Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Verse Novels: Reading Workshop check-in

1. Which two verse novels did you read? Title and Author?
2. Write roughly a 25-30 word summary for each book in the comments section below.
(Use Word to keep track of your word count.)
3. Be sure to add your first name and class # at the top of each comment.



  1. Katie, Class 4

    May B, written by Caroline Starr Rose, is one of the two verse novels that I read.

    May is helping out on a neighbors farm, when unexpected events come her way. All alone, May has to find food, water and fuel to survive through the harsh winter.

    The second verse novel that I read is called Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse.

    When an accident occurs, Billie Jo’s life changes dramatically. With no mother, no baby brother, a harsh father, dust storms, financial issues, and wounded hands, Billie suffers emotionally and physically.

  2. Alex, Class 4

    The first verse novel I read was "Out of the Dust" by Karen Hesse.

    After an accident with fire, Billie Jo’s hands are left scarred, and her mother dies. Billie Jo’s hands prevent her from playing the piano and getting the comfort she wants after her mothers death. Frequent dust storms only make life harder by destroying crops as Billie Jo’s father struggles to provide for them both.

    The second verse novel I read was called "Three Rivers Rising" by Jame Richards.

    Celestia, a wealthy girl living next to Lake Conemaugh, which is man made with a dam, falls in love with Peter. Social laws forbid them to do so. Her parents are ready to disown her. When the dam breaks causing mass destruction, her parents realize that it is not right to willingly disassociate yourself with your child for social status.

  3. I read Crossing Stones by Helen Frost and Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Crossing Stones is about two very close families. It takes place during World War I. Both sons in the story enlist to fight in the war. Both families' worlds change when they hear that one is dead and one lost an arm. The story is about how each character changes when neither boy comes back the same.
    Out of the Dust is about a family that loses everything, including two family members, due the dust storms that took place during the Great Depression. The two family members that remain have trouble coping and connecting with each other, but they have to if they hope to survive the dust storms.

  4. Samantha, Class 4:
    In “Locomotion” by Jacqueline Woodson, Lonnie Collins Motion discovers how to express his emotions through poetry. When Lonnie and his little sister Lili were younger, their parents died tragically in a fire. Lonnie and Lili were then separated into different foster homes. Now Lonnie is working harder to be able to spend more time with his sister outside of the agency, while still trying to move forward from his parents’ death.

    In the verse book, "What is Goodbye" by Nikki Grimes, Jesse and Jerilyn tell the story from their own point of views. The two are siblings whose older brother, Jaron, recently passed away. Both Jesse and Jerilyn share their pain after losing him and their struggle to move on. Even though they both heal differently, they find their strength in each other.

  5. Noelle, Class 4:
    The verse novel “Heartbeat”, by Sharon Screech is one of the novels I read. It was about a girl named Annie and her friend Max. Annie and Max love to run and when they run, they chose to run barefoot. Max joined the running team in order to compete. However, Annie likes to only run for herself instead of in a competition. During art class, Annie is assigned a drawing that helps her learn to appreciate the smallest things in life. This was the moral of the story: Appreciate even the smallest things in life.

    “Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse is a novel about a girl named Billie Jo who lives during the Great Depression. Her household is in the dust bowl, so dust is constantly raging outdoors and spilling inside the house everywhere. Billie Jo lost her mother while her mom was giving birth to her brother. Playing the piano reminds her of her mother, so after her mother’s death she played a lot less. One other reason why Billie Jo started playing piano less was because she was caught in a fire and she got horrible burns on her hands. All Billie Jo wanted to do was to run away from the dust, but then she started to miss home and she went back to her dad. In the end of this verse novel, Billie Jo realized to importance of family and how nice it is to have somebody to love and someone who loves you.

  6. Avery class 4
    One of the verse novels I read was Heartbeat. Heartbeat was written by Sharon Creech. In the book the main character Annie must face many challenges throughout the story. She has to deal with a grandfather suffering from Alzheimer’s, her mom is pregnant, she must a draw the same apple one hundred times over the course of one hundred days, and her best friend Max is going through a rough time in his life.

    The second book I read is Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs written by Ron Koertge. The main character Kevin Boland recently lost his mother. In order to cope with his mother’s death his dad gives him a diary. In his diary he writes about everything, including the fact that his dad found a new girlfriend that Kevin doesn't like and the fact that he doesn't like his own girlfriend.

  7. Brooke, Class 4

    I read “Addie on the Inside,” by James Howe. This story was about a girl name Addie Carle who is more than just a normal adolescent teenage girl. She cares about bigger things than what clothes you wear, or what party she didn’t get invited to. She actually cares about world peace and putting an end to world hunger. Her peers though don’t accept that she has thoughts and she wants to be heard, they just say she is a loud mouth and a know it all. In seventh grade, Addie has different feelings about how her life is going when she gets confronted with an old friend and a heart break. She wonders if maybe every once in a while she might like to fit in with her classmates and just be able to act like a normal seventh grade girl.

    The book “Heartbeat”, by Sharon Creech, takes place in a time of Annie's life while she is experiencing all different things in her life. The main character, Annie loves to run every day to the same place and she also loves to draw once in a while. Some main characters are Annie’s best friend Max, who runs with Annie, Annie’s grandpa, and Miss Freely, the art teacher. The problem in this story is how Annie is trying to figure out where she fits in. When the Annie tries to solve the problem, here is what happens. First, she meets up with Max, and runs with him barefoot everyday with him. She like the sound of there feet hitting the earth making thump-thump. Next, Annie is trying to deal with her mother being pregnant. She calls the baby pumpkin alien baby. Third, is how she deals with her grandpa. He is important because when Annie has to say something and she didn't want to tell anyone else, she had her grandpa to tell because she knew that he wouldn't tell anyone, but her grandpa is having memory problems. The problem finally gets solved when the baby begins to breathe and cry and makes the sound thump-thump. Annie realizes what a blessing the baby is to her family. Near the end of the book Annie realizes how much she cares about Max, grandpa, and Joey.

  8. The two novels I read were Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and Almost Forever by Maria Testa.

    Out of the Dust is about Billie Jo and her experiences in the Dust Bowl years. She has to adapt after her mother dies and she is injured in an accident.

    Almost Forever is about a girl whose father goes to the Vietnam War as an army doctor. She struggles to hold on to her father's memory until he comes back.

  9. I read the book “Heartbeat” by Sharon Creech. It is about a girl named Annie who loves to run barefoot. She runs with her moody friend Max. Running brings her pleassure which she needs when all of a sudden things start to change. Her mom gets pregnant and Annie grows worried of her forgetful grandfather who doesn’t even recognize himself. She learns important life lessons along the way such as how everything changes in time. Her art teacher helps her recognize the beauty of life and Annie finds how she fits into life.

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  11. I read the book “Heartbeat” by Sharon Creech. It is about a girl named Annie who loves to run barefoot. She runs with her moody friend Max. Running brings her pleassure which she needs when all of a sudden things start to change. Her mom gets pregnant and Annie grows worried of her forgetful grandfather who doesn’t even recognize himself. She learns important life lessons along the way such as how everything changes in time. Her art teacher helps her recognize the beauty of life and Annie finds how she fits into life.

  12. The first graphic novel I read was “Booth” by C.C. Colbert and Tanitoc. This is the story of John Wilkes Booth and the complex plan to assassinate President Lincoln. This book explains Booth’s family, why he did it, and who was involved.
    My second book was “Ronald Reagan” by Andrew Helfer, Steve Buccellato, and Joe Staton. This is the story of Reagan’s life, from a Midwestern boy, born into a troubled home, to the president of the United States.

  13. Tessa Luzi Class 4- “Witness” by Karen Hesse: Check in
    In the free verse novel, “Witness,” Karen Hesse tells the story of the Ku Klux Klan’s attempt to recruit members in a small town in Vermont in 1924. In the story you are able to here from multiple point of views in the form of a poetic play in five acts. For example, you here from opposers of the Klan, supporters, and anyone else. Many months pass by, and residents are affected by peer pressures that build in the community. They all eventually lead to violence. As the characters speak directly to the reader, and relate acts of all sorts, they reveal human strengths and weaknesses in a town.
    (110 words)
    Tessa Luzi Class 4- “Shakespeare Bats Cleanup” Ronald Koertge- Check in
    Kevin, a 14 year old boy who has mono (which means he can't play baseball and is stuck at home doing not much at all) begins to write his thoughts out in the form of poems when his dad hand him over a pen. Even when he gets over mono, he keeps up writing poems - so much that his teammates start to call him Shakespeare on the baseball field. Writing poetry not only helps fill the time, it also helps him deal with life, love, and loss.
    (87 words)

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  16. I read “Love That Dog” by Sharon Creech.
    In this book, Jack learns poetry at school, but he dislikes it. Throughout the year, he learns many poems, and he begins to understand the purpose of poetry. Jack writes his own poems, and even a letter to his favorite poet, Walter Dean Myers. Jack got Mr. Myers to go to his school, and read poems. In the end, Jack writes a poem revealing a painful story about how his dog dies, and he has an appreciation for poetry.
    I also read “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai
    Hà is a ten year old girl living in South Vietnam during the war. Her father went missing in action, leaving her with her mother and three brothers. They realize it is not safe for them to live in Vietnam anymore, so their family escapes on a ship to America. There, a cowboy funds her family, and brings them to start a new life in Alabama. However, there are many challenges they face there.

  17. Shaye Costello class 4

    "Witness" by Karen Hesse-
    The verse novel “Witness” is about a town in Vermont experiencing the terrors of the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was an organization that terrorized African Americans and people with different religions, such as Jewish people. In this novel, you see many different characters point of view. One of these characters is black and another is Jewish. They go through tough times, especially when the KKK shoots the little Jewish girl, Esther’s, dad. Also, another two characters decide whether or not to join the Ku Klux Klan, and some are already in it. Another time when the KKK’s harsh ways show is when the leader demands that a man in town puts poisoning in the Sutter’s, an African American family’s drinking well. Most of the conflict is because of the KKK and their influence on society. In the end, the Klan leaves this little town because the state of Vermont decides not to sign a paper allowing the Ku Klux Klan.

    "One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies" by Sonya Sones-

    In the verse novel, “One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies”, Ruby is the main character. Ruby’s mother died from sickness, so she is forced to leave Boston and fly across the country to California to like with her famous dad, Wip Logan. He divorced her mother before she was born, so Ruby comes to L.A. with a strong hatred towards him. She continuously tries to keep being angry, but it is hard for her because he gives her everything she dreamed of. Wip’s assistant, Max, becomes Ruby’s friend and he tries to get her and her dad to bond. While in California, or Coolifornia as Ruby calls it, she writes emails to her everyone back home, such as her best friend Lizzie, her boyfriend Ray, and even her mother who is not alive. She has ups and downs with her dad, and friends, but at the end of the book, she realizes that her dad is a good guy with the right intentions and she begins to love him.

  18. “True Believer” by Virginia Euwer Wolff

    This book is about a 15-16 year old girl LaVaughn that struggles with her life, trying to find out what is important and what is not. She struggles to catch her crushes attention, and to stay away from her mom’s new boyfriend. Also, she struggles to keep her friends that she had since they were little girls, and she is trying to get a good education and earn money all at the same time. At the end of the story, the conflicts are resolved and LaVaughn manages to carry on a dream that many kids in her situation could not achieve.

    “Love that Dog” by Sharon Creech

    This book is about at boy who loves to write poetry but does not want to admit it. Since boys don’t usually like to write poetry as a hobby, the boy refuses to do the poetry assignments that the teacher was giving him. Eventually, he learns to write down all his feelings on paper and to gather enough courage to write an author that inspired him a letter.

  19. "Shark Girl" by Kelly Bingham is about a girl who looses her arm in a shark attack. What started off as a fun day at the beach ended with dreams crushed, easy tasks turning into hard ones, and being one arm short. Jane now has to face struggles involving drawing, writing, cooking, cleaning, but most important accepting that she has to live her life differently now. She thinks of herself as ugly or useless and regrets many things from that day but she has to convince herself that she is beautiful and should regret nothing.

  20. The book Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a story about a young girl named Billie-Jo. She lives in America during the Dust bowl. Her town is swallowed by sadness and everyone loses something. Her mother dies in a freak accident when Billie-Jo throws a flaming can of gas at her and Billie-Jo’s hands become scared and burnt. Before the accident Billie-Jo played the piano but after she can’t play it anymore and she lost her passion.

    One book I read was Heartbeat by Sharon Creech. It was about a young girl named Annie. She enjoys to run and her mother is pregnant with her baby brother. She gets an assignment to draw an apple every day for 100 days and it teaches her a very important life lesson. Also she teaches her friend Max the lesson that all that is important is that you have fun.

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  23. Grace, Class 4

    The first book I read was "Out of The Dust" Karen Hesse:

    This book was about Billie Jo, a girl, who loses her brother and mother during the Dust Bowl. As she lives with her father who’s responsible for her mother’s death she struggles to find hope.

    The second book I read was "Make Lemonade" by Lauren Wolff:

    This book was about a girl named LaVaughn that babysits for a 17 year old mother of 2 kids. As LaVaughn helps the mother back on her feet it impacts her perspective of life.

  24. Thomas Winter Class 4

    All the Broken Pieces By Ann E. Burg

    This story is about a Vietnamese boy who lives in America during the Vietnam War. He was given to an American soldier by his mom. She thought that he would have a better life in America. He was later adopted in U.S. As he grew up, he had to deal with the discrimination from the boys at school. One particular bully lost his brother in the war and is extremely mean to Matt (the Vietnamese boy). They are put on the same baseball team and they are at each other’s throats for most of the book. Matt loves baseball and tries to use it as an escape, but with the bully on his team, discrimination is impossible to stay away from.

    Becoming Joe DiMaggio By Maria Testa

    This story is about a boy and his relationship with his grandpa. When the boy was born, his grandpa made him a chair so they could listen to the Yankees’ games together. Every game day they would sit in their chairs and listen to the Yankees. At first, the boy was too young to realize how important these times were going to be to him, but as he got older he began to cherish the time he spent with his grandpa. Throughout the book when problems arise, the boy and his grandpa use this time together to get through them.

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  26. My first book I read was called Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff. This book is about a teenager named LaVaughn who is about my age and her plans to go to college. In her quest to get money to pay for college because she lives in not a nice neighbourhood she meets a distressed 19 year old mother named Jolly and her two kids Jilly and Jeremy. To help pay for college LaVaughn babysits for these two children and gets payed. Throughout the book though LaVaughn gets closer to this family and is determined to help Jolly get back on her feet.

    The second book I read was called Who Will Tell My Brother by Marlene Carvell. This book is about a high school senior named Evan who persevered through his fight for racial equality and also to change their mascot from the extremely racist indian mascot. This book takes us through the fight and racism that comes his way because of his fight for equality.