Title: There, There by Sam McBratney
Bibliography: McBratney, S. (2013). There, there. Somerville: Templar Books.
Annotation: There, There written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Ivan Bates highlights the comforting relationship between Hansie Bear and his father. Whenever Hansie got hurt or upset, his father would say, “there, there Hansie Bear. You’ll be better soon.” When the tables turn and Hansie’s dad gets a thorn in his foot, Hansie knows exactly what to say to make him feel better.
Grade Level: 1-3
Readers who will like this book: This book appeals to young readers everywhere. Anyone who has ever benefited from the comfort of a close friend or family member will makes many connections to Hansie Bear and his relationship with his father.
Personal Response and rating: 4; this book is a great way highlight the importance of relationships for students. It is completely relatable and demonstrates how anyone can ‘pay it forward’.
Question: What do you do when someone you care about gets hurt?
Title: A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
Bibliography: Stead, P. C. (2012). A home for Bird. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded
Annotation: The picture book, A Home for Bird written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead is the story of a wonderful friendship between a determined toad and a peculiar bird. One day, Vernon the Toad finds a new friend, a small blue bird. Vernon shows his new friend all of his favorite things and introduces him to his other toad friends, yet the bird stays completely silent. Vernon thinks the birds’ silence is caused by sadness from missing his home, he comes determined to help his new friend get home but bird does not make a sound until Toad brings him to his time-keeping house. I chose this book for a thematic study on relationships because it exemplifies the positive outcomes that come from meaningful friendships.
Grade Level: 2-5
Readers who will like this book: Young readers who enjoy a goofy tale of a meaningful friendship will love the journey the Toad and his questionably quiet new friend go on.
Personal Response and rating: 5; this book was an instant favorite, the incorporation of humor into the story highlighting how determination can pay off is wonderful.
Question: Have you ever tried to help a friend accomplish something? What did you do?
Title: The Swing by Joe Cepeda
Bibliography: Cepeda, J. (2006). The swing. New York: Scholastic.
Annotation: The picture book, The Swing written and illustrated by Joe Cepeda is the uplifting story of how Josey Flores recovers what missing from her family, her neighborhood and even herself. She is constantly frustrated that she has to borrow things from her neighbors because her family loses everything! Josey escapes her frustration by hopping on her swing, leaning back and pumping her legs. She soon realizes that her swing has a bit of magic, it helps her find all of her family’s and neighbor’s missing things! The whole neighborhood works together to make something out of all the broken parts Josey and her swing find. I chose this book for a thematic study on relationships because it shows how relationships, like those in Josey’s neighborhood, are important and when people work together, amazing things can be accomplished.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Grade Level: 2-5
Readers who will like this book: Readers who enjoy realistic fiction with a bit of mystery will enjoy hearing about Josey’s ride on her backyard swing and the influence that working together has on her neighborhood.
Personal Response and rating: 4; this book reinforces the importance of working together and would be a great tool to help students understand that lesson.
Question: What do you do when you lose something? What do you think the positive aspects of working together are?
Title: A Mama for Owen by Marion Dane Bauer
Bibliography: Bauer, M. D. (2007). A mama for Owen. New York: Simon & Schuster
Books for Young Readers.
Annotation: The picture book, A Mama for Owen written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John Bulter is inspirational story about the relationship between unsuspecting friends, a hippo and a tortoise. When Owen, the baby hippo’s mother is washed away by a tsunami he befriends Mzee. I chose this book for a thematic study on relationships because it highlights the notion that despite differences, anyone can be a friend to anyone, even a tortoise and a hippo. It also incorporates a culturally relevant pedagogy as it celebrates diversity, as opposed to ignoring or overlooking it.
Grade Level: 1-3
Readers who will like this book: Young readers who enjoy an uplifting story highlighting the powers of friendship will love the tale of the hippo and the tortoise.
Personal Response and rating: 4; this book takes an unfortunate reality, the death of parents, and focuses on possible positive outcomes of such a travesty in a kid-friendly manner.
Question: Have you ever befriended someone that you did not expect to be friends with?
Title: A Circle of Friends by Giora Carmi
Bibliography: Carmi, G. (2003). A circle of friends. New York: Star Bright Books.
Annotation: The wordless picture book, A Circle of Friends written and illustrated by Giora Carmi is a beautifully depicted story of a young boy who shares his muffin with a homeless man. This action transcends into a series of simple acts of kindness; the homeless man feeds the birds, the birds drop a seed into a pot in the windowsill young boys window, which turns into a vibrant sunflower. I chose this book for a thematic study on relationships because it demonstrates and emphasizes that relationships can be built through simple acts of kindness.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Grade Level: K-3
Readers who will like this book: This book would be great for young readers working on comprehension. It leaves room for the reader to use their imagination, while the illustrations emphasize the important components.
Personal Response and rating: 5; this book incorporates a reader’s imagination and beautiful illustrations into a heartwarming story about the impact a simple act of kindness can have on the world.
Question: Have you ever done anything nice for someone just because? Has anyone ever done anything for you just because?