he left somewhere where people were bullying him
-He could be from Germany and be Jewish.
-Finding things to build with, eat, sustain himself


The island itself could be considered a major character in the story. Describe the “personality” of the island. How does the island interact with the other characters and influence their actions?

-Through my eyes, I would see it as a friendly personality and loving. They treat the whole island as their home.
-The island gives them a home.
-Crow and Osh have a symbiotic relationship with the island.



What evidence do you have that the story happens in 1925? Do you think this story could have taken place in the present? Explain why or why not.

-When they went into the city, there weren't cars or airplanes.
-There were no cell phones.
-There were no bridges; you had to take a ferry.
-There were telegrams.
-They wrote letters to each other and didn't text.
-The story itself could have happened in modern times.


Crow comes to this realization on page 271: “I dried myself off and put on some clean clothes, amazed by the power of such small accomplishments to restore my good mood.” What do you think she means by this statement? Describe a situation where this was true for you.

-I felt happy with myself when I finished a small detail on one of my drawings.
-When I ran a race (3 miles) and made a goal not to stop, I didn't. And that felt really good.



Why do names have such profound meaning for Osh and Crow? What physical and behavioral characteristics does Crow share with her feathered namesake? If you were named for an animal, which one would it be and why?

-She has a pointy nose and black hair.
-She has a feather on her cheek.
-As a baby, her cry was almost like a crow.
-Because they come from different places from where they are now.
-Crow wants to know where she comes from and who she is while Osh just wants to forget.
-Raven because it sounds similar to my name and it describes my personality; I would love to fly. Raven's are a little mysterious.
-I would be a pet rock. It's my spirit animal. Rocks get to see everything occur over millions of years and there are pieces of them all over the world. I'm an observer and so are they.
-I would be named after a husky because I love the outdoors, snow and I like to talk. Huskies love to talk.
-Raccoons keep popping into my head.
-I'd be a tiger because they are just so bold and they love to swim.
-I would be an underwater creature that is alive for a long time. I like that because they get to observe.

Crow says on page 7: “When I asked questions about pearls or tides, he [Osh] did his best to answer them. But when I looked beyond our life on the islands, he became the moon itself, bent on tugging me back, as if I were made of sea instead of blood.” Why is Osh so reluctant to talk to Crow about her past? Do you feel he is right to withhold information from Crow? Explain why or why not.

-He knows information that he doesn't want her to know.
-He might think that she might not be able to process the information the right way.
-Osh might be afraid that she'll leave him if she finds a "better" family.



Why do you think Crow said she “carried those questions [about her past] around…like a sack that got heavier as the years went by, even though I had become accustomed to the idea of it. Even though I was not unhappy with the life I had. I just wanted to know. To understand. To put the sack down.” (pg. 11) Why do you think Crow needs to know where she came from? Do you think she would have been better off not knowing? Explain why or why not.

-I think it's good that she knows where she's from.
-She wanted to know because she probably would have wondered and tortured herself with questioning.
-I think it would have been better if she didn't know. Knowing the truth might have been too hard for her.
-It would be better if she didn't find out. She talked about it all the time, ignoring Miss Maggie and Osh's feelings.


How do Osh and Crow change each other’s lives? How would things have been different if Osh hadn’t been the one to find Crow floating on the raft?

-Crow might not have lived if Osh hadn't found her.
-Osh must have guessed that she came from an island close by.




Please rate this book between 1 and 5. 

-One 3
-Two 4s
-Four 5s




For February's Book Club, we will be reading The Wonderling by Mira Bartok. 

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. 


We will meet on Wednesday, February 21 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk (as well as register) a few days after the January session.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Giver



For December's Book Club, we read The Giver by Lois Lowry. Claire, Emma, Kamea, Madison and Reagan were present. Here's some of what we discussed.

We had such an amazing conversation today centered on The Giver. It was so thoughtful and insightful that I didn't want to break the flow by typing what we discussed. The questions below formed the basis for our conversation but we went into a lot of philosophical "stuff" that can't be covered here. Needless to say, these kids put a lot of thought into the book and what it means to have free will. I am so impressed with these guys. :)




If you were attending the Ceremony of Twelve with Jonas, what Assignment do you think the Elders would select for you?


Jonas’s community has a lot of rules. Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing? Why?


What do you think of how families in Jonas’s community are formed?


Would you rather be selected, as Jonas was, or assigned, as his groupmates were?


Can you imagine giving up such things as snow and hills because they are impractical?


Do you agree with Jonas that people have to be protected from wrong choices? 


Do you agree that painful memories are made easier when they are shared? Do you think it’s fair that one person in the community—The Receiver—should have to be burdened and pained by memories so that no one else is?


Do you think the elderly should be part of the community, or separate, as in Jonas’s community? 


What do you think of what Jonas’s community calls “release”? Were you surprised at what it was?


Jonas knows that if his plan fails, he could be killed. But he believes that if he stays, his life is no longer worth living. Do you agree?


Jonas briefly wonders whether he made the wrong choice when he decided to run away. What do you think?


Although most of the memories have left Jonas, the feelings have not. Why do you think that is?


How do you think the story ends?


Rate this book between 1 and 5:

-Three 4s
-Two 5s


For January's Book Club, we will be reading Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk.

"Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger." -- (Source of summary not specified)


We will meet on Wednesday, January 17 at 3:00 p.m. Please remember to register for Book Club and pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk a few days after the previous month's meeting.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

January Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions


Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk JANUARY
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry


As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.


Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library. Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.  Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home.



The Wonderling by Mira Bartok FEBRUARY

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

November Grades 5-6 Book Club: Anne of Green Gables


For November's Book Club, we chose to read Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Madison, Maida and Reagan were present. Here is some of what we discussed.


In chapter 2, when Matthew is driving Anne back to Green Gables, she asks him: “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive” (p. 16). Given her tragic childhood, how do you think Anne is able to maintain such a positive attitude?

-She has an opportunity in front of her with new people and she's hoping it will be good
-She wants to think about what's in front of her
-She wants to forget her past



From the moment she arrives in Avonlea, Anne is insistent on renaming places and inanimate things. Barry’s Pond, for example, becomes “The Lake of Shining Waters” and Marilla’s geranium becomes “Bonny.” Why do you think she does this? 

-Because she feels that they are living things that deserve to have names
-They should have names that are interesting
-She thinks that a lot of names are too plain




Marilla gives several reasons for finally deciding to keep Anne. What reason do you think most changed her mind? 

-She is so passionate
-She proved herself
-She helps them and respects their family



Anne has a fascination with imagination and with helping others develop a vivid one.  How is her imagination a benefit to her?  How does it cause her problems?

-Her imagination keeps her occupied. She can imagine things that she wants to be (puffy sleeves)
-Amethyst brooch: she tries to make things interesting but then things can get out of hand
-Playing Elaine, she gets into trouble



Why is it important to Anne that everyone spell her name with an "e" ?  What does this mean to her?

-She thinks it makes it sound more sophisticated
-She thinks "Ann" is too common



Good behavior is very important to Marilla and very difficult for Anne. From where do you think each derives her moral code? How do both characters change, when it comes to behavior? Think, in particular, of Anne’s confessions. 


-Anne tries to make the best of life
-Marilla might be happy with being so rigid in how she does things and thinks of things
-Having Anne become a part of the family allowed Marilla to become more flexible



Throughout the novel, Anne often compares her clothing to that of her friends and other people in town.  What does fashion represent to Anne and why is it so important to her?

-So she can fit in. She doesn't fit in with the red hair and freckles. 
-So she can feel more comfortable
-She came to town in rags and so she's happy to forget that person she was



Anne is a remarkably compassionate child and is able to forgive even those who have judged her unfairly, such as Mrs. Rachel Lynde or Mrs. Barry. Why, then, do you think she holds such a grudge against Gilbert Blythe? 

-He insulted her
-She liked him and she was pushed down by her crush more than she was by Mrs. Lynde
-I agree with Reagan but it could be anything. Gilbert is 11 when he made fun of Anne and she's less forgiving of him. Mrs. Rachel Lynde is older and, even though she should know better, she is trustworthy and should be forgiven.



Discuss Anne’s reaction to Matthew’s death. How do you think it shows her maturation? How, if at all, do you think she was prepared for it? 

-I don't think she was prepared for it at all
-She was in shock and couldn't cry
-She almost thought it was a nightmare
-She was trying to be grown-up



At the end of the book, Rachel Lynde tells Marilla, “There’s a good deal of the child about her yet in some ways,” and Marilla responds by saying, “There’s a good deal more of the woman about her in others” (p. 285). What do you make of her comment? How has Anne changed during her time at Green Gables? How has she stayed the same?

-She got better at holding her tongue. Her creativity and imagination have stayed the same
-She didn't outgrow her imagination
-She's learned more responsibility
-She has learned not to make as many mistakes
-She doesn't talk as much



Anne of Green Gables was written over a century ago, yet it continues to capture the hearts of children of all ages.  What qualities in the writing style or story explain the timeless, universal appeal of this novel?

-The descriptions are so good
-It's great
-There are a lot of similes and sayings
-It's about friendship and growing up
-It's about kindred spirits and bosom friends



Did you enjoy the book?  Why or why not?

-I loved it
-I loved it
-I loved it
-5
-5
-5


Have you seen a movie version of Anne of Green Gables?  How does it compare?

-We're just watching it right now
-It's a little boring


For December's Book Club, we will be reading The Giver by Lois Lowry.


Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

The next book club will be meeting on Wednesday, December 20 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up your library copies of the book, and register, at the Circulation Desk so that Miss Lisa knows how many readers to expect!




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Candymakers


For October's Book Club, we read The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. Anthony, Claire, Emma, Madison, Maida and Reagan were present. Here's a little bit of what we discussed.


Whose perspective is The Candymakers told from?

-Everybody
-Alternating


What was your favorite room or what room do you wish the Life is Sweet candy factory had?

-A room where they made caramel popsicles.
-A room of bread.
-A puppy pool party room.
-Nutella and chocolate room. Bread is on the floor.
-I wish it had a chocolate birthday party room. 
-A extended library.
-An animal rescue center.
-A room where it snowed sugar all day (Sugar Globe Room).
-Tropical room was a favorite.


What did each character (Logan, Miles, Daisy, Phillip) submit for the contest?

-Daisy submitted her 3 Gs.
-Harmonicandy
-Logan submitted the chocolate rocket.
-Miles submitted a peach cobbler.
-Alex Gruber submitted ice cream.


What is the “big mystery” in The Candymakers? The small ones? Clues given?

-The big secret is who wins the contest and what is the background of everybody.
-What was the secret ingredient?
-How did Logan get his scars? 
-What was Philip writing in his book?
-I was wondering why Philip was so picky.


What did you think the secret ingredient was?

-I thought it was a mix of dry ingredients.
-I thought it was purple sprinkles.
-I thought they put a little bit of mashed up cocoa beans.
-I thought it could be some kind of thing that isn't real with a crazy name because this seems like that kind of story.


What is each character’s motive for entering the contest? Do their motives change? If so, how?

-Daisy's motive is to get the secret ingredient and get out. Her motive only changed when they got to know each other.
-Logan was trying to carry on the family tradition.
-Miles was entered by the librarian of the town.
-Logan's motive went from winning to losing (so that he could save the factory).
-Philip's motive went from simply just winning to letting others help him so that he could prove his father wrong.


Why does Phillip have to win? If you were Logan, Daisy, or Miles, would you work with Phillip and let him win? Do you think Phillip would have won without their help?

-He has to win because his father will destroy the factory otherwise. 
-If I were one of the other characters, I would probably help him.
-He probably wouldn't have won without their help.
-Philip was almost afraid of what would happen if he ended up being at the front of the pack without other support.


A butterfly appears several times throughout the book. What could the butterfly represent?

-Change
-Happiness
-Hope


If you could create your own candy what would it be called? What ingredients would you use?

-I'm not going to create one.
-The Scream, made out of dark chocolate and grey caramel to look like a movie screen.
-I would call it Bullets, made out of a small layer of caramel coated with dark chocolate (bullet-size) coated with silver edible paint.
-I'd make a flute that works made out of all of the chocolates, caramel, cookies...any form of chocolate and cookies. That might be hard to make the keys move. 
-I would make a gummy-based candy but I'm not sure what it was called.
-I would make a giant piece of candy as big as this room made out of all of the candies in the world.
-Something with a gummy bottom so if you dropped it from the sky for a poor nation, it won't break or hurt them.
-A house made out of candy, like Hansel and Gretel. I would make a Village of Candy with Anthony, The Candymaker, as the mayor.


Why does Henry help Philip so much in the story?

-Because he's a good person.
-Maybe he recognized him from the accident.


The kids all became friends at the end of the book, kind of unexpectedly. Have you ever become friends with those you didn't expect to.

-The kids told their stories.

Who is your favorite character and why?

-Daisy because she's a spy.
-Daisy because she's unexpected.
-Logan because most of his life is pretty much secret, like his scars.
-Daisy because she's a spy and lives in a mansion.
-Daisy because she has spy gadgets.
-Philip because he's Philip and Daisy because she reminds him of my lifelong hero, James Bond.


Favorite/least favorite parts of book
-Favorite: Daisy's whole part. Least favorite: when Philip refuses candy
-Favorite: The whole book because I liked hearing about the creations. Least favorite: I didn't like hearing about the sorrow when Daisy disappeared.
-Favorite: reading about the creations. My least favorite was the candy.
-Favorite: when Daisy revealed that she was a spy. I didn't have a least favorite.
-Favorite: when Logan was sitting on the beach and Philip opened the thing and it was the toy truck. Least favorite when Henry told Philip what really happened.


Rated from 1-5 

-Two 3s
-Three 4s
-One 5


We will be meeting on Wednesday, November 15 at 3:00 p.m. in order to discuss Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

'Oh, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to you. I've never belonged to anybody'

When a scrawny, freckled girl with bright red hair arrives on Prince Edward Island, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are taken by surprise; they'd asked for a quiet boy to help with the farm work at Green Gables. But how can you return a friendless child to a grim orphanage when she tells you her life so far has been a 'perfect graveyard of buried hopes'? And so, the beguiling chatterbox stays. Full of dreams, warmth and spirit, it is not long before Anne Shirley wins their hearts.-amazon.com



Copies of the next month's book can be picked up at the Circulation Desk a few days after the previous month's discussion. Please be sure to register so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to purchase!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

November Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

'Oh, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to you. I've never belonged to anybody'

When a scrawny, freckled girl with bright red hair arrives on Prince Edward Island, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are taken by surprise; they'd asked for a quiet boy to help with the farm work at Green Gables. But how can you return a friendless child to a grim orphanage when she tells you her life so far has been a 'perfect graveyard of buried hopes'? And so, the beguiling chatterbox stays. Full of dreams, warmth and spirit, it is not long before Anne Shirley wins their hearts.





Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. 
Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. 
Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. 
Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September Grades 5-6 Book Club: Maniac Magee


For September's Book Club, we read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.  We based our discussion on questions from Schmoop.com.


Would Jeffrey have become a legend if his parents had lived? Can legends have parents, or do they have to be orphans? (Think about superheroes—do any of them have living parents?)

-No. 
-He might not have run away because he would probably have been happy with his parents
-Percius (the Greek myth) has parents
-Harry Potter
-BFG
-Katniss (single parent)
-Anne of Green Gables
-Secret Garden character
-Series of Unfortunate Events kids

 

Does Maniac do the right thing in refusing to go to school?

-I think he should have gone to school because he could use some education
-He used other people's books to learn
-He could have learned about stuff about the outside world, like in Social Studies

 
What would have happened if Grayson had lived?
 
-They would have lived in the bandshell for a long time and Maniac would have been happier if Grayson had lived
-He would have gotten more butterscotch Krimpets
-Grayson and Maniac were good for each other
-Maniac taught Grayson to read
-Grayson's death made Maniac really sad 

 
How is Mars Bar different from Big John?
-They are of different races
-Mars Bar is a bully on his own. Big John is more of a leader of a gang.
-Big John accepted Maniac first

 
Do you think Maniac stays put with the Beales? What happens to him next?
-I think that he stays with the Beales for some time but he sometimes might go back to the buffalo pen
-I think he stays with the Beales but I think he'll have trouble staying with them
-He might go back to the bandshell
-It's up to him what he does next. He's pretty independent.

 
How would Maniac's story have been different if he were black, instead of white?
 
-The East and the West would be switched
-It would have been easier for him to stay with the Beales.

 
What do you think happens to Piper and Russell in the future: do they turn out like their dad?

-I think they might end up in Mexico
-I think that they won't end up like their dad because Mars Bar helps them out
-They hopefully won't end up like their dad
-One of them might start a charity for something and the other might start a business

 

What do you think Two Mills is like today? Still segregated?
 
-I think it would not be segregated anymore
-It's called the law. They can't segregate.


Rated from 1-5 

-4
-2
-3
-4
-3


Favorite/least favorite parts of Book

-It was just "meh."
-I liked the running.
-I didn't like when Maniac took Mars Bar to the twins' party and it made Mars Bar feel really awkward.
-I didn't really understand the game that the boys played that got them to the top of the railroad.


We will be meeting on Wednesday, October 18 at 3:00 p.m. in order to discuss The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.


Copies of the next month's book can be picked up at the Circulation Desk a few days after the previous month's discussion. Please be sure to register so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to purchase!

January Grades 5-6 Book Club: Beyond the Bright Sea

For January's Book Club, we read  Beyond the Bright Sea  by Lauren Wolk. Anthony, Claire, Emma, Madison, Maida, Reagan and Rya...