Getting Acquainted with Children’s Literature

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In my job as an instructional coach, I have been working hard to get to know characteristics of various levels of children’s literature.  To do this, I’ve read and studied the work of Jennifer Serravallo (@JSerrivallo)  along with others who are influenced by all of the great work that happens at Teachers College.  Reading ABOUT children’s literature is good, but actually reading children’s literature is GREAT!  I recently finished the book Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana.  I am compelled to share this in my blog because it was a fantastic book of bravery and resiliency in the midst of unbelievable tragedy.  It is a book that made me feel a range of emotions – joy, fear, compassion, anger, and sadness. When I found myself crying at the end, I knew this was a book that would change me as a reader and a person.  Here is my review from @Goodreads and the reasons why I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Armani Curtis never dreamed that she would grow up instantly the day she turned ten years old. Then again, she never dreamed her home in the city of New Orleans would be wiped off the map by Hurricane Katrina. As Armani and her family try to survive, Armani realizes that help can come from the most unlikely people. She also realizes that some promises live on long after the one who made the promise is gone and forgiveness is possible in all situations – even situations where you find yourself upside down in the middle of nowhere.

Five stars for Julie T. Lamana’s first novel. For teachers interested in using this book as a classroom instructional read aloud, you will find examples of all of the Notice and Note signposts for literature sprinkled throughout this book along with symbolism, and foreshadowing. It would be a great book for character development, author’s craft, theme, and, of course, how the setting affects a character. It would pair perfectly with an informational nonfiction book about Hurricane Katrina to show the personal and emotional devastation that resulted from this historical event.

What good children’s literature have you read lately?

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