The Story of Charles Atlas: STRONG MAN

February 9, 2018

Angelo Siciliano came to America as a boy, immigrating from Italy. Who knew he was going to become the World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man? The Story of Charles Atlas: STRONG MAN will stir kids’ heart and challenge them to make good choices.

Image result for the story strongmanAngelo was skinny and weak, but he wanted to change. He was tired of being bullied. By observing lions at the zoo, he invented a routine that increased his muscle size. Through perseverance and determination, Angelo grew stronger. His nickname was Charles, and his friends added, Atlas, after the Greek god who was said to have strong shoulders holding the heavens. Atlas promoted exercise, fitness, and good character.

Meghan McCarthy invites kids into the biography of a man who still impacts us today. I love the author’s note, sharing a memory from her grandfather and giving an insight into the America folk hero.

Listen to the audio story on this link from Meghan McCarthy’s website.

Savorings for The Story of Charles Atlas: STRONG MAN:

  • Overcoming Difficulty
  • Perseverance
  • Exercise Fitness
  • Determined to Succeed
  • Character Counts – strong and honest
  • Comic Frames

Swim! Swim!

September 15, 2011

Lerch, the fish, seeks a friend in Swim! Swim! by Lerch. Lerch searches his liquid home (a fish tank) only to be rejected. The pebbles, bubbles, and sub man sustain silence, leaving Lerch lonely.

James Proimos creates a fun read that will tickle your students. Lerch thinks he’s found a new friend finally, but you kids may think differently. Enjoy this read. You won’t be able to keep it in your library.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Swim! Swim! by Lerch:’

  • Speech bubbles
  • Action in each comic frame
  • Friendship
  • Persistence
  • Inference

Granddaddy’s Gift

February 26, 2011

I have much admiration for people who have courage under fire.  Too many times, I notice children giving up easily when a task is too hard.  Perseverance and determination are two qualities I want to instill into my own three children and the students I come in contact with.

Margaree King Mitchell and Larry Johnson (illustrator)do just that.  She wrote Granddaddy’s Gift as a model of courage and persistence during the civil rights movement.  In the story, Little Joe, the young female narrator, speaks to the reader.  She shares how her Granddaddy acted with courage.  As she shadow her Granddaddy, Little Joe learns the value of working hard and being persistent.  Granddaddy volunteered to register to vote, a right that was met with great resistance.

“You’re doing all right, Joe.  Just be satisfied with what you have.”

Little Joe met her own resistance.  People didn’t want trouble so her friends couldn’t play with her anymore.

The story Margaree shares provides numerous opportunities for discussion on civil rights.  What a great read for background knowledge.  It lends itself to discuss goals and ambitions, effort and determination for each of us.

“Grandaddy had taught me to stand up for things, even if I was scared, and always to be proud.  His gift never left me.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Granddaddy’s Gift:

  • Love of Reading –
  • Magic of 3
  • Character introduction – leads to a ‘One day’ story
  • Taking a stand
  • Passage of time

Yo-Yo Fan

August 20, 2009

Daniel Pinkwater must have enjoyed yo-yos during his childhood.  He has created a fun story of determination.  Yo-Yo Man is definitely a boy read.  The storyline has conflict, action, and a desire to be number one.  I must admit that it’s not a book I personally love; but I know my sons and they loved it.

The story begins with a bullying incident.  Kids deal with this issue more than we’d like to admit.  The book could be a springboard for talking about the issue.  The boy does not let the bullying keep him down.  When the yo-yo man comes and performs a spectacular show, the boy determines to be the best yo-yo contestant.  He works hard, practicing over and over.  A parallel story is happening within the classroom.  His teacher loves spelling and he’s intimidated.  Once again, he determines to be the best student possible and practices.  Wouldn’t we like to have him in our class?

Savorings in reading and in writing for Yo-Yo Man:

  • Persuasion – Ramon:  the yo-yo champion does a demonstration and the kids go wild.  He hands out a book – free of charge – with the tricks.  “On the back is stamped – Available at Bill’s Toyland.”
  • Comma in a Series – “I buy a smooth, shiny, heavy, perfect, beautiful, genuine deep red one.”  “They are spinning and bobbing, whizzing and bouncing, sailing through the air.
  • Sensory detail – “The strings make a whispering, humming sound.”
  • Alliteration – “And for good measure, I am going to memorize more spelling words than anyone else and make mincemeat of Mrs. Mousetrap.”
  • Ending with Magic of 3 – “Do I have to say it?  I am perfect.  I am beautiful.  I do every trick, right to the end, right to the double flip-flop flying bouncing sleeper.”

(Warsaw Comm. Public Library)