Red Clover

We’re back again for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year!  This stretch between the holidays and the February break is always a great uninterrupted instructional time.  Here in the library we generally use this block of time to work with the Red Clover books before the April voting time.  So far we’ve read three;  most recently it was Lane Smith’s book called Grandpa Green.  In this book, narrated by the great-grandson, an aging  great-grandpa remembers landmarks in his life because of the topiary he’s created in his garden.

This week we’ll be reading Mini Grey’s Three by the Sea about a stranger who comes and upsets the established friendship between the three main characters–a cat, a dog, and a mouse.  I’ll be checking in with students to see if they can determine the central message or theme in the story.  (This is one of the Literature standards in the Common Core State Standards that we’re implementing.)  Given the importance of friends at this age level, I’m sure the book will spark some great discussions!


…..(drumroll, please)……  Born Yesterday, by James Solheim, with a total of 106 votes.    Hmmm….maybe it’s because of this?

We’ll find out the statewide winner soon as well.  Stay tuned!

What would babies say if they could talk?  Just for fun, I invite you to come on down to our wing to see the latest library bulletin board!  Inspired by the Red Clover book Born Yesterday:  the Diary of a Very Young Journalist, second and third graders wrote the words inside the speech bubbles of some great clip art photos of babies.  Check out their clever efforts!

This week in all classes we read the true story of Ella Kate Ewing.  Ella Kate was born in 1872 and by age 7 showed signs of gigantism.  She continued to grow until age 22 at which time she stood 8 ft. 4 in. tall!

We’ve had good discussions about the challenges that this condition brought about and we’ve had fun looking at some “actual size” mock-ups of her dresser, her shoe, and her glove.

The book is very well written, and a tribute to a young woman who made the best of a tough situation.  She embraced her gigantism as a way to achieve financial independence by working and touring with the circus, with the World’s Fair, etc.  At a time when many women didn’t own much themselves and rarely left their home town,  Ella owned her own house with custom-built furniture and she traveled all over the United States.


Author and illustrator Lita Judge of Peterborough, NH visited our school district on Wednesday. She spent the morning at Summit Street School and the afternoon with Hiawatha’s second and third graders. Lita’s visit came shortly after reading her book Pennies for Elephants, which was on this year’s Red Clover Award list. We spent time in classes reading two of her other books as well—Yellowstone Moran, and Born to Be Giants.

Lita primarily writes non-fiction, and she spoke to both groups about her path to becoming an artist and writer. Her talk was fascinating! We learned that she draws her inspiration from her childhood experiences growing up in a remote area of Alaska. Her parents were wildlife photographers and her grandparents were scientists who studied birds, so she spent a lot of time in the woods, sketching in her journal, learning the ways of Nature and the methods of scientists. Her appreciation for family and family stories was obvious, too.

Lita spoke positively to the students about following a dream or passion and about being true to their own stories, about practicing to improve whatever skill they might want to develop, and about the power of imagination.

Mrs. Peet reported that after the presentation several students asked to take their writing journals home so they could do some writing at home! I guess that says it all…..

Red Clover

Next Page »