The Book Reviews – Website

January 12, 2008

Sing a Song of Tuna Fish

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Sing a Song of Tuna Fish

Author: Esme Raji Codell

Page Length: 133

Reading Level: 7th


REVIEW: Esme is a fifth grader with a colorful childhood. Each of the seven chapters of Codell’s book reveal details of an adventure or mishap in Esme’s life. We learn about how she egged an illegally parked car, what her Chicago neighborhood was like, how she attended a very different kind of school and why she liked traditional schooling, her interpretations of love as a child, the death of a classmate, and how she was naïve and brave enough to risk stealing the Afikomen.


AREAS FOR TEACHING: Sing a Song of Tunafish is a strong teaching tool for journal writing. This book is written as a memoir and is therefore a great example for students of how to compile stories from their own lives. Students can see that everyone has a story to tell and come to understand the value in sharing their own experiences. By reading the book, students can also come to understand that there are and have been significant moments and stories throughout our lives from birth through adulthood.


TOUCHY AREAS: A caution about the book is that it may not appeal as much to older students and they may have trouble relating to the references of the times and at a seventh grade reading level they may be less interested in stories about 5th grade. However, it might serve as a great springboard for comparing 1979 and today and for relating to parent experiences.




REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor



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