Counting on Grace!


Welcome parents/guardians to Ms. Burns’ classroom blog. I am looking forward to you being able to read what type of literature your students are reading as well as what is to come for the rest of the school year. Most of the literature that the students will be reading this school year will have the theme of diversity. Using literature to show diversity is something that can be powerful to the students. I hope that you and your students enjoy the pieces of literature that are going to be read in this classroom.

Diversity Award Program…

Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award

The association, Jane Addams Peace Association was founded in 1948. She crated this association “to foster a better understanding between the people of the world toward the end that wars may be avoided and a more lasting peace enjoyed.” Ever since 1953, this association has honored children books that promote peach and justice.  The Jane Addams Peace Association is located in New York at 777 United Nations Plaza. The headline of this association is Make Books Not War.

Students should read diversity award program literature because…

Students of all ages should read literature about diversity because it allows them to connect to different aspects of other people’s cultures. Middle school students should especially read literature about diversity because they are going through a transitional period and becoming more aware of the others around them will allow them to connect to them more so. Diversity literature makes students question themselves, their families, their communities and the world around them more deeply then they possibly would before. Reading diversity literature also helps students break stereotypical thinking they may have about a gender, age group, race, or culture.

First focus book… Counting on Grace

Author: Elizabeth Winthrop

Title: Counting on Grace

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books

Copyright Date ©: 2006

Book Cover:


Visit the author’s page for further information about Winthrop and her books or you can visit Wendy Lamb Book’s page that is the publisher of this wonder book.

Why Counting on Grace earned its award…

Winthrop’s book, Counting on Grace earned the honor award from Jane Addams Peace Association in 2007. Among Winthrop’s book, many other authors won an honor award as well. Visit the award list to see the other author’s novels.

Middle school students should read this novel because…                                       

Students ranging from nine to twelve should read this book because they can relate their lives to that of Grace and Arthur, the main characters. Although this novel focuses on child labor, students can compare how different and similar life was in the 1900’s to today in 2013. This will allow students to get an understanding of what life was like in the 1900’s for children and their families.

Throughout the later half of the novel Grace and Arthur ask help from their teacher, Mrs. Lesley, to write a letter to get someone to Vermont to look into the child labor in the mills. Grace and Arthur want to make a difference and get children and their friends from working in the mill. When students read this novel they will see how harsh the working standards were and how dangerous it was for young children to be working in the mills. With that, students can share a time that they helped a situation get better even if they did not solve the problem alone. This part of the story also shows students that they can make a difference even if it takes a long time to get to the final goal.

Summary of Book…

This novel is about a family of five who are mill workers. Grace, the youngest girl is still able to go to school because she is not yet fourteen. However, she really wants to work in the mill so her mother creates paper that fakes her age. As Grace starts working in the mill, she realizes that working there is completely different then when she used to visit. The only free time that Grace has is on Sunday’s after mass and she visits Mrs. Lesley to improve her reading and writing skills. Mrs. Lesley, Grace, and Grace’s friend Arthur, write a letter to the work committee about the conditions they are dealing with in the mill. After several weeks, Mr. Hine, a photographer comes out and photographs the mill, grace, and all the young children. By the end of the novel, Mrs. Lesley is no longer teaching in town, Arthur and his family move, and Grace because the temporary substitute teacher.

However, to get more detail about the novel, you will have to pick it up and dive on in!

Talk about it at home…

What are some reasons as to why you think that Counting on Grace was awarded the Jane Addams Peace Association honor award?

What is child labor?

How would you feel if you were not able to go to school?

What would you do if you were treated poorly by an authority figure?

How would you feel if your best friend moved away?

What would you do to make a difference, like what Grace and Arthur did? Why?

What would you do if you were the one that was teaching your parents how to read and write?

Poll about the book:



Concluding Remarks…

Creating success for the students is the collaboration between parents and teachers along with the students. After reading this novel by Elizabeth Winthrop, we can see that diversity is all around us, no matter the time period. I hope that the students and parents enjoyed their time reading and discussing this novel and look forward to the others that will be coming home this school year. I hope that I have provided enough detail for discussion and understanding of why diversity is so important to learn. I look forward to hearing your perspectives on this wonderful novel. Talk soon!

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