Heat Wave

June 30, 2014

It’s hot.

In Indiana, the heat index is fairly normal in the 80’s. The humidity has been above 50%, tolerable but definitely moist when pulling weeds this morning. But these temperatures are nothing in comparison to a day in Lumberville.

In Heat Wave by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, the towns people are doing everything possible to keep cool. I connected Patricia Polacco’s books with this book when the people sleep outside. No air conditioning available during this time period. (I am so thankful for ours right now.) Children will understand this book. It’s an everyday happening – activities you do in the summer when it is hot.

Sun sizzled. Hair frizzled. It was a sweltering day in Lumberville….”

Set in a day of the week text structure, Eileen focuses on each individual activity – cooking in the basement, hair cut, splashing in the wash tub. Finally, the people sleep outside near the river, on the fire escape, or on the roof. Each had the same dream – rain.

This book reminds me of Come on Rain by Karen Hesse.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Heat Wave:

  • Transitions
  • Snapshot – one moment in time
  • Proper names with title clauses – Mike Morello, the mailman,
  • Varied sentences

Eileen and her husband, Jerry, share about their writing lives in this 5:30 minute YouTube video.






October 14, 2009

Brothers.  My husband, Rick, shares stories about growing up with his brother, B.  Although Rick was always five years younger than B, Rick would try his hardest to be as good as his brother.  He wanted to be with his brother all the time.  By high school, they were doing many activities together.  They are still close, even though we are miles apart.

Tiki and Ronde Barber had a special brotherly relationship.  As twins, they must have done a lot together.  They collaborated with Robert Burleigh to create the book,  By My Brother’s Side.  Many students are intrigued with the fact that the authors are pro-football players.  Elementary students relate to the story as well with the brothers being their age doing activities they are involved in.

The story begins at the start of summer.  They are heading out to explore with their bikes, where a dare meets disaster.  Tiki has a bike accident that impairs his leg, forcing him to stay off of it for the summer.  The theme shows the boys being together through it all.  The book is an excellent, rich text that’s filled with huge teaching points.  Enjoy the great read!

Savorings for reading and writing for By My Brother’s Side:

  • Passage of Time – the story takes place through the summer months, highlighting the most important;  “July was long and hot.  whenever Ronde would go out to play baseball, Tiki would say, “Maybe I could just--“
  • Stretching a Scene – with each month, a scene is highlighted with the boys talking together
  • Perseverance – Ronde walked fast.  Tiki limped behind.  “Come on, Tiki.  You can do it.  I know you can.  We’re supposed to meet Chris in five minutes.
  • Semi-colon – Finally, the doctor gave his orders:  no more brace.
  • Importance of Studying – Before practice Ronde and Tiki sat under the bleachers with their notebooks spread out.  “Homework first,” their mom always said.