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[6th gr.] The Great Fire

The Great Fire of 1871 was one of most colossal disasters in American history. Overnight, the flourshing city of Chicago was transformed into a smoldering wasteland. The damage was so profound that few people believed the city could ever rise again.

By weaving personal accounts of actual survivors together with the carefully researched history of Chicago and the disaster, Jim Murphy constructs a riveting narrative that recreates the event with drama and immediacy. And finally, he reveals how, even in a time of deepest dispair, the human spirit triumphed, as the people of Chicago found the courage and strength to build their city once again.

The Great Fire

Biography

Jim Murphy began his career in children’s books as an editor, but managed to escape to become a writer, entering a life of personal and creative happiness and enduring financial uncertainty. He’s convinced that the latter keeps him coming back to his computer to write every day and feels that a sense of impending doom is the doorway to creativity. He has never counted the number of books he’s published (feeling the time and energy is better spent doing research and writing) but guesses that he has over thirty books to his credit. Jim’s work has been honored with numerous awards, including two American Llibrary Association Newbery Honor Book Awards, an ALA Robert F. Sibert Award and Sibert Honor Book Award, three National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Awards, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and a BG/HB Honor Book Award, two SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, and been a finalist for the National Book Award. Recently, he was given the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for “his significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.”

[6th gr.] Pigs Might Fly

An ALA Booklist “Best of the Decade” and an ALA Notable Book, from the author of Babe: The Gallant Pig.

Daggie may be the runt of the litter, but he’s destined for greatness.

Daggie Dogfoot, the runt of Mrs. Barleylove’s litter, is in danger. Not even Mrs. Barleylove knows what the Pigman does with runts when he takes them away from the pen. But Daggie is a pig of remarkable qualities, and he’s not about to let the Pigman get him. Instead, Daggie runs away and decides to learn how to fly. But when he tries leaping off a cliff, he discovers another talent—a talent he’ll need to save the entire farm . . .

“It’s impossible to remain unmoved . . . a soaring, heartening fantasy.”—Publishers Weekly

Pigs Might Fly

Biography

Dick King-Smith was a farmer for twenty years before becoming a writer, and most of his animal stories are based on his farming experiences. He won the Guardian Award with The Sheep-Pig, which became the blockbuster film Babe. Dick lives in Gloucestershire.

[6th gr.] Out of The Dust

Acclaimed author Karen Hesse’s Newbery Medal-winning novel-in-verse explores the life of fourteen-year-old Billie Jo growing up in the dust bowls of Oklahoma.

Out of the Dust joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!”Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . .”A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo’s life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can’t talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better — playing the piano — is impossible with her wounded hands.To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma — and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.

Out of the Dust

Biography

Karen S. Hesse (born August 29, 1952) is an American author of children’s literature and literature for young adults, often with historical settings.

She won the Newbery Medal for Out of the Dust (Scholastic, 1997).
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

[6th gr.] The Day Martin Luther King Jr. Was Shot

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.

This book uses drawings and photographs to trace the history of the Civil Rights movement from the American Revolution to the present.

The Day Martin Luther King Jr. Was Shot

[6th gr.]THE HOUSE OF SIXTY FATHERS

THE HOUSE OF SIXTY FATHERS

Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territoy. Only a few days before, his family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat. Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for company, Tien Pao must begin a long and dangerous journey in search of his home and family.

‘A vividly realistic story of China during the early days of the Japanese invasion [which tells of young Tien Pao’s journey to find his family].’ —C.‘Valuable as enrichment literature for elementary students involved in Chinese studies.’ —Scholastic Teacher.

The House of Sixty Fathers

About the Author

Meindert DeJong is the award-winning author of many classic books for children, including the Newbery Medal-winning The Wheel On The Schooland the Newbery Honor-winning Along Came A Dog, Shadrach,and The House Of Sixty Fathers, all available in Harper Trophy editions and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Among Mr. Sendak’s other popular books is his Caldecott Medal-winning Where The Wild Things Are.

Maurice Sendak’s children’s books have sold over 30 million copies and have been translated into more than 40 languages. He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are and is the creator of such classics as In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over ThereHigglety Pigglety Pop!, and Nutshell Library. In 1970 he received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration, in 1983 he received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, and in 1996 he received a National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, Sendak received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an annual international prize for children’s literature established by the Swedish government.

[6th gr.] Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol

A monumental biography of one of the most important black women of the nineteenth century.

Sojourner Truth first gained prominence at an 1851 Akron, Ohio, women’s rights conference, saying, “Dat man over dar say dat woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches. . . . Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles . . . and ar’n’t I a woman?”

Sojourner Truth: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist, figure of imposing physique, riveting preacher and spellbinding singer who dazzled listeners with her wit and originality. Straight-talking and unsentimental, Truth became a national symbol for strong black women–indeed, for all strong women. Like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, she is regarded as a radical of immense and enduring influence; yet, unlike them, what is remembered of her consists more of myth than of personality.

Now, in a masterful blend of scholarship and sympathetic understanding, eminent black historian Nell Irvin Painter goes beyond the myths, words, and photographs to uncover the life of a complex woman who was born into slavery and died a legend. Inspired by religion, Truth transformed herself from a domestic servant named Isabella into an itinerant pentecostal preacher; her words of empowerment have inspired black women and poor people the world over to this day. As an abolitionist and a feminist, Truth defied the notion that slaves were male and women were white, expounding a fact that still bears repeating: among blacks there are women; among women, there are blacks.

No one who heard her speak ever forgot Sojourner Truth, the power and pathos of her voice, and the intelligence of her message. No one who reads Painter’s groundbreaking biography will forget this landmark figure and the story of her courageous life.

Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol

[6th gr.] Dragonwings

Inspired by the story of a Chinese immigrant who created a flying machine in 1909, Dragonwings touches on the struggles and dreams of Chinese immigrants navigating opportunity and prejudice in San Francisco.

Moon Shadow only knows two things about his father, Windrider: he lives in San Francisco and used to craft beautiful kites.

One day shortly after his eighth birthday, Cousin Hand Clap arrives with a letter from Windrider asking Moon Shadow to join him in San Francisco. When Moon Rider arrives in America he learns that his father makes a living doing laundry and dreams of building a flying machine just like the Wright Brothers. But making this fantastical dream a reality proves to be no easy task, as intolerance, poverty, and even an earthquake stand in their way.

Dragonwings

Biography

Laurence Yep has been fascinated with tales of sibling rivalry from the day he was born. His older brother, Tom, chose his name Laurence – after a saint who died a particularly gruesome death. Laurence has been trying to get even ever since. Laurence Yep now lives in Pacific Grove, California, with his wife and is one of children’s literature’s most respected authors. His award-winning titles include Newbery Honor Books Dragonwings and Dragon’s Gate.

[6th gr.] Julie of the Wolves

To her small Eskimo village, she is known as Miyax; to her friend in San Francisco, she is Julie. When her life in the village becomes dangerous, Miyax runs away, only to find herself lost in the Alaskan wilderness.

Miyax tries to survive by copying the ways of a pack of wolves and soon grows to love her new wolf family. Life in the wilderness is a struggle, but when she finds her way back to civilization, Miyax is torn between her old and new lives. Is she Miyax of the Eskimos—or Julie of the wolves?

Julie of the Wolves (HarperClassics)

Biography

Jean Craighead George was born in a family of naturalists. Her father, mother, brothers, aunts and uncles were students of nature. On weekends they camped in the woods near their Washington, D.C. home, climbed trees to study owls, gathered edible plants and made fish hooks from twigs. Her first pet was a turkey vulture. In third grade she began writing and hasn’t stopped yet. She has written over 100 books.Her book, Julie of the Wolves won the prestigious Newbery Medal, the American Library Association’s award for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children, l973. My Side of the Mountain, the story of a boy and a falcon surviving on a mountain together, was a 1960 Newbery Honor Book. She has also received 20 other awards.She attended Penn State University graduating with a degree in Science and Literature. In the 1940s she was a reporter for The Washington Post and a member of the White House Press Corps. After her children were born she returned to her love of nature and brought owls, robins, mink, sea gulls, tarantulas – 173 wild animals into their home and backyard. These became characters in her books and, although always free to go, they would stay with the family until the sun changed their behavior and they migrated or went off to seek partners of their own kind.When her children, Twig, Craig and Luke, were old enough to carry their own backpacks, they all went to the animals. They climbed mountains, canoed rivers, hiked deserts. Her children learned about nature and Jean came home and to write books. Craig and Luke are now environmental scientists and Twig writes children’s books, too.One summer Jean learned that the wolves were friendly, lived in a well-run society and communicated with each other in wolf talk — sound, sight, posture, scent and coloration. Excited to learn more, she took Luke and went to the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory in Barrow, Alaska, where scientists were studying this remarkable animal. She even talked to the wolves in their own language. With that Julie of the Wolves was born. A little girl walking on the vast lonesome tundra outside Barrow, and a magnificent alpha male wolf, leader of a pack in Denali National Park were the inspiration for the characters in the book. Years later, after many requests from her readers, she wrote the sequels, Julie and Julie’s Wolf Pack.She is still traveling and coming home to write. In the last decade she has added two beautiful new dimensions to her words beautiful full-color picture book art by Wendell Minor and others and – music. Jean is collaborating with award-winning composer, Chris Kubie to bring the sounds of nature to her words.

[6th gr.] Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You

Helen fears that lack of improvement in her reading may leave her stuck in the sixth grade forever, until a good teacher recognizes her reading problem.

Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You

About the Author

Barthe Declements is an author of children’s and young adult books. Some of her published credits include Fourth Grade WizardsDouble TroubleI Never Asked You to Understand Me, and Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush (Once Upon America).