March 2016 Issue
March 24, 2016

Check it out: There are no buffalo in Buffalo

Source: NYSUT United

Check it out - There are no buffalo in BuffaloBy Sally Valentine
Illustrations by Suzanne Valentine

Recommended by: Mary Ellen Gentile, retiree, Rochester TA

Suitable for: Most ages

Why I chose this book: This book of poetry is like taking a field trip through New York State. With its quaint illustrations, it features children's poems about places from A (Albany, Ausable Chasm, Adirondacks) to Z (Zena, Zurich, Ground Zero, Bronx Zoo).

What I liked best: The author takes the mind back in time, recreating places and events we sometimes only know about through documentaries. "Mr. Levitt built some houses for families after the European war … it was hard to tell one from its twin next door …" reads a poem about Levittown. "This development was the first mass-produced suburban community in the country" is the historical fact.

How teachers can use this book: The creativity of the poetic verses can be used to motivate student authors to create their own writings in the same fashion. Comparing and contrasting, cause and effect are just a sprinkle of strategies teachers can create for students that might also motivate group activities and class presentations.

About the author: Sally Valentine has also written several mysteries for ages 9–12, set in Rochester. Illustrator Suzanne Valentine, the author's sister, also lives in Rochester.

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians and other educators. Have a recommendation? Send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to