Diary of a Minecraft Zombie by Zack Zombie is a quintessential Hi-Lo book. It details the daily life of a Mincraft Zombie boy. He goes to school and wants a pet for getting good grades, he deals with friend drama. The next book in the series is about bullies and friends. This series is good for for students to be engaged in a story and be able to relate to the content. It is a very quick read that is set up like a diary with only the day of the week at the top. The students pick up these books because of Minecraft, Diary of a Wimpy kid, and Zombies. I feel that this book is useful for getting students reading and with social-emotion education. It does not have a large benefit to the classroom curriculum but good to have in a classroom library for reluctant readers.
Sam and Dave dig a Hole by Mac Barnett is a little too simplistic. Yes it has won awards, but it did not satisfy my reading needs. This book did not contain usable content for my classroom, when I read it to my students they looked at me like I was crazy… So, they dig a hole, now what? The students were intrigued by the illustrations and almost yelled at the characters to follow the dog. This frustrated my class, but they noticed some interesting things in the illustrations including the tree at the beginning is an apple tree and when they fall through “space and time” it becomes a pear tree.
I don’t see the purpose in this book, and would find it difficult to use in a classroom other than kindergarten. If you took off the words and let the students come up with the story I think it would be more interesting and thoughtful.
The book Space Case by Stuart Gibbs is an exciting mystery told by a boy about 12 years old. The boy Dash and his parents who are scientists have moved to Moon Base Alpha. Dash has few people his own age to spend time with on this moon base. Throughout the the story Dash is trying to figure out who killed Dr. Holtz, even though everyone believes he just went out in space with his helmet not on correctly. Dash is convinced otherwise because he overheard a conversation in the bathroom the night before Dr. Holtz’ death. The book is a thrilling mystery and funny for all ages.
I would recommend this to anyone especially intermediate teachers for guided reading. I have done this book with my high group of students this semester and they love the book and can’t wait to talk to me about what is happening in each chapter. It is great for character relationships and how the characters change throughout the book. This book could be used as a read-aloud and have students track the clues that have been found.
Curriculum guide for Space Case has questions and activities that can be used with the book and it shows the common core standards with each set of activities.
Volcanoes by Seymour Simon is an engaging nonfiction text that educates students on the various volcanoes in North America. It starts off talking about how the Romans believed in Vulcan the Roman God of Fire. It then goes on to tell about how different volcanoes are formed and happens when they erupt.
This book also describes what happened when Mount St. Helens erupted and destroyed a large amount of forests.
This is a highly engaging nonfiction text that would interest and inform students of all ages. It could be used as an intro for landforms or physical features of the United States. The pictures that are high-quality photographs make it more appealing to read and keep interested in the content.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a quick read. This is a Newbery Medal winner. There is such passion portrayed in this book by having it be told by the gorilla Ivan. The themes of perseverance and confidence are easy to spot.
Ivan a Silverback Gorilla lives in a mall and is the local attraction, along with him lives an elephant named Stella that used to work on a circus. Stella has an issue with her foot and needs medical attention that comes too late. The bring a new elephant and teach it how to do tricks for the crowd, this little elephant just wants a safe place to call home. Ivan starts to paint a picture for Ruby, the baby elephant, and he gets the night janitor to put it on the billboard outside to help keep Ruby safe. This plan works and they both get rescued and moved to the zoo where they have large habitats and others that are just like them.
This is truly a story of survival and animal rights. I have used this book in the classroom to work on visualization because the descriptions are so detailed. You could also use to discuss theme and perspective. How would the story be different if it was told by Mack the mall keeper or even by Ruby the elephant? I have also used it in guided reading with a comprehension guide after the book. This book makes a great read-aloud because the chapter are short and descriptive.