Monday, February 25, 2013

Booking Across the USA in Connecticut

Hello from Connecticut!

Thank you to Jodie of "Growing Book by Book" for creating this wonderful project! Her hard work and perseverance is a great tribute to all authors whose books have been selected to represent our 50 states and to the participating teachers who recognize the importance of stressing literacy throughout the world.


Connecticut is located on the northern shores of Long Island, 
on the east coast of the United States. 

It's in the region called New England.
 When the settlers first came to this country, they decided that "NEW" England was an appropriate name because it was the beginning of a new life, with new freedoms and
away from the religious persecution inflicted on them by the King of England. 

                                                                   photo credit info please


The Connecticut book I selected is called "The Legend of Hobbomock, The Sleeping Giant".  This legend is very dear to me. Why? Because I grew up about two miles from the place where this legendary sleeping giant was said to have roamed. Being so close to Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Connecticut, I had heard many tales and legends about this New England mountain that looks like a great giant lying on his back.

Children often conjure up their own everlasting visions of giants and huge creatures roaming around dark shadowy forests when they hear tales like The Legend of Hobbomock.  Who could ever forget the Brothers Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel and how they were lured into the witch's cottage in the dark pine Schwarzwald  (Black Forest) of Germany.

Jason Marchi, an award winning Connecticut author, poet and journalist wrote the legend and skillfully retells the story of the mountainous giant through the eyes of Blackbird, a young Native American boy of the Quinnipiac tribe.

Hobbomock, friend of the Quinnipiac, had taught The People, how to fish, hunt and stressed they must cherish the land. When he discovers they no longer respect it, he angrily abandons them and vows to take revenge when he returns. The first person to encounter Hobbomock when he returns is Blackbird. The young boy is suddenly faced with an adult like problem and must save his people from Hobbomock's wrath!

Jason and his very talented artist/illustrator, Jesse Bonelli, must have taken a time machine journey back to the 1600's and walked in Hobbomock's basalt shoes. Imagine them hiking up the giant, to better understand the legend. Imagine them examining the ancient rock formations to experience the essence and spirit of this great giant. The combination of Jason's masterful storytelling and Jesse's illustrations, capture the heart and soul of Hobbomock and makes one wonder if the Quinnipiac people of long ago, sat around night camp fires whispering the legend among themselves.

Further research said this gifted team worked with historians, Native American experts, and linguists, who understood their quest. Who were the Quinnipiac Native Americans who roamed the sleeping giant's forests? How did the legend come to be? What did their language sound like?  Was there a boy like Blackbird who had an eerie encounter with this massive mountainous man?

Great books, like "The Legend of Hobbomock, the Sleeping Giant" make us want to burrow under a down comforter with a flashlight and read until dawn. They paint an everlasting picture that vividly remains with us throughout our lives.

The Legend of Hobbomock, The Sleeping Giant won a Connecticut Press Club Award in 2012, in the Children's Fiction Book Category and was a best seller at the Barnes & Noble store in North Haven, Connecticut.

The book was also selected as the only title to represent all of Connecticut for this project, "Booking Across the USA" a children's literacy program, which launched nationwide, today, on February 25th. 

Click on the cover to learn more about The Legend of Hobbomock, The Sleeping Giant.
If you decide to order a copy, fifty cents of every copy purchased is donated to 
the Sleeping Giant not-for profit Park Association to help with the land preservation. 

photo of The Legend of Hobbomock The Sleeping Giant, pdf, Native American, Jason Marchi, Jesse Bonelli,

Historic and Interesting Places to Visit in Connecticut! 

Mark Twain House

Mark Twain moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1871, and while he and his family lived there, he completed some of his most famous books such as "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer",  and "Life on the Mississippi". 
Pictured is the Mark Twain house. 
Click on the photo to view the museum's website.

photo of The Mark Twain House, Connecticut history, Samuel Clemens
                                         photo credit: Mark Twain House & Museum

It's great teaching in a town where there are many historic buildings, one of them being the oldest stone house in Connecticut and New England. 

                       The Henry Whitfield House - Guilford, CT

The Henry Whitfield House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
It's the oldest stone house in Guilford and New England.

In 1639, the Reverend Henry Whitfield left England with 25 other families in pursuit of religious freedom. They chose Guilford and paid the local Sachem with everything in 12's. Twelve silver spoons, 12 pieces of wampum and more. 

The families built the Whitfield House using fieldstone from the area. To hold the stones in place, they crushed oyster shells, mixed them with water and used them as an early type of mortar. It is said that Native Americans in the area might have helped them build it. In the corners of the house there were small windows that were to be used as lookout stations and where they could use a gun if any "unfriendly" people attacked. 

Archaeology digs show the remains of Native American structures on the property as well as many other artifacts.

When one of the principals I taught under, was digging a chimney foundation on his waterfront property, he discovered bones about four feet down. He had them carbon dated and was told they were approximately 900 years old. 

They were the remains of a Native American woman and next to her were the bones of her infant. Our principal became well known for touring around to schools to talk about his historical find. From what we heard, he refused to donate them to museums in the area. They very well could be in a museum now, because he's since past away. 

photo of Henry Whitfield House, Guilford, CT, historical home,
                                                       photo credit ACS archaeology

The Thimble Islands are just off the coast of Stony Creek which is a small village of Branford, Connecticut. There are 100+ islands that are made of pink granite rocks, ledges and outcroppings, the largest being 17 acres. 

One year, I had a student whose family has a home on one of the Thimble Islands called Money Island. It's been in their family for generations. His parents offered us an end of the year party on the island, so all 80 students on our team, and staff piled aboard a ferry that dropped us off at this unusual island. By the way, their "town" island library is an English phone booth! Money island has 32 homes, most of which, or maybe all, are summer homes only. 

It's on Money Island that legend says Captain Kidd buried his TREASURE!! Who doesn't love a treasure hunt???

For years many people have searched this 12 mile island. 
Check out all the interesting facts about the islands on the website. 

Be sure to click on the video of the Thimble Island Tour (by boat) near the bottom of the page! 

It's a great ride! And who knows? Maybe you'll see where the treasure is buried!

                                                                    photo credit active rain

The Guilford Green
A few years back, Yankee Magazine featured the Guilford green as being one of the most beautiful and largest of all the town greens in New England. From the earliest times, greens around New England served many purposes. 

Facts about the Guilford green:

It's 12 acres in a rectangular shape

It was communal grazing ground for cattle 

Many of the early settlers were buried on the green

An area for the drilling practices of the early militia (There were no police in those days!)

A public punishment area for whipping posts and such OUCH!

A place with hay scales for farmers to weigh the salt hay and other hay that was harvested

A place to worship in churches that were built around the green. 
The first churches were called "meeting houses" and were strategically placed at one end of the green.  

They were used as meeting and worship places. Guilford's first church was built in 1643 and still proudly stands today. It was first called a Congregational Meeting House.

In 1817, it was decided to no longer use the green as burial grounds and instead, two cemeteries would be used. 

By 1824, the gravestones were removed and the mounds denoting the graves were leveled.  It's said that only the headstones were moved to the cemeteries and the remains of the early citizens remain beneath the soil of the green.

Because the green is very close to Long Island Sound, it's been said that when high tide rolls in, so does sea water roll into the oldest home's basements, many of which aren't full basements. When high tide rolls out, the sea water leaves the basements. 

Horses could no longer be tied up to trees and only certain cows, with owner's tags, were allowed to graze.

Even though the green has changed in appearance over the years, it's still a meeting place. People walk their dogs, talk with friends and visit the stores and restaurants that surround the green. 

Below you'll see the Congregational Church that still stands today. I often think.. If only walls could talk, what we could learn from this beautiful building!

                                                                     photo credit: sskies blog

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about 
our beautiful state of Connecticut! 

Have a great time viewing the other state blogs that are participating in "Booking Across the USA"!

Alabama: Everyday Snapshots Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days Arizona: Simply Kinder 
 Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas 
 California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom 
Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now 
 Connecticut: The Teacher Park 
 Delaware: Mama Miss Florida: Teaching Stars Georgia: Fabulously First Hawaii: Teaching With Style Idaho: True Aim Education Illinois: Growing Book by Book
Indiana: Teach Preschool Iowa: Surviving a Teacher's Salary Kansas: KCEdventures Kentucky: Chicken Babies Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog 
 Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes Massachusetts: Mama Smiles Michigan: Play DrMom Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory 
 Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk Missouri- Ready. Set. Read! Montana: The Honey Bunch Nebraska: The Good Long Road Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts 
 New Hampshire: Elementary Matters New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing 
New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom New York: What Do We Do All Day 
 North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog North Dakota: ND HealthWorks 
 Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten 
 Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher 
Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade 
 South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory 
 Tennessee: No Monkey Business Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen 
 Utah: Teach Beside Me Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog 
 Virgina: Once Upon a Story, and The Freckled Homeschooler 
Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama 
West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me 
Wisconsin: Reading Confetti Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle USA: The Corner on Character         Blogging Across the USA Blog Hop


  1. Just what this event is about - learning something new. Love finding out about legends for the New England area. Love the Native American connection.

    1. HI! It was such a lot of fun putting this together. I taught eastern woodland Native Americans for many years and because of ours in CT, we had a lot of resources.

      I just finished up an 80 page packet about the book that will be sold on a CD. Many of the activities are aligned with the Common Core.

      Along with my packet will be a Power Point presentation of the book itself, and an audio recording of it done by an NPR host and opera singer, Peter Van De Graaff. The CD will be available very soon.

      You can find out more about it at this site..
      I'm so glad you enjoyed my post!

  2. What an informative post. Loved learning about your state. Thank you for participating in the Booking Across the USA project!

    1. Hi! Thank you for your kind message. This has been a fantastic project. I hope we do it again next year. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Can't wait for the freebie! I'm your newest follower, drop by. =)

    Just Wild About Teaching

    1. Hi! I just finished the activity packet for Hobbomock, the Legend of Sleeping Giant! I'll be posting a freebie soon! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thank you for sharing about this book. I too grew up very close to Sleeping Giant (Wallingford/Chesire line) and have so many memories of hiking there in the Spring and Summer. Although I no longer live in CT :-(, I love to bring CT into my classroom. I can't wait to get this book. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for sharing your thought about the Sleeping Giant. I loved hiking up the mountain too! I just finished creating a 80 page activity packet for the book and many of the activities are aligned with the Common Core. It will be on a CD along with an audio recording of the book, done by Peter Van de Graaff, who is an NPR classical music host and opera star. A Powerpoint presentation with the whole book will also be included too. You'll see the announcement about it on this website. It will be available shortly if you haven't already purchased the book.

      Hey.. we might have seen each other as we hiked up the mountain! :)