Wednesday, February 17, 2021

February Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise


For January's Book Club, we read the book The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. Cooper, Julianna, Natalie, Nicole, and Rileigh were present. This is what we discussed, with discussion prompts from the publisher!


Coyote says that this story begins when she meets Ivan—even though her adoption of Ivan is long before she ever thinks about going home. Why do you think this is where Coyote decides to start her story? What does Ivan mean to her?


Coyote spends a lot of time telling us about her memories. Why are memories important? How do memories play a part in your life, which memories hold strong significance for you? 


Each of the characters that join Coyote and Rodeo on their journey have a problem or situation that they are trying to overcome. How do their journeys affect each other, and what lessons do you think they learn from meeting and traveling with one another? 


Salvador is Coyote’s first friend since she lost her sisters. Why is Coyote able to get close to Salvador in a way that she was never able to get close to anyone else? How are Coyote and Salvador similar? How are they different? Why are friendships so important? 


Rodeo and Coyote have a close father-daughter bond, but there is still a lot they have trouble talking about. Why do you think some things are hard to talk about even with loved ones? 


One of the things that Coyote and Rodeo like to do is ask each other for a “once upon a time.” Why do you think they do this? Why are stories so powerful? 


Goodbyes are hard for everyone; Coyote just avoids them altogether. How do you deal with goodbyes? Have you ever had to say a hard goodbye? How did you deal with it? 


Many promises are made throughout the novel by the characters. What are some of the promises made and why? Why is it important to keep promises and when is it right to break a promise? 


What are the no-go’s in Rodeo and Coyote’s life? Why do you think they’re off-limits? What changes by the end of the book? 


Rodeo calls Coyote his compass because she guides all his decisions. What guides your decisions, and why? 


If you lived on Yager, what three questions would you ask someone before letting them on? Who would you bring along on a road trip?


Please rate this book between a 1 and a 5, with 1 being one of the worst books you've ever read, 3 being average and 5 being one of the best books you've read!

-One 3

-Two 5s


For March's Book Club, we will be meeting on Wednesday, March 17 at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. We will be reading I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day.

"When twelve-year-old Edie finds letters and photographs in her attic that change everything she thought she knew about her Native American mother's adoption, she realizes she has a lot to learn about her family's history and her own identity." - summary

Please be sure to register for Book Club so Miss Lisa can send you the Zoom link on the day of our session!

March Grades 5-6 Book Club Suggestions

 Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.



Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

A meteor is going to hit the moon, and 16-year-old Miranda, like the rest of her family and neighbors in rural Pennsylvania, intends to watch it from the comfort of a lawn chair in her yard. But the event is not the benign impact predicted. The moon is knocked closer to Earth, setting off a chain of horrific occurrences: tsunamis, earthquakes, and, later, volcanic eruptions that disrupt life across the planet. Written in the form of Miranda's diary, this disquieting and involving story depicts one family's struggle to survive in a world where food, warmth, and well-being disappear in the blink of an eye.


Rules by Cynthia Lord

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public" -- in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.

But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

January Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Thing About Jellyfish


For January's Book Club, we read the book The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. Cooper, Julianna, Natalie, Nicole, and Rileigh were present. This is what we discussed, with discussion prompts from the publisher!


Suzy acknowledges that before the Worst Thing, she used to chatter, what Suzy calls constant-talking. Why do you think she does this? Have you ever been in a situation where you chattered? If so, why do you think you did? 


Do you think Suzy’s reason for not-talking is exactly what she says it is? Are there other reasons she might have stopped talking? Has there ever been a time when you felt you couldn’t speak, or when you refused to talk? What was the result of not-talking? 


Do you think Suzy is a good friend to Franny? Is Franny a good friend to Suzy? What makes someone a good friend? What makes someone a bad one? 


Is there a difference between teasing and bullying? Where do you think people should draw the line? Do you think Suzy was bullied? Was Franny? 


Why does Suzy do the Worst Thing? Do you think her actions are justified? Why or why not? 


Mrs. Turton says that sometimes we learn more from our failures than our successes. What were Suzy’s failures? What did she learn from them? Have you ever learned from a failure? If so, when? Even though Suzy didn’t make it to Australia, do you think she experienced other successes by the end of the novel? 


Franny’s mother tells Suzy that one of the things Franny always admired about Suzy was that she “never cared what anyone else thought.” Is this observation true? Why or why not? Do you find this quality admirable in others? Do you think you have this quality? 


Suzy’s mother tells her that “sometimes things just happen,” and that they don’t always make sense to us. Do you believe things in your life happen by chance, or by fate? 


What do you think jellyfish represent in this book? Why do you think the author found jellyfish to be such a strongly symbolic creature that connects to Suzy’s story? 


Rank this book from 1-5.

-One 3
-Two 3 1/2
-One 4


Our next Book Club will be held on Wednesday, February 17 at 3:30 p.m. We will be meeting via Zoom. We will be reading The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. 

"Five years. That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation. It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash. Coyote hasn't been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished---the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box---she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it. Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there's Gladys... Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her "once upon a time" into a "happily ever after.""

Please be sure to register for book club via email (jamlibkids@gmail.com) or call 423-7280. Miss Lisa will get a copy of the book to you. You also need to register so that Miss Lisa can send you the Zoom link and password the day of Book Club!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

December Grades 5-6 Book Club: 24 Hours in Nowhere

For December's Book Club, we read the book 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling. Julianna, Lucy, Natalie, Nicole, and Rileigh were present. This is what we discussed!


1. The home lives of the four main characters are all very different. Which one do you think is most like your home life? Why?


2. Why do you think Bo is a bully? What do you think you should do when you see someone being bullied?

 

3. What do you think Rossi means when she asks Gus if he’s going to let someone else’s actions define who he is? Has anyone ever made you feel bad about yourself? How do you handle those feelings?

 

4. What examples of teamwork can you find in the story? Do you think any of the four characters could have survived if they’d been alone?

 

5. Why are Gus, Rossi, Jessie, and Matthew so poor? Have they made choices that have caused their poverty?

 

6. Rossi collects scrap metal from the desert and sells it to the scrap yard so she can maintain her dirt bike. Do you have to pay for any of your own things? If so, how do you earn the money to pay for them?

 

7. Do you think people look down on others due to their poverty? How do you view others who have less than you?

 

8. The story is told in the first person, from Gus’s point of view. How do you think the story would change if it were told from Rossi’s, Jessie’s, or Matthew’s points of view? What if it were told from Bo’s point of view?

 

9. Can you find an example in the story of a time when Gus, Rossi, Jessie, and Matthew each sacrifice something to help someone?

 

10. Gus often uses humor when talking about his living situation. Why do you think he does this?

 

11. Why does Gus believe acing the SAT is his only way to get into college? What does this reveal about the extra challenges people face when they are born into poverty? What do you think it means to be born with privilege?

 

12. Think about the setting the author has chosen. How does it affect the way you read the story?

 

13. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in an hour-by-hour format?

 

14. The Gus we meet at the beginning of the story is different from the Gus at the end. How is he the same, and how has he changed? How have the other characters changed?

 

15. How do the relationships between the four main characters change from the time they enter the mine to when they finally make it out of the cave? What do you think caused these changes?



Rank this book from 1-5.

-Two 3s
-One 3 1/2
-One 4 1/2
-One 5


Our next Book Club will be held on Wednesday, January 20 at 3:30 p.m. We will be meeting via Zoom. We will be reading The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

"After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting--things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door."


Please be sure to register for book club via email (jamlibkids@gmail.com) or call 423-7280. Miss Lisa will get a copy of the book to you. You also need to register so that Miss Lisa can send you the Zoom link and password the day of Book Club!

January 2021 Grades 5-6 Book Club Suggestions

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart


Five years.

That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it.

Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there's Gladys...

Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”



Rules by Cynthia Lord

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public" -- in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.

But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?



The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting--things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.

November Grades 5-6 Book Club: The War I Finally Won

 


For November's Book Club, we read the book The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Cooper, Dylan, Mark, Rileigh, and Sarah were present. This is what we discussed!


In chapter 1, Ada tells the reader “You can know things all you like, but that doesn’t mean you believe them.” (pp. 1) What do you think this phrase might mean?

 

“Eleven years into the war between the rest of the world and me.” (pp. 2) The rest of the world is at war with each other but Ada is at war with the rest of the world. Why is Ada at war with the world? Why does she have a negative relationship with the world?

 

“Lady Thorton could upset just about anyone. When I’d first met her, before I knew her name, I called her the iron-faced woman. She was sharp like an ax.” (pp. 5) How are Ada’s initial judgments of Lady Thorton proven wrong?

 

“I would have to think hard to find any good memories.” (pp. 26) In the early chapters of the novel, Ada is reflecting on the end of her relationship with her mother. Based on Ada’s emotions and reflections, what kind of relationship did Ada have with her mother?

 

“I sat in front of the fire and practiced breathing, in and out, to keep myself calm.” (pp. 75) Ada struggles throughout the story with her emotions. In what ways does she learn to manage her emotions?

 

“It made me feel calmer that the food was so bad.” (pp. 85) Christmas is a difficult time for Ada. Why does she find it difficult to enjoy nice things?


“I needed a doll a long time ago,” I said. “It’s too late for me to have one now.”’ (pp. 93) What purpose do dolls have in a child’s life? Why is it too late for Ada to have a doll? What might the doll symbolize?

 

“Oban had a grace and elegance Butter could never touch. It was like the difference between the Honorable Margaret Thorton and me.” (pp. 101) Is it important to consider the personalities of the horses and ponies in the book? How do the personalities of the horses reflect the personalities of the humans in the book?

 

“Education is a luxury in war-time. Jonathan left Oxford to fight. I do not see why this girl’s education should be ahead of his.” (pp. 127) Do you agree with Lady Thorton? Should Ruth still be entitled to an education when Jonathan and other men are away fighting in war?

 

“I’ll tell the boys at the airfield about you. You’ll give them courage, you will.” (pp. 235) Why does Ada’s story inspire Jonathan?

 

“I don’t think I’d better share the details. But I can say that we’re learning things about Hitler, and what he’s doing in Europe, to capture civilians and even to his own countrymen, that make this war seem extremely necessary. More than necessary. Right.” (pp. 375) Using the appendix to guide you, what job with the army did Lord Thorton do at Bletchley Park during the war?

 

“Ruth needs horses the way I needed horses.” (pp. 281) Why do Ruth and Ada need horses? What effect does horse-riding have on the girls?

 

“So your mother was a monster. It doesn’t mean mine is. It doesn’t mean Lady Thorton is.” Ruth prodded me with her foot. “People are complicated. You, yourself, are not the easiest person to love. But you are still my sister.” (pp. 316) How does Ada’s relationship with her birth mother impact the way she views other maternal figures in her life?

 

Why does Ada travel back to her old home at Elsa Street with Lady Thorton? Why is it significant that she visits her old home? What does this communicate to the reader about her physical and emotional journey?


In the novel, Ada has a fascination with learning new words and their definitions. She becomes quite upset when Jamie begins to call Susan ‘Mum’ despite at the end of the novel, Ada also calls Susan ‘Mum’. How do you think Ada’s personal definition of a ‘Mum’ changes over the course of the novel?

 

Can Mam ever be forgiven for her treatment of Ada and Jamie? Like Ada and Jamie, is she too a victim of her circumstances?


“You’re eleven years old,” Susan said. “You get to be the child now, Ada, for once in your life. I will be the adult.”’ (pp. 92) What are the roles and responsibilities of children and adults? Should there be different expectations for different age types? Or should expectations be leveled with a person’s maturity and experience? 


Rank this book from 1-5.


-Two 4.5
-5


Our next Book Club will be held on Wednesday, December 16 at 3:00 p.m. We will be meeting via Zoom. 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling.

"Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere's biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue--but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friends Jessie Navarro and Matthew Dufort, and Rossi herself. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is--and they realize this adventure just may be their way out."

Please be sure to pick up your copy of the book and register at the Circulation Desk so that Miss Lisa can send you the Zoom link and password the day of Book Club!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

October Grades 5-6 Book Club: The War That Saved My Life



For October's Book Club, we read the book The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Christopher, Cooper, Mark, Rileigh, and Sarah were present. This is what we discussed, with suggestions from teentweenbooks.com and from a book club on this book 4 years ago!



1. Who is Ada? Why is Mam ashamed of her?  Why do you think Mam "wanted Ada to be a cripple?"

-Ada is the main character of the book
-Mom is ashamed of her because she's crippled


2. What does Ada do when she is at home alone? Why doesn’t she share her secret with anyone?

-She looks out the window
-She teaches herself to walk


3. How do Ada and Jamie get out of London in the beginning of the story?

-Jamie is supposed to go on the train and Ada refuses to left behind
-They took their mom's sugar, bread and butter, and shoes


4. Why are Ada and Jamie “the only ones not chosen”? Why do they end up at Susan’s?

-They are so dirty that no one wants them
-They also don't want to deal with Ada's foot
-Because no one would take them in and she hadn't taken any kids in


5. When talking about Susan, Ada said, “She doesn’t like us. She didn’t want us, remember?”  Does Susan like the kids? Why or why not?

-In the beginning, she doesn't want to have to take care of the kids
-She was still sad about Becky's death
-At the end of the book, Susan changed her mind about the kids
   

6. Susan treats Ada with understanding and compassion. How does Ada respond to this kindness? Why?

-Ada gets very upset sometimes
-Ada doesn't feel that she deserves good things because of the way that her mom treated her

 
7. What do you know of Susan? Tell the untold story of Susan’s life as you imagine it might be.

-Her dad would get mad at her because she wasn't religious and her dad was a preacher


8. Ada stated, “I knew Susan wasn’t real. Or, if she was a tiny bit real, sometimes, at the very best she was only temporary” (p. 202). Later, on page 216 Ada said, “Susan was temporary. My foot was permanent.” Is Susan temporary for Ada? Why or why not?

-Her foot would always stay crooked 
-Susan was temporary because Ada would have to go back to Mam

 
9. What does Jamie's teacher think about his being left-handed?

-The teacher thinks that it's the mark of the devil


 
10. Is Ada capable of learning? Why is she afraid of learning at the beginning of the story? 

-She thinks she isn't able to learn
-She hadn't learned before and thought maybe she couldn't


11.  On page 206 Ada said, “Somehow Christmas was making me feel jumpy inside. All this talk about being together and being happy and celebrating—it felt threatening. Like I shouldn’t be part of it. Like I wasn’t allowed. And Susan wanted me to be happy, which was scarier still.” Why is Ada feeling jumpy, threatened, and scared?

-She has never had Christmas before
-She has never been truly happy before
-She doesn't think that she deserves to be happy
-Doing nothing for Christmas was the norm


 12. When the police officer doesn’t believe Ada’s story about seeing a spy, what does she do and say to convince him?

-She sees him looking at her crippled foot and says "my foot is a long way from my brain."


13. Why did their Mam come to take them back to the city?

-She was having to pay for their "child care" and didn't want to.
-Mam didn't want Ada and Jamie to be living better than her


14.  How does the way Mam treat Ada differ from the way Susan treats Ada?

-Susan doesn't make Ada go in the cockroach cupboard
-Mam abuses Ada.
-Susan loves Ada.


15. Why do you think Kimberly Brubaker Bradley decided to title the book The War That Saved My Life?

-If there was no war, there wouldn't have been a bombing to send her and Jamie to Susan



16. In what ways did Susan save Ada’s and Jamie’s lives? How did Ada and Jamie save Susan’s life?

-When she came to get them back (and was out of her house), her house got bombed. If she had been home, she would have died.
-They brought joy and family into her life. Christmas was actually happy for her.


17. What are your favorite details of the story?

-I liked Jamie because he was funny
-I liked Butter because I like horses

 
18.  Do you like the ending? If you were the author, would you change the ending of the story?

-It was too confusing because of all of the bombing
-The story is left up in the air


Rank this book from 1-5.

-(1) 3
-(3) 4
-(1) 5


Our next Book Club will be held on Wednesday, November 18 at 4:00 p.m. We will be meeting via Zoom. We will be reading  The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. 

"When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now?
 
World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thorton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy?


As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?"


Please be sure to pick up your copy of the book and register at the Circulation Desk so that Miss Lisa can send you the Zoom link and password the day of Book Club!

February Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

For January's Book Club, we read the book   The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart .  Cooper, Julianna, Natalie, Ni...