FREE comprehension worksheet for the movie Felicity: An American Girl Adventure

FelicityCoverTeachers, here is a FREE comprehension worksheet for use with the movie Felicity: an American Girl Adventure.  The worksheet follows the movie, so students can answer the questions as they watch.  The worksheet helps you hold students accountable for following and learning from this high-quality movie.

Click here for the FREE pdf worksheet for the movie

I highly recommend the movie for the elementary school and junior high classroom.  It’s an excellent, family-friendly and unobjectionable introduction to a unit on the American Revolution.  The movie is extremely high quality.  The script is top-notch, nicely melding sequences from the Felicity books into a cohesive story.  The acting is superb.  Felicity is played by Shailene Woodley.  When I saw this movie, I knew she’d be a star.  I wasn’t surprised when she was nominated for an Academy Award a few years later.  Then she scored the lead in the Divergent films.  Academy Award-winner Marcia Gay Harden plays Felicity’s mother.

The movie has surprising depth.  There are strong themes of justice, loyalty and honor.  Students will be very interested in a subplot involving Ben, apprentice to Felicity’s father.  Ben wants to break his apprenticeship and fight with the Patriots.  When he runs away from home, he is pursued by bounty hunters.  Felicity helps Ben understand the importance of keeping one’s word.  Another tense subplot involves Felicity’s friend Elizabeth, whose family is fairly new to the colonies.  Elizabeth’s family are Loyalists, and her father is imprisoned by Patriots.  Felicity and her father help right this grievous wrong.

Death has always been a part of life, but it was a more prominent part of life in Felicity’s time.  The movie doesn’t shy from this topic.  Felicity loses her grandfather and very nearly loses her mother.  Woodley’s scenes here are made me sure this girl would be a star.  She makes you feel Felicity’s grief.

There is plenty of fun in Felicity: an American Girl Adventure.  Felicity tames a horse, botches charm lessons, and banters with her friends.  The movie strikes the perfect balance of action and reflection, excitement and danger, comedy and tragedy.  Your students will love the story, and it will help set up lessons on the American Revolution.  Outdoor scenes were shot in Colonial Williamsburg.  Your students will enjoy the special features, in which the young actresses take you on a tour.

This worksheet helps you justify the 85 minute run time of Felicity: an American Girl Adventure.  Students can answer the questions as the movie plays.  The questions are mostly at a basic comprehension level, so students can quickly jot down answers as they watch.  Theme-based questions are saved for the end.

Click here for the FREE pdf worksheet for the movie

The picture shows the Felicity movie, but I have linked to the four-movie set 4 Film Favorites: American Girl.  The original Felicity movie is quite expensive on Amazon, almost $30.  However, the four-movie set is under $10.  All four movies are excellent, and they each make a great introduction to curricular units on their respective eras:

Felicity Merriman, 1774:  a horse-loving girl caught between Patriot and Loyalist family and friends during the American Revolution

Samantha Parkington, 1904:  an orphan being raised by a wealthy family during the Victorian period

Kit Kittredge, 1934:  faces the hard times of the Great Depression

Molly McIntire, 1944: keeps the home fires burning during World War II

You might enjoy these other ClassAntics posts about American Girl:

American Girls and history class

American Girl Teaching Guides

Fun and Educational Games on the American Girl Website

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Advice Books from American Girl

 

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Oct 27, 2014

 

Book review and teaching resources: George Washington’s Spy by Elvira Woodruff

GWSpyAR reading level 4.7
AR points 6
Available at Amazon.com

George Washington’s Spy is the sequel to Elvira Woodruff’s George Washington’s Socks.   In both books, children from Nebraska time-travel to the American Revolution, where they encounter the harsh realities of war and hobnob with famous figures.  Click here for my FREE teaching guide/comprehension questions for George Washington’s Socks.  I highly recommend that novel as a classroom literature study.

George Washington’s Spy succeeds as a sequel.  It pushes the envelope while giving us more of what we enjoyed in the first book.  In this story, the five original characters, a boys’ adventure club and one boy’s little sister, are joined by two eleven-year-old girls.  All the kids time travel to Boston in 1776.  The children are quickly separated.  The boys end up with Patriots, and the protagonist embarks on the titular spy mission.  The girls are taken in by Loyalists.  The characters’ stories intersect as the spy mission becomes deeply entwined with the Loyalists’ household.

Compared to George Washington’s Socks, this story is fairly gritty.  In George Washington’s Socks, the characters encounter tough situations, most notably the death of a young soldier.  George Washington’s Spy takes it up  several notches, which I think puts it firmly in independent-reading territory.  The kids encounter a public flogging, death by tar and feather, medicinal bleeding, and near-death by bayonet.  Believe it or not, all this occurs within a relatively upbeat story, and none of it is described in the kind of colorful detail you would encounter in a novel for adults.  Nevertheless, I think that reading this book aloud or assigning it to the whole class could lead to parent complaints and upset students.

Teaching resources: Click here for Elvira Woodruff’s teaching guide for George Washington’s Spy.  It includes comprehension questions, ideas for class activities recipes, and more.  You could use many of the ideas in a teaching unit for George Washington’s Socks.  The sequel would make a good extension activity for children who want to delve more deeply into the American Revolution.

Posted in Academics,Book Reviews,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Sep 22, 2014

 

FREE printable reading guide for George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff

GWSocks

George Washington’s Socks is an excellent choice for a literature study to support a social studies unit on the American Revolution.  In the novel, a mysterious rowboat transports five kids to the Battle of Trenton, where they experience the American Revolution firsthand.  The kids interact with Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries, and Washington himself.

About George Washington’s Socks:
AR reading level 5.0
AR points 6
Available at Amazon.com

I wrote a reading guide (teacher’s guide) that helps me keep the students accountable and make sure they are following the story.  I wrote a half-sheet comprehension worksheet for each chapter, so the kids can answer enough questions to show they understand without belaboring the book.  I hope you like the printable study guide.

Click for the FREE printable study guide for use with literature studies or units about George Washington’s Socks.

If you want something more involved than my FREE study guide, you can buy some at Amazon.com.

George Washington’s Socks – Teacher Guide by Novel Units, Inc.

George Washington’s Socks – Student Packet by Novel Units, Inc.

George Washington’s Socks: Novel-Ties Study Guide


 

Celebrate the Fourth of July with free online games about the American Revolution

statueoflibertyIn the spirit of the Fourth of July, take a moment to play some fun games about the American Revolution.

American Revolution quiz game: Test your knowledge with multiple quizzes about the American Revolution.  The quizzes cover the revolution up to 1789.

TeachingAmericanHistory.org American Revolution tutorial: This is more like a lesson than a game, but you get to click around.  It combines geography with history as students click to learn about various locales important to the American Revolution.

Liberty! The American Revolution: This online quiz/lesson lets you answer and learn.  It coordinates with the PBS series Liberty! The American Revolution.

Mission US: This is a great site with several exciting missions.  Appropos for the Fourth of July is Mission 1: For Crown or Colony?

The Revolutionary Fireworks Frenzy!  This is a pure-fun game that lets you pretend to set off a whole bunch of fireworks in front of a place that looks a lot like Liberty Hall.  That’s it, but it’s pretty fun.

Colonial Williamsburg Interactive: This site lets you play games and do activities that enhance a visit to Colonial Williamsburg.  It’s lots of fun even if a trip to Virginia is not in your future.


 

Cesar Chavez: Watch the movie; share books with your students

Don’t miss Cesar Chavez, the biopic directed by Diego Luna and starring Michael Peña.  Bring Cesar Chavez into your classroom with these beautifully written picture books appropriate for elementary students.

Cesar Chavez’s story adds depth to units in social studies, history and economics:

  • Justice, equality, inequality, civil rights
  • Worker’s rights, unionization, strikes
  • Migrant workers, agriculture’s role in California’s history
  • Freedom marches and demonstrations
  • Latino heritage, Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Chavez’s influences: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Ghandi

Picture Books about Cesar Chavez

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez: this picture book tells Chavez’s story with simple, strong prose by Kathleen Krull.  Yuyi Morales’s beautiful illustrations perfectly complement the setting.  Click here for my book review on Harvesting Hope, featuring ideas for using the book in the classroom.

Cesar: Si, se puede! / Yes, We Cana collection of poems that recreate the life and times of Chavez.  This bilingual edition will capture the attention of your students as Chavez captures their hearts.

Cesar Chavez: A Hero for Everyone: this straightforward, easy-to-read biography is perfect for the Common Core’s emphasis on nonfiction.

Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La Historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez this bilingual book helps students understand that Cesar didn’t do it on his own.  Strong people like Dolores Huerta were instrumental to the success of the strike and march.

Cesar Chavez: The Struggle for Justice / Cesar Chavez: La lucha por la justicia This bilingual picture book by history professor Richard Griswold del Castillo simply and vividly tells Chavez’s story.

A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez (Picture Book Biography): this beautifully expressive biography tells Cesar Chavez’s life story in an engaging way.

Older students will enjoy the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Viva la Causa kit.  It features a 39 minute film and teaching guide.  Viva la Causa will show how thousands of people from across the nation joined in a struggle for justice for the most exploited people in our country – the workers who put food on our tables.

¡Viva la causa!  ¡Sí, se puede!  The movie and books will make you want to stand up and cheer.

Posted in Academics,Book Lists,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Mar 31, 2014

 

Teach About the Children of WWII Using Resources from the BBC

ww2_children_evac_kentish_townThe BBC Primary History Children of WWII feature is an excellent educational resource to share with your class.  Use the site to bring the sweeping subject of WWII to a human level—a child-sized level. 

This site coordinates well with WWII history lessons as well as literature studies of books such as Number the Stars or the Molly books  books in the American Girl collection.  Explain to students that this site shows what Emily experienced before she came to live with Molly in the States.

The Children of WWII site features information, an interactive timeline, and a fun game called Dig it Up!

Your students will like the information. Use is as a review, a preview, or as part of an Internet activity:

Your students will enjoy the game Time Capsules WW2.  In the game, students must figure out which person buried which time capsule.  Students use their problem solving skills and knowledge of history to solve the puzzle.  They also have to practice important skills like reading a timeline.

Your students will enjoy the British accents of the narrator and characters.  The acting is good for a video game—it’s easy to empathize with the characters who buried the time capsules.

The teacher’s resource area is extensive.  There are free worksheets and lesson plans, an online quiz, pictures, and videos.  The site links you to other Internet resources to teach Ancient Roman history.

Photo courtesy of the BBC teacher’s resource page.

Posted in Academics,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Dec 20, 2013

 

Resources for using the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! to teach about the attack on Pearl Harbor

Movies and movie clips help students picture historical events.  Tora! Tora! Tora! is a classic film about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Made by a joint effort of American and Japanese filmmakers, the movie depicts the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Tora! Tora! Tora! is a good choice for teachers because it is a lot less violent than movies made in recent years.  Nevertheless, it is best for middle school and high school.  Certain clips may be appropriate for older elementary school students.  Elementary school teachers may want to watch the movie as enrichment, because it helps them describe to students the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Tora! Tora! Tora! is long (144 minutes), so teachers will want worksheets or projects to make sure students are active audience members.  I found several good worksheets from the Internet, now gathered here in one place.  One worksheet accompanies clips from the movie and gives the run time for the clips, making it easier for a teacher to cue them up.

Click here for another ClassAntics post about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  This post features resources to teach about FDR’s speech, along with more general resources for teaching about the attack.

Tora! Tora! Tora! Worksheets:

Worksheet to accompany clips from Tora! Tora! Tora! The worksheet notes the clips by time, making it easier for a teacher with a DVD or Blu-ray to cue them up.

Worksheet for Tora! Tora! Tora! It’s a Word document, so you can easily make your own changes or additions to the worksheet.

Good questions for a Tora! Tora! Tora! worksheet: This is just an html file, and I wouldn’t recommend printing it like this.  You could copy and paste into your own Word file, make the formatting better, and decide if you want to keep each question.

Resources:

Teach With Movies’ guide to Tora! Tora! Tora!  This helps you justify the movie to administration and defend your choice to parents.  You could also give this as a resource if you send parents a letter about the movie.

Wikipedia page on Tora! Tora! Tora! This is also helpful for informing administrators and parents.

Awakening the Giant: National WWII Museum’s lesson plan on teaching about the attack on Pearl Harbor.   This is a VERY helpful resource.  It gives short reading passages, charts, primary source activities, a reference map, and a glossary.

National Park Service Resources: Remembering Pearl Harbor with readings, maps, and activities.

BBC History: Pearl Harbor: A Rude Awakening: This resource from the UK is a good complement to resources developed for American students.

The Guardian article on how to teach about the attack on Pearl Harbor: I thought it would be interesting to see how lessons on the attack taught in Britain compare to lessons written for American students.

 

Posted in Academics,Social Studies,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Dec 5, 2013

 

Let Scholastic Help You Teach the First Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingThe First Thanksgiving.  Every year, teachers need a new way to make this subject interesting and fresh.  Sure, we could teach it the same way every year—but that would be boring for us and the kids.  This year, let Scholastic help you get through this short but tough week.

The main site is here.  From there, you can go to resources for your grade level.  There are three choices: PreK-2, 3-5, and 6-8.  Each lesson plan comes with the worksheets you’ll need and can carry you through the short week before Thanksgiving.

Sample activities from Scholastic:

Virtual field trip to Plimoth Plantation (videos of interviews, demonstrations and site visits)

Learn about the voyage on the Mayflower

Learn about Daily Life for Pilgrims and Native Americans

Learn about the Feast

Read Historical Letters

Thanksgiving Reader’s Theater for your class

The historical lessons from Plimoth Planation should provide excellent enrichment for your Thanksgiving lessons.  Still have time?  Try some Thanksgiving Printables to round out your day.  Another good activity is to watch The Mouse on the Mayflower.  Don’t miss my free worksheet that will help you keep your students accountable during the movie.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the long weekend.

Posted in Academics,Holidays,Social Studies,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Nov 15, 2013

 

Teach Vikings History Using Fun Resources from the BBC

vk_map_whoweretheyThe BBC Primary History Vikings feature is one of my class’s favorite computer lab activities. Share this educational resource with your class!

The Vikings site features information, an interactive timeline, and a fun game called Dig it Up!

Your students will like the information. Use is as a review, a preview, or as part of an Internet activity:

Your students will enjoy Dig it Up!  In the game, you help a team of archaeologists prove that a Viking settlement existed in what looks like an ordinary field.  But hurry!  If you don’t find proof quickly, a motorway will be built right across the site.

Students will enjoy employing their diggers to search for artifacts.  Once students have found the artifacts, they try to put them together and guess what they are.

Your kids will love the British accents of the characters in the game.  Tell them to be on the lookout for British spellings, such as artefact instead of artifact and ‘s’ where we would write ‘z’.  (Example: ‘realised’ instead of ‘realized’.)

The teacher’s resource area is extensive.  There are free worksheets and lesson plans, an online quiz, pictures, and videos.  The site links you to other Internet resources to teach Ancient Roman history.

After you learn about the Vikings, watch a fun Muppets number in which Viking pigs sing The Village People’s “In the Navy” as they raid a village.

Have fun!

Map courtesy of the BBC Vikings Teacher’s Resource Page.

Posted in Academics,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Nov 8, 2013

 

Teach Ancient Roman History Using Fun Resources from the BBC

r_map_empireThe BBC Primary History Ancient Rome feature is one of my class’s favorite computer lab activities. Share this educational resource with your class!

The Ancient Rome site features information, an interactive timeline, and a fun game called Dig it Up!

Your students will like the information. Use is as a review, a preview, or as part of an Internet activity:

Your students will enjoy Dig it Up!  In the game, you help a team of archaeologists prove that a Roman town existed in what looks like an ordinary field.  But hurry!  If you don’t find proof quickly, a motorway will be built right across the site.

Students will enjoy employing their diggers to search for artifacts.  Once students have found the artifacts, they try to put them together and guess what they are.

Your kids will love the British accents of the characters in the game.  Tell them to be on the lookout for British spellings, such as artefact instead of artifact and ‘s’ where we would write ‘z’.  (Example: ‘realised’ instead of ‘realized’.)

The teacher’s resource area is extensive.  There are free worksheets and lesson plans, an online quiz, pictures, and videos.  The site links you to other Internet resources to teach Ancient Roman history.

Map courtesy of the teacher’s resource area.

Posted in Academics,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Oct 25, 2013

 

Teach Ancient Greek History Using Fun Resources from the BBC

g_map_city_statesThe BBC Primary History Ancient Greece feature is one of my class’s favorite computer lab activities.  Share this educational resource with your class!

The Ancient Greece site features information, an interactive timeline, and a fun Greek Hero game.

Your students will like the information. Use is as a review, a preview, or as part of an Internet activity:

The Greek Hero game will keep your students amused for hours.  Seriously, you could play this three or four times, during your weekly visits to computer lab as your class studies Ancient Greece.  The game challenges readers to an adventure spanning three important cities: Athens, Spart and Olympia.  Students will have to use their problem solving skills in addition to their videogaming skills.

The Teacher’s Resources are excellent.  The BBC has given you free worksheets, activities, pictures, and links for further study.  (Map courtesy of the teacher’s resource area.)

Opa!

Posted in Academics,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Oct 4, 2013

 

Teach the Jackie Robinson Movie “42”

Today is the opening day of 42, the new movie about Jackie Robinson. Go see it opening weekend, then teach your class about it.

42 tells the story of two men whose brave stance against prejudice forever changed baseball—and the nation.  Chadwick Boseman plays Jackie Robinson.  Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey, who signed Jackie for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey said, “I may not be able to do something about racism in every field, but I can sure do something about it in baseball.” Jackie’s success became the crowning achievement of Rickey’s career in baseball.

In 1997, Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number, 42, from every team, making it the first number in sports to be universally retired.

Visit the movie’s official website for background information, trailers, downloads, and more.  Watch the trailer here:



Teach your students more about Jackie Robinson:

I recommend you start with Peter Golenblock’s terrific book Teammates, about Jackie Robinson and teammate Pee Wee Reese.  The moment when Pee-Wee put his arm around Jackie Robinson is one of the most memorable in baseball, up there with Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech.

You will also enjoy Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By. This book will help your students apply the lessons from Jackie’s courage and wisdom to their own lives. It is written and compiled by Jackie’s daughter, Sharon Robinson.

Major League Baseball has a wealth of information for teaching about Jackie Robinson.  Check it out here.

Click here to read about our First Lady’s “42” workshop for high school and college students at the White House. The panel was also attended by Robinson’s 90-year-old widow, Rachel; plus Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey; Chadwick Boseman, who plays Jackie; and the film’s director, Brian Helgeland.  “We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie,” Michelle Obama said. “And I can say with all sincerity that it was truly powerful for us.”

Another good movie: The Jackie Robinson Story starring Jackie Robinson.  It’s a really good movie.  Jackie is a good actor.

I hope you and your students enjoy 42.

Posted in Academics,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Apr 12, 2013

 

American Girl Teaching Guides

American Girls SeriesThe American Girl series is just wonderful for introducing elementary school students to history. For each era, there is an irrepressible character with many books, games, and often even a movie to hook students on that time period. Students comprehend history lessons more easily if they can relate them to the experiences of an American Girl.

Today, the American Girl Teaching Guides! These are high-quality materials, just like everything from this company. You will find printable worksheets, easy-to-teach lessons, and ideas for connecting the books to character lessons as well as academic content.

Example: the Kit teaching guide focus on the Great Depression, giving, and resourcefulness. Worksheets encourage students to relate to Kit’s experiences with the Depression, make judgment calls about giving, conserve today’s resources by applying the lessons of the Depression, and even create their own messages in hobo code.  The materials are very high quality, and the worksheets would have taken you a while to develop. Good, time-saving stuff!

Here are the teaching guides. Each link opens a file in pdf format.

Addy: Freedom, the Civil War, and Life After Slavery

Caroline: Patriotism, Heroism, and the War of 1812

Chrissa: Bullying and How to Stop It

Felicity: Loyalty, Independence, and the Revolutionary War

Josefina: Spanish Culture and the Settlement of the Southwest

Julie: Equality, the Environment, and Facing Change

Kaya: Native American Life and the Nez Perce Tribe

Kirsten: Pioneer Life, Cultural Differences, and Helping One Another

Kit: The Great Depression, Giving, and Resourcefulness

Lanie: Animal Habitats and Observing Birds and Butterflies

Marie-Grace and Cécile: Diversity, Community, and Point of View

McKenna: Self-Esteem, Goal Setting, and Encouraging Self & Others

Molly: Cooperation, Adaptability, and Resourcefulness

Rebecca: Immigrants, Old Ways and New Ways, and Doing the Right Thing

Samantha: Innovation, Generosity, and Family


 

Fun and Educational Games on the American Girl Website

American Girls SeriesThe American Girl series of books have been so helpful in my classrooms—whether I taught 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade. The books do a wonderful job of dramatizing eras in our country’s history, which helps students build a schema that helps them comprehend new content. (More simply, kids will understand a lesson about the Great Depression more easily if they read some books about Kit.)

Previously, I have written about the American Girl books and movies. Now, I want to extol the virtues of the American Girl online games.

There are games for all the American Girl characters. Some are mostly educational, others are mostly fun. All the games make students more interested in American Girl characters and books.

My best use of the American Girl online games was as an incentive for my American Girl challenge. I challenged my class to read at least one book about each of the historical characters. We set benchmarks with rewards: read 2 books and you can watch the Kit movie with the class, read 4 and we’ll watch the Felicity movie, etc.

Students who kept up also got to play the American Girl games during specially scheduled computer lab time. (Students who were behind on their reading sat in the back and read.) After one of those sessions, my students decided to get on board and do their reading so they could participate fully in the American Girl awesomeness.

Even the boys liked it! I take sexism out of it as much as I can. I tell the entire class that there is nothing like American Girl for boys, and so the girls owe it to the boys to not tease them about reading books about girls. That speech does the trick because the students understand that they have the power to create the environment they want to learn in.

There are several ways to access the games. I have listed many because they might help you create links for your class.

General access to games

Historical characters: this displays the game menus for all. Click on the girl whose era you want to teach.

Girl of the year: These are modern girls. Click on the girl for access to books, games, etc.

List of American Girls with links to their books:

Kaya 1764: a Native American Girl

Felicity Merriman , 1774: a horse-loving girl caught between Patriot and Loyalist family and friends during the American Revolution

Josefina Montoya , 1824: lives in New Mexico when it was part of Mexico

Kirsten Larson , 1854: a Swedish immigrant who settles in the Minnesota Territory

Addy Walker , 1864: a fugitive slave who escapes to Pennsylvania during the Civil War

Samantha Parkington , 1904: an orphan being raised by a wealthy family during the Victorian period

Rebecca Rubin , 1914: a Jewish girl growing up in the Lower East Side of New York City

Kit Kittredge , 1934: faces the hard times of the Great Depression

Molly McIntire , 1944: keeps the home fires burning during World War II

Julie Albright , 1974: A San Francisco girl facing the changes of the mid-1970s

Posted in Book Lists,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Dec 28, 2012

 

Black & White – A Crystal Kite Award Winner

Black and White: The Confrontation between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene “Bull” Connor
by Larry Dane Brimner
AR book level 8.7/Point value: 4
Available at Amazon.com

Take your civil rights lessons beyond Dr. King with this insightful book about the conflict in Birmingham. Few things in life are black and white, but I don’t see any other way to spin the conflict between civil rights leader Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and segregationist Eugene “Bull” Connor. After reading about civil rights activists being bombed, jailed, attacked, and killed, I think your students will agree that Black & White is a fitting title.

I learned about Black & White at a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference. Author Larry Dane Brimner received the prestigious Crystal Kite Award for this book. After hearing his acceptance speech and attending a breakout session on how he wrote the book, I knew I had to read it, review it, and most importantly, share it.

Black & White has plenty of photos that help the reader believe the incomprehensible events that occurred in Birmingham during the civil rights movement. Today’s students are at least one generation removed from the civil rights movement and they truly might not believe some of what happened.

Accelerated Reader classifies the book as the 8.7 reading level, and I have to agree. This book is perfect for middle school. Older elementary students may enjoy it, but the descriptions of the important legal battles may be difficult for them to understand.

If the book is too difficult for your students, you might want to read it yourself and then teach students from it. They can learn a lot by looking at the pictures and listening to you tell about Reverend Shuttlesworth and Bull Connor. Author Larry Dane Brimner shows how Reverend Shuttlesworth was able to use Bull Connor’s zeal against him, ultimately showing the country just how bad things were in Birmingham and paving the way for real change.

To me, the climax of Black & White is the children’s march. The world was horrified to see images of police dogs and fire hoses turned on the young demonstrators. Black & White coordinates well with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s documentary Mighty Times: The Children’s March. You can request a FREE teaching kit with lessons and the movie.

Here’s the link to the official teacher’s guide for Black & White.  Be sure to visit author Larry Dane Brimner’s site. You can learn about his books and find out how to book him for an author visit or professional conference.

Posted in Book Reviews,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Dec 3, 2012