By Jenny Stenis and Valerie Kimble, PLS Readers Services
For children too young for Tobias Wolff’s Old School, Pioneer Library System offers a Little Read: a selection of books suitable for younger children to read and discuss. The themes of these titles relate to lying, copying or other forms of cheating. These titles are offered as book discussion kits with multiple copies of the book and a folder of questions, information, and activities—everything needed to conduct a successful and fun program and to get the children thinking about this common ethical dilemma in their everyday lives.
The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman GR 4-6
Twelve-year-old Gil Goodson is determined to enter this year’s Gollywhopper Games held by the Golly Toy & Game Company in his hometown of Orchard Heights. Many obstacles threaten to destroy his chances. A lot depends on Gil’s winning--mainly to have the money to move and make a fresh start. Everyone in town (even his sports and school friends) seems to have turned on his family since “The Incident” which involved Gil’s dad being accused of embezzling money from the Golly Company. Gil has practiced for months on problem solving and he knows every fact about the history of the Golly Company. The day of the games brings many challenges for young Gil, both mental and physical--competing against thousands of other kids at extraordinary puzzles, trivia and stunts. And every step—every mistake—will be broadcast on national television!
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman GR 4-6
The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker--Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively--are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together and attracting a lot of attention. Attention is exactly what you don't want when you are keeping a secret. Before long, members of the D Squad (as they are called at school) are getting strange Instant Messages from a shady guy named Milner; their teacher, Miss Rasmussen is calling private meetings with each of them and giving them pop tests that they are failing; and someone has leaked the possibility of a homework machine to the school newspaper. Just when the D Squad thinks things can't get any more out of control, Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Soon the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail...or worse!
Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants by Barbara Park GR 1-3
No one wants to be a cheater pants, a 'nasty, rotten ratty pants,' especially not first-grader Junie B. Jones. One day when she neglects to do her homework, she leans over to copy prissy, perfect, punctual May's paper. After being busted in an embarrassing fashion, Junie B. laments in her journal, “I wish I could disappear into thin hair.” Fortunately, with the help of her teacher, Mr. Scary, she learns her lesson: she wasn't 'borrowing' May's homework; she was, in fact, cheating. Or was she?
Fancy Nancy, Splendid Speller by Jane O’Connor GR 1-3
Nancy, who loves to use fancy words, and her friend Bree are proud to be the best spellers in their class, but when a spelling quiz proves tougher than Nancy thought, Nancy is faced with a difficult decision.
I Repeat, Don't Cheat! by Margery Cuyler GR K-3
Loyalty is the theme in this lively picture book. Jessica is a worrywart, and her latest source of anxiety is her best friend, Lizzie, who copies Jessica's spelling words and lies to the teacher. Should Jessica say something to Lizzie, to the teacher, or to Mom and Dad? If she tells, her friend will be mad. If she keeps quiet, she will feel dishonest and angry. When Jessica writes a poem that Lizzie is praised for, she finds it difficult to hide her feelings. The situation comes to a head when Lizzie takes advantage of her once again and Jessica loses her temper. Finally, she explodes, and the teacher talks to her about what helping means. Of course, the friends make up. The happy ending about forgiveness will spark as much discussion as the conflict will: neither is easy, and both words and pictures capture the complexity of the situation, to which there is no neat resolution.
Kits contain 12 books and a notebook with activities and book discussion questions.
Gollywhopper Games and Homework Machine kits contain an activity and guide book with additional material called Plagiarism, Plagiarism: 25 Fun Games and Activities to Teach Documenting and Sourcing Skills to Students by Kathleen Fox.
Junie B, Fancy Nancy and I Repeat, Don’t Cheat! also have The Boy Who Cried Wolf with complementary activities.
These kits will be available beginning January 1, 2013. Call Jenny Stenis at 701-1835 or Valerie Kimble at 701-1836 to book them.