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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Book Uncle and Me

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Author/Publisher/Website: Krishnaswami, U.
Copyright: 2016
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: Nov/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781554988099
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 3-5
(View recommended grades and subjects)

Resource Description

Nine-year-old Yasmin takes action and faces her community’s leaders in an effort to save her favourite corner library run by Book Uncle—a retired teacher. The young girl’s drive to advocate for a cause she believes in makes an impression on mayoral candidates and emphasizes the themes of social justice and community. Suitable for students in Grade 3–5, “Book Uncle and Me” could be used as a novel study or a class read-aloud and could also invite meaningful discussions around civic awareness. Teachers may find opportunities to engage students in discussions about how to make the community better, which may segue into a student-initiated community project.

CURRICULUM FIT

Does the resource support BC curriculum?
Extensively
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Communication
Creative Thinking
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
Comments:
This novel supports the Big Ideas in the Grade 3 Language Arts curriculum that “stories and other texts help us learn about ourselves, our families, and our communities” and that “curiosity and wonder lead us to new discoveries about ourselves and the world around us.” It supports the following Big Ideas in the Grade 4 Language Arts curriculum: “Exploring stories and other texts helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world.” It also supports the Grade 3 Social Studies Big Idea that “people from diverse cultures and societies share some common experiences and aspects of life.”

SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Social Considerations Comments:
There are no social considerations for this book. Everything covered is handled tastefully.

GENERAL CONTENT

Content
Is the resource engaging?
Extensively
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Extensively
Audience:
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Extensively
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Extensively
Can the content be differentiated?
Moderately
Can reading level be adjusted?
Not at all or slightly
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Extensively
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Extensively
Comments:
This is a story of a nine-year-old girl taking action against her town when the mayor makes a decision that she is against. Students in the Grade 3–4 age range could relate to this theme. The story is engaging and the characters are realistic. Social justice is a theme that is timely and important for building students’ broad understandings. Creative and critical thinking is allowed for as the students could analyze Yasmin's actions and create plans of their own. There are line drawings scattered throughout the book; these add interest to the story. The only way to adjust the reading level would be to read the story aloud to the class or have small groups or partners read it to each other.

TECHNICAL DESIGN

Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Extensively
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Extensively
Is the resource easy to use?
Extensively
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Extensively
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
Extensively
Comments:
This resource is a book that is divided into numbered chapters. Each chapter has a title. The pages are numbered for easy reference. The illustrations are scattered about and add interest. The font is a good size for Grade 3–4 readers. In the back of the book, there is a list of discussion questions and classroom activity ideas that teachers may find helpful.

PRINT NOVEL

Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Extensively
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
Extensively
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Extensively
Plot description:
Yasmin, a nine-year-old avid reader, is dismayed to discover that her favourite corner library run by a retired teacher, Book Uncle, has been shut down because he is operating without a permit. Yasmin raises a delegation of her friends to make an impression on the candidates that are running for mayor and hopefully find one that will issue Book Uncle a permit so that he can continue to run the lending library. Yasmin and her group start a letter-writing campaign and involve as many community members as possible.
Related Comments:
The characters in this book are well thought out and believable. The cause of saving a community institution will appeal to this age level. The story is told in the first person through the eyes of Yasmin, the main character. Yasmin also struggles with friendship and perceived betrayal when she discovers that her friend Reeni's father had a part to play in shutting down the mobile library. Reeni's family is struggling with money since her father has lost his job.
Genre:
Contemporary
Literary Highlights:
Rich Characterization
Well-developed themes
Point of view
Type:
Novel
Visual Highlights:
Novel

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Readability:
At intended grade level(s)
Comments:
In the back of the book, there is a list of discussion questions and activities. This book won the Crossword Boo Award for Children's Literature in 2013.

SUGGESTED CLASSROOM USAGE

Comments:
This book could be used as a novel study or a class read-aloud. It could be used to spark discussion about civic awareness, stressing the point that every citizen matters. The book is set in India, but this could lead to discussions/activities about how people—even though there are differences in cultures—have the same basic needs, and in many cases, the same interests. The book could also be used to discuss things that make a community better and perhaps help to spearhead a community project.
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