Wednesday, January 9, 2013

People in the News Biographies

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.

Title: People in the News: Jon Stewart; People in the NewsSuzanne Collins
Author: Randy Scherer; Elizabeth Hoover
Publisher: Lucent books
Publication Date: November, 2011; June, 2012
Genre/Format: Biography/Non-fiction book
Goodreads Summary: "People in the News" profiles the lives and careers of some of today's most prominent newsmakers. Whether covering contributions and achievements or notorious deeds, books in this series examine why these well-known individuals garnered public attention.
What I Think: Whenever my school library gets a new set of non-fiction books, I always try to grab a couple of the ones that interest me so I can try to find some good ones to share here and with students. When my media specialist received a new stack of biographies, I quickly grabbed these two because they are both people I admire yet don't know too much about their back story, how they came to be where they are today or their personal life. I'm always hesitant when I pick up a biography because I find most of the basic biographies quite boring. Now this may be because they are usually about the same old people and include no narrative aspect at all. These books are definitely not about the same old people and I found that they were better than average when telling the story of the lives of these people. It was a nice mix of information and narrative. 
     This series includes books on entertainment, political, sports and literary stars including Ellen Degeneres, Al Gore, Alex Rodriguez, J.K. Rowling, and Justin Timberlake. 
Read Together: Grades 4 to 10
Read Alone: Grades 5 to 9
Snatch of Text: "Comedy Central's Ongoing Indecision Comedy Central had used the title Indecidion once before for politically themed broadcasting, when Al Franken hosted the network's coverage of Bill Clinton's 1992 run to the White House. Hoever, Jon Stewart developd the concept further. Under Stewart's lead, Indecision satirizes more than just politics - it also takes aim at how the news media covers politics." (Jon Stewart, p. 41) 

"Mythical Inspiration for Contemporary Times If The Hunger Games reads like a myth, as Miller says, it is because Collins found her inspiration in Greek Mythology. She fell in love with these ancient tales when she was young, reading her mother's copy of A Child's Book of Myths and Enchanted Tales. One myth in particular - that of Theseus and the Minotaur - resonated with Collins because it showed how ruthless leaders keep their power by threatening the population and how one courageous person can stand up to a tyrant. (Suzanne Collins, p. 11) 
Mentor Text for: Non-fiction text features, Primary vs. Secondary sources, Research
Writing Prompts: Using evidence from the texts, share how Collins's and Stewart's parents influenced their career. How would their life have been different if they had different parents? 
Topics Covered: Politics, Religion, Comedy, Television; Scripting, History, Mythology
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