Posts tagged ‘China’

41. Shanghai Messenger by Andrea Cheng

shanghai messengerRetell: Xiao Mei is invited by her uncle to visit China.  At first she is reluctant to travel by herself and once she arrives she finds the new setting lonely and disorienting.  She eventually adjusts and begins to appreciate her extended Chinese family.

Topics: Chinese, China, poetry, family, mixed-race, language barrier, traveling, homesickness

Units of Study: Character, Personal Narrative, Social Issues

Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs

Reading Skills: interpretation, inference, envisionment, making connections

Writing Skills: incoporating foreign languages, zooming in on small moments, including sensory details

My Thoughts: I love how this story is told as a series of free verse poems.  I plan on reading this book aloud when I teach how writers zoom in on small moments.  Each poem is a small moment from her trip.  It can be a good mentor text for writers who want to write about a vacation and are tempted to write about the entire vacation.  Cheng incorporates Chinese vocabulary throughout the story.  She even includes a Chinese glossary with a pronunciation guide which will aid readers when they attempt to read it aloud.  It’s also a good book to read when studying character change.  In the beginning, Xiao Mei is afraid to go to China by herself and thinks she will never adjust to life in China.  By the end she develops into a grown-up girl who is both completely American and completely Chinese.

August 6, 2009 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

38. Ling Cho and His Three Friends by V.J. Pacilio

ling cho and his three friendsRetell: Ling Cho is a successful farmer.  He feels sorry for his three friends who do not share his success.  He thinks of a way to help his friends without making them feel bad.  Unfortunately things do not go as planned.  His friends learn that it is more wise to ask for help than to take advantage of people.

Topics: harvest, farming, China, asking for help, honesty, friendship

Units of Study: Folk Tales, Talking and Writing About Texts, Social Issues, Poetry

Tribes: mutual respect, personal best

Reading Skills: inference, interpretation, envisionment

Writing Skills: using rhyme and rhythm,  incorporating alliteration

My Thoughts: This beautiful book teaches an interesting lesson on asking for help.  It also seems to caution against involving friends in business matters.  Ling Cho does a favor for his friends by asking them to sell his bumper crop of wheat at market.  They were supposed to split the profits.  However, each friend ended up keeping the profits or keeping the wheat.  The story is told in rhyming verse making it an engaging read.

August 3, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

31. The Greatest Power by Demi

the greatest powerRetell: Emperor Ping, the boy emperor of China, appreciates honesty and harmony.  He wants to appoint an honest and wise prime minister so he decides to hold a contest.  The child who can think of the greatest power in the world will become the next prime minister.  Children far and wide prepare presentations for the emperor.  A young girl named Sing sits by a lotus pond and comes up with an answer that is quite different from the rest.

Topics: technology, beauty, military, power, money, life, life cycle, China

Units of Study: Talking and Writing About Texts, Content Area

Tribes: personal best, appreciations/no put downs

Reading Skills: interpretation, prediction

Writing Skills: repetition

My Thoughts: Fifth grade teachers at my school do this great unit on power.  They examine power structures at home, in the neighborhood, in the classroom, at school, and so on.  The Greatest Power could be a great companion to that unit.  It will spark discussions about what makes a powerful group or a powerful nation.  I could also see this book being used during a unit on the life cycle.  Sing after sitting by apond and contemplating a lotus flower is fascinated by its life cycle.  She determines that life is the greatest power on earth.

July 27, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment


Feeds

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: