Methods of teaching children’s literature genres and suggested readings

1. Picture Books

                   Thunder cake – Patricia Pollacco

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Synopsis – a story about how Patricia conquered her childhood fears by the help of her grandmother. This she achieved by encouraging Patricia to ignore approaching storms as they go about collecting ingrents for thunder cake her grandmother hunts that only brave girls could venture out to collect tomatoes and eggs or even milk the cow. Realizing this, Patricia welcomes the storm and never again to fear the voice of thunder.

Use – can be used to encourage pupils with learning difficulties resulting from lack of confidence. Its appropriate to lower grades i.e. grades 1-3.

Recommendations – recommended for junior readers and parents who like reading aloud stories for their kids.

                         The polar express- Chris Van Allsburg synopsis –

Synopsis – a story about power that resonates across generations and cultures. It’s more of holiday reading book with its touching and breath taking moments along the journey that is hard to forget.

Use – can be used as a mind refreshing book for range, between grades 4- 6.

Recommendations – Highly recommended for dull classes, it can provoke learners interest with it’s touching and breathe taking stories.

Ways to start a day – Cynthia Rylent.

Synopsis – it’s a book with animal characters that are given human traits to bring out the solemn message of courtesy and concern to other people especially those in need. The beer is the main character with other animals playing minor roles.

Use – it’s nice for 1st graders to provoke imagination and for interest arousal.

Connections – closely related to Pat Hutchins, don’t forget the bacon.

Recommendations – highly recommended to 1st graders who need to be open up their imagination for further language learning.

The man who walked between the towers – Mordicai Gerstein.

Synopsis –Hugene, a giant dies and a grassy mountain forms on his remains. After many years people dwell on this mountain but they lead a silent life lest they wake up Hugene. When Carolida is born, she makes b a lot of noise until Hugene wakes up, but she soothes him into eternal sleep, the people become free.

Uses –appropriate for general class work in grades 2-4

Connections –closely related to dairy of a spider by Doreen Cronin.

Recommendations –recommended for any age, fun loving adults can find this book suitable for them.

 2. Traditional books

Cinderella – Ruth Sanderson

Synopsis – it is a story about a gentle man, who after his first wife died, married a Cinderella widow, with two daughters, and her magical transformation features and oil paintings in the style of the old masters.

Uses – can be used to provoke imagination of first grade learners. The learners will definitely start asking themselves questions on who exactly is a Cinderella.

Connections – can be associated to many stories found in Alvin Schwartz folklore collections.

Recommendation – this book is highly recommended for first grade learners due to its rich supernatural episodes which help to build a child’s imagination.

Alvin Schwartz folklore collection.

Synopsis – this is a collection of numerous traditional stories that ranges from ghosts, vampires, witches and other weird selections. Majority of these stories are much scary, dominates by talks about ogres.

Use – This book can be used by 1st grades people or even 2nd grade. This is due to the careful choice stories of to publish with working

Connections – this collection of stories is similar to traditional literature picture book.

Recommendation – The book is highly recommended kids who are yet to join school or are in baby classes as it is very interesting with numerous stories.

Stinky cheese man and other fairly stupid stories.

Synopsis –this is a book with virtually no style, moral or guideline, it is just for fun book.

Use –can be used to bring back lost interest in class work, in 1st grade class.

Connection –can be associated with Jon Scieszka’s math curse.

Recommendations –recommended for evening reading to kids for relaxation.

3. Modern/fantasy books

Harry potter, and other phoenix folktales – Cynthia Rawling.

Synopsis – This is a collection of numerous stories authored by Harry potter, they range from picture books to big volume ones.

Uses – can be used in a wide range of pupils, grades 1-4, lower grades can use the heavily pictured ones while the upper grades can use the big volumes ones.

Connections – it has similar stories to Alvin Schwartz folklore collections.

Recommendations – can be read in class, at home or in a park by fun loving kids or read to small kids by their parent’s.

Bunnicula; a rabbit tale of mystery.

 Synopsis – it is purely a children’s book with stores written by James Howe about a vampire –rabbit that sucks the juice out of vegetables

Use – useful for beginners who find language learning and general class work meaningless. This book when read regularly during lessons can help command proper class control to grade three learners due to its captivating and flowing story.

Connections – it is connected to

Recommendations – it can be useful in interest arousal of learners due to its mind stimulating nature and also it’s exaggerative nature.

4. Poetry books.

            If not for the cat – Jack Prelubstsky

Synopsis – this poetic filled poem its full title

“If not for the cat and scarcity of cheese I could be content” Is a story that features a mouse that looks at a cat’s nose through a hole.

Use – it is very much handy in teaching of language patterns in beginners’ classes. Its colored pictures and illustration are its main centers of interest.

Connections – This poem is connected to another person read . It tries to compare the master and servant complex ways of life.

Recommendations – This poem is strongly recommended for grade six learners, it is a story about a clever animal that are careful and meaningful in life.

The night before Christmas – clement Moore

Synopsis – this is a poem about a child/s rich imagination on a ghost that visits her house during the Christmas night. This ghost although strange it is friendly as it doesn’t harm the child but serves to solidify its curious confidence.

Use – helps to relieve anxiety from children and therefore promote relaxations should be used after a mind boggling lesson.

Connections – it is connects to the inner parts of potential listeners, its simple – complex nature of the poems activities makes the poem a good source of

Recommendations – is a nice book poem for contemporary realistic fiction

5. Contemporary realistic fiction

                        Hatchet – Patricia polacco

Synopsis – Trisha a Jewish girl and her Christian neighbors, whose scarlet fever at Christmas threatens to rain Trisha’s plans – Trisha and her family shows a lot of love to the family.

Use – this story is appropriate for grade 1 – 3 as it delivers a massage of love of one’s neighbors. It is strategic in young grades class as it emphasizes a sharing of knowledge resources in a class.

Connections – can be compared to many other Patricia’s fine works e.g. thunder cake and many more others.

Recommendations – it is a book whose main theme, love and care of others is of great importance in a young class environment when teaching literature or any other subject .

Chicken Sunday – Patricia

Synopsis – this is one of many Patricia classic works, the name of the book comes from story speakers of internal friendship between children’s journey of love, and serves Patricia assists to buy a hat for her friends’ grand mother, and one of her friends is a black.

Uses – can be used in a class to bring out the importance of cooperation in class. It is also appropriate for lower grades i.e. grade 1-6

Connections – it is connected to seen through my eyes by Ruby Ridges due to their solemn message of love and affection to needy people.

Recommendations – This book although meant for children it will do no harm if older people fully go through its heart touching episodes. It is indeed an interesting piece of work.

6. Historical fiction

The babe and I   – David Adler

Synopsis – a moving story on how the famous Yankee affects the family of young fan. The fan boy sees his father selling fruits in the streets and realizes that he has been sacked – the story builds from the episode whereby both son and father come to understand the state of affairs they are both in.

Use – this is the right fictional book appropriate for grades 1-4. Its fictions is almost a real story with majority of young learners having to put with family hardships

Connections – it is closely related to Ruby Ridges seen through my eyes.

recommendations – this book is highly recommended for little children as it leads them into understanding the meaning of life challenges, old people also can read the book especially if doing it for their young ones.

On the banks of plum creek – Laura ingalis

 Synopsis – This is a fictionalized real – life experience of a pioneer girl, Laura who in the big woods, journey from home to unknown Indian Territory. Her hopes of getting a new home as money are shattered. It’s a story of great disappointment and failure.

Use – an appropriate book for 6th grade learners as their sense of reasoning and imaginations is a bit high. It is a book whose story is captivating and at the same time educative

Connections – this is a common book with many other junior readers’ book sharing the same theme.

Recommendations – this is a story for all kinds of people to read especially adventure loving people

7. Biographic

Michelapago – Diana Stanley

Synopsis – this is a book about the life history of Diana Stanley although the book does not yield much, it is clear that Diana was a actor who played Stewart in the film, planet of Apes.

Use –this kind of book can be very much useful to grades 5-6 whose language proficiency is slightly higher as compared to there colleagues.

Recommendations – recommended for learners and also other people who may want to write there own biographies.

Through my eyes – ruby bridges

Synopsis – it a book that generally talks about racism perpetuated to one, ruby who went to an all-white school. Her misfortunes draws wide critics with former first lady Mrs. Roosevelt writing to her. She however endures all the racism and finishes school.

Uses –appropriate to grades, 1 – 3, can be used when emphasizing the importance of group work among young learners.

Connections – this book is closely related to “history comes through eyes of a child by Ruby herself”

Recommendations – it is a nice book for reading to young kids who grow up in multi-racial neighborhoods.

Patricia Polacco’s biography

Born in the year 1944 in Michigan, and spent the early childhood days with her grandparents. Her parents later divorced when she was three, and at the age of 41 she started writing kids books with pictorial illustrations, she attributes her prowess in book writing to her earlier rich story telling environment.


About the books, information got from all the above listed books, accessed on October 3, 2008.



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