Reading Matters Winter 2018
parents in cold blood, or did another person do it? What could Lizzie’s motive have been: to seek revenge on her stepmother for taking Lizzie’s father’s attention from her or to punish her father for not spending his generous fortune on her material needs and desires? Miller provides a Who’s Who section in the frontmatter, pointing out key characters and their relationship to Lizzie and her trial. The author divides the text to feature the inquest, arrest, preliminary hearing, trial, aftermath, and so forth, creating a descriptive and engaging narrative that educates readers about the entire process. Newspaper clippings and photographs are also provided, as well as a full bibliography to aid young adult readers engaging with this mature content. Miller’s detailed account of this famous 19th-century murder mystery will keep the reader wide-eyed and wondering. Just when she has presented the evidence to convince you that Lizzie is the insane murderer, you may find yourself questioning the facts and ruling in Lizzie’s favor.
the construction process of the school built in Tepoztlán, and the courageous man, Bocanegra. This tribute to the Aztec Eagles’ perseverance and Bocanegra’s dream is a motivating and compelling story that encourages readers to overcome adversity. Dog Man Pilkey, Dav. (2016). 231 pp. Scholastic. 978-0- 545-58160. $9.99 (Primary). —by Kimberly Clay
Reading Matters Literature Matters
Dog Man is an action-packed comic book aimed at early readers. It follows Agent Dog Man, a policeman with the head of a dog and the body of a human, on his many crazy adventures to fight crime. Dog Man’s adventures range from being chased by a giant-sized vacuum,
The School the Aztec Eagles Built: A Tribute to Mexico’s WorldWar II Air Fighters Nicholson, Dorinda Makanaōnalani. (2016). 39 pp. Lee & Low. 978-1-60060-440-9. $18.95 (Intermediate/Young Adult).
to his police boss being replaced by an evil robot, to the evil cat villain Petey using Living Spray to bring a hot dog to life. With juvenile humor; colorful, childlike doodles; text that mimics the writing style of children, with misspelled and made-up words and poor grammar; and multiple engaging story lines, this book will be sure to please young readers. The large, bold print is perfect for readers who are not quite ready for wordier chapter books.
—by Lindsay Looper
This unique compilation of historic information and photographs tells the story of the Aztec Eagles, Mexico’s first troops to ever fight outside North America. At the start of World War II, Mexico planned to be uninvolved in direct warfare. However, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and after two Mexican oil tankers were torpedoed by Nazi U-boats, President Ávila Camacho of Mexico sent his most talented and intelligent pilots and support crew to the United States for instruction and training to become fighters for their home country. Before being sent off to war, one soldier, a civilian schoolteacher named Ángel Bocanegra, made a special request for a school to be built in his hometown of Tepoztlán. This book provides the history of Mexico’s involvement in WorldWar II while also sharing an inspiring message about one man’s dream to build a school for the children of his hometown. Dorinda Makanaōnalani Nicholson offers the reader a glimpse into the life of an Aztec Eagle by providing information about the soldiers’ daily lives and describing how these soldiers were able to stay motivated through the difficulties of a war. Nicholson does an outstanding job of presenting the historical text in a personal and relatable way. For example, she states, As the train pulled away from the station, Ángel leaned out a window to say good-bye to his family one last time. Then, settling back in his seat, Ángel smiled, thinking about the new school that would be built in his village. (p. 11) The photographs allow the reader an opportunity to look at the troops’monumental and successful moments. Some of the photographs are of the Aztec Eagles preparing for combat, flying in formation, and even entertaining themselves with music while traveling across the Pacific. Other pictures show
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen
Weatherford, Carole Boston. (2016). Illus. by Jeffery BostonWeatherford. 80 pp. Atheneum. 978-1-4814-4938-0. $16.99 (Intermediate/ Young Adult). —by Deion M. Jamison What do you do when you have dreams of flying an airplane, but the color of your skin is a barrier
due to institutional racism? You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen is a book of 33 poems that explore the struggles and triumphs of African American men in the Old South with a quest to transcend racism and oppression as airmen in the U.S. military. The book includes a timeline beginning with the Civil War and ending with the Tuskegee Airmen meeting President Barack Obama. This supplementary material provides important background information for students, whether the course is social studies or English language arts. Carole Boston Weatherford’s poems bring the book to life by incorporating the audience into the journey of the airmen, as the book is written in the second person. The poems discuss an array of topics, from experiencing life as an African American in the Jim Crow South to being promoted to second lieutenant. In “The Other War,” for example, Weatherford highlights that while WorldWar II is occurring, there is another war in the United States between African Americans andWhites. She tells how 11 black men are lynched in a span of two years. “Army-trained, but defenseless / against the prejudice you face at every turn, / you don’t stray far from base” (p. 19), she writes, describing how the power of these men did not supersede the color of their skin. Despite the struggles the Tuskegee Airmen faced, Weatherford’s
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