D’Souza, N. (n.d.) Windswept. Retrieved from: http://lightupyourbrain.com/stories/audio-story-windswept/
This story is about a beautiful Copperpod tree who is envied by all. When the wind begins to blow, the Copperpod tree demands that it stop blowing its leaves off! It does, but in the end the Copperpod tree realizes he needs the wind after all!
Grade level: PreK-3rd
Readers who would like this: Children who enjoy audiobooks, children who enjoy stories with strong morals, children who enjoy stories with fantastical elements.
Rating and response: 3; I thought this audiobook was good, however the read was a bit boring to me. The storyline was quite simple and I feel like there are better children’s books that depict the selfish-turned-appreciative character. The thing that I did like about the book is that it had a pretty clear-cut moral for young students. Overall, it was a bit lackluster to me.
Question: What is the value of appearance?
Reading Strategy: Picture Carousels
For picture carousels, the teacher selects images that are related to the literature and posts them around the room for students to explore. The students try to figure out a common theme within the pictures. A modification of this activity for older children could be to make inferences about the pictures posted.
This strategy would work well for this book due to the lack of images present with the literature. Placing pictures around the classroom would give students concrete examples of the moral depicted in the story.
Schmidt, G. (2012). Martin de porres: A rose in the desert. New York, NY: Clarion Books.
This story tells the upcoming of a hispanic-african poor boy who begins doing amazing things as part of the church, and eventually reaches sainthood!
Genre: Historical Fiction
Grade level: 2nd-4th
Readers who would like this book: Children who have some religious background, children who enjoy historical fiction based on true stories, children who enjoy vibrant illustrations.
Rating and response: 4; I really enjoyed this book. I had never heard the story of Saint Martin de Porres (the first African saint in the Americas) before, and I realized how important a story it is to tell. The illustrations in this text match very well with the story and overall, it provides a clear, easily understandable story for children! I think the illustration in this text was also very successful in helping with this, and conveyed a clear picture of “mood” for children.
Question: What is a saint?
Award Winner: Pura Belpre Award for Illustration
This book was awarded the Pura Belpre Award for an outstanding Latino illustrator who celebrates the authentic Latino culture through illustration in a piece. Specific criteria for “outstanding illustration” are listed below.
- Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed
- Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept
- Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept
- Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting mood or information through the pictures
- Positive and authentic portrayal of Latino culture
- Excellence of presentation for a child audience
Vaccaro Seger, L. (2007). First the egg. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.
Genre: Concept Book
Reader’s who would like this: Children who enjoy science, children who enjoy vibrant yet simple illustration, children who enjoy nontraditional concept books
Rating and Response: 5; I love this book! At first when I read it, I had a hard time classifying the genre because it is so unique. Upon realizing that it was a concept book, I fell in love with it even more. The simple die cut illustrations in this book pair perfectly with the concept of “transformation,” and the clever ending will sure to be one that makes children want to reread this text! I love it and this will definitely be going on my shelves shortly!
Question: What does it mean to transform? To change?
Award Winner:Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
Named after the infamous Dr. Seuss, this award is given yearly to the most distinguished American book for beginning readers. This status is based on a demonstration of creativity, imagination, and excellence in literary and artistic achievements.
DeJong, M. (1958). Along came a dog. New York, NY: HarperCollins Children’s Books.
This Newberry Honor Book tells the tale of a lonely dog searching for a home who finds friendship in a hen. This book is told from the point of view of the dog as well as from the point of view of the hen he protects!
Grade level: 3rd-6th
Readers who would like this:Children who enjoy realistic animal stories, children who are interested in animal behavior, children who enjoy stories of friendship.
Rating and response:4; This book was really sweet. At first, I did not think that I was going to like the book due to the fact that there is really no conversation and it doesn’t really tell you the animals “thoughts,” however upon reading deeper into the story it is really a perfect exemplar of loyalty, staying true to one’s self, and belonging. It did seem a little repetitive when I was reading, however I think this is a good thing for the target age range, especially for those just transitioning into longer books!
Question: Have you ever felt like you had to protect something? What? Why?
Rathmann, P. (1995). Officer buckle and gloria. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Gloria the new police dog LOVES to show off fun tricks when Officer Buckle gives his safety presentations, almost as much as Officer Buckle likes presenting the safety tips themselves! When Officer Buckle finds out that the excitement about his presentations is due to Gloria, his spirits become dampened and he no longer wants to continue on with his job. In the end, true friendship prevails and Officer Buckle and Gloria turn out to be the most wanted duo around!
Grade level: K-3rd
Readers who would like this: Children who want to become police officers, children who like dogs, children who enjoy the theme of friendship.
Rating and Response: 5; I absolutely adore this book. The emotion and feeling conveyed through the illustration alone is enough to completely capture a reader’s heart! The relationship between Officer Buckle and Gloria also exemplifies some of the more complex notions of friendship, and I think the books “problem” is solved in a way that models a sort of realistic friendship issue. I also did my fourth book kit on this book, and there are an endless amount of activities and fun projects to do that can be very useful to the classroom! Overall, I totally loved it!
Question: Have you ever gotten into an argument with a friend? How were you and the friend able to solve the problem?
Raschka, C. (2007). Yo! Yes?. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
This 34-word picturebook describes the story of two boys who meet and become friends through simple conversation.
Grade level: PreK-2nd
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Readers who would like this: Children who are just beginning to read, children entering into a new situation, children who enjoy the dialogue based aspect of books such as comics.
Rating and response: 5; This nearly wordless book showcases a simple, understandable, yet powerful depiction of friendship. By being nearly wordless, the illustrations become all that more important to the overall aura of the book; I think that the illustrations in the book are heartwarming and reflect the diversity that is present in today’s world. I love how this book showcases the fact that friendship is not a one way street, and that it both simplifies and complicates the idea of friendship at the same time. This is such a creative book, and I still cannot get over the fact that the story is told in only 34 words!
Question: What are some ways in which people make friends?
Hatkoff, I., Hatkoff, C., & Kahumbu, P. (2006). Owen & Mzee: A true story of remarkable friendship. New York, NY: Turtle Pond Publications LLC.
This is a true story about how a baby hippo stranded due to a tsunami ends up away from his “family” and into an animal sanctuary where he befriends a 130 year old giant turtle.
Readers who would like this: Children who like animals, children who enjoy nonfiction, children who enjoy stories that depict unlikely or unique tales.
Response and rating:4; I love this book because I think it does two wonderful things. The first is that the book teaches readers that friendship knows no bounds- the differences that separate us are not stronger than those that unite us. Second, the book teaches children the value of friendship at a time of hardship or need, which can truly be a lifesaving message. The photography in the book was great as well, however I think this book is a little bit too text-heavy for some younger readers who might thoroughly enjoy the story otherwise.
Question:When I say the word “friendship” out loud, what image comes to mind? What does friendship look like?