Teachers Guides

Teachers’ Guide: The Rosemary Spell

Best friends Rosemary Bennett and Adam Steiner find an old book that belonged to local poet Constance Brooke in Rosemary’s house. When words mysteriously appear in the book and the pair discover a magic spell, Rosemary and Adam accidentally make Adam’s sister, Shelby, disappear into a void. They follow clues through Shakespeare’s works and Constance Brooke’s Alzheimer’s to reverse the spell. Battling time, forces of nature, and their own forgetting, Rosemary and Shelby race to bring Shelby back before she is lost forever.

Themes of memory, belief in magic, overcoming loss and abandonment, and the power of literature pervade this book. View the teachers’ guide.

Teachers Guides

Teachers’ Guides: This is Not a Normal Animal Book

I’m thrilled share two educators’ guides for This is Not a Normal Animal Book, written by Julie Segal-Walters and illustrated by Brian Biggs.

This is Not a Normal Animal Book begins as a stroll through common, everyday, normal animals – mammal, bird, amphibian, insect, reptile, and fish. The story quickly evolves, however, into a meta-fiction disagreement between the author and illustrator over how to draw the animals. The author wants simple, normal animal drawings. The illustrator, however, is confused and makes a bit of a mess. From a cat, to a hen, to a frog, to a bee, to a snake, the illustrator grows increasingly frustrated over how the author wants each animal presented. The conflict reaches its peak when the illustrator refuses to draw the author’s choice of fish. Granted, the blobfish is an unusual choice of fish. The illustrator’s sense of humor and author’s deadpan seriousness come full circle in the closing line, when the author continues to frustrate the illustrator until the very end, and the illustrator continues to have the last word.

Based on a Yiddish proverb, the book is a behind-the-scenes look at the picture book creation process, the importance of collaboration and compromise, and the beauty of both words and art. This is Not a Normal Animal Book is a commercial story that breaks the fourth wall, while still remaining appropriate for classroom use. In addition to the themes and concepts mentioned, it also highlights the literary device metafiction and includes nonfiction back matter.

Click here to download the guide for Pre-K through Grade 2, and here to download the guide for Grades 3-6.

Teachers Guides

FREE Teachers’ Guide for The BFF Bucket List

Follow the links below to get a FREE teacher’s guide and discussion questions for Dee Romito’s The BFF Bucket List.

Summary: Ella and Skyler have been best friends since kindergarten–so close that people smoosh their names together like they’re the same person: EllaandSkyler. SkylerandElla.

But Ella notices the little ways she and Skyler have been slowly drifting apart. And she’s determined to fix things with a fun project she’s sure will bring them closer together—The BFF Bucket List. Skyler is totally on board.

The girls must complete each task on the list together: things like facing their fears, hosting a fancy dinner party, and the biggest of them all—speaking actual words to their respective crushes before the end of summer. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face.

And with each girl hiding a big secret that could threaten their entire friendship, will the list–and their BFF status–go bust?

Themes of friendship, challenges, and growing up are woven throughout the book.

Teachers Guides

FREE Teachers’ Guide: Tricky Vic

A FREE teacher guide is now available for Tricky Vic, by Greg Pizzoli!

The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

In the early 1900s, Robert Miller, aka “Tricky Vic,” conned his way through Europe to America and back again. He swindled unsuspecting marks into giving him thousands of dollars for a money-printing box that did not actually print counterfeit money, stole from wealthy passengers on transatlantic steamships, and conned scrap metal dealers into bidding for the rights to dismantle the Eiffel Tower before being arrested in New York for a counterfeiting scheme. These thrilling and daring exploits provide insights into one of the world’s greatest con artists, and show readers how a con man lives and operates. Informational sidebars and back matter provide background for the time period and help kids understand this narrative picture book biography.

Click here to download the guide for Tricky Vic, which I created in conjunction with the author. There’s plenty to think about and discuss with this excellent book. We hope you enjoy it!