My students are in 5th grade in Columbus, OH. This school is unique in that it is a large, urban school with a diverse student body in grades 3-8 that are all identified as gifted and talented. We are constantly looking for materials and resources to help each student reach their full potential.
My students are passionate, creative, curious and intelligence.
They are eager to use what they know with what they can learn in order to satisfy these passions and questions.
I am so excited to share these books with my students for several reasons. First of all, the librarians and teachers at the School Library Journal have recommended these books as examples of excellent books that have been published this year. These authorities consider these novels to be so well-written that they consider them to be contenders for the highest distinction in children's literature, the Newbery Award.
While some of these books have been written by acclaimed children's literature authors such as Dan Gemeinhart, Avi and Gary Schmidt, other books have been created by first time authors such as Karen Strong, Alicia D.
Williams, and Sandy Stark-McGinnis. These last three examples are notable for more than composing an amazing book as their first example. These women are black female authors who have included children of color in their books.
It is so important for the children that I teach in the Columbus City Schools, the largest school district in the state of Ohio, to see themselves in the books they read. Many of the titles included in this list of books have children of color as characters. Some of the characters experience life events that some of my students have experienced such as foster care or moving to a new country. I want my students to know that I value them and their life experiences.
These books will be used in a few different ways. Students will be given choice about which books they read. They will learn about the characteristics of good children's literature and have opportunities to discuss and write about their books. Students will vote to determine their choice for the Newbery Award at the end of the semester. Lastly, these books will remain an important part of our classroom library after the Newbery project is finished.
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