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What Are We Reading In Literacy Circles

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Check out the books we have been reading in our literacy circles.  Share your own thoughts and opinions on them.  Recommend good books for us to read. 

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

India Opal Buloni is a 10-year-old girl who has just moved to a trailer park in the small town of Naomi, Florida, with her itinerant preacher father. While in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, she encounters a scruffy dog wreaking havoc. She claims the dog is hers to save it from going to the pound and names it Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie’s first act of inspiration on Opal is for her to challenge her father to name ten things about her mother, who abandoned them years before. Winn-Dixie also becomes friends with everyone he encounters, and this encourages Opal to make new friends and gradually learn they all have burdened pasts. Miss Franny Block is the town librarian with a large family reputation to uphold; Gloria Dump is a blind black woman and recovering alcoholic feared of being a witch by neighbourhood children; Otis is a shy ex-con pet store clerk with a musical streak. Opal gains wisdom and different outlooks on life through relationships with adults and peers, and grows emotionally in the process. She and Gloria host a party for all her friends to meet, but a thunderstorm breaks it up and scares Winn-Dixie away. While searching for him, Opal and her father rekindle their strained relationship.

Stone Fox By John Reynolds Gardner

Willy and his dog Searchlight find Willy’s grandfather lying in bed. Doc Smith, the only town doctor tells Willy that his grandfather no longer wants to live. A tax collector sneaks into Willy’s house and, with a rifle in his hand, demands to know how much his grandfather owes the state. After seeing some papers he tells Willy that they owe the state of Wyoming 500 dollars. The next day Willy enters a dog sled race that has a reward of 500 dollars. Willy sees a sled being pulled by five Samoyeds (fast dogs used for sled racing). The man on the sled signs up for the race, and Willy learns it is Stone Fox, a Native American who doesn’t talk to white people and has never lost a race. When the race starts, Willy instantly takes the lead and as they race past Willy’s house they see Grandfather standing up watching them. At the end of the race Searchlight’s heart bursts and she dies instantly about 10 feet from the finish line. Stone Fox makes a line on the ground with his boot and warns that if any other racers cross the line, he’ll shoot. He then lets Willy win with Willy carrying Searchlight across the finish line to everyone’s amazment.

Sable by Karen Hesse

Tate’s greatest wish is to keep the mutt that has strayed into her family’s yard: “Mam and Pap hadn’t said I could keep her,” confides Tate, the narrator. “But they hadn’t said I couldn’t, either.” The plot is familiar–Mam doesn’t like dogs, Pap is sympathetic but stern, and when neighbors start complaining about the dog, Mam and Pap find it a new home, far away. Hesse, however, makes the story seem fresh. A few deft references evoke the setting, rural New England in the indeterminate past, and skillful use of easy-to-read language supplies the color (Mam, for example, doesn’t simply bake bread; instead, “The muscles worked in her long back as her fist kneaded dough”). Tate herself is appealingly resourceful and determined, and the obstacles in her path are neither entirely predictable nor too neatly hurdled. Each chapter swings the reader through a spectrum of emotions and a comfortable surge of expectation.

Herbie Jones By Suzy Kline

Herbie and his best friend Raymond are in the lowest reading group, called by a name that’s far too babyish for third grade: the Apples. How Herbie rescues himself (by working hard on his reading) and Raymond (with a little ingenuity) from further humiliation and takes care of his other problems is the thrust of Kline’s first book.

 

Cowpokes and Desperados by Gary

Paulsen

Dunc and Amos are bound for Uncle Woody’s Santa Fe cattle ranch for a week of fun. Who’s been making off with all the prize cattle? Can Dunc and Amos stop the rustlers in time to save the ranch?

Robert and the Clickety-Clackety Teeth By Barbara Seuling

Robert ran up the stairs two at a time to get his backpack. He tossed in a weird & Wacky fact book for the long car ride and picked up the clickety-clackety teeth that were sitting on his desk. He made them move as he talked.
“Hello. I am George Washington. I don’t know where the rest of me is. All I found so far was my teeth.” He laughed as he tossed the teeth into his backpack and zipped it up. He and Paul could have some fun with them on their trip.

 

 

The Girl With 500 Middle Names

By Maragaret Peterson Haddix

JANIE WHO? It’s hard enough being the new kid in school. It’s even tougher when all of your new classmates live in big houses and wear expensive clothes, while your parents have little and are risking everything just to give you a chance at a better life. Now Janie’s about to do something that will make her stand out even more among the rich kids at Satterthwaite School. Something that will have everyone wondering just who Janie Sams really is. And something that will mean totally unexpected changes for Janie and her family. 

 

 

Forever Amber Brown By Paula Danziger

Just when Amber Brown thinks things are settling down, her life changes again all because Max, her mother’s boyfriend, asks her mother to marry him, and no matter what her mother’s answer is, things will never be the same.