New Books for 5th Graders

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

Reading Level: Grade 5-7

Caldecott Medal winner Allen Say 's memoir of his improbable childhood is told in an equally unique manner. The book is part graphic novel with sketches, classic Japanese comics and original photographs.

Allen knew from an early age that he wanted to become a cartoonist, but his father didn't think this was a profession for a proper Japaese boy. The war changed things for Allen and he was able to work at his art. At the age of twelve, he approached Noro Shinpei, the most famous cartoonist in Japan. Shinpei became his sensei, which means "teacher" or "master." It was a relationship that would change Allen's life.

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The Boy Who Bit Picasso by Antony Penrose

Reading Level: Age 6 - 10

Most children bite someone when they are little. Tony Penrose bit the world famous artist, Pablo Picasso (who bit him back.) Now grown Antony shares his memories of a close family friend. Tony's parents are photographer, Lee Miller, and artist, Roland Penrose which explains the close connectin between the Penrose and Picasso families. The book is filled with artworks by Picasso, old photographs by Tony's mother, and drawings by modern day children.

One the the great joys of this book is seeing the original subject and then Picasso's Interpretation of that subject. The reader can compare pictures of William, the Penrose family bull, Picasso's wife and his two youngest children, and, best of all, Tony's mother with the Picasso's paintings. See if you agree or disagree with Tony's friends at school.

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Junonia by Kevin Henkes

Reading Level: Grades 3 - 5

Only child Alice and her parents go to the same beach every winter, where they celebrate her birthday and visit with the various vacationers, young and old, who have become their friends. This year is Alice's tenth birthday, but there are some disappointing changes: Some friends can't make it, others have aged, and some newcomers (interlopers?) are unexpectedly included, such as a motherless, annoying six year old. Alice is a sensitive, observant girl,and the various disappointments that arise from these changes are difficult for her, partly because they reveal to Alice unflattering things about herself. Throughout the less than ideal vacation, she relies on the knowledge that she is "alone together" with people who love her.

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