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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom


Agriculture-Related Books

Multicultural Themes

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English
Ada, Alma Flor, Zubizarreta, Rosa, and Simon Silva
Rayo, 2001
Grades PreK-5
An alphabet book with exceptional illustrations and excellent poetry that gives voice to the experience of Hispanic agricultural workers. Each letter is matched with a Spanish word (for example, "arboles" for "A") and accompanied by a poem in both Spanish and English that describes how the plant, fruit, vegetable, person, or feeling functions in the lives of these workers. The colors are brilliant, and the scope has a larger-than-life sense to it. This is a book that begs to be read aloud to all students, whether they are Spanish speaking or not. The sound of the poems will draw them in. The touching elegy for Cesar Chavez successfully imparts the impact of a heroic man on his people.
The Multicultural Cookbook for Students
Albyn, Carole Lisa
Oryx, 1993
Grades 6-9
Stressing safety and adult assistance, the authors give young cooks a taste of the culture and foods of 122 countries through 337 authentic recipes in a book that is arranged geographically by continent or region--Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America. Each of the seven sections opens with a general, but brief, description of the area and its culinary traditions; within the sections, the countries and their typical foods are introduced (outline maps show where each country is located), and in general, at least two recipes for each country are listed.
Return to Sender
Alvarez, Julia
Yearling, 2010
Grades 6-9
After 11-year-old Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, the family is in danger of losing their dairy farm. Desperate for help, Tyler's family employs a family of undocumented Mexican laborers, the Cruz family, to move into a trailer on the farm and run the farm. The extended families grow close over the course of one year with holiday celebrations and shared gatherings.
Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories
Atkin, S. Beth
Little Brown, 2000
Grades 4-6
A compendium of interviews, poems and photographs spotlighting nine migrant Mexican-American children in California's Salinas Valley.
Cesar: Si, Se Puede! Yes, We Can!
Bernier-Grand, and David Diaz
Marshall Cavendish, 2005
Grades 6-8
Poetry and illustrations highlight Cesar Chavez' struggle to empower migrant workers using peaceful protest.
The Circle of Thanks: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving
Bruchac, Joseph, and Murv Jacob
Troll, 2003
Grades 1-5
Bruchac gathers 14 traditional Native American poems of appreciation and respect for nature's gifts. It is a wide sampling, drawn from Cherokee, Kwakiutl, Pawnee, Navajo and more.
Today is Monday
Carle, Eric
Philomel, 1993
Grades PreK-3
Each day of the week brings a new food. When Sunday arrives, children from around the world gather to share their favorite foods.
Dia's Story Cloth
Cha, Dia
Lee and Low, 1998
Grades K-5
A Laos woman recounts her family's wartime displacement, during which she was forced to flee to a refugee camp in Thailand and remain away from her home for four years, in a story that is illustrated by a lavish Vietnamese story cloth.
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folk Tale
Scholastic, 1997
Grades K-6
The story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. Remember your math? That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long time - and to teach a greedy raja a lesson.
So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscol, An Irish Mill Girl, Lowell Massachusetts, 1847
Denenberg, Barry
Scholastic, 2003
Grades 4-7
Fourteen-year-old Mary Driscoll and her family have lived in terrible poverty in the Irish countryside every since the potato famine began several years ago. When Mary is offered a chance to join her aunt and older sister in America, she jumps at the chance to seek a better life for herself. But after a long, stormy, and miserable ocean voyage, Mary arrives in America to find that it is nothing like she expected. She takes a job in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, where she is scorned by most of the American workers and expected to work long hours under terrible, unsafe conditions. There are few bright spots in this account of the life faced by many girls in New England cities during the mid-nineteenth century, and most of what happened to the fictional character of Mary happened to various girls who lived back then and worked in factories and mills.
Under the Same Sky
DeFelice, Cynthia
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005
Grades 5-9
Joe Pedersen, 14, begrudgingly joins the migrant workers on his father's upstate New York farm to earn the $1,000 he needs to buy a Thunderbird motorbike. Determined to show his father he can keep pace with Manuel, the 16-year-old crew boss, Joe painfully adjusts to the grueling routine of planting, hoeing and weeding cabbages and picking strawberries. Previously insensitive to the plight of the migrants, Joe begins to grasp the hardships, uncertainty, loyalty and courage of these laborers who are often ridiculed and threatened by his peers and other whites in the community.
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folk Tale
Scholastic, 1996
Grades K-2
The story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. Remember your math? That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long time--and to teach a greedy raja a lesson.
A Yellow Watermelon
Dunagan, Ted M.
Junebug, 2007
Young Adult
In rural south Alabama in 1948, whites picked on one side of the cotton field and blacks on the other. In Yellow Watermelon, 12-year-old Ted meets Poudlum, a black boy his own age, where the fields meet. Poudlum teaches Ted how to endure the hard work while they bond and go on to integrate the field.
Gabriel's Story
Durham, David Anthony
Doubleday, 2001
Young Adult
Set in the 1870s, the novel tells the tale of Gabriel Lynch, an African American youth who settles with his family in the plains of Kansas. Dissatisfied with the drudgery of homesteading and growing increasingly disconnected from his family, Gabriel forsakes the farm for a life of higher adventure. Thus begins a forbidding trek into a terrain of austere beauty, a journey begun in hope, but soon laced with danger and propelled by a cast of brutal characters.
Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
Faruqi, Reem, and Lea Lyon
Tilbury House, 2015
Grades K-3
Lailah recently moved from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City, GA, and while she misses her friends back in the Middle East, she is very excited to be old enough to fast during Ramadan. Being new is one thing, but being different is another. What if her class doesn't know what Ramadan is? What if she is the only one fasting? Lailah falters when it is time to give Mrs. Penworth a note asking that she be excused from lunch, and she has to endure the tempting smells of food and kind offers of her classmates to share lunch. She escapes to the foodless library, where the school librarian encourages Lailah to write down her feelings and share them with her teacher. The large illustrations provide gentle details that add depth to the text. A note and glossary provide context from the author's life and information about Islamic culture.
Burro's Tortillas
Fields, Terry, and Sherry Rogers
Sylvan Dell, 2007
Grades PreK-3
A corn tortilla version of the Little Red Hen story.
My Migrant Family Story
Garcia, Lilia
Pinata, 2013
Grades 5 and up
Autobiographical vignettes about the trip the author's family took each year from McAllen, Texas, to Michigan to pick summer crops.
Native American Festivals and Ceremonies
Glatzer, Jenna
Mason Crest, 2002
Grades 5 and up
Describes some of the ceremonies and festivals that Native American peoples use to celebrate special occasions, give thanks, etc.
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
Goble, Paul
Atheneum, 2001
Grades K-2
For most people, being swept away in a horse stampede during a raging thunderstorm would be a terrifying disaster. For the young Native American girl in Paul Gobl''s 1979 Caldecott-winning masterpiece. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, it is a blessing. Although she loves her people, this girl has a much deeper, almost sacred, connection to her equine friends. The storm gives her the opportunity to fulfill her dream -to live in a beautiful land among the wild horses she loves. With brilliant, stylized illustrations and simple text, Paul Goble tells the story of a young woman who follows her heart and the family that respects and accepts her uniqueness.
The Legend of Jimmy Spoon
Gregory, Kristiana
Graphia, 2002
Young Adult
Twelve-year-old Jimmy Spoon yearns for a life of adventure. So when two Shoshoni boys offer him a horse, Jimmy sneaks away from his family in Salt Lake City to follow the boys. When Jimmy arrives at the Shoshoni camp, he discovers that he is expected to stay - as a member of the tribe. Inspired by the memoirs of a white man who actually lived with Chief Washakie's tribe as a boy in the mid-1800s. (The Legend of Jimmy Spoon is a compelling coming-of-age adventure.)
The People Could Fly: The Picture Book
Hamilton, Virginia
Knopf/Random House, 2005
Grades 3-5
A group of African slaves working in cotton fields in America escape an abusive overseer through magic recalled from Africa.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Hospkinson, Deborah
Dragonfly, 1995
Grades K-3
As a seamstress in the Big House, Clara dreams of a reunion with her Momma, who lives on another plantation - and even of running away to freedom. Then she overhears two slaves talking about the Underground Railroad. In a flash of inspiration, Clara sees how she can use the cloth in her scrap bag to make a map of the land - a freedom quilt - that no master will ever suspect.
Buffalo Days
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane, and Lawrence Migdale
Holiday House, 1997
Grades 4-6
Portrait of a young Crow Indian boy - Clarence Three Irons, Jr., a.k.a. Indian - living in Lodge Grass, Montana. Indian's father raises cattle and horses, and manages the Crow buffalo herd. The buffalo has always been a critical element in Crow culture and the herd's return from near- extinction is an important link for the Crow with their past. The ways in which the Crow have preserved and extended their cultural heritage is Hoyt-Goldsmith's focus, including the annual round-up reflecting the grand buffalo days - the fair and rodeo offering a chance to build and camp in tipis, don ceremonial garb, and attend to sacred dances.
Hasty Pudding, Johnnycakes, and Other Good Stuff: Cooking in Colonial America
Ichord, Loretta Frances
Millbrook, 1998
Grades K-3
Facts about America's culinary heritage covering such topics as manners, food preservation, and culinary staples such as corn. Ichord also includes a section on regional diversity and one she calls "Soul Cooking," which focuses on the unique cuisine created by slaves. Recipes for popular dishes, updated for modern kitchens and accompanied by clear directions and discussion of how the same dish would have been prepared by colonial cooks, conclude each chapter. Children will need adult help when they prepare the food, but they'll have fun learning the history and making such dishes as johnnycakes, pumpkin soup, and, of course, hasty pudding.
Celebrating Norouz: Persian New Year
Jalali, Yassaman, and Marjan Zamanian
Saman, 2003
Grades 4-6
Simple and colorful, this book introduces the Persian New Year to children. Includes three crafts.
Black Women of the Old West
Katz, William Loren
Atheneum, 2007
Young Adult
Using primary sources and featuring dozens of black-and-white archival photographs and reproductions, Katz recounts stories of African American women who made the journey west and illuminates the times in which they lived and their reasons for going. Some women of color escaped west from slavery. Others sued for freedom after being taken there by their owners. Still others came as mail-order brides. Many black women flourished on the frontier, where they found more opportunities for education and better paying jobs.
Food, Farming, and Hunting (American Indian Contributions to the World)
Keoke, Emory Dean, and Kay Marie Porterfield
Facts on File, 2005
Grades 4 and up
By the time European conquistadores and colonizers arrived in the Americas, starting in 1492, American Indians had already invented sophisticated hunting and fishing technology. They gathered hundreds of plants for food, fiber, and medicine, and first domesticated three-quarters of the food crops raised in the world today. The volume identifies the many foods North American, Mesoamerican, and South American Indians gathered, discusses the birth of agriculture in the Americas, and describes the plants that were eventually domesticated and farmed. Later developments and improvements in farming, such as irrigation and the use of fertilizer, are also covered.
A Cool Drink of Water
Kerley, Barbara
National Geographic Children's, 2006
Grades 4-6
International tour of water gathering around the world. A boy fills a jug from a drainpipe; women in burqua balance brass pots on their heads. A concluding section expands briefly on each image's location and story. A final essay provides statistics about water conservation. Excellent for cross-cultural discussions.
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
Krull, Kathleen, and Yuyu Morales
Harcourt, 2003
The story of Cesar Chavez's 340-mile march to protest the working conditions of migrant farmworkers in California. Readers meet Chavez at his grandparents' home in Arizona where he lived happily amid a large extended family. His childhood was cut short when, due to financial difficulties, the family was forced to move to California to seek employment. After years of laboring in the fields, Chavez became increasingly disturbed by the inhuman living conditions imposed by the growers. The text is largely limited to one side of a spread; beautifully rendered earth-toned illustrations flow out from behind the words and onto the facing page.
Wonder Horse: The True Story of the World's Smartest Horse
McCully, Emily
Henry Holt & Co., 2010
Grades PreK-2
Bill Key, born a slave, overcame many obstacles to become a veterinarian and a business man. Key's horse, Jim, is eventually recognized as the world's smartest horse and accompanied Key in his work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Buffalo Gals: Women of the Old West
Miller, Brandon Marie
Lerner, 1997
Grades 4-7
Miller's book acquaints children with a historically accurate picture of the daily life of 19th Century women of the western frontier. Without neglecting the story of the Native American women who lived on the frontier, Miller catches both the bone-wearying labor and the excitement that sometimes made living in the West worthwhile. She augments her text with excerpts from journals and memoirs as well as photographs from regional archives, which are especially effective because the images are not familiar ones.
The Rainbow Tulip
Mora, Pat, and Elizabeth Sayles
Puffin, 2003
Grades PreK-3
Despite her awareness that her Hispanic family is different from toher families in the neighborhood, Stella fits in well and enjoys school. When she goes to the May parade at school in a tulip costume of many colors, she worries she will look different from everyone else. However, her perfect execution of the Maypole dance, her teacher's approval, and, above all, her mother's quiet love contribute to a perfect day for Stella.
Carver: A Life in Poems
Nelson, Marilyn
Front Street, 2001
Young Adult
One of the very few black Americans accorded great respect before the 1960s was botanist and educator George Washington Carver. In this biography in poems, Nelson traces Carver from his recovery after being kidnapped in infancy to his death. The life in between is characterized by hard work, intellectual curiosity, personal humility, devotion to the betterment of black Americans, enormous self-possession, and practical Christian piety.
Esperanza Rising
Ryan, Pam Munoz
Scholastic, 2002
Grades 4-6
Esperanza's mother escapes her stepbrothers, who are holding her as a social and economic hostage, by moving with Esperanza to the US to work in California's agricultural industry. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, this book should make good classroom discussion.
Noodle Pie
Starke, Ruth
Kane Miller, 2010
Pre-teen novel follows an 11-year-old boy raised in Australia on a trip to Vietnam, where his father takes him to explore his roots. Food becomes his touchstone for learning about Vietnamese culture. Includes several recipes.
O'Dell, Scott
Laurel Leaf, 2006
Young Adult
Carlota thinks her role in life is to take the place of her dead brother to please her father. At 16 she races her stallion, dives for gold in shark-infested waters and fights in the Mexican-American War. But her most difficult feat is to defy her father and become her own person.
George Washington Carver: Ingenious Inventor
Olson, Nathan
Capstone, 2006
Grades 1-7
Comic book-style word balloons tell the story of George Washington Carver, beginning with his life as a slave, his mother's kidnapping and his adoption by the Carvers, his education and his success as an inventor. Includes a timeline of his life, a glossary and recommended reading list.
The Tortilla Factory
Paulsen, Gary
Harcourt, Brace, 1995
Grades K-3
Paulsen tells young readers how a corn seed eventually becomes a tortilla. "The black earth sleeps in winter...," but in the spring, it is worked by brown hands that plant the yellow seeds. Seeds become plants, and then the corn is ground into flour and sent to the tortilla factory. The flour disks come off the machine, are packaged, and eventually arrive in kitchens -" to be wrapped around juicy beans and eaten by white teeth, to fill a round stomach and give strength to the brown hands that work the black earth." This circular telling works nicely with the strong, attractive paintings that get texture from their linen surface.
First Day in Grapes
Perez, L. King, and Robert Casilla
Lee & Low, 2002
Grades 1-3
Growing up in a migrant family, Chico has experienced first school days in artichokes and first days in onions, and "now his first day in third grade would be in grapes." His encounters with bullies and the grumpy school bus driver shake Chico's confidence, but a friendly classmate and an understanding teacher help him adjust. Realistic watercolor, pastel, and colored-pencil illustrations portray Chico's emotions.
Bill Pickett, Rodeo-Ridin' Cowboy
Pinkney, Andrea D., and Brian Pinkney
Sandpiper, 1999
Grades K-3
This storybook biography traces Pickett's early life and eventual rise to the upper ranks of professional rodeo fame and provides historical information about black cowboys.
Everyone Eats Bread
Reed, Janet
Red Bricklearning, 2003
Grades PreK-2
Early reader with excellent photographs good for teaching about culture and meeting human needs.
Cut From the Same Cloth; American Women of Myth, Legend and Tall Tale
San Souci, Robert
Putnam Juvenile, 2000
Grades 3-8
The women come from the Native American, African American, Mexican American, and Canadian traditions. Although they differ in many ways from their male counterparts, there are still tricksters, sweet talkers, and brave and strong protagonists like those found in hero stories. There has been some retelling, some modifications of dialects, some reshaping of open endings, but the plots have not been tampered with. Each story is illustrated with an engraving of some sort, with black background and white lines that give the pictures an antique quality like a woodcut or copper engraving. Notes on the stories and an extensive list of further reading are appended.
Black Frontiers: A History of African American Heroes in the Old West
Schlissel, Lillian
Simon and Schuster for Young Readers, 2000
Grades 4-7
Schlissel describes the experiences of some African Americans who helped settle the American West. She focuses on mountain men, homesteaders, soldiers, cowboys and scouts, explaining their contributions to the taming of the frontier.
The Great North American Prairie: Stories from Where We Live
St. Antoine, Sara (editor), and Trudy Nicholson and Paul Mirocha
Milkweed, 2004
Grades 4-8
Stories, poems, journal entries and essays that reflect life on the prairies of the US and Canada. The selections, both historical and contemporary, comprise a good mix of fiction and information and reflect the ethnic diversity of the inhabitants. Includes familiar authors such as Carl Sandburg, Willa Cather, and Louise Erdrich, as well as lesser-known writers. Includes maps, a detailed discussion of different kinds of prairies, listings of flora and fauna, etc.
Carlos and the Cornfield/Carlos y la milpa de maiz
Stevens, Jan Romero
Scholastic, 2000
Grades 2-5
Picture book in English and Spanish describes how Carlos learns a life-long lesson affter planting corn for his father. Includes recipe for cornmeal pancakes.
The Hard-Times Jar
Smothers, Ethel Footman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
Grades PreK-2
Emma and her family are migrant workers who follow the crops to make a living. Passionate about books, the girl longs for a store-bought volume but knows that the few coins her mother saves in a jar are for no-money days. Arriving in Pennsylvania, Emma, her parents and young siblings pick apples together, but then Mama tells her she is to attend school now that she is eight. Emma is nervous because she is the only "chocolate brown" child in the class. Emma soon discovers the riches of the school library.
Roll of Thunder
Taylor, Mildred D.
Hear My Cry, Puffin, 2004
Grades 4-7
Cassie's family faces a real challenge: to hold on to land in the South during the Depression. Her father works away from home and her mother works and runs the family farm. Lynne Thigpen dramatizes this excellent classic story of a black family's struggles to remain independent and proud against all obstacles.
Leon's Story (Sunburst Books)
Tillage, Leon Walter
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000
Grades 4-6
Tillage describes the trials of sharecropping - trying to get an education in an inferior school and walking a long distance while watching a bus full of white children pass by. The author witnessed the murder of his father when a group of drunken white teenagers ran over the man. The father of the driver gave Mrs. Tillage 100 dollars and told his son to apologize. He never did. There was never any legal action taken. The events are succinctly and honestly expressed in the author's first-person account. Roth's monochromatic collage art, placed before the beginning of each chapter, documents the sparseness of Tillage's life and its boundaries: home, church, school, work, and the balcony at the movie theater. The last story, "Marching," explains the role of many groups of southerners, representing a number of ethnic groups who supported and helped the marchers. The afterword and note about the genesis of the book are important addenda.
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom
Tingle, Tim, and Jeanne Rorex Bridges
Cinco Puntos, 2006
Grades 2-6
In the days before the War Between the States, and the days before the Trail of Tears, a Mississippi Choctaw girl strays across the Bok Chitto River into the world of Southern Plantations where she befriends a slave boy and his family. When trouble comes, the desperate runaways flee to freedom, helped by the Choctaws' secret route across the river. Includes sophisticated end notes about Choctaw history and storytelling traditions.
Treuille, Eric
DK, 2007
Grades 6-Adult
Moves beyond the basics of how bread is made and explains how cultures interpret bread and how bread impacts culture. It explores a wide variety of bread from across the globe and explains the characteristics of each and what its name signifies.
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
Vamos, Samantha R., and Rafael Lopez
Charlesbridge, 2011
Grades PreK-3
Children observe the preparation of the traditional dish, arroz con leche, while learning Spanish words and make logical connections. Inspired by The House That Jack Built, each rhyme builds on the previous one. Includes a recipe for arroz con leche and a glossary of Spanish words.
Working Cotton, Harcourt
Williams, Sherley Anna
Brace, Jovanovich, 1992
Grades K-3
Shelan, the young child of two migrant workers, follows her parents into the fields to help them pick cotton during a long day of work, in a dramatically illustrated study of migrant family life.
Show Way
Woodson, Jacqueline, and Hudson Talbott
Putnam, 2005
Grades K-5
A Show Way is a quilt with secret meanings, and the image works as both history and metaphor in this picture book. Based on Woodson's own history, the story is of African American women across generations, from slavery and the civil rights movement to the present. Growing up on a plantation in South Carolina, Soonie learns from Big Mama about children "growing up and getting themselves free," and also how to sew quilts with signs that show the way to freedom.
Midday Meals Around the World
Zurakowski, Michele
Picture Window, 2004
Grades 1-5
Discover what children around the world eat for their midday meals. Menus include meals from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Also includes kid-friendly recipes.