Last month was the release of I Am Alfonso Jones written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. In this book, Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
Accompanying our title is the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions of race, racism, and social justice in the classroom. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve gathered a few prereading questions, discussion questions, activities, and resources from the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide.
April is National Poetry Month. With so many forms of poetry to explore and share with students, what will you choose? Here are 4 ideas for using mentor texts to guide students in poetry study. And an additional bonus: a letter to teachers from author and poet, Pat Mora, on the power of poetry.
February is Black History Month and while we think it’s great to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by African Americans, we also believe that Black history is American history and should be celebrated and taught all year long. But this month can be a great time to shine a spotlight on favorite books or freshen up a dated collection with new titles. Here are ten of our favorite Black History Month Books for third grade through sixth grade: Continue reading
Help your students become scientists like medical pioneer Vivien
Thomas and explore the mysteries of the human heart with the
FREE Tiny Stitches Teacher’s Guide.
From the time he was a teenager, Vivien Thomas dreamed of going to medical school and becoming a doctor. But after the stock market crashed in 1929, Vivien lost all his savings and had to put his dream on hold. Then he heard about a job opening in a research lab at Vanderbilt University medical school under the supervision of Dr. Alfred Blalock. When Dr. Blalock was invited to become Chief of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he accepted with one condition: his research technician, Vivien Thomas, must be invited too. Continue reading
We’ve created lots of new content this February to help you extend the experience of reading our books long after the last page has been turned. Here are some of our newest resources to go with our titles:
Free Classroom Guides for:
–First Come the Zebra
–John Lewis in the Lead