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Principal's Corner

Books for April's Character Theme
 Determination & Grit

Adams, Simon. I wonder why records are broken and other questions about amazing facts and figures. New York: Kingfisher Distributed in the U.S. by Macmillan, 2009. Summary:  Answers a variety of questions about how records are determined and about specific records set by human beings and by phenomena in the natural world.


Barnas, Jo-Ann. Great moments in Olympic skating. Minneapolis, Minn: ABDO Publishing Company, [2015]. Summary:  Perhaps no sporting event has told more amazing stories than the Olympic Games. Great Moments in Olympic Skating tells the stories of surprise and dominance, of inspiration and determination, of persistence and overcoming adversity. Title includes colorful descriptions of memorable moments old and new, a list of great Olympians in skating, Great Moment sidebars, and frequent subheads.


Borden, Louise. Fly high! : The story of Bessie Coleman. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2004. Summary:  This book discusses the life of the determined African American woman who went all the way to France in order to earn her pilot's license in 1921.


Chin-Lee, Cynthia. Amelia to Zora: twenty-six women who changed the world. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing, c2005. Summary:  An introduction to 26 diverse, 20th-century women who have made a difference in such varied fields as the arts, sports, journalism, science, and entertainment. The entries include flier Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, black author Zora Neale Hurston, artist Frida Kahlo to philanthropist Eleanor Roosevelt and Oprah Winfrey. Determination, imagination, perseverance, and strength are what bind them together.



DiCamillo, Kate. The tale of Despereaux: being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2003.

Summary:  The adventures of Despereaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.



Fritz, Jean. Where do you think you're going, Christopher Columbus? New York: Putnam, c1980. Summary:  Discusses the voyages of Christopher Columbus who determined to beat everyone in the race to the Indies.


Greenfield, Eloise. For the love of the game: Michael Jordan and me. New York: HarperCollins, c1997. Summary:  Two children discover the importance of determination and find inspiration in the life of Michael Jordan.



Henry, Marguerite. Misty of Chincoteague. New York: Aladdin Books, 1991.

Summary:  The determination of two youngsters to win a Chincoteague pony is greatly increased when the Phantom and her colt are among those rounded up for the yearly auction.


Jordan, Deloris. Salt in his shoes: Michael Jordan in pursuit of a dream. New York: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, c2000. Summary:  Young Michael Jordan, who is smaller than the other players, learns that determination and hard work are more important than size when playing the game of basketball.


MacLeod, Elizabeth. Helen Keller: a determined life. Toronto Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, c2004. Summary:  Introduces young readers to the life and accomplishments of Helen Keller, describing how she succeeded despite being both blind and deaf.


Piper, Watty. The little engine that could. MCA Home Video, c1991. Summary:  A determined little engine helps get a cargo of toys over the mountain ot the children who are waiting for them.


Szabo, Corrine. Sky pioneer: a photo biography of Amelia Earhart. Washington, D.C. [Emeryville, Calif: National Geographic Society Distributed by Publishers Group West, c1997. Summary:  A biography, with numerous photographs and quotes from Earhart herself, tracing this determined woman's life and interest in flying.

Books for March's Character Theme

Buehner, Caralyn. I did it, I'm sorry. New York, Dial Books for Young Readers, c1998.

  • Summary: Ollie Octopus, Bucky Beaver, Howie Hogg, and other animal characters encounter moral dilemmas involving such virtues as honesty, thoughtfulness, and trustworthiness. The reader is invited to select the appropriate behavior from a series of choices

    Demi. The empty pot. New York, H. Holt, c1990.

  • Summary: When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.

Brown, Marc Tolon. The true Francine. Boston, Little, Brown, c1981.
  • Summary: Francine and Muffy are good friends until Muffy lets Francine take the blame for cheating on a test.

Mayer, Mercer. It's true! Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2013.
  • Summary: Little Critter learns that lying has consequences and that telling the truth, no matter how hard, is always the right thing to do.

  McKissack, Pat. The honest-to-goodness truth. New York, Atheneum, Books for
  Young Readers, c2000.

  • Summary: After promising never to lie, Libby learns that it's not always necessary to blurt out the whole truth either.

Paulsen, Gary. Liar, liar : the theory, practice, and destructive properties of
  deception . New York, Wendy Lamb Books, c2011.
  • Summary: Fourteen-year-old Kevin is very good at lying and doing so makes life easier, but when he finds himself in big trouble with his friends, family, and teachers, he must find a way to end his lies forever.


Miller, Jamie C. 10minute life lessons for kids : 52 fun and simple games and
activities to teach your child trust, honesty, love, and other important values. New
  York, HarperPerennial, c1998.

  • Summary: This book contains games that are designed to teach children trust, honesty, love, and high moral values while using every-day, household objects.

Books for February's Character Theme

Very best (almost) friends: poems of friendship Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press, 1999.


A friend is someone who likes you Anglund, Joan Walsh. San Diego: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade & Reference Publishers, 1958.


Being friends Beaumont, Karen, New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, c2002.


Rabbit & Robot, the Sleepover Bell, Cece, Somerville, Mass. Candlewick Press, 2012.


A splendid friend, indeed Bloom, Suzanne. Honesdale, Pa. Boyds Mills Press, 2005.


Very best friends Braybrooks, Ann, New York. Golden Book, 1999.


How to be a friend, a guide to making friends and keeping them Brown, Laurene Krasny. Boston. Little, Brown, c1998.


Do you want to be my friend? Carle, Eric. [New York] HarperCollins, 1976.

How the guinea fowl got her spots: a Swahili tale of friendship Knutson, Barbara.  Minneapolis: Carol Rhoda Books, c1990.

Books for January's Character Theme

Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the world Faber, Doris.

Summary:  A biography emphasizing the early years of Eleanor Roosevelt, who had enormous political influence and won love and respect as America's first lady.


Being your best: character building for kids 7-10 Lewis, Barbara A.

Summary:  Text, anecdotes, and activities introduce and discuss how to build important character traits, such as caring, citizenship, cooperation, courage, fairness, honesty, respect, and responsibility.


Treat me right! : kids talk about respect  Loewen, Nancy 

Summary:  Information about various ways of showing respect for others, for property, and for oneself are presented in the form of an advice column.


Hunting Lundgren, Julie K.

Summary:  This book describes hunting, from knowing your weaponry and habitat to being responsible and respecting others and nature.


Heroes of the US Marines Nelson, Maria.

Summary:  Since the US navy began, with only a few ships, it has grown into one of the most respected fleets in the world. On the seas and in the air, navy heroes have served the country courageously and performed some of the most daring operations of any military branch. Readers will marvel at stories, such as the Taffy 3 unit's heroism during World War II and Michael Murphy's actions in Afghanistan. Historical photographs accompany each account, engaging readers at all levels. For Further Information Section, Glossary, Index, Sidebars.


Cookies: bite-size life lessons Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Summary:  Defines words such as cooperate, patient, proud, modest, respect, compassionate, and others with sentences about cookies.

Books for December's Character Theme
Self Control

Aliki. Manners. New York: Greenwillow Books, c1990.


Brown, Marc Tolon. Perfect pigs: an introduction to manners. Boston: Little, Brown, c1983.


Ketteman, Helen. Grandma's cat. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1996.


Lucas, Eileen. Peace on the playground: nonviolent ways of problem-solving. New York: F. Watts, 1991.


Muller, Eric Paul. While you're waiting for the food to come: a tabletop science activity book: experiments and tricks that can be done at a restaurant or wherever food is served. New York: Orchard, c1999.


Murphy, Stuart J. Percy gets upset: emotional skills--dealing with frustration. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, c2011.


Murphy, Stuart J. Percy plays it safe: health and safety skills: playground safety. Watertown, Mass: Charlesbridge, c2010.


Rockwell, Anne F. Chip and the karate kick. [New York]: HarperCollins Publishers, c2004.


Scholes, Katherine. Peace begins with you. San Francisco Boston: Sierra Club Books Little, Brown, 1990.


Moser, Adolph. Don't rant & rave on Wednesdays! The children's anger-control book. Kansas City, Mo: Landmark Editions, Inc, c1994.



​Books for November's Character Theme

“Thanks for Thanksgiving” by Julie Markes

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks—the question is, where to begin? From the turkey on the table to warm, cozy cuddles, life is full of small things and bigger pleasures. But what is most important is being able to share them with family! This book reminds kids and adults alike about the little details that make each day enjoyable.

“Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks” by Margaret Sutherland

Sure, Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history--and turkey, of course!--but most importantly, it's a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple text in this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday that brings them all together.


“Gratitude Soup” by Olivia Rosewood

Violet the Purple Fairy learns how to make Gratitude Soup by thinking of all the things, people, places, and experiences that she is grateful for, putting them in an imaginary soup pot. She is able to shrink her pot of soup with her imagination, and she keeps the gratitude warm and flowing in her heart all day and all night. Perfect for teaching your children about gratitude with fun and play.

“My Gratitude Soup” by Olivia Rosewood 

After the best-selling Gratitude Soup come's this “create your own” version! Teach your children about gratitude using this easy and fun coloring and collage book.


“Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks” by John Bucchino

Grateful is a reminder of the gifts available to us when we approach life with gratitude. A joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature, and the blessings of faith, here is a gift to be treasured by children and adults of all ages.

“An Awesome Book of Thanks!” by Dallas Clayton

This book conveys, in pictures and simple yet beautiful language, many ways one can be thankful, and many different things in life to be thankful for. Great for little kids!


“The Thankful Book” by Todd Parr

The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bath time to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, Todd inspires readers to remember all of life's special moments. The perfect book to treasure and share.


“I'm Thankful Each Day” by P. K. Hallinan

There are so many things in this world for which to be thankful? The sun and the moon, flowers and raindrops, family and friends. Children will delight in counting their own blessings as they follow the pages of this colorfully illustrated, easy-to-read book.


“In November” by Cynthia Rylant

In November, the air grows cold and the earth and all of its creatures prepare for winter. Animals seek food and shelter. And people gather together to celebrate their blessings with family and friends. The words and paintings of this book capture the cherished moments of this autumn month--the moments we spend together and the ones we witness in the world around us.


“Splat Says Thank You!” (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotton

Splat the Cat's trusty mouse friend, Seymour, needs cheering up, and Splat wants to help. He's been working on something special for Seymour—not just a thank-you card but a thank-you book! His book lists all the sweet and often hilarious reasons Splat is thankful for their friendship.


“Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson

Bear has come up with the perfect way to say thanks—a nice big dinner! When Bear decides to throw a feast, his friends show up one by one with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do? This book brings to life the celebration of family and friendship.


“The Most Thankful Thing” by Lisa McCourt

This heartwarming picture book by the creators of I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE reveals what every parent is most thankful for. A perfect bedtime story for every day -- and especially for Thanksgiving!

When a little girl asks her mom what her "most thankful thing ever" is, Mom turns the question into a fun trip down memory lane. Turning the pages of Mom's photo album, they discover many wonderful moments in Mom's life. But one event in Mom's whole life is the very best ever -- the birth of her precious little girl.


“Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Thanksgiving might have started with a feast on Plymouth's shore. But by the 1800s America's observance was waning. None of the presidents nor Congress sought to revive the holiday. And so one invincible "lady editor" named Sarah Hale took it upon herself to rewrite the recipe for Thanksgiving as we know it today. This is an inspirational, historical, all-out boisterous tale about perseverance and belief: In 1863 Hale's thirty-five years of petitioning got Abraham Lincoln thinking. He signed the Thanksgiving Proclamation that very year, declaring it a national holiday. This story is a tribute to Hale, her fellow campaigners, and to the amendable government that affords citizens the power to make the world a better place!


“The Circle of Thanks: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving” by Joseph Bruchac

The custom of giving thanks is deeply ingrained among the native peoples of North America. Award-winning Native American storyteller Joseph Bruchac has gathered thirteen beautiful thanksgiving pieces, honoring every aspect of creation.


“Thanksgiving Blessings” by Mike Brenstain

This is a Berenstain Bears book with a beautiful, traditional approach to the thanksgiving holiday.


“Thank You Mr. Falker” by Patricia Polacco

Here the author tells how one of her teachers helped change her life from a struggling reader to a girl who believed she could overcome her reading difficulties and ultimately did.


​Books for October's Character Theme
Hard Work and Enthusiasm

Borden, Louise. Fly high! : the story of Bessie Coleman . New York : Aladdin Paperbacks, 2004.

Summary:  This book discusses the life of the determined African American woman who went all the way to France in order to earn her pilot's license in 1921.


Burton, Virginia Lee. Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel : story and pictures . Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c1967.

Summary:  Mike Mulligan proves that, although dated, his steam shovel is still useful.


Jordan, Deloris. Salt in his shoes : Michael Jordan in pursuit of a dream . New York : Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, c2000.

Summary:  Young Michael Jordan, who is smaller than the other players, learns that determination and hard work are more important than size when playing the game of basketball.


Look, Lenore. Love as strong as ginger . New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c1999.

Summary:  A Chinese American girl comes to realize how hard her grandmother works to fulfill her dreams when they spend a day together at the grandmother's job cracking crabs.



Piper, Watty. The little engine that could . New York : Platt & Munk, c1976.

Summary:  When the other engines refuse, the Little Blue Engine tries to pull a stranded train full of dolls, toys, and good food over the mountain.


Pryor, Bonnie. The dream jar . New York : Morrow Junior Books, c1996.

Summary:  After emigrating to America, each member of a Russian family works hard to contribute to the family's dream of someday owning and running a store.


Waddell, Martin. Farmer duck . Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 1992.

Summary:  When a kind and hardworking duck nearly collapses from overwork, while taking care of a farm because the owner is too lazy to do so, the rest of the animals get together and chase the farmer out of town.


Books Featured in our PARP Parade 2016:

The Rainbow Fish         by: Marcus Pfister

  • With its glittering foil stamped pages and its tender message about making friends, “The Rainbow Fish” has become an international best-seller and a modern classic. The many lessons about friendship and sharing found in this beautiful book make it perfect for “catching” young readers’ interest in books!


One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish     by: Dr. Seuss

  • “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere” . . . So begins this classic Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. Many a student has gotten hooked on books through the amazing works of Dr. Seuss


Big Al         by: Andrew Clements

  • Big Al is a nice fish. But he is a big and scary looking fish with huge teeth! Sadly he has no friends. But one day, the other fish see what a wonderful fish he truly is and he gains a whole school of friends!


Pete the Cat, Rockin’ in my School Shoes    by: James Dean    

  • Every book this author writes is fun fun fun! This book has Pete the Cat rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. No matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song! If your groovy learners need a little help to get excited about reading then pick up a Pete the Cat book… They’re all good!


The Fisherman and His Wife         by: Pauline Cartwright

  • This familiar folktale by The Brothers Grimm, has been retold by many authors. This version is fun to read with its short sentences and bright, colorful illustrations. Mrs. Eldridge’s class read through many versions of this story to help the children discover that stories can last for 200 years and they can change and adapt when modern story tellers retell them!   


Swimmy         by: Leo Lionni

  • Deep in the sea there lives a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, and also danger. This leaves the little fish afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. With its graceful text and stunning artwork, this Caldecott Honor Book deserves a place on every child’s shelf.


Mmm, Cookies!     by: Robert Munsch

  • In this story, Christopher makes “delicious” cookies that he shares with his parents and his teacher who soon realize that they are made of playdough! As the story goes on, Christopher’s trick comes back to get him and he falls for it! This and every Robert Munsch book proves that one of the best ways to hook young readers on books is through humor!


The Boxcar Children     by: Gertrude Chandler Warner

There are 145 boxcar Children Mysteries! The series begins with the orphaned Alden children moving into and old boxcar. Their adventures are amazing as they work hard to take care of each other and stay together no matter what others might have in mind for them.


Trouble River          by: Betsy Byars

  • This story takes place on an isolated prairie farm in the 1800s; at a time and in a place in history when there was conflict between Native Americans and new settlers. With his parents away in a distant city, Dewey Martin and his grandmother have to watch over the homestead. But when the danger from hostile people becomes too great, Dewey must use his own homemade raft, to escape to safety!


Charlotte’s Web     by: E. B. White

  • This beloved, Newbery Honor Book needs no introduction; It’s been enjoyed by generations of readers since it was first published in 1952! The timeless, tender tale of friendship, love, life, and death captures imaginations and helps make lifelong readers of the kids in our lives.


Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon     by: Mary Pope-Osborn

  • In this Magic Tree House book, Jack and Annie face a treasure trove of troubles when they encounter the pirate, Captain Bones. The greedy pirate captain, who can’t read holds the children captive, demanding that they help him translate a treasure map. In the end, the pirates flee an impending storm, abandoning the kids on an island. Annie wants to go home but Jack now wants the treasure for himself! Will they survive their adventure? Will Jack be lost to greed like the pirates? You’ll have to read this book yourself to find out!


Diary of a Wimpy Kid     by: Jeff Kinney

  • With its relatable humor and easy reading style, this book is a major kid favorite. The first in a series of many great Wimpy Kid books.


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles     by: Julie Andrews Edwards

  • This author is none other than the great star of the musicals The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins! The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. But the last one disappeared long ago and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals – Animals we’ve never seen! In his new world, the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with "peace, love and a sense of fun!"

In this amazing tale, with the help of a professor - some children find the secret way into this world. Through skill and determination, the kids and the professor, discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart's desire.

This book is considered a modern classic and is recommended as an excellent family read aloud that will lead to all kinds of fun!


Are Pirates Polite?     by: Corinne Demas

  • Mrs. Johnson's class read the book, Are Pirates Polite? by Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig. They found out that "Pirates are unruly and pirates love to fight, but pirates still say please and thanks 'cause pirates are polite." As you can see, the whole class is dressed in their best pirate garb - being the most polite pirates they can be! Wait… what do I see hanging from their hooks? Ahh; Those are books that have them hooked!


Skinny Bones         by: Barbara Park

  • The star of this book, Alex Frankovitch, is a super skinny kid with super-sized mouth that gets him into big trouble. Thanks to too much bragging, Alex gets himself into a pitching contest with the best player in the school

Find these books at your local Library!

Norwood Public Library: 353-6692

Norfolk Public Library: 384-3052

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