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Third Grade Social Studies
Literature, Audiovisual,
and Internet Links


Literature                          Websites                         AudioVisual

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Titles are available in one or more elementary media centers.

Escape from Pompeii Balit, Christina - Escape From Pompeii
Featuring a rich assemblage of patterns and textures and a pleasing palette of earth tones and variegated blues, Balit's three-quarter spread illustrations dominate this vivid story about the destruction of Pompeii. As the tale opens, a youth named Tranio gazes from his window at Vesuvius, ironically described as Pompeii's 'greatest protector... the Gentle Mountain.' Through Tranio's eyes, Balit introduces the city's bustling harbor, where merchants and fisherman unload their ships; the forum, where politicians deliver speeches and poets perform; and a theater, where Tranio's father and other masked actors rehearse a pantomime. At this last site, Tranio feels tremors and rushes out into the chaotic street, and sees the air fill with ash. He and his friend Livia climb aboard a Greek cargo ship, where, 'in one terrible endless moment, they heard mighty Mount Vesuvius roar. Its top exploded in a scream, and flames ripped upward to the sky.' From a safe distance, the two watch molten liquid flow down the mountain into the city and destroy 'everything and everyone they had ever loved.' A conclusion presents Tranio and Livia many years later as they stand on the once-again fertile mountainside, portrayed in cross-section to show the city, and the people, buried beneath. A dramatic, visually exciting look at a cataclysmic event.

Bunting, Eve - A Picnic in October
A contemporary Italian-American family living in New York City makes its annual pilgrimage to Liberty Island to celebrate the birthday of the Statue of Liberty in this poignant picture book. Young Mike thinks a picnic in blustery October is just plain dumb ('Why do we always have to do this?'); he's embarrassed by his grandparents' unflagging enthusiasm for this outing. But when Mike observes a family of new Americans who have also come to pay their respects to Lady Liberty, he gains insight into this symbol of freedom and his Italian grandparents' gratitude at arriving in the United States.
Picnic in October

Pizza for the Queen Castaldo, Nancy - Pizza for the Queen
Based on a true story, this charming picture book re-creates the events of June 11, 1889, in Napoli, Italy, which culminated in the birth of the Pizza Margherita, which shows off the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. Raffaele Esposito, owner of Pietro e Basta Cosl, is reported to make the best pizza in the city. On a typical busy morning, the queen's messenger strolls in to place an order. Queen Margherita wants to taste what the people of Napoli love to eat. So Raffaele sets out to get the finest ingredients. The daylong process that follows will engage the imaginations and taste buds of readers. Arty and amusing color illustrations are full of details that further develop the story, while the description of the pizzas will leave everyone hungry for more. The book includes a recipe, and an author's note provides more information about pizza and this special pizzeria, which still exists. Julie Roach

de Paola, Tomie -  Strega Nona : An Old Tale
When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works.
See other Strega Nona  and Big Anthony stories, Strega Nona : Her Story, Strega Nona Takes a Vacation, Merry Christmas, Strega Nona, Strega Nona Meets her Match, Strega Nona's Magic Lessons, Big Anthony : His Story, and  Big Anthony's Mixed-up Magic.
Strega Nona

dePaola, Tomie - Tony’s Bread; an Italian Folktale
Tony dreams that one day he will become the most famous baker in all of northern Italy! He loves his precious daughter, Serafina, and thinks that no man is worthy of his daughter. Angelo, a wealthy nobleman from Milano, passes by Tony's bakery and sees Serafina. Suddenly, it appears that Angelo may have the answer to Tony's dreams.
Tony's Bread

How Pizza Came to Queens Khalsa, Dayal Kaur - How Pizza Came to Queens
An Italian visitor to Queens bemoans the unavailability of pizza until some thoughtful girls enable her to make some.

Kimmel, Eric A. - Count Silvernose : A Story from Italy
A washerwoman's clever oldest daughter finds a way to rescue her two foolish sisters from the cruel Count Silvernose.
Count Silvernose : A Story from Italy

Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook : An Adventure in Venice Mauner, Claudia - Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook : An Adventure in Venice
Using the popular diary format, this travelogue takes its spunky nine- year-old heroine and her dachshund from Manhattan to visit her great-aunt in Venice. They tour museums, shop for masks, ride a gondola, and observe a glassblower. Double-page watercolor-and-ink illustrations, as well as smaller framed 'snapshots,' are at once aesthetically pleasing and comical. Suspense is introduced when Zoe's dog disappears, but gondolier Ludovico saves the day in an endearing scene involving concerned faces stained with spaghetti al nero. The book offers bits of information, appealing characters, and a sense of the majesty and grandeur of Italy's palaces and piazzas; it will interest armchair and authentic travelers alike.

McCully, Emily Arnold - The Orphan Singer
Emily Arnold McCully's picture book introduces children to Venice's 18th century Pieta, where foundling girls were trained to be musical greats. Determined that their daughter realize her musical destiny, her poor but devoted parents send her away as a baby to theVenetian "ospedale," knowing she will be raised as an orphan and will never again be allowed to return home.
The Orphan Singer

Carnival at Candlelight Osborne, Mary Pope - Carnival at Candlelight (Magic Tree House)
While on a mission to prove to Merlin that they can use magic wisely, Jack and Annie travel to seventeenth-century Venice, Italy, to save the city from disaster.

Osborne, Mary Pope - Vacation Under the Volcano (Magic Tree House)
Their magic tree house takes Annie and Jack to Pompeii just as Vesuvius is about to erupt, and they must find a Roman scroll before everything is covered with burning ash.
Vacation Under the Volcano

Da Wild, Da Crazy, DaVinci Scieszka, Jon - Da Wild, Da Crazy, Da Vinci
Hilarious adventures of the Time Warp Trio, Fred, Joe and Sam, as they are whirled back to Renaissance Italy to look for da Vinci. When they fall into the clutches of Lord Borgia and Nicolo Machiavelli, Leonardo and the trio da Brooklyn cook up an invention to save their skins.

See You Later Gladiator Scieszka, Jon - See You Later, Gladiator
Hilarious adventures of the Time Warp Trio, Fred, Sam and Joe, as they are whisked to ancient Rome. Pig Latin, big guys with pitchforks, and thumbs down at the Colosseum – the trio is in big trouble, again.

Thomson, Peggy - Siggy's Spaghetti Works
This field trip to Siggy's pasta factory introduces readers to the manufacture of pasta secca the dried, commercially made variety. The factory's capacity to make 100 tons of spaghetti per day is impressive, as is the variety of shapes made from just flour and water. The history of pasta in Italy will intrigue young readers, as will a sidebar on the manufacture of Chinese noodles. Watercolor and pen drawings make this informational book attractive.
Siggy's Spaghetti Works

The Diary of Melanie Martin

Weston, Carol - The Diary of Melanie Martin, or, How I Survived Matt the Brat, Michelangelo, and the Leaning Tower of Pizza
Fourth-grader Melanie Martin writes in her diary, describing her family's trip to Italy and all that she learned. "Sections of the book are laugh-out-loud funny and Weston's descriptions will have readers wanting to see the country for themselves. An enjoyable read."
Elaine Baran Black

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Say Hello in Italian - All about the Italian language

Think Quest - A Kid's Life in Italy

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Leonardo: A Dream of Flight – DVD, 48 min
A young boy encourages Leonardo da Vinci to pursue his passion and study winged creatures. Their dreams lead to the conquest of the skies

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