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Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! by Leslie Kimmelman

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Kimmelman, L., & Gustavson, A. (ill.) (2009). Mind your manners, Alice Roosevelt!. Atlanta: Peachtree. ISBN: 9781561454921

Annotation: Teddy Roosevelt could handle almost anything. Except his oldest daughter, Alice, who liked to break rules and get into mischief.

Reaction: This picture book is as much about Teddy as about Alice, but it did have some fun facts about the President’s daughter, including that she owned a pet snake at one point!

The art is detailed and reflects the mischievousness of Alice and the whole of Roosevelt family. Gustavson’s depictions of Alice and her family’s antics are really my favorite part of the book, making it a much more enjoyable read than the text alone.

This book is not quite as much fun as What To Do About Alice, which focused more on Alice’s exploits rather than her father trying to get her to behave, but it was a good read. I enjoyed the way it depicted the family, and I think it’s always fun to see “behind the scenes” in the lives of famous people.

Media Used: Oil on prepared paper

Author’s Website

Illustrator’s Website


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Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan

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Ryan, P. M., & Selznick, B. (ill.) (1999). Amelia and Eleanor go for a ride. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 9780590960755

Annotation: During dinner at the White House, Amelia Earhart takes Eleanor Roosevelt on an impromptu nighttime flight over Washington, D.C. despite protests that it wasn’t appropriate.

Reaction: I enjoyed this book. As I’ve said before, I think it is essential for girls to read stories about strong women who were willing to buck tradition and do something great. Kids need positive role models, and I think Ryan does an excellent job of introducing these two amazing women who changed the world around them.

Gosh, I love Brian Selznick. His illustrations have so much detail and are so lifelike. The two page picture of the White House took my breath away when I first saw it, and it really shows off his skills with just a regular pencil and one or two colored pencils. I love that his predominately works in shades of grey, but the pink-ish highlights really set off the picture. His art really captures the tone of the story, especially when Amelia talks about flying at night. His illustration on those pages fill the reader with wonder and peace and nostalgia. Personally, that image reminded me of every star filled night I’ve spent away from the city lights in the desert or forest.

This book is on the 2011 Students’ List for “Books receiving votes for Top Ten Favorites from students in Summer 2011.”

Media Used: Graphite pencil and colored pencil.

Author’s Website

Illustrator’s Website


What to do about Alice by Barbara Kerley

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Kerley, B., & Fotheringham, E. (ill.) (2008). What to do about Alice?: how Alice Roosevelt broke the rules, charmed the world, and drove her father Teddy crazy!. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 9780439922319

Annotation: Theodore Roosevelt’s oldest daughter, Alice, is a sassy lady who plays by her own rules, much to the consternation of her father.

Reaction: I loved this book! Once I saw a book about Teddy’s daughter on a classmate’s Favorites list, I knew I needed to read it, and I’m so glad I did. It was SUCH a delight. Alice Roosevelt is a hoot, and I need her to be my new best friend right now!

Kerley does a great job of using the text and quotes from letters from Teddy and other writings to capture Alice’s vivacity and adventurousness. I love reading about women who were “ahead of [their] time” and refused to conform to arbitrary social regulations about what women were and were not capable of doing. I think it’s great for girls, especially ages 10-12, to be given examples of these positive role models who paved the way for ladies to come. Alice is a particularly good example of this kind of role model; she shows girls that they can be fun and mischievous and smart and well educated and passionate and make a difference in the world around them. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I definitely want to run right out and learn more about this awesome lady.

Fotheringham’s art does a fantastic job of capturing her spirit and zest, and I look forward to reading more books illustrated by him. He takes Kerley’s already funny text and elevates the book to hilarious, particularly his illustrations of Alice’s all-boys club sneaking around in disguises, and her sobbing in her bed surrounded by used handkerchiefs all summer after she is told she’ll have to attend boarding school.

I think this book could be beneficial in 5th and 6th grade history units to show all students the important role she (and other women like her) played in the shaping of the country. Using this book in a classroom would also be an opportunity to explore some aspects of US History that are not always examined, particularly her travels abroad.

Among other honors, this book was a ALA Notable Book and was on the Best Books of the Year lists for Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.

This book is one of my Top Ten Favorites for this class.

This duo also wrote Those Rebels, John & Tom.

Media Used: Digital media

Author’s Website

Illustrator’s Website

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The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock

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Rosenstock, B., & Gerstein, M. (ill.) (2012). The camping trip that changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780803737105

Annotation: In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt went on a camping trip in California’s Yosemite wilderness with naturalist John Muir, which left Roosevelt with a passion for preserving America’s wilderness.

Reaction: I love Teddy Roosevelt, or Teedie to his family, so I was really excited to see this book on the shelf at the library. The author did a good job of recreating what Teedie & Johnnie’s camping trip was probably like based on the few accounts of the trip, letters written by the two men and Muir’s books. Also, simply based on Roosevelt’s resulting passion for wilderness preservation, it seems clear that Muir was able to convince him of the importance of saving lands for posterity.

The art in the book is beautiful, and Gerstein’s paintings really showcase the panoramic vistas and gorgeous colors of the wilderness. Requiring the reader to turn the book vertically to read the page with the giant sequoias was an especially brilliant touch, as it forces the reader to acknowledge just how HUGE those trees are.

Media Used: Pen and ink, colored pencil and acrylic on 2-ply Strathmore paper.

Author’s Website and Teaching Guide

Illustrator’s Website

Lesson Plan
Grade Level: 5th
Subject/Content: Geography/nature preservation
Summary of Lesson: Students will learn about the National Parks established by Roosevelt.
Focus Question: What parks were founded by Roosevelt and why were they included as part of his preservation efforts?
Books/websites used: The Camping Trip that Changed America
National Park Service

–>Read The Camping Trip that Changed America
–>Discuss Roosevelt’s preservation efforts, the Parks he established and the ones that have come after
–>Begin individual research in school computer lab and library
–>Write essay using research
–>Present findings to class

–>Conduct research utilizing appropriate sources
–>Write a an informative essay
–>Discussion of nature preservation
–>Practice public speaking by presenting research in front of class