I’ve decided to do a new, regular feature on my blog called Book Look.  There are SO many fantastic trade books out there that it’s so hard to know about all of them.  Plus, new ones keep coming out.  I thought it would be fun to share many of them with you.  I already have a Children’s Books tab on my website, but I’m terrible at updating it, so this will help me stick to it.  Plus, so many books can fit in so many categories that it’s hard to organize, and this will allow me to explain all the things you can do with each book.  I’m planning on posting these Book Looks on Mondays, so you’ll know when to be on the lookout for them.

Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport is an engaging book about slavery and a path to freedom through the Ohio River.  It is a true story of one hero of the Underground Railroad, John Parker, and his journey into Kentucky to help an African-American family escape to freedom.  It, rightfully, is the winner of the Coretta Scott King award for Non-Violent Social Change.


The text is written in a unique way in that certain words in the text are written large and in bold. They emphasize the feeling, and helps students really experience the text. Because of this, it’s phenomenal to use as a mentor text in writing for adding Voice.

In addition to using this text to talk about the Underground Railroad and all of the heroes involved, this text gives you a mentor text for talking about helping others.  I’m using it this week as we focus on kindness and bucket filling in our classroom and we are going to use John Parker as an example of someone who stood up for what was right, at the risk of himself.  It is also a great text for teaching character traits as there are so many characters that can be described from John Parker, to the slaves he saves, and to the people standing in their way.

Have you used this book in your classroom?  If so, I’d love to hear other ideas of how it can be used.

Also, I’m throwing a little giveaway over on my Facebook page tonight!  You can enter to win any item of your choosing from my store.  Hurry and enter!  Follow me on Facebook for lots of flash freebies and giveaways!

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