By 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.
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