With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School

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“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”  -Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington had an incredible passion for learning. Born a slave, he taught himself to read. When the Civil War ended, Booker finally fulfilled his dream of attending school. After graduation, he was invited to teach in Tuskegee, Alabama. Finding many eager students but no school, Booker set out to build his own school—brick by brick.

Courage, Effort, Initiative, Leadership, Optimism, Perseverance, Teamwork

Nonfiction

AR Reading Level 3.7

AR Point .5

Word Count 1016

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

“Nature study cultivates in the child a love of the beautiful.”

From the time she was a young girl, Anna Comstock was fascinated by the natural world. She loved exploring outdoors, examining wildlife and learning nature’s secrets. From watching the teamwork of marching ants to following the constellations in the sky, Anna observed it all. And her interest only increased as she grew older and went to college at Cornell University. There she continued her studies, pushing back against those social conventions that implied science was a man’s pursuit. Eventually Anna became known as a nature expert, pioneering a movement to encourage schools to conduct science and nature classes for children outdoors, thereby increasing students’ interest in nature. In following her passion, this remarkable woman blazed a trail for female scientists today.

Innovation, Leadership, and Perseverance

Nonfiction

AR Reading Level 3.9

AR Point .5

Word Count 689

My Rows and Piles of Coins

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The market is full of wonderful things, but Saruni is saving his precious coins for a red and blue bicycle. How happy he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy loads to market on his very own bicycle–and how disappointed he is to discover that he hasn’t saved nearly enough! Determination and generosity are at the heart of this satisfying tale that captures the warmth of Saruni’s family and the excitement of market day.

 

Initiative, Critical Thinking-Problem Solving, Effort, Empathy, Patience, Responsibility, Self Control, Gratefulness

Fiction

AR Reading Level 3.8

AR Point .5

Word Count 1256

Boxes for Katje

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After World War II there is little left in Katje’s town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom “thick and bright,” Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje’s street to deliver a mysterious box – a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her package is part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What’s inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks – beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same.

This inspiring story, with strikingly original art, is based on the author’s mother’s childhood and will show young readers that they, too, can make a difference.

Empathy, Kindness

Fiction

AR Reading Level 3.5

AR Point .5

Word Count 1585

Leah’s Pony

Leah’s pony was swift and strong. Together they would cross through cornfields and over pastures, chasing cattle as they galloped under summer skies. Then came the year the corn grew no taller than a man’s thumb. Locusts blackened the sky. The earth turned to dust. Gone were the cornfields and pastures where Leah and her pony once rode. It was the beginning of the great drought. Now Leah’s papa faced losing the family farm. Set in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, this deeply felt story, vividly portrayed through stunning oil paintings, tells of one child and what she would sacrifice for love of her family.

Courage, Critical Thinking-Problem Solving, Empathy, and Kindness

Fiction

AR Reading Level 3.3

AR Point .5

Word Count 1333

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing

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Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world.

Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She hand wrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.

Critical Thinking-Problem Solving, Responsibility, Initiative, Innovation, Leadership

Nonfiction

AR Reading Level 3.7

AR Point .5

Word Count 722

Sky High: George Ferris’s Big Wheel

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This fascinating story describes the invention of the first Ferris wheel—an engineering marvel. The 1893 World’s Fair organizers wanted something big to draw people to Chicago . . . something that would rival the Eiffel Tower. George Ferris, an American engineer, had the idea for an observation wheel that passengers could ride on. People disagreed! They said it would never work. But it was a huge success, with thirty-six cars that could hold over 2,100 riders! That’s some big wheel! Ferris wheel lovers can thank George Ferris for never giving up his dream.

Critical Thinking-Problem Solving, Creativity, Initiative, Innovation

Nonfiction

AR Reading Level 3.0

AR Point .5

Word Count 761

Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father

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Did you know that one of our Founding Fathers was not born in America? An orphan from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton came to the colonies and played an important role in the Revolutionary War, rising to become General George Washington’s right-hand man. But his accomplishments don’t stop there! He helped obtain the ratification of the Constitution; he was America’s first secretary of the treasury; and he established the first national bank and the U.S. Mint. A man of ambition, loyalty, and principle, he is now being celebrated as the prominent patriot he was.

 

Courage, Initiative, Leadership, Responsibility, Teamwork, Trustworthiness

Nonfiction

AR Reading Level 3.7

AR Point .5

Word Count 996

Rescue on the Outer Banks

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On October 11, 1896, 10-year-old Sam Deal and his horse, Ginger, watch as the brave surf men of Pea Island struggle to save the lives of nine people stranded on a shipwreck. Sam has dreamt of becoming a surf man just like the all-African-American crew, and this is his chance. Can he and Ginger help the crew rescue the victims, or will they be lost forever?

Courage

Fiction

AR Reading Level 3.5

AR Point .5

Word Count 1724

 

The William Hoy Story

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All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder—eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires’ calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time!

Perseverance, Critical Thinking-Problem Solving

Nonfiction

AR Reading Level 3.5

AR Point .5

Word Count 1025