August 2, 2013

Fiction Friday: Chapter 8

I'm late. I know. I'm sorry.

This week was jam packed with BFF fun.  Am I too old to use the BFF acronym?  Hmmm...

Well, regardless, my best friend from Seattle was in town and we had so much fun! And I got zero reading done.  Yes, it's true. I love to read, but I go through phases.  Like for a few months I will just devour anything in front of me, and then I go through a dry spell.  Usually, I'm a reading machine in the summer, but this year I just haven't gotten into my reading groove. Anyone else?

In fact, I have disconnected more than ever from school this summer.  I'm typically a grade A blog stalker and a pinning monster, but not this year.  I think I'm okay with it though.  It's been a good summer! Even the dogs agree.

So, instead of sharing a chapter book for Fiction Friday, I thought I would share a few picture books.  I've always said Fiction Friday is open to anything, so now it is time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Here we go...

Young Albert Einstein
By Don Brown

We've all heard of Albert Einstein.  He's the famous scientist. mathematician, winner of the Nobel Prize, and a great thinker.  But, who was Albert as a child?  Odd Boy Out takes the reader on a journey through Albert's young life and makes one of the most brilliant minds of the last century much more accessible to kids and teachers alike.  Turns out, he was a bit of a odd boy regular kid. He threw tantrums and frustrated his teachers.  Sound like anyone in your class? He was fascinated by the world of mathematics, but had no drive to learn the subjects that didn't interest him.  Remind you of anyone? One teacher even told Albert that he would "never get anywhere in life." Clearly...they were wrong. 

What I like about this book is the famous Einstein becomes real.  Kids are able to draw connections to the young Einstein. And who doesn't want to have something in common with Einstein?  It's a great spring board for conversations about bullying, acceptance, thinking outside the box, perseverance, and being the "odd boy out".  For kids that struggle in school, it's an inspiring tale of a brilliant man that was once thought to be "slow witted" by this teachers, but never stopped wondering about the world and proved everyone wrong. The conclusion of the book celebrates Albert's accomplishments in a very kid friendly way.  You don't have to understand E=mc2 to know the value of his contributions to science and math. 

This book would be easy to incorporate into the classroom.  Add it to your master list of books for teaching connections.  I use it for the metacognition salad lesson from Tanny McGregor.  Kids want to share their experiences.  Just imagine the connections you will get when you read that Albert fought with his sister.   It is also a great book to introduce biographies.  There are dates to create a timeline of his life.  You could use it to model pulling out important information to write a report. So many possibilities!

My second pick for today is...

Ron's Big Mission
by Rose Blue & Corinne J. Naden

Ron's Big Mission is the story of a young boy who sets out to make a change in the world.  At first glance, you assume this book is about a boy who wants to fly planes or go to space, but Ron's mission is something much different. 

Ron dreams of having his own library card and being able to check out books from his local library.  Because of his skin color, Ron is only allowed to read books at the public library, not take them home.  The book starts off with Ron being too busy to eat breakfast, snack on a doughnut, or play basketball with his friends.  He has somewhere to be and something important to do.  

At the library, Ron asks to check out his books.  He is ignored, so he stands on the counter and takes a stand.  He doesn't want someone else to check out his books for him and he doesn't want to read his book in the library, he wants to check them out himself.  He says, "It's wrong. The rules are not fair. Why can't I check out books like everyone else?"   The police are called. His mother is called.  Ron is on a mission.  The librarian finally realizes what she must do, and gives Ron his very own library card.  And Ron takes home his books to learn more about space!

Although the book stops there, the story continues.  Ron continued to follow his dreams and grew up to an astronaut. In fact, he was on the shuttle Challenger when it exploded in 1986. He was already a local hero in Lake City, South Carolina, but he became a national hero.  From a young age, Ron followed his heart and chased his dreams.  

This wonderful story can be used in the classroom so many ways.  It's a great book for students to track their thinking and ask questions.  They always have SO much to say. It ties in well with the civil rights movement, MLK day, and any discussion you have about leadership, perseverance, character, goal setting, and chasing your dreams.  Great book!

So, those are my 2 picture book picks for the day.  I hope you discovered a new title or two.  If you have used this books in your classroom, please share your thinking and ideas.  I'd love to hear how you used them and what your kids thought.  Comment, comment, comment!  :)

If you have a book to share, please link on up with Fiction Friday

Happy Reading!


  1. It looks like two great picks. I'm not familiar with either of these titles. Thank you for sharing them. I always love hearing about new books!


  2. I love these titles and want to get them for my 7 year old son. Thanks for sharing!

    First in Maine

  3. These sound like fantastic read alouds. I love that my shopping cart is bursting each time I visit your blog. I'm fairly new to your blog, but I really enjoy it! You sound like a real person.

  4. These look like great children's reads. I also go through "reading phases"


Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!