Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Steal a Dog

How to Steal a Dog
Title: How to Steal a Dog    
Author: Barbara O'Connor 
Publication Date: 2009 
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel  
Summary: Georgina's dad left and now she's living in her car with her mom and little brother.  Georgina hates it and comes up with a plan to steal a dog so she can return it and get the reward money.  She plans it all out and is hoping the reward money will allow them to get an apartment.  
What I Think: I've never read a book with a homeless character/family.  I love reading books that give us perspective into what someone else's life might be like, especially when I've never experienced it before ourselves.  It's so important for kids to read these kinds of stories, too.  One of my students actually told me about this book and said I should read it because she enjoyed when her classroom teacher read it aloud in class.  For middle grade students, I think it's a perfect blend of understanding how horrible Georgina feels to be living in her car and a good story about how desperate it makes her.  It definitely could be a great way to initiate discussions about feelings, right versus wrong, and how to get help when you need it.    
Read Together: 4 - 6  
Read Alone: 4 - 6  
Read With: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo; Ida B: ...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan; Love That Dog by Sharon Creech  
Snatch of Text: "There in the bushes along the porch was a dog.  A little black-and-white dog digging so hard that dirt was flying out behind him.  His rear end was stuck up in the air and his scraggly tail was wagging away while his front legs worked faster and faster at the dirt." p. 23
     "As I pushed through the bushes toward the front of the house, I had an uneasy feeling.  My worries seemed to be piling up, one on top of the other, like bricks on a wall." p. 111   
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions, Making Inferences, Visualizing    
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, AAAWWUBBIS, Descriptive Writing, Simile  
Writing Prompts: Describe an animal - it could be your favorite pet, a friend's pet, an animal you saw at the zoo, etc.  Use the sentence, "My worries seemed to be piling up, one on top of the other, like bricks on a wall," to start your own personal narrative about a time when you were worried about something.      
Topics Covered: Family, Poverty, Homelessness, Challenges, Disappointment, Feelings, Right Versus Wrong, Asking For Help  
Translated to Spanish: No


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