Remembering Mrs. Rossi
Author: Amy Hest
Illustrator: Heather Maione
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: January, 2007
Genre/Format: Realistic fiction/Novel
Summary: After Annie's mother, Mrs. Rossi a 5/6 grade teacher, dies suddenly, she finds herself and her father struggling to survive without her. On evening they are invited to a concert and assembly at her mother's school where her school presents a book to them dedicated to Mrs. Rossi and written by the students. Annie immediately finds refuge within the pages of the book. We then follow Annie's first year without her mother and how she struggles with the changes her life's changes and learning how to grow up without her mother.
What I Think: I liked this book for a couple of different of reasons. First, I felt that the characters were quite real. My favorite was Annie's father- I really liked him. He is a funny, sweet character and is a great father. Most of the adults, including Annie's teacher and their friendly neighbor, in the book were really realistic and well done.
Second, this book celebrates being education and reading. Both of Annie's parents are teachers and they often read. Many scenes within the book take place during school or in Annie's father's classroom. Annie also finds solace in a book throughout the novel, specifically the book that Mrs. Rossi's students wrote about her.
Third, I really loved that the at the end of the book, the actual Remembering Mrs. Rossi book from her students is shared and Amy Hest did such a great job at creating a book filled with poetry and essays written as if students in 5/6 grade did so.
Lastly, one of the most important things a book can do is make a child feel not alone and the death of a parent is one of the hardest things that a child will have happen to them- Remembering Mrs. Rossi combines these two things and would definitely help a child work through a loss in their life.
Read Together: Grades 2 to 5
Read Together: Grades 2 to 5
Read Alone: Grades 3 to 6
Read With: Letters for Leo by Amy Hest, The Great Green Notebook of Katie Roberts by Amy Hest, B is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood, Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm, Hound Dog True by Linda Urban, Marty McGuire series by Kate Messner
Snatch of Text: "Annie and her father often leave each other notes around the house, many of which have something to do with chores, such as this one:
Annie please! Dirty clothes belong in the hamper... and NOT on the bathroom floor!
Or this one:
You forgot to take me to the library. Now my library books are LATE, and Miss Madison will make you pay a fine.
But on this snowy morning, the note Annie finds has nothing to do with chores:
Lucky you, Annie! No school today!
So go back to sleep.
Or better yet, join me for breakfast..." (p.30-31)
Mentor Text for: Poetry, Dialogue, Tone, Characterization
Writing Prompts: Think of something you have loved and lost. Think of 4 things incidences or aspects of the person/thing you loved and write 4 poems or essays about what you lost. Use Remembering Mrs. Rossi by her students for examples.; What do you think Annie misses the most about her mother? Use examples from the book to support your answer.
Topics Covered: Death of a Parent, Family, School
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