Hidden Gems: The Missing Golden Ticket

hidden gems missing golden ticket

“Writing process” is a big catch phrase in the education world, and students will do everything possible to complete as little of the process as possible. The writing process involves reflecting on your own writing and actually making noticeable changes and improvements.

The Missing Golden Ticket is a book of Roald Dahl writing secrets and includes tidbits about Dahl’s process for writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It includes a chapter from the Chocolate Factory book that was edited out before publication. Readers get to learn about Dahl’s original story and character ideas, which are very different from the published book. This book is a great option to illustrate an author’s journey through the writing process.

If you love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you might also like these gems:

Floors by Patrick Carman

  • Instead of a candy factory, this book is set in a hotel. Each room of the hotel has a different crazy theme. The book also has a duck side story, which made me think of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. I wrote to Mr. Carman, the author inquiring about the ducks, and it is an allusion to the Peabody Hotel.

floors cover

Candymakers by Wendy Mass

  • A group of children are selected to participate in a candy making contest. The book is broken into parts, and the same events are retold in each part of the story but from the point of view of a different character.

candymakers cover

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman

  • This book is set in a toy factory, but like Charlie, the kids in the story have to survive the challenges and be the last one standing.

gollywhopper games

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

  • Using clues from books, people try to be the first to win the scavenger hunt. It is set in San Francisco and mixes whodunnit with literary references.

book scavenger

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

  • This combines library and literature knowledge into a scavenger hunt. It’s like Book Scavenger meets Gollywhopper Games.

mr lemoncellos library cover

For more Hidden Gem book ideas, CLICK HERE. Some of my teacher blogging friends are sharing more great-but-often-forgotten book titles! To purchase activities related to The Missing Golden Ticket, CLICK HERE.

Hidden Gems: The Bread Winner

hidden gems bread winner

Even though the end of the school year is nowhere in sight, I am already considering books to teach my students next year. My goal every year is to find high interest books that no student in the class has read– yet. No easy feat. I do reteach favorite books from year to year, but I always rotate one or two out of the line up.

This week, I have been assessing my bookshelf and determining what will stay and what will go next year. The one book that will definitely stay is The Bread Winner by Arvella Whitmore (not to be confused by The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis). I have yet to have a student who has read this book prior to entering my class, but I always have students who come back and tell me it was the best book they read in the fourth grade.

The story takes place during the Great Depression and centers on Sarah Puckett, a girl who won a blue ribbon at the 4-H fair for her homemade bread. Through her creativity and problem solving skills, she starts a bread business out of the house and solves many of her family’s problems. Sarah independently overcomes obstacles, and while she has supportive parents, Sarah is the one who takes action. Since I witness so many students asking for help before even attempting to start something new or unfamiliar, a character like Sarah is a great role model.

Other books that I would consider to be a hidden gem and are possibilities for next year are:

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

  • There are many books available right now that feature characters with a learning difference of some kind. One of the hot books this year in teacher circles is Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt; I thought Rain Reign was better. My daughter read it and barely made it through due to the dog situation (tissue alert– nobody dies, but…), so that may bump it off the list. Not that I am against crying in front of my students, but I try to avoid “ugly crying.”

rain reign

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

  • This novel is based on a true story. Children in a Norwegian town smuggle gold away from the Nazis during WWII. I like the fact that I would be able to hunt down the real story with students after finishing the book.

snow treasure

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

  • This book has a slower pace and is a little longer, but I love the way the book focuses on a group of school kids who get their community involved in investigating a question about why storks no longer settle in the town. Anything that promotes teamwork and persistance is a great option.

the wheel on the school

Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey

  • I think this may be better suited to 6th graders due to the tiny print in the book and more sophisticated vocabulary, but a loyal dog’s search for his home is usually a winner with all readers. It could definitely be a read aloud with students rather than a novel that is studied as a class.

kavik the wolf dog

For more Hidden Gem book ideas, CLICK HERE. Some of my teacher blogging friends are sharing more great-but-often-forgotten book titles!