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Member: pataustin

CollectionsYour library (143)

Reviews146 reviews

Tagseasy (72), k-3 (36), nonfiction (34), diversity (23), fiction (21), all ages (13), animals (13), gr. 3-6 (13), pk-3 (12), picture book biography (10) — see all tags

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About meI teach children's literature, adolescent literature, and nonfiction at the University of New Orleans, taught children for 20 years, and am the author of The Cat Who Loved Mozart (Holiday House, 2001), illustrated by Henri Sorenson and contributor to The Quilt of States by Adrian Yorinks. I have been editor of the JOURNAL of CHILDREN'S LITERATURE and a member of the committee NOTABLE BOOKS FOR THE LANGUAGE ARTS (NCTE). I facilitate a mother daughter book club at the Lakeview Branch of the New Orleans Public Library. Designed for moms and girls between gr. 4 and 7, the group meets monthly to discuss our selected book.

Nothing is better than curling up with my cats and a good book.

About my libraryHaving lost a large public library (2700 books or so) to the floods of Katrina in 2005, I am stunned at how quickly I have accumulated yet another large personal library (I am a huge fan of second hand book sales, specifically the Symphony Book Fair, held in New Orleans every spring). One collection within my collection includes more than 1000 cat books.

GroupsChildren's Lit 2012, Children's Literature Fall 2011, Children's Literature spring 2014, Fall 2012 Children's Literature, Fall 2012 Nonfiction, FALL 2013 Children's Literature, Fall 2014 Children's Literature, LITERATURE FOR THE GIFTED CHILD: EDLS 6545, Nonfiction Spring 2012, NONFICTION Spring 2014show all groups


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Member sinceJun 6, 2011

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Yes ma'am, I will make sure that I go through them and make sure that they all make sense. Thank you for letting me know.
Thank you so much for your feedback Dr. Austin. I truly appreciate the time you were able to dedicate to my reviews.
I had a feeling I needed some work on my grammar, I will work to improve on that.
I also loved to hear that you thought I was leaning more towards a feminist point of view. I did not realize that that came across in my reviews and I will definitely check out the author you suggested.

Thank you again for all of your help,
Thanks so much!! I truly appreciate it!
The book was both a nonfiction and picture book. The book can teach children about the types of sea mammals and the differences between them. I could see how the rhyming could confuse children learning how to read.
Dr. Austin, thank you so much for all of the wonderful feedback on my book annotations. I am in awe of the time you have put into each one of our libraries, always providing wonderful questions to consider or even more book recommendations! After one of your other comments regarding my picture book rating, I tried to be more generous with the 4/5 stars. To earn a 5 in my mind, a book has to be spectacular. Keeper of Soles definitely was one of them. So glad we got to that in class the other day, and so happy I was able to take home Whirligig and Gentlehands.
Thank you for your comments, Dr. Austin. I will be sure to check out the books that you have recommended.
Thanks for your feedback Dr. Austin.
I changed novel to book in my review. I know the rule but subconsciously make that error so many times. Sorry and thanks for catching it.
Tayler Mae loved Ballerina Dreams. I think my review here were mainly my thoughts, I cannot remember if I shared Tay's.
I would love to read the other military book with Tay that you suggested. I will be reviewing other books soon. Some of my professional reading is for other classes and some of them were for my own pleasure.
I have not read the Reading in the Wild book yet. I forgot to bring it with me to Georgia. I have been reading Using Picture Storybooks to Teach Literary Devices. Thank you for all your suggested titles-- I am adding them to the list of books I want to look for this upcoming week to read. I have been spending most of my time reading The Book Thief this week - haven't quite finished it yet. I love it, but it is a little long for my age group. I am happy to have any book suggestions!
Thanks Dr. Austin for highlighting those resources. I appreciate having a written record to return to should the occasion arise to share this book (or rather, when I make an occasion to do so).
Thank you Dr. Austin! I appreciate your suggestions! I plan on continuing with Libraryrhing. It is a good way to keep track of books. I wish you well and I will stay in touch.
I plan to use them all at one point. I'm also talking to the classroom teachers to see if they are covering the civil rights movement. I thought of starting this and stopping at a poignant moment. Then students can finish reading it. I need to see if we have it in our library. They are already ordering Candy Bomber and Mercedes because students want to read it themselves. They LOVED making the parachutes.
Yes. Our third grade is doing a service learning project on sending supplies to our servicemen and women. I'm going to read this book to the third graders and work with their teachers to write letters to our military. Thank you for your feedback. I'll keep correcting until I get it right.
There's the claim that Henry VIII weighed as much as Jabba the Hutt. I read an estimate that Henry was probably well into the 300 lbs. range. Full-grown Hutts, according to the Star Wars wiki, weigh over 1,000 lbs. I realize the comparison was written as a joke. It doesn't actually bother me, but the author does exaggerate facts for the purpose of creating a particular tone. I only bring it up as a possible criticism.
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback; it means a lot!!
I would've loved to talk to the student who played Gertrude. I remember as a high school student becoming particularly fascinated with the stories of the artists who surrounded Stein during those years. I would love to teach an expat unit sometime-- there are so many intersecting mediums and personalities. Have you seen Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris? I didn't think it was an extraordinary film, but I did love seeing the characters come to life through his imagination.

Thank you Dr. Austin,

I am enjoying the readings! I have found a number of books that I love, have shared with my children, and can't wait to share with my future students.

Unfortunately we are always on break during Read Across America/Dr. Seuss Day. I read Dr. Seuss books on the day we return from Mardi Gras and will definitely read Geisel's biography to my class this year-what a great story!
Oh, the poor book probably didn't deserve quite so scathing a review. I can be a real snob about poetry. I think most people's disdain for it stems from the unappetizing selection they're introduced to in secondary school, and, for me, the book was a rehash of a canon that I think does little to endear teenagers to the form.
Thank you, Dr. Austin. Duly noted - I will be sure to mention whether or not I've read the book cover to cover or skimmed through it.
Thanks Ms. Austin.

I have reread my comments and fixed teh errors and rated all my books.

I will complete my review for frog scientist.
I changed it.
Dr. Austin,

Thank you. I have enjoyed being in this class. I was not sure what to think of this class when I registered but it turned out to be a great learning experience.

Sandra Loya
Dr. Austin,

I enjoyed reading and reviewing/critiquing all of the books you assigned, as well as those that I self-selected for your course. Thanks for helping me to fully grasp how to thoroughly analyze a nonfiction text. I loved your class and learned a great deal that I will take with me into my own classroom.


Cheryl D. Gross
Dr. Austin,

Thanks for assigning such captivating nonfiction books, as well as encouraging me to self-select others which interested me. I've never read so many nonfiction texts that I enjoyed and at the same time learned a great deal from what was presented within them. I truly loved your class and benefited from this experience. Thanks for being such a great professor and teaching me to be open-minded to how nonfiction may be written in a way that can draw the reader into the story as much as a fictional piece can.


Cheryl D. Gross
Dr. Austin,

Thank you, I really appreciated your comment. To answer your question about Stuck in Neutral, I think his father kills him. That was just my immediate reaction, but I was so frustrated when the book ended that way!!

Reflection Paper

As an early childhood educational major I was required to take a Children’s Literature course. This course required me to not only read many diverse books, but to study the entire aspect of the book such as: an author’s study, illustration study, texts, and the underlining meaning of the story. Another thing was to take all that I have learned and create my own children’s book. This is no easy task. When seeking out my literatures based on diversity, at first I was random. I didn’t have a focal point on where I was going so I was all over the place. Later, I would go back to each required novel and use that book as a guide. For instance, Mockingbird is about a girl who had Asperger’s disease. I used the children’s database for focusing on disabilities not just Asperger’s, but deaf, blind, socioeconomics, gay, and racism. I wanted to show some of the issues that children with disabilities go through and how society treats them. In almost all cases, society is just ignorant of a disability and don’t accept the person for who they are.
I also used the database to find picture books on this subject, because a picture book cater more to young children and presents them with illustrations that are in most books, colorful, entertaining and doesn’t make them uncomfortable. The illustrations present subtle messages to young children by using animals and princesses as the main characters. The picture ranges could be from black and white making it cartoon-like as in Wonderstruck to oil, giving it a realistic warm look Desmond and the Very Mean Word, depending on how an author wants to make the child feel about the story. The fonts used in the text varied and gave less than a formal presentation of the story and the word choices could be very playful as to assault the reader’s intellect.
If I had to choose my favorite author, I could not. I enjoyed every book I read.
Folklore: 56
Easy: 65
Poetry: 15
Nonfiction: 11
Biography: 6
Novel: 9
Historical fiction: 9
Speculative fiction (fantasy): 6
Contemporary realistic fiction: 26
Fantasy: 11
Disabilities: 9
Multicultural: 29
Mary Johnson
April 26, 2013
Children’s Literature
Reflective Evaluation
- 146 books
- Easy: 69 books
- Poetry: 12 books
- Folklore: 7 books
- Nonfiction: 24 books
- Biography: 23 books
- Novel: 13 books
- 5 books
- 6 books
- I was very successful in picking books on diversity. I love reading books on diversity because you get to learn about race, gender, cultural, class, and age. Ability was not too difficult because I always got my books from the children’s library on the third floor in the education building. Choosing books on diversity you have to make sure that everything is appropriate in the book. I always like to choose books that I never read before or do not know a lot of details on that society. We live in a diversity society so it is great to learn about every ones history.
This semester I gain a lot of information about reading books and also the different ways to choose them. We have a lot of genres we get to choose from so it makes it more interesting. I never read this many books in my life over fifteen weeks. This gave me the knowledge to preparing myself as being a teacher. I am happy that I took this class because it helped me in many ways. We can learn so much from books because they hold a lot of information. Not only just reading the books and gaining information, we can learn about the author and illustrator as well. I always loved reading books, but now I love it much more. I would recommend everyone to read to gain more knowledge on different genres. I selected my books by the different topics we were on for the week. Some books I just picked up and fail in love with them. I also chose books by the grade level I will be teaching in the future. Just so I can have some books to look back on while teaching my classroom. I do not think my process changed over the semester. Some of my favorite books I read over the semester were, “Betsy B. Little by Anne Mcevoy, A String of Hearts by Laura Elliot, The Just Dessert Club by Joanna Hurtwitz, and the Dynamonde Daniel book series.” They were all good and had different charactertics in the books. I love the Dynamonde Daniel book series because they were some great books about children and friendship. They touch on a lot of topics and also diversity. I know most children and adults would enjoy reading these books. Thank you for recommending me to Nikki Grimes. She is also my new author that I love. She puts in so much work in her book and I like the fact she talked about subjects that most American children are going through while in school. I enjoyed reading easy books and also fiction. I do not have any children on my own, but over the time I was out because of my grandmother’s death I read to my seven year old niece. She also helped me read some of my books. She enjoyed reading with me and she is one of the top students in her class. This was like fun for her because she loves to read.
I did not get the Bearden book from the UNO collection. I got it from the New Orleans library. I try to go to the local libraries to see what they have. I am amazed at how few young adult non fiction they have and how many were published before 1998. There have been so many good books published in the last ten years that they are missing completely.

I did look up the Frida book by J Winters. I have a sort of love hate relationship with Frida's work. It fascinates and repels at the same time. I would like to see what was chosen for a younger audience. I hazard a guess of at least one self-portrait.

I need to look up Walter Anderson. The name is familiar. Do you have the Hester Bass edition in the UNO collection?

Good Afternoon Dr. Austin,

Thank you for the feedback on my midterm. I completely agree with your assessment. After I read your email, I reread my midterm and could not believe that I did not include accuracy in my assignment.

Hi Dr. Austin,

Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed the "fishbowl" exercise you planned for class last night concerning the book Almost Astronauts. It is disheartening that prejudice seems to still exist even among the younger generations. I suppose it stems from how people are raised. Perhaps one day all individuals will be appreciated for their unique talents, qualities, and skills regardless of their sex, race, creed, or religion and will be given equal opportunity and compensation for their hard work and contributions to society. I fear, however, that it may never manifest, at least not in my lifetime. I believe that the root of the problem is connected to fear. People don't want to give up what they have held onto for years and years, and therefore, want to maintain the status quo, in my opinion.


Cheryl D. Gross
Thank you Dr. Austin for your encouraging comments and assessment of my work. I made a concerted effort to fulfill your requirements for the midterm and I'm glad you found my review to meet your expectations. Have a great holiday.


Cheryl D. Gross
Hi Dr. Austin,

Thank you for your comments about "Book." Let me clarify what I meant when I said " Book provided the prefect platform to discuss our literary focus this month, nonfiction biographies." Ella beings "Book" with a question, do you know what your holding? I used this line to introduce my students to nonfiction biographies. I give each of them a biography of Amelia Earhart by Scholastic, had them look through the book and then asked them if they knew "what kind of book they were holding? We discussed the different types of books we had read so far and then I introduced biographies.
The school that I am at is actually set up to encourage interdisciplinary cooperation. They have multidisciplinary teams that teach the same group of kids, for the most part, across all of the subjects. They have multidisciplinary team meetings (math, ELA, science and social studies) as well as single subject meetings with all of the math teachers, for example. They keep tabs on how students are doing across subjects regarding behavior and academics. They can also plan cross curricular topics. I have not seen a true or complete interdisciplinary study as of yet but they will follow themes at times. Recently, they were all covering Greece. In fact, the writing class wanted to know why that had to "do" Greece in their writing class when they were covering it in Social Studies.

The elementary school also has teams that work together. They will also do topical studies together. My hope is that with the common core developing textbooks of all subjects that are to be followed in a certain order, that they can time them to be more conducive to having true interdisciplinary plans.
Hi Dr. Austin,

Thank you for your comments and guidance. I appreciate your input very much. I'm learning everyday and I'm always open to constructive criticism. Thanks for the information about the midterm too. I'm also working on writing my field experience paper. I hope to have it finished this week.


Cheryl D. Gross
Hi Dr. Austin,

I apologize for any mistakes I made when writing my reviews. I try to be as accurate as possible because as a graduate student, the quality of my work is a reflection upon the effort I put into it. It is my goal to be diligent and dedicated concerning the material I produce. I'll be more precise in the upcoming reviews. Thank you for your comments.


Cheryl D. Gross
Yes, I did. I apologize.
Per our conversation I have deleted the reviews and reworded them. I felt these books were great books to have on file because they meant a lot to my daughter when we read them together. Billie Keelen
Sorry it took me so long to switch my profile to public. I've got it straight now. Happy Presidents Day!
suggestions would help, thank you
Dr. Austin,

Thank you for reading my reviews on the books that you have suggested for your course, as well as my self-selected nonfiction choices. I'm enjoying reading such a wide variety of books in this genre. This is the first opportunity that I've had to read such a great selection of nonfiction literature at one time. I appreciate your compliments and insightful comments; both help me to improve my writing for future reviews.


Cheryl D. Gross
Dr. Austin,

Thank you for your comment! I will be sure to check out the history section!

Laura McQueen
Dr. Austin,

Thank you for taking the time to read my rather long reviews on the nonfiction, informational, picture books I chose for your class. These initial reviews have taught me a lot about what to look for in a nonfiction book that is just as entertaining as a fictional, literary text. I apologize for the lengthy paragraphs, but tried to keep the information as concise as possible. Thank you for appreciating my effort to fully scrutinize each book for the next perspective reader. I find value in these types of books in many ways, but the most significant factor that I take to heart is that any one at any age usually enjoys being read to and can learn something new no matter the level of which the book is written. Therefore, I would incorporate many of these types of books in my middle school English classes. Thank you for also noticing my interest in the authors who took the time to write literature that not only entertained the readers, but also informed them of perhaps something they might never have know concerning the process of producing the book in the first place. Knowing their personal backgrounds were also interesting to me and worthy of mentioning, in my opinion. I will try to keep the next reviews more concentrated and comprehensive. Thanks again for all of your helpful and encouraging advice.


Cheryl D. Gross

thank you a lot for your motivating comment. It is very encouraging to hear that my English is not that bad. I used to do a lot of writing all over my English 'career' but unfortunately, my speaking is worse. I am trying to work on that by speaking up in class more often.
According to the books, I agree with you that I more enjoy the high school books. What should not mean that I do not like the picture books! But I always try to relate them to my future lessons at school and sometimes a few picture books are really not adaptable for high school. So, I would really appreciate your recommendations of books for high school.

Thank you,
see you tomorrow!

Dr. Austin,

Thank you for looking over my reviews. I was unsure of how my reviews compared to what you expected from the assignment. I attempted to give my honest opinion of these books as they may relate to a lesson.

My name is Sean Moore (socrnut07). I will try to remind you about the books we discussed when I return them.

If there is anything else I can do, please let me know.


Sean Moore
I have a total of 45 non-fiction books
I have a total of 55 fiction books
I have a total of 15 multicultural books
I have a total of 9 disability books
I had trouble seeking literature to reflect our diverse society. I mostly picked books that I would enjoy reading. There were some books that strike me as books I would not recommend for children to read. However, I mostly found myself reading what I think would be appropriate for me instead of what would be appropriate for young children. Reading these books this semester was fun. I feel like I gained knowledge on children’s literature and it helped me see how children think. Children have big imaginations and reading helps kids connect with that. When selecting my books to read, I was drawn to books with colorful pictures and exciting covers. Throughout the semester, I seem to only choose fairytale books. I find that fairytales are interesting and allows you to use your imagination. Some of my favorite books were by Donald Crews. I did my author study on him and I enjoyed his life story. I like how his books mostly relate to his childhood experiences. One of my favorite books that he wrote was Freight Train. This book can help young children with colors and give them a better understanding of what happens when colors are mixed. It also incorporates trains in the story for young train lovers. Because I had to read so many books this semester, I read them aloud to my nieces. They like to read and be read to so they enjoyed it. I love to hear stories about princess and fairytales. I enjoyed reading them because I like fiction books. I’ve learned a lot the semester doing my readings and now I get pleasure from it more.
Thanks for leaving a comment. I just figured out (this minute) how to read reviewers comments. I still am unable to figure out how to read comments from others on my individual book review. is a little confusing in this way. I still haven't quite figured out how to navigate the website, which is the reason for the miscommunication, I believe. I wish I saw this comment way back when you sent this in October. Thanks!
Thanks for the encouragement. I really enjoy reading the novels you have selected for us to read. Many of the novels I have read are triggered by your author choices. When You Reach Me did trigger me to read a Wrinkle in Time, as well as The
Time Traveler's Wife. It was very interesting comparing the two different books. I have notice myself picking up more fantasy novels since that genre study. I am enjoying your class and the insight it has given me as a future educator. Thanks so much for your guidance as a teacher and an experience educator!!

Dr. Austin,

Thank you for your kind words about my reviews! It's always great to have feedback of any kind, especially from my professors. I will try to do a writing excercise to summarize the Claudette Colvin book; I think that's a great idea.

The choices I've made so far have really just come by coincidence. While reading An Inconvenient Truth, I found it interesting how much focus was given to the Antarctic. Then we read about Shackelton's journey, and I was able to have a better sense of setting. It's amazing how your book list has been so applicable to other works of nonfiction. I look forward to the challenge of making my own list in the future.

Dr. Austin
I had actually read My Louisiana Sky when I was in Elementary school. I remembered that I had loved the book, so I decided to reread it! It is a great chapter book and I would love to someday use it in my own classroom!

For the next two weeks we will be learning all about our bodies. I am not sure what comes after that. We got an updated version of our curriculum.
I thought the Krull book was more appropriate for my grade level (3rd). I will be teaching matter & place value coming up. I would love your suggestions!

I agree with you about the apology poems; I did prefer Sidman's poems to Levine's. Sidman's book had my crying. It was real!

okay as soon as I figure it out I will....
You did leave me a comment, but I moved all to the archives, so I guess you couldn't access the comments. Once again, thanks for a great course. I will miss the class.
Harrie Watson
Thank you for your comments. I am sorry my reviews seem shorter this time and that I did not say as much about the books that I read. I will do better next time. Thank you for a great semester.
Thanks for the comments. I have been finishing up my documentation over this past weekend and today before class. I hope you will recheck my reviews to see the additional books I have documented including the required texts. Thanks!

I've actually been reading quite a lot, but I'm trying to get caught up on entering them in and reviewing them! Sorry for the delay, I hope to get caught up this week.
Dr. Austin,

Sorry about not posting my reviews. I write them in Microsoft Word, and just keep forgetting to post them. I read books with my speech class every day, and I write reviews as we read the books; I just forget to post the reviews afterward.

I like the Scientists in the Field books, but I also like reading about other science-related concepts, since I am new to the science world (I studied English Literature in college). I also threw in some black history month books because there are some really interesting nonfiction children's books about African American history--and I just wanted to read them! Is that okay?

-Chelsea Gist
Dr. Austin,

Thanks for the feedback. I love your idea about the painting activity for kids, they would love that. My undergrad degree was in Communications Studies and I tend to like memoirs in adult non-fiction. I would love to hear your suggestions! Thanks again.

Lauren Yates
Thank you for your feedback, it was very helpful.
I reread most of the post and fixed what I could.
I will work on reviewing them tonight. I added them so I would not lose track of the books I read, but i have not found time to review them. I will have this done by tomorrow eveening.
I am finished with my postings now. Sorry it took so long!

I'm so sorry, Dr. Austin. I did get behind on my postings and I am still working on them, but I will have them finished tonight.
Dr. Austin,

Thank you for the feedback; I was unsure of how best to review the books, so I re-read the syllabus where you stressed the importance of using your voice, so I went with that. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

I think you may have misinterpreted my review of The Giving Tree. While I did say the boy makes a nice example of the importance of gratefulness and reciprocity (and I can see now how that might be misleading), what I meant was, to use him as an example of how NOT to be. I feel that children would probably react similarly to the way I did--as in, How dare he, taking advantage of that poor tree!--which could follow with a discussion about being aware of the give-and-take in their relationships, aiming for a healthy balance.

I loved that you chose to comment on my review of Silverstein's work. I read him as a child and always loved him. I've reacquainted myself with his work through my work for your class, and am seriously considering him for my author's study. I used the public library's databases to pull research on Silverstein earlier this week, and found a book review that quotes Silverstein on The Giving Tree, who dismissed any intention in a "deeper meaning," in response to the religious symbolism that some readers attached to the book. He said he simply meant it to be about two people in a relationship: one gives, and the other takes.

I recently read an article from Reading Teacher advocating the importance of teaching children to find their own meaning in literary works (specifically poems), and that there is not always necessarily a single "message;" the author said that how children interpret something depends on their prior experience and current perspectives. I had to talk myself out of being offended by the sexism that I derived from The Giving Tree at first (re-)read (as an adult); since children are the intended audience, I decided that it is still an appropriate read as (most) children are lucky enough to lack the life experience that would lead them to a sexist interpretation of the book. Sometimes, ignorance IS bliss, you know? =) Yes, this is my attempt to win you back over to Uncle Shelby's side of things. I am having somuchfun re-reading his stuff. It's like catching up with an old friend.

The Giving Tree best relates to me personally as a mother. My son is 3, and our give-and-take is definitely off kilter. Not taking into account that he is my raison d'être (for which I probably owe him my life, in which case, we're even) he is content to ask for and to take whatever he wants, and all I get in return is the occasional compliment or a limp weed of a flower...that always ends up in my favorite vase. So maybe I am the tree? =)
I probably would not recommend it for junior high. There were not any bad words or graphic scenes, but the themes are a bit intense and mature. The main character is an older high school student and is thinking through things in the perspective of a sixteen or seventeen year old. While younger students would enjoy it, I would only encourage high school students to read it.
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