Coyote School News

Author Sandin, Joan.
Language English
New York: Henry Holt, 2003


In 1938-1939, fourth-grader Monchi Ramirez and the other students at Coyote School enjoy their new teacher, have a special Christmas celebration, participate in the Tucson Rodeo Parade, and produce their own school newspaper.

Subjects :

  • Newspapers
  • Mexican Americans
  • Fiction
  • Schools
  • Fiction.
  • Arizona

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 2004 , NCTE Children's Literature Assembly

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Texas Bluebonnet Award; Nominee 2005-2006 Texas

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Reading Measurement Programs:

Henry Holt (New York:) 2003.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.5
Accelerated Reader Points 1

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 730
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 3-5
Reading Level 4
Accelerated Reader Points 4

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Reviews :

Carolyn Phelan (Booklist, Nov. 15, 2003 (Vol. 100, No. 6))
Set in southern Arizona during 1938 and 1939, this episodic story offers a vivid portrayal of school and community life as observed by fourth-grader Monchi Ramirez. Monchi lives on the ranch his great-grandfather built in Mexico, on land that later became part of the U.S. Mexican culture is still strong in the area and Spanish words dot the narrative. Often their meaning can be gleaned from context, but an appended Spanish word list provides translations and pronunciations. The school year and student newspaper provide the book's structure; newsworthy events include Halloween and Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) celebrations, the Rodeo Parade in Tucson, and Monchi's first roundup. This brightly illustrated picture book will work well for middle-grade readers who don't demand chapter books; it can also be read aloud to somewhat younger children. Drawn with a keen sense of what will interest children, the pencil, pen, and watercolor artwork is richly colored and detailed. Monchi's narrative provides a pervasive sense of period and culture within an appealing story that will be a fine choice for reading aloud in the classroom. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2003, Holt, $17.95. Gr. 2-4.
(PUBLISHER: Henry Holt (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2003.)

Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D. (Children's Literature)
Twelve students of varying ages and their teacher are portrayed on the opening end papers with a date of September 1938. The closing end papers show the same group of people with the date of May 1939. Monchi, one of the students, relates his experiences within. He lives in Rancho San Isidro in southern Arizona and attends Coyote School with his brothers, sisters, cousins, and neighbors. They all like Miss Byers and her ideas for fun learning activities, especially her suggestion that they publish a newspaper. Articles and pictures produced by the students are featured on a single mimeographed sheet for each month. Most of Monchi's writings are about the promise of a silver dollar as a prize for perfect attendance. Other contributions feature school news and personal observations of the students. Celebrations and traditional customs bring holidays, such as Halloween and Christmas, to life. Participating in the parade for La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson and helping with his first roundup are highlights of Monchi's year. Author Sandin based the story on interviews with people who attended such a school and researched school newsletters of the era. Colorful illustrations and the inclusion of the newspapers contribute to the authenticity of the story. Spanish words and terms are written in Italics and defined in a glossary in the back. The introduction includes a Web site with examples of actual student newspapers. Although this is a fictionalized story, it has good potential for understanding this time and place in history. 2003, Henry Holt, $17.95. Ages 7 to 11.
(PUBLISHER: Henry Holt (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2003.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2003 (Vol. 71, No. 13))
There's a delightful authenticity to this fictional account of the events of 1938 in a one-room school in the ranch country of southern Arizona. As explained in the author's note, the story is based on an actual collection of newspapers from a similar school, and upon the reminiscences of the author's good friend, Maria Amado. Sixteen brief chapters are accompanied by Sandin's lovely watercolors and her yellowed "reproductions" of the purple-inked copies of the student-produced "Coyote News." Bad roads, rattlesnakes, chile-picking, English, baseball, movies in Tucson, a Halloween party, a round-up, the Fiesta de los Vaqueros, and a competition for perfect attendance will keep readers turning the pages as they become engrossed in the lives of the 12 children and one teacher of Coyote School. Sandin's love and knowledge of this land and its history are evident in both text and illustrations. " Muy Hermosa!" (glossary of Spanish words with pronunciations, maps, author's note) 2003, Henry Holt, $17.95. Category: Picture book. Ages 6 to 10. © 2003 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Henry Holt (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2003.)

Sharla Stanley (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 16, No. 2))
This is a delightful book set during 1938-1939. The illustrations are very colorful and help the reader to visualize exactly what is taking place. COYOTE SCHOOL NEWS is about the life of school children from rural ranchero backgrounds. It depicts not only the problems of traveling to and from school in rough terrain but also the lifestyles and family histories that they bring into their daily school lives. This year the children have a new teacher. She encourages them to write a school newspaper telling everyone in the community what activities the children have been involved in and offers special opportunities such as participating in the Tucson Rodeo Parade. They involve all the families in their Halloween party and hold a special Christmas celebration. This book will help children see what life and school in other times and areas were really like. Fiction. Grades 3-5. 2003, Holt, 45p., $17.95. Ages 8 to 11.
(PUBLISHER: Henry Holt (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2003.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Inspired in part by newsletters written by students at Arizona ranch country schools in the '30s and '40s, Sandin (The Long Way Westward) combines a first-person narration by a fourth-grader, Monchi Ramírez (whose family lives on the ranch built by his great-grandfather) with issues of the "Coyote News," his school's monthly newsletter. The book opens in 1938, when the silver dollar offered by the teacher for perfect attendance exercises a strong hold on Monchi's imagination. Sandin finds some colorful moments, both in Monchi's life with his five siblings on the ranch and in the tiny schoolhouse that he shares with 11 classmates, the sympathetic teacher and the teacher's dog. Perhaps the best nuggets are found in the "newspaper," which looks authentic in its purple "mimeographed" typeface and with its "student" drawings (after they listen to FDR on the radio, a third-grader writes: "When he said 'war' it sounded like 'waw.' We were all laughing because we never heard anybody who talked like that"). While half-page watercolors and vignettes break up long columns of text, the art is uneven and the layout seems both institutional and a bit intimidating—it sets out more information than the audience may be able to comfortably absorb. Patient readers may be rewarded, however, with an enhanced historical perspective, a feel for Mexican-American culture and the satisfaction of seeing even minor characters grow. Ages 6-10. (Aug.)"
(PUBLISHER: Henry Holt (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2003.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York: Henry Holt, 2003

Media Type: Language Material
45 p.:
PZ7.S217 ([Fic])

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