Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Welcome to The Book Beach, Lafayette School's hot spot for cool summer reading. Throughout the season, we'll share video book reviews, original student artwork and poetry, links to websites, and reading recommendations from teachers, students, and the LMC. For starters, browse the Book Beach Pages and the Sidebars-- book suggestions grouped by genre and interest area.

Check out Lafayette School's Summer Kick-off Video:

You're Welcome... 
and Thank You for Stopping by The Book Beach!

Monday, August 22, 2016

High Tide, Happy Reading: Catching a Late-Summer Wave of Historical Fiction

We're strolling The Book Beach on this August Morning,
and look what's washed ashore:
a heap of page-turning historical fiction!

Music, Magic, and Miracles: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (585 pages, RL 5.3). Lost and alone in the gloomy Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and is drawn into a quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Many years later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find their destinies connected to the same harmonica as they struggle to rescue a father, protect a brother, and hold a family together during difficult times.
Fourth Grade Language Arts teacher Mr. Cleary offers a rave review: "A terrific three-part tale, Echo takes the reader through three different time periods, capturing our interest with its fascinating main characters. Centered around the theme of overcoming adversity through music, Echo is beautifully written, describing the impact of how a single tune from a simple instrument can change everything."

Mr. Cleary treats us to a single, simple tune on the harmonica.

More Munoz Ryan: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (262 pages, RL 6.2). Esperanza can’t imagine living anywhere other than El Rancho de las Rosas. She has spent the first twelve years of her life as the pampered only child from a wealthy family in Aguascalientes, Mexico. When Papi is murdered, Esperanza and her mother flee their privileged life to find work at a Southern California farm camp, where they experience hardship, discrimination, and harsh working conditions of the eve of the Great Depression.
For uplifting summer reading, Library Media Specialist Mrs. Cifrodella suggests Esperanza Rising.
 I like to... go to sailing camp. --Emerson
Danger and Drama... Iron Thunder: The Battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac: A Civil War Novel by Avi (203 pages, RL 4.3). After his father is killed fighting for the Union, thirteen-year-old Tom Carroll takes his place as head of the family. He finds work at the ironworks in his Brooklyn, New York, hometown, where dozens of men are pounding together the most extraordinary ship Tom has ever seen—a vessel made of iron, a boat meant to battle the Confederacy’s ironclad monster, the Merrimac. Tom becomes assistant to the ship’s gruff inventor, and he soon finds himself caught between two dangerous possibilities... a showdown with murderous Confederate spies and an ironclad battle at sea.
Lafayette Readers Get into Historical Fiction!
I like to... sail. -- Declan
Inspired by Real-Life Events: An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo (199 pages, RL 4.9). In World War II Dresden, Germany, Lizzie and Karl’s mother Mutti works at a local zoo while their father fights in France. The family becomes attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who is slated to be destroyed so she and other animals don’t run wild should the zoo be bombed. The family takes Marlene into their garden for protection. When the city comes under air attack, the family flees with thousands of others... but how can they travel safely with a baby elephant in tow?
Fifth grade Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Worden recommends An Elephant in the Garden. "I am nuts about elephants! I love to read about these gentle giants," she explains. "This book is inspired by true events, and it is a story of companionship in the face of danger and World War II."

Courageous Historical Fiction: The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (298 pages, RL 3.9). In 1958 Arkansas, twelve-year-old Marlee befriends new girl Liz. When Marlee’s bright, bold, and brave friend suddenly stops attending middle school—and rumors fly that Liz is an African –American passing herself off as white—the two girls must confront prejudice, integration, and the dangers that their continuing friendship could bring to their families.
Library Aide Mrs. LaChance thinks The Lions of Little Rock... rocks!
The Lions of Little Rock Poster Project by Jessica P.
by Penelope E.

The engine starts up
We speed down the runway
We're up in the air!

Rivers, too.

Wispy milk clouds
Coat the sky
Small houses fill the land

A boat tugs through the royal water
Then clouds sweep the view
Clouds shadow the water and islands spot down there, too.

I like to...go on vacation. -- Kyle G. 
 Historical Fiction sweeps us to far-off shores 
and long-ago times. 
Where will summer reading take us next?