Nutmeg Book Award
2007 Nominees
Grades 4 - 6
Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Becoming Naomi Leon
 By Pam Munoz Ryan
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AR: 5.4
 Lexile: 830
 Follett: RL 6.8 IL 5-8
 RC 5,11
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
The Boy Who Saved
Baseball
 By John Ritter
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AR: 4.4
 Lexile: 660
 Follett: RL: 6.5 IL: 5-8
 RC 5,11
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Brainboy and the
Deathmaster
 By Tor Seidler
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AR: 4.9
 Lexile: 770
 Follett RL: 6.4 IL: 3-6
 RC: 5.2,14
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Gifts from the Sea
 By Natalie KinseyWarnock
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AR: 5.3
 Lexile: 990
 Follett RL: 6 IL: 3-6
 RC: 6.8,7
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Granny Torrelli Makes
Soup
 By Sharon Creech
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AR: 4.2
 Lexile: 810
 Follett RL: 4.5 IL: 3-6
 RC: 4.5,6
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Half and Half
 By Lensey Namioka
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AR: 5.0
 Lexile: n/a
 Follett RL: 5 IL: 3-6
 RC: n/a
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Kensuke’s Kingdom
 By Michael Morpurgo
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AR: 4.7
 Lexile: 730
 Follett RL: 4.3 IL: 3-6
 RC: 4.8,8
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Macaroni Boy
 By Katherine Ayres
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AR: 4.7
 Lexile: 700
 Follett RL: 6 IL: 5-8
 RC: 4.9,10
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
Thunder from the Sea
 By Joan Hiatt Harlow
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AR: 4.2
 Lexile: 700
 Follett RL: 5.7 IL: 5-8
 RC: 5.1,11
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Nutmeg Grades 4 - 6
The Warriors
 By Joseph Bruchac
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AR: 5.5
 Lexile: 810
 Follett RL: 4.8 IL: 5-8
 RC: 5.1,7
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Becoming Naomi Leon
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Website: http://www.pammunozryan.com/
Resource Guide:
http://www.pammunozryan.com/naomi.html
Read-alikes:
 Here Today by Ann Martin
 Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
 Snap by Alison McGhee
 Anna Casey’s Place in the World by Adrian
Fogelin
 Any Small Goodness by Tony Johnston
 Cougar Canyon by Lucy Bledsoe
Becoming Naomi Leon
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Snacks: coconut ice cream (or any!), hot chocolate, orange drinks, quesillos,
Activities:
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Plan a display of student collections in the classroom or library. Allow students to show off their artwork or items
they collect.
Have each student collect a fabulous word. Have other students try to guess what the words mean.
Play Wheel of Fortune!
Trace Naomi’s route to Oaxaca. Find out about places in Mexico along their journey.
Have a Mexican cooking class. Share tasty treats and recipes.
5 Fact Questions
1. What is Naomi’s full name?
2. What game show do Gram and Fabiola watch every night?
3. What gift does Owen ask Skyla for?
4. On what objects do Naomi and the others carve in Mexico?
5. What is the name of Naomi’s school librarian?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. What are the things Naomi likes about her mother? Doesn’t like?
2. Why do you think Owen needs to wear tape?
3. What are some of Naomi’s lists? What do they tell us about the way she sees things?
4. Why do you think it’s difficult for Naomi to talk loud?
5. Naomi’s family are all carvers. Does your family have any traditions that are as important to you?
The Boy Who Saved Baseball
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Author’s Page for the book: http://www.johnhritter.com/TBWSBpage.sht
Read-alikes:
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Baseball card series by Dan Gutman
The Gorillas of Gill Park by Amy Gordon
Throwing Smoke by Bruce Brooks
The Journal of Biddy Owens; The Negro Leagues by W alter Dean Myers
Some Kind of Pride by Maria Testa
Strike Two by Amy Goldman Koss
Excellent Non Fiction:
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Ballpark : the story of America's baseball fields by Lynn Curlee
Mighty Jackie : the strike-out queen / Marissa Moss
Baseball's boneheads, bad boys & just plain crazy guys / George Sullivan
Promises to keep : how Jackie Robinson changed America / Sharon Robinson
Casey at the bat : a ballad of the republic sung in the year 1888 by Ernest L. Thayer
The hidden language of baseball : how signs and sign-stealing have influenced the course of our national
pastime / Paul Dickson
Baseball for everyone : stories from the great game / by Janet Wyman Coleman
The Boy Who Saved Baseball
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Snacks: Baseball cookies (icing for the
stitching); burritos, tacos, oranges
Activities:
– Play baseball with the Nutmeg titles.
For each question a child answers
correctly, they can advance one base;
to steal bases or for doubles, ask multipart questions. Incorrect answers are
strikes/outs.
– Research favorite players and teams;
make baseball cards for them or for
yourself! Hang them up around the
room.
– Play Monopoly – cover the board with
buildings in your town. Make up your
own chance cards with events unique
to your town (rain causes leaks lose
$100! School carnival – collect $200)
– Learn about baseball statistics. Figure
out RBIs, HRs, Batting Averages, ERA
(Earned Run Average) for players (real
or imagined). Graph players’ progress
through the season.
5 Fact Questions
1. What is about to happen in Dillontown as the book
begins?
2. What announcement does Doc make that surprises
everyone in town?
3. Who are the players on the Wildcats?
4. What do we learn about the Wildcats’ new coach?
5. What are some of the practice exercises the Wildcats use
to prepare for the big game?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Like others in town, Tom’s mother and father disagree
about the proposed changes to Dillontown. Describe their
differing feelings, and tell which you agree with and why.
2. Cruz accuses the developers of being like the first settlers
in America, wanting to remove the local peoples from the
land. Explain what you think he means by that statement.
3. Tom tells Doc his opinion, and big things start to happen
in Dillontown. Can you think of other examples of small
actions that lead to big changes? You can pick examples
from your own life, your state, or even history.
4. Does Tom learn anything new or change because of the
events of this eventful week? How?
5. Who is the most influential person in this book? Why?
Brainboy and the Deathmaster
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Publisher’s Page: www.torseidler.com
Read-alikes:
 The Power of Un by Nancy Etchemendy
 Beatnik rutabagas from beyond the stars by Quentin
Dodd.
 Virtual reality by Lisa Yount.
 Corrector Yui (graphic novels) by Keiko Okamoto
 Pendragon Series by DJ MacHale
Brainboy and the Deathmaster
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Snacks: Silver Dollar Pancakes; Pastries, Any (Fake) Chemical Concoction
Activities:
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Look at some objects under a microscope. Are you surprised by what you see?
Create plans or drawings for a new invention – share your idea with the class. Build it if you can.
Mazes – Really fun alternative – have a class trip to a corn maze.
Learn to put up a tent; ask an expert to visit and talk about rock climbing techniques
Write Science Fiction stories and share them with each other.
5 Fact Questions
1. How do Darryl and BJ meet?
2. Who is Boris looking for?
3. Who buys Mrs. Grimsley a Mercedes?
4. What does Nina bring out of Paradise Labs when she leaves?
5. What does BANATW stand for?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Do you think Mr. Masterly is a good scientist? Why?
2. How do Boris and BJ make a good team? Describe some of the things they manage to find out or accomplish together.
3. Some of the kids fall apart when they stop taking their vitamin pills. Why does this happen?
4. Are there any parts of the story that you thought weren’t realistic? Did you still enjoy the book?
5. What was your favorite gadget at Paradise Lab?
Gifts from the Sea
Read-alikes
 Following Fake Man by Barbara Ware Holmes (Maine story)
 Walk Across the Sea by Susan Fletcher
 The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
 Charlotte’s Rose by AE Cannon
 Prairie Whispers by Frances Arrington
 The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whittaker by Cynthia DeFelice
 Peppermints in the Parlor by Barbara Wallace
 Bo & Mzzz Mad by Sid Fleischman
 Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine
Gifts from the Sea
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Snacks: Apple pie, taffy, oatmeal gingerbread, black bun fruitcake
Activities:
– String dried apples or seashells like Aquila for decoration
– Research and carry out some bird watching
– Learn about seals and selkies
– Listen to some fiddle music; learn some Irish jigs or reels
5 Fact Questions
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1. What does Cecelia’s name mean?
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2. In what state does the book take place?
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3. Where is Margaret from?
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4. What animal helps Cecelia and Aquila on their trip in the boat?
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5. What does Papa pick for Margaret?
5 Questions for Discussion
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1. Whom do you think is Celia’s true family; Aquila or Margaret? Why?
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2. What things would you enjoy most and what things would you miss most about living on an island?
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3. Do you think Aquila’s life is lonely? Why or why not?
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4. Do you believe the seals saved Celia and Margaret?
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5. Aquila seems to love Margaret and hate her at the same time. Why do you think she feels this way?
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
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Website: http://www.sharoncreech.com/index.html
Harper Collins Reading Guide:
http://www.harpercollins.com/global_scripts/product_catalog/book_xml.asp?isbn=006029
2903&tc=rg
Suggested Fiction Titles
Quit It by Marcia Byalick
The Key Collection by Andrea Cheng
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
Mountain Pose by Nancy Hope Wilson
My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt
The Ocean Within by VM Caldwell
Sun and Spoon by Kevin Henkes
Suggested Non Fiction Titles
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Honest pretzels : and 64 other amazing recipes for cooks ages 8 & up by Mollie Katzen
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The Young Chef’s Italian Cookbook by Rosalba Gioffre
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Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My Soup: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone by Emeril Lagasse
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Blue Moon Soup by Gary Goss
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
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Snacks: soup (of course!),
orange salad or oranges; pasta;
Italian bread; liquid lunch
Activities:
– Research recipes and cook
a few favorites; play fun
music while you’re
cooking.
– Learn some or all of the
Braille alphabet; practice
sending messages to each
other.
– Find out about guide dogs;
have a local guide dog
trainer visit the class
– Learn some Italian words
to say to each other
5 Fact Questions
1. Why are Bailey and Rosie fighting?
2. What is Granny Torrelli’s favorite saying and what
does it mean?
3. Why did Rosie want to learn Braille and why is Bailey
so upset that she can?
4. Who moves into the neighborhood that Rosie doesn’t
like?
5. What story does Granny Torrelli tell to make Rosie feel
better about Janine?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Does Granny Torrelli use any tricks in her
conversations with Rosie? Why do you think she does?
2. Why does so much of this story take place in the
kitchen?
3. What does Bailey learn at the end of the story?
4. What do you think Granny wants to tell Rosie and
Bailey when she tells the stories of Pardo and Violetta?
5. Do you think Granny Torrelli is stubborn (as she says)
or patient and good as Rosie thinks?
Half and Half
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Author website: http://www.lensey.com/home.html
Read-alikes:
 Adaline Falling Star by Mary Pope Osborne
 Enchanted Runner by Kimberley Griffiths Little
 The Land by Mildred Taylor
Valley of the Moon by Sherry Garland (Dear America)
 Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse
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The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
Pure Dead Magic by Deb Gliori
Chinese Cinderella : the true story of an unwanted daughter by Adeline
Yen Mah.
 Child of the Owl by Lawrence Yep
 Honeysuckle House by Andrea Cheng
Half and Half
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Snacks: Scones, Any Chinese or Scottish foods
Activities:
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Learn some Scottish dancing!
Learn some Kung Fu!
Research and tell some Scottish or Chinese stories (Dress up if possible)
Create your own books and illustrate them
5 Fact Questions
1. What does Fiona call her father’s mother?
2. Why does Fiona have trouble filling out her rec. center form?
3. What two activities conflict for Fiona at the folk festival?
4. What nationalities are Fiona’s mother and father?
5. Why did Fiona’s brother start taking kung fu?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Why do you think Fiona finds it so hard to choose between her father’s talk and her
Scottish dancing performance? Which would you choose to do?
2. Why do you think Fiona’s brother doesn’t want to be a Scottish dancer?
3. What nationality are you? Do you cook any special foods or enjoy any special customs?
4. Do you think it’s easy or hard to live in America and have parents from other countries?
5. What has Fiona learned that makes it easier for her to be both Scottish and Chinese?
Kensuke’s Kingdom
Read-alikes:
 Abel’s Island by William Steig
 Island (series) by Gordon Korman
 Flight of the Fisherbird by Nora Martin
 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
 Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson
 Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
 The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Kensuke’s Kingdom
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Snacks: crackers (the English kind
with a prize inside), bananas, tropical
fruits, rations (be creative!)
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Activities:
– Practice survival skills; learn how
to use a compass, tie knots and
design a well made fire (lighting
it optional!) Have an expert visit
(Boy/Girl Scout leader) if
possible
– Learn about the weather; find out
what clouds can tell us about the
weather
– Find out about Japanese painting
– try some if possible
– Learn a few words in Japanese
– Make a map of the air and sea
battles in the Pacific during
WWII. Mark each with its date
and other relevant information.
5 Fact Questions
1. Tell how Michael’s family decided to make
their trip.
2. What creatures did Kensuke protect on the
island?
3. How did Michael become ill?
4. What is the name of Michael’s family’s boat?
5. What sport did Michael play?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. What person would you most want to be with
on a deserted island? Why?
2. What items would you most want if you were
stranded on an island?
3. What do you think of Kensuke’s decision not
to allow Michael to leave?
4. Why did Kensuke never want to leave the
island?
5. Did Michael change by the end of the book?
Macaroni Boy
Read-alikes:
 Six days in October : the stock market crash of
1929 by Karen Blumenthal.
 Dust by Arthur Slade
 Franklin D. Roosevelt : letters from a mill town girl
by Elizabeth Winthrop.
 Hannah Divided by Adele Griffin
 Saving Grace by Priscilla Cummings
 The ghost and Mrs. Hobbs by Cynthia DeFelice
 Joshua’s Song by Joan Hiatt Harlow
Macaroni Boy
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Snacks: Macaroni and
cheese; ice cream/soda floats;
applesauce
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Activities:
– Learn about rats
– Write letters to President
Roosevelt telling him about the
Depression and making
suggestions for improvements
– Run a canned goods drive and
donate the proceeds to a
homeless shelter
– Find out what different foods
cost in 1933; Play The Price is
Right and see if students can
guess what things cost now and
what they cost then.
5 Fact Questions
1. Name the members of Mike’s extended family
2. During what year did the story take place?
3. Tell something you know about the Great Depression
4. What was Mike’s job at the family warehouse?
5. What pieces of information did Joseph receive from his
father that helped the boys solve the mystery?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Were Mike’s dad and his principal fair to Mike?
2. What do you think of the ways Mike dealt with Andy
Simms?
3. How do you think the Great Depression affected
families?
4. Do you think it’s okay for Mike to use Old Sneaky as a
‘guinea pig’ for the poison?
5. Find out about the CCC; what were its accomplishments
during the Depression?
Thunder from the Sea
Readalikes:
 Star in the Storm by Joan Hiatt Harlow
 Hugger to the rescue by Dorothy Hinshaw
Patent
 Rescue dogs by Judith Janda Presnall
 Notes from a Liar and Her Dog by
Gennifer Choldenko
 Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
 When Mack Came Back by Brad Strickland
Thunder from the Sea
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Snacks: goldfish, molasses buns,
biscuits with blackberry jam,
Activities:
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Find out about tidal waves; what
causes them and what are some
famous ones? Create a brochure to
help people prepare for tidal
waves/flooding
Find out about Newfoundland; send
postcards to friends telling them
about the island
Research dogs and tidal waves; find
out how animals may have special
senses to help them detect tidal
waves early.
Encourage everyone in school to
have ID tags for their pets; Partner
with a local vet or petstore to order
the tags.
Practice some jannie talk of your
own!
5 Fact Questions
1. How did Tom find his dog?
2. Where and when does the story take place?
3. Whom does Tom teach to read?
4. What spelling mistake does Bert make that gets Tom
laughing?
5. What object of Tom’s does Bert damage in their fight?
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss how Bert changes over the course of the novel.
2. Is reading be an important skill, even in a fishing village
like Tom’s where everyone makes a living at sea?
3. Tom is adopted from an orphanage; from the novel, what
does Tom want from his new life? Do these seem to be
important needs?
4. Tom has several worries about belonging in his new life
and family. What are they, and do you think they are
important? Can you think of anything that kids today
worry about in their own families?
5. Tom experiences an earthquake, a tidal wave, and a
blizzard in the story. What advice or items seem to be
most important to Tom’s survival? Do you have any
advice to give Tom to help him through the story?
The Warriors
Read-alikes:
Sports Stories:
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Million Dollar series by Dan Gutman
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Throwing Smoke by Bruce Brooks
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Travel Team by Mike Lupica (for older)
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The Gorillas of Gill Park by Amy Gordon
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Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
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Yours truly, Skye O'Shea by Megan Shull.
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Rosie in Chicago : play ball! by Carol Matas
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Summerland by Michael Chabon
Boarding School Stories:
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My Life as a Boarding School Brat by Amy Gordon
Peppermints in the Parlor by Barbara Wallace
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The Education of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick
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Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo
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The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
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Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
Native American Reads:
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Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac
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Charlie’s Raven by Jean Craighead George
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Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac
The Warriors
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Snacks: corn soup, fry bread
 Activities:
– Research the history of lacrosse;
find out the rules of the game
and, if possible, play a few
games. Invite the PE teacher or
local lacrosse player to talk to
students about the game.
– Design team jerseys; have each
student design a jersey with
colors, team name and number.
– Research other Native American
games; Divide into teams and
play a few together.
– Be storytellers; encourage
children to tell their own family
stories or research folktales to
tell to their classroom, to
younger children, or to parents.
(This has been a great
experience in several schools!)
5 Fact Questions
1. To what native American tribe does Jake
belong?
2. Where does Jake move with his mother?
3. What do all the Warriors do after a game?
4. Why does Jake dislike his coach?
5.
5 Questions for Discussion
1. Why is Jake’s final lacrosse game successful?
2. What advice or stories does Grampa Sky share
with Jake that helps him? How does it help?
3. How many of you play a sport? What makes a
good coach? A less successful one?
4. Describe Jake’s feelings toward his coach;
how do they change as the story evolves?
5. Have you ever moved to a new place or started
a new activity that you felt was challenging, even
lonely? Give Jake some advice about doing
something new.
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Nutmeg Book Award