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Night of the Howling Dogs

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This novel by Graham Salisbury is very exciting!! 'Night of the Howling Dogs' is about several boy scouts that go camping in Hawaii. While on their trip an earthquake and a tsunami occurs. The boys' scouting skills are really put to the test during their adventure. Not only do they deal with natural disasters but also mother nature. The boys work together and eventually find themselves to safety.This book was really exciting. It was a book that will keep you on your toes and rooting for the boys to make it through. I have never had the opportunity to read Salisbury's work, but now that i have, i really enjoy his adventures.Classroom extension: 1)When informing students about extra curricular activities, this novel could be referred to the boy who are interested in participating in boy scouts.2) Also, when learing about natural disasters such as an eartquake or a tsunami, this novel could give students an idea of what happens during those disasters.
A Corner of the Universe

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This novel is about a young girl named Hattie Owen. Hattie home is a boarding house that her parents rent out to several other boarders. In the beginning, Hattie lives a lonely life. When her only friend lives for summer vacation, Hattie really feels all alone. Until one day her parents tell her of an unfamilar uncle to Hattie that will be coming home from an institution that he spent the majority of his life at. Hattie and her uncle Adam develops a friendship.I really enjoyed this book. I could relate to autism-like sypmtoms that Hattie's uncle adam had because my mom taught special education.For classroom extension ideas: A lesson could be taught about autism with a discussion and how students should handle others that may have autism. Another idea,based on the boarding house home that Hattie lives in, students draw a picture on what their home looks like.
Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)

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This novel is about Opal, a young girl who feels like she all alone in the world. Her father is a preacher and he spends the majority of his time dealing with the church and her mother left when she was very young. Until one day she finds Winn Dixe, a dog, in the local grocery store. Opal and Winn Dixie develop a friendship. When Winn Dixie causes a turning point in her life. She becomes friends with the children in her community and elderly people. But most importantly she begins to feel more loved by her father.This book really means alot to me. My favorite teacher, who passed away because of breast cancer, gave it to me as a christmas present, a couple of years before she passed away. I plan on using the novel in the classroom when i began teaching.Classroom extension: 1) This novel could be used to teach about how important friendships are and have a discussion about the decesions Opal makes throughout the book. 2)This novel could also draw off a community service lesson.
Dragonskin Slippers

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This novel is about a young girl during the mid-evil times that befriend a group dragons. The dragons and the girl, Creel, have a close bond. The girl finds friendship and trust with the dragons. One of the dragons gives up his most prized possession to Creel as a gift.I alway enjoyed the 'Dragon Heart' movies and this book had alot in common with that story. I have always found mystical creatures fascinating, especially dragons!!!In the classroom, I could teach a unit about mystical creatures. Also, there could be a class discussion about the students' most possession and asked if they would be willing to give it to a dear friend like the dragon gave the slippers to Creel.
Lon Po Po

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Lon Po Po is a Chinese version of the Little Red Riding Hood story. The story is about three sisters that were left home alone while their mother left to visit their grandmother. A wolf came to the house disquised as their grandmother. The wolf's intention was to have the sisters as his dinner. The three sisters outwitted the wolf and the wolf didn't get to eat the girls like he had planned to.I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting reading a different version of little red riding hood. The pictures in the book was very oriented with Chinese culture.I could use this book in the classroom if reading different cultural versions of traditional literature that my students are used to. Another classroom extention idea is to use this book if learning about the country of China.
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