Book Connections & Activities In One Place

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on educational systems. Now that kids are learning remotely and educators are scrambling to adjust to online platforms, I want to make it as easy as possible for my books to be useful. To that end, I have compiled some of the most helpful book-specific connections in one place.
* Please note that it is a violation of copyright law to publicly share recorded readings of my books without the written consent of each publisher. That said, many publishers are making temporary, limited exceptions. Refer to each publisher’s guidelines.

King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara
by Donna Janell Bowman
illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Peachtree Publishers

Stay tuned for a temporary video recording of me reading the book in its entirety on a Peachtree Publishing platform.

-Teacher’s Guide, including Reader’s Theatre and glossary of French terms
-Here are some literature connections and critical thinking activities for kids
-Read an 1859 newspaper account of Blondin’s first performance (Primary source)
-More information, including the select bibliography, quote sources, and audio pronunciations of French terms
-Read about how I figured out Blondin’s engineering process
-STEAM companion (shortcut) with engineering and physics terms and simple definitions
-Simplest physics demonstration of balance and center of gravity
-Read about my research with primary and secondary sources for King of the Tightrope
-About the Author’s Note and Afterword for King of the Tightrope
-Here’s one of many fun online experiments for kids to demonstrate a tightrope walker’s center-of-gravity and balance
-Video animation of the science behind how a tightrope walker balances
-Print an image of the Great Blondin, tape it to a pencil and photograph him tightrope-walking in fun places

Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
by Donna Janell Bowman
illustrated by S.D. Schindler
Peachtree Publishers

-Watch the book trailer here 
-Read about what sparked the duel between Abe Lincoln and James Shields
-Peruse the curriculum guide, complete with character education tie-ins
-Here’s where you can see the Select Sources and Quotation Sources
-Read a transcript of Lincoln’s naughty Rebecca letter that led to him being challenged
-See Lincoln’s handwritten note to his “second” with his dueling terms
-Compare the account of Lincoln’s “second” Dr. E. Merryman against James Shields’ second J. Whiteside.
-Men used to settle disagreements with duels. Crazy, right? Here’s more about it.
-In the 19th century, the Gentlemen’s Code of Conduct was supposed to ensure that honor was maintained
-Learn how I researched and wrote this book
-James Shields had a remarkable life. Learn more here.
-See the working timeline for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words. Note how far back my research stretched
-See more about Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words here

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
by Donna Janell Bowman
illustrated by Daniel Minter
Lee and Low Books

Read Lee and Low’s Temporary Virtual Read Aloud Guidelines
(A few people previously violated copyright laws by posting videos of themselves reading the entire book on YouTube.)

-Watch the illustrator process video
-Watch the author video for TX Bluebonnet Award nomination
-Take the Step Right Up Kindness Pledge
-See the Curriculum Guide here
-Here’s a Q&A about my research process for Step Right Up
-Q&A about Doc and Jim
-Read how I think it was possible for Beautiful Jim Key to be taught so much
-Learn about activism for kids
-Find some fun horse crafts for kids. You can start here. 
-Read about the National Humane Education Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)