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Updated by Hallie Fields on Dec 02, 2014
Headline for Belle Teal and Feathers
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Belle Teal and Feathers

This curated content collection will focus on two books, Belle Teal by Ann M. Martin and Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. This list is aimed at teachers who are using Belle Teal and Feathers with their students. This list will provide resources on the books, authors, and topics covered by the books. After recommending these two books be paired together, the school library has compiled this list of further resources.

Belle Teal Discussion Guide |

This discussion guide comes from Scholastic, which is the publisher of Belle Teal. The discussion guide provides information about the book, its historical context, and a basic outline. It also includes discussion points on settings, characters, and themes. Most notably, this resource provides other read-alike fiction books that focus on school integration and race along with recommended nonfiction titles that have more historical information on the time period. The guide also has teacher resources and information about Ann M. Martin.

An Interview with Ann M. Martin, author of Belle Teal & The Baby-sitters Club!

This interview with Ann M. Martin, the author of Belle Teal, discusses how she came up with the idea for the novel. This interview reveals that Martin had a similar experience with having a new student come to her class that was seen as different from the rest of her classmates. Martin also talks about her own upbringing and her father's southern roots that inspired the story. This interview can help you talk to your class about some of their own experiences that could inspire a novel.

Letter from Ann: The Premier of Belle Teal | Scholastic

This is a letter written from Ann M. Martin to her fans. This letter was written as she was preparing for Belle Teal to be published. She provides insight into the creative process and getting a book published. This can be useful in starting a conversation about authors that can be connected to a book that your students have read.

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

This video, featured on Jacqueline Woodson's website, features text from Feathers with powerful images that match the tone and story. This video could be used in class to talk about story elements and mood.

Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature

This interview with Jacqueline Woodson, author of Feathers, focuses on the deaf character she created in her book. This interview allows Woodson to speak on the lack of deaf and diverse characters in children's books and how she hoped to accurately portray someone who is deaf. This interview is eye opening and Woodson's comments can be used as a starting point for a discussion on diverse characters in literature.

Teacher Resources on Jacqueline Woodson

This resource is from Jacqueline Woodson's website. This page is her "Teachers" section and it provides some insight on how to use her books in the classroom. This site also links to other resources where teachers can find more information on how to use her books.

Through My Eyes

Looking for some nonfiction books to pair with these fiction books? This book, written by Ruby Bridges, a student who became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, expands on her experience as one of the first students to integrate into an all white school. This book is based on Bridges' memories and newspaper stories. It also features a timeline of the events of the Civil Rights Movement. Belle Teal and Feathers both feature a form of integration, both forced and coincidental, but neither of the main characters are the ones who are integrating. This book can provide students with a first person perspective from a student who had to integrate.

Oh, Freedom!

Personal interviews and accounts of the Civil Rights Movement can connect students to the time period. This book provides some more detailed information about the time period that Belle Teal and Feathers cover. This book features interviews conducted by children in a 4th grade class, which is the target age of these two fiction books as well. This book covers all of the major topics of the Civil Rights Movement and allows voices from the past to finally be able to tell their story. This source could be a great way to invite students to talk to their own parents, grandparents, and others about their experience with the Civil Rights Movement.

Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature

Jacqueline Woodson creates an accurate portrayal of a character with hearing loss. This blog provides more information on books for adolescents that have deaf characters. Readers may be interested in finding more diverse characters and this blog provides titles, reviews, and other information about deaf characters. Feathers and Belle Teal encourage reading about diversity and this blog can help prepare you to provide more reading suggestions if needed.

About the Newbery Medal

Jacqueline Woodson's book, Feathers, was a Newbery Honor book in 2008. Here is some background information about the award given to children's books each year. Teachers can provide historical information about the medal to students and discuss other books that have won a medal or honor that they may have read in the class. This will go together with the library's section of Newbery winners and our discussions on the topic.

"Hope" is the thing with feathers - (314) by Emily Dickinson : The Poetry Foundation

The Emily Dickinson poem, "Hope" is the Thing With Feathers, is an important symbol used throughout the book in Feathers. Frannie is reading the book in class and references it several times in different parts of the book as she tries to dissect its meaning. Share the full poem with your class.

Warning Signs

Both Belle Teal and Feathers feature instances of bullying in school and from classmates. One of Belle Teal's classmates also silently suffers from child abuse in the book. Both of these are heavy and important topics to discuss when reading these books as a class. Take the time to look through resources and listen to what the students say about the bullying in the book and in their lives. These books can give us a way to start a conversation about several important topics.

Belle Teal

This book review, written by an 11 year old reader, provides insight into the way that children learn about racism, segregation, and societal change. The author reveals that this book made her look at prejudice and racism in a "new light" because of the close connection the character has and what she learns through the story. Your students can practice writing by constructing their own reviews with a focus on what the book helped them learn about a time period that they were not alive during. Reviews can also help them connect the events of the past to the current racially charged events of today and give them a place to reflect.