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A Teacher's Guide to Books by
Eve Bunting


Train to Somewhere
The Wednesday Surprise
Jin Woo

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story
The Memory String


Eve Bunting is a wonderful writer to introduce to your second-, third-, or fourth-grade class. Her picture books have the emotional depth and richness of much longer fiction, giving children all the satisfactions that come with the best literature.

The language in Eve Bunting's picture books is simple, but absolutely precise. As readers, we get a sense of the care with which each word was chosen: for its meaning, its sound, and its rhythm. The stories Eve Bunting tells, whether historical or contemporary, are easy to follow and understand. Thy are rich in emotional impact. Whatever the subject, she colors her stories with warmth and humor. The details in her books make everything real — almost tangible — to young readers. Her characters are people we know. They come alive for us and invite us to see ourselves or others we love in them.

Whether you select Eve Bunting for an author study or use her books individually to enrich curriculum, you and your students will find satisfying, heartwarming, and unforgettable experiences.

Throughout her career, Eve Bunting has written books that span the ages of childhood. The five picture books covered in this guide have been selected to work independently and together in second- through fourth-grade classrooms. The books will fit into reading and writing programs, literature, social studies units, American history, thematic studies, and art.


Train to Somewhere
Illustrated in full color by Ronald Himler
"Inspired by a little-known chapter of American history, this characteristically incisive collaboration from Bunting and Himler imagines a journey on one of the many 'Orphan Trains' that, between the mid-1850s and the late 1920s brought children from New York City orphanages to adoptive families in the West. . . . Himler's watercolor and gouache paintings offer polished portraits of the period as they convey the plot's considerable emotion. Like Bunting's text, his art is at once sobering and uplifting — and assuredly memorable." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Beyond this gentle story lie the social issues of our day." — School Library Journal, starred review

• An ALA Booklist Editor's Choice
• A Jefferson Cup Honor Book

The Wednesday Surprise
Illustrated in full color by Donald Carrick
"With the groundswell of attention on literacy, this book is the perfect manifesto to the cause. The first-person account tells of the special gift that seven-year-old Anna and her grandmother have planned for dad's birthday: secretly, the two read books together until finally the grandmother has learned to read . . . This is an enriching account of new literacy among older Americans that will be enjoyed by all readers." — School Library Journal, starred review

"A gentle charmer." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

• A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
• An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"
• An ALA Notable Children's Book

Jin Woo
Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
"Jin Woo's story is told in the present tense from the viewpoint of the baby's older brother, a six- or seven-year-old named David, who is also adopted. He is alternately sad, hopeful, unbelieving, and excited at this change in his life. . . . David's parents are understandably thrilled, with their joyous emotions captured in both Bunting's text and in Soentpiet's detailed, realistic paintings." — Kirkus Reviews

"A solid choice for adoption shelves, especially for those looking for material on international adoption." — ALA Booklist

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story
Illustrated in full color by Beth Peck
"Eloquently told, with lush, affecting illustrations, here is a Thanksgiving story that knows no season or race, but is for everyone all 'round." — Publishers Weekly

"A compassionate depiction of the plight of our recent would-be immigrants." — Kirkus Reviews

• An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"
• An Association of Children's Booksellers Children's Choice

The Memory String
Illustrated in full color by Ted Rand
"A string of treasured buttons becomes a metaphor for a young girl's struggle to accept her new stepmother in this poignant exploration of love and loss. . . . Bunting has found an original way to tell an old story about making room for new memories." — Kirkus Reviews

"Bunting trusts readers to interpret behavior and understand complex emotions without her having to provide a moral or dramatic ending. Instead,the story offers a hopeful beginning and invites readers to think about ways to remember family history." — School Library Journal

• An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"

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