Tag Archives: James Bastedo

Top Ten Tuesday – Reading and Thinking through Canadian History

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Teaching Social Studies though literature is something I have always found to be the most meaningful and interesting way to teach.  Because the students at my school are comfortable using Reading Power strategies, they are ready to apply their thinking to different content areas.  One class I am working with at school is focusing on Canada in Social Studies so we have been practicing Reading Power strategies using picture books that are based on true events in Canadian history.  Marking the events, dates and locations on a map of Canada is helping us gain perspective and we will end the unit with a time line activity.   Canadian history + picture books – ENGAGED LEARNERS!

Here are my Top Ten books that focus on a piece of Canadian history:

  1. Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event  Rebecca Bond

Inspired by the author’s grandfather’s experiences living in a lodge in the woods, a story of how people and animals survive a forest fire in a small Canadian town in the early 1800’s.  Gorgeous illustrations and beautiful writing, perfect for VISUALIZING.

2. The Patchwork Path to Freedom – Bettye Stroud

A child tells of escaping to Canada on the Underground Railroad, accompanied by her father, and of following secret signs sewn into quilt patterns.  The story is exciting and the quilt-code messages are fascinating.

3. Laura Secord: A Story of Courage – Janet Lunn

Laura Secord became one of Canada’s most celebrated war heroines when, during the War of 1812, she overhears an American soldier’s plan to ambush the British Commander James FitzGibbon.  Laura braves miles of rough terrain to warn FitzGibbon, preventing the massacre and saving the lives of hundreds of British soldiers. Informative and interesting introduction and gorgeous illustrations.

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4. The Prairie Fire – Marilynn Reynolds

A young boy’s heroic efforts to help his parents save their prairie homestead.  This book is a wonderful historical glimpse into the beauty and hardships of prairie farm life.  Realistic and dramatic prairie landscape illustrations make this an excellent story for VISUALIZING.

 

5. Secret of the Dance – Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow

In 1885, the Canadian government outlawed Potlatch ceremonies and threatened severe consequences for those who did not obey.   Many continued the ceremony in secret.  This is the story of a young Native boy and his family who are spirited away by boat to a secret location where he witnesses a Potlatch.   Rich, colorful, detailed illustrations.  Powerful and thought-provoking.  Great for QUESTIONING.

 

6. Emma and the Silk TrainJulie Lawson 

 After a train carrying bolts of precious silk derails, a girl, obsessed with longing for a silk blouse, spends weeks combing the nearby river for fabric. This story is inspired by the 1927 derailment of a silk train in British Columbia and includes fascinating historical notes about the speedy silk trains of the 1920’s.

7.  Free as the Wind: Saving The Horses on Sable Island  – Jamie Bastedo

This book recounts the story of how hundreds of Canadian school children in early 1960 wrote letters to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker pleading him to stop the wild horses on Sable Island from being turned into dog food. Amazing story and a great example of the power of persuasion and standing up for what you believe.

8.  Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear – Lindsay Mattick

This book tells the true Canadian story of Winnipeg, or “Winnie”, the black bear from Ontario who became a mascot for soldiers during World War I and later inspired author A.A. Milne’s most beloved character, Winnie-the-Pooh.   Illustrator Sophie Blackall was recently awarded the 2016 Caldecott medal for her illustrations in this book.

9.   Queen of the Falls – Chris Van Allsburg

At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before-she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.  A fascinating true story with remarkable life-like illustrations.   While Annie Taylor was American, the backdrop for her stunt is certainly Canadian.

1o.   Not My Girl – Christy Jordan-Fenton

By 1884 it was compulsory for the First Nations children of Canada to attend either a day or residential boarding school. This is an excellent book (by the author of the novel Fatty Legs) for younger students to introduce them to the challenges created by residential schools.  This story is based on the author’s own experiences and would be an excellent book for making connections, questioning and transform.

1o (OK… it’s actually 11)   Dolphin SOS – Roy Miki

This beautifully illustrated book tells the true story of three dolphins trapped in an ice-covered cove on the coast of Newfoundland and the brave teens who rescued them when government officials refused to help.  Perfect book for QUESTIONING.  You will hold your breath until the last page!

Thanks for stopping by!  What is your favorite Canadian picture book to share with your students?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Reading – Day 22 – IMWAYR! The Power of Persuasion

Excited to be publishing my second post for IMWAYR!

As I continue to write the draft of my new book, Nonfiction Writing Power, I’m on a continuous search for anchor books to support the lessons. I’m astounded by how many titles I’ve discovered which lend themselves so well to the various nonfiction text structures. While some titles I was already familiar with, my list keeps growing as I discover more and more treasures (that some people refer to as books!) that model different text structures.

Today I thought I’d share some of picture books I have discovered that model the structure and language of persuasion. Here is a sneak peak at some of my favorites…

           961711[2]            8581550[2]Karen Kaufman Oroff has given us two excellent examples of persuasive letter writing.  In I Wanna Iguana, a young boy writes letters to his mom, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana.  His mom responds  to each letter, with reasons of her own why she doesn’t want him to have one.  Similar back and forth letter writing between this boy and his mother, this time in his plea for his own room, are found in her recent book I Wanna New Room.  I love the idea of using these books to inspire students to write persuasive letters to their parents asking them for something they really want.

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The power of persuasion is in full force in this witty book written and illustrated by the great Mark Teague. Many of us are familiar with Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From Obedience School, but I have a new-found appreciation for this book as I am now reading it from a persuasive perspective.  This naughty dog has been sent to Obedience School by his owner, Mrs. LaRue.  The book is a series of letters from the dog persuading his owner that he should be brought home IMMEDIATELY because he DOES NOT belong there.  Hilarious voice as the dog describes (and embellishes) the conditions at the school.

Free as the Wind - by Jamie Bastedo

For a more serious look at the power of persuasion, Free as the Wind by Jamie Bastedo tells the fascinating and true story of the plight in the early 1960’s to save the wild horses of Sable Island, a remote island in the Atlantic just off the coast of Nova Scotia.  At that time, it was decided that the horses would be removed from the island and auctioned off, many would be slaughtered and used for dog food.  This book focuses on the dozens of school children who wrote persuasive letters to the Prime Minister, pleading with him to save the horses.  This is an inspiring true example of how the persuasive voice of a small group of children made a huge difference through writing and carved out a little piece of Canadian history.

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In Hey, Little Ant, by Philip M. Hoose, an ant and a boy have a back and forth conversation.  The ant is trying to persuade the boy not to step on him; the boy is giving the ant his own reasons why he should.   Thought provoking and an excellent example of how to back up your argument! I have used this book many times over the years as it is a perfect segue into a “Whose side are you on?”/ “What would you do?” discussion.

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In Click, Clack, Moo – Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, a group of literate Cows and Chickens type letters to the farmer with a list of demands and reasons why they feel they should have better living conditions.  Hilarious and a great example of persuasive letter writing.

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I focused on this book a few blogs ago, but will highlight it again here as it is another excellent example of persuasive letter writing.  The Day the Crayons Quit is about a boy named Duncan who discovers a stack of persuasive letters written by each of his crayons, expressing their reasons for quitting and presenting their argument for better working conditions.

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My Brother Dan’s Delicious, by Steven L. Layne, is about a boy who is home alone and becomes very worried that a monster is going to eat him.  He comes up with some excellent and hilarious reasons why the monster should eat his brother, Dan, instead of him, including the fact that his brother is much more tasty than he is!  Very persuasive!

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Scaredy Squirrel author Melanie Watt, once again, provides us with a character that makes you laugh out loud.  In Have I Got A Book For You, a very cheesy salesman (mouse) is trying to sell the reader a book – this book!  Excellent example of persuasive voice and a great anchor book for teaching how to give engaging “Book Talks”

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A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea – Michael Ian Black.  Ever had the idea to host a pig parade?  Think it might be a great idea and a whole lot of fun?  Well…. think again!  This hilarious book gives all the reasons why having a pig parade is a BAD idea!

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Duck for President by Doreen Cronin would make an excellent book for teaching students about government, elections or prior to student council nominations.  Duck is tired of the chores he is made to do on the farm, so he decides to hold an election and take over the farm.  He wins, but discovers that the job is much harder than he anticipated!

So if you are thinking of teaching “persuasive writing” to your students in the months ahead, I’m hoping you discovered a few new titles that you’re excited to use for your lessons!  I’d also love to hear about any other anchor books you have used for persuasive writing.

Check out the other IMWAYR! posts at:   Teach Mentor Texts  or Unleashing Readers. 

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Writing Anchors