Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier
Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier
by M.M. Eboch
AR 4.1
Genre: Biography
Childhood of Famous Americans Series

Reading an entrepreneur's biography never fails to inspire and astound me.  I wish I was a risk taker, but I'm not; and I know I could never continue in the face of repeated failures on the scale of bankruptcy and shame that most eventually successful people have in their background.  Hershey started 3 candy companies before he had any sustainable success.  He also had to overcome childhood poverty and a father whose irresponsible dreaming cost them their home when he was a child and multiple businesses as an adult.  Unlike his father, Milton Hershey coupled idealistic dreams with hard work and tenacity.  After becoming a successful, not to mention extremely wealthy, businessman, Hershey never forgot his ideals.  He created a town around his factory that offered the workers comfortable, unique homes, park space, entertainment, and educational facilities.  He also opened a boys' orphanage and maintained hands-on involvement in the lives of the boys to ensure that they had a happier childhood than his own and access to opportunities to improve their futures.
Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs
by Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia Guthrie
Genre: Nonfiction/782.42 

Finding this book in the collection delighted me.  Folk music has always been among my favorite styles, and Woody Guthrie's music filled my childhood.    Written for his children, the songs are perfect for sharing with our K-5 students.  There were some old standards that I knew well, like Howdy Do, Bling Blang, and Riding in My Car. Others were new to me.  If only I could play an instrument, I'd be using these in my story time.  There are great action songs like Dance Around that will get kids moving and following directions at the same time.  What a refreshing change All Work Together would be to the Clean Up Song and yet serve the same good purpose.  Oh yeah!  This is a keeper.  I'm looking for the recorded songs to go with it.

God is in the Mountain
by Ezra Jack Keats
Genre:  Nonfiction/290

Keats selected quotes from world religions and published them with illustrations of the natural world.  There is no indoctrination here, just a common "awareness of a dimension without which life is indeed meaningless."  I enjoyed this work immensely. 

The Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears
by R. Conrad Stein
AR 6.8
Genre:  Nonfiction/970.004

This brief text tells the heartbreaking story of the Cherokee removal from their land in Georgia.  In spite of treaties, a Supreme Court decision upholding the Cherokee's right to their land, and a peaceful, productive nation of educated people, the government of Andrew Jackson forced them off their lands with no time to even gather their possessions.  A quarter of all the Cherokees died along the Trail of Tears making their way west to land that would, in time, be taken from them again.  


The History of Money
The History of Money
by Roberta Basel
AR 3.1
Genre: Nonfiction/332.4

Have you ever wondered how paper bills became what we know as money?  If so, this book has you covered from bartering to shells and beads to the computerized money we use today.

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
Mirror, Mirror
by Marilyn Singer
illustrated by Josee Masse
Genre: Poetry/811

A reverso is a poem that when read from top to bottom is one poem.  Then, when read from bottom to top, with changes allowed for punctuation and capitalization only, it is another poem.  This book of reversos is especially enjoyable as the poems tell both sides of traditional fairy tales.  Consider this excerpt from In the Hood:

     In my hood,
     skipping through the wood,
     carrying a basket, 
     picking berries to eat --
     juicy and sweet
     what a treat!
     But a girl
     mustn't dawdle.

                        Mustn't dawdle...
But a girl!

What a treat--
juicy and sweet,
picking berries to eat,
carrying a basket,
skipping through the wood

in my 'hood.
I'm keen to try this form on my own and introduce it to my students.  This is definitely an exercise that meets common core standards of rigor.

Glacier National Park
by Mike Graf
National Parks Series
AR 4.5
Genre: Nonfiction/917.86

Glacier National Park is bigger than Rhode Island, has received a foot of snow as late as August, and home to more than 1,800 different kinds of plants.  This book, like the others in the National Parks Series, gives you basic information about the history of the park, weather, wildlife, and activities.  Most of the national parks are west of the Mississippi river, but all of them hold treasures waiting to be enjoyed.  Read this series and you'll be ready to pack your bags for one trip or more! 


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