I was out at the school today (and you know how I LOVE my Wednesdays at the elementary school), and my son's amazing and brilliant second grade teacher loaned me three awesome books. They were all so important and distinctive in their own ways, that I just had to share them with you.
The first one I LOVED was RAIN STOMPER, written by Addie Boswell and illustrated by Eric Velasquez. The first line grabbed me, "On the first day of spring, Jazmin flipped out of bed." Already I know that Jazmin is a pistol, and she didn't disappoint. She was excited about the big parade that she planned to march in, and a series of wonderful onomatopoeias usher in the storm that threatens to ruin the day. Rather than take the usual path (sitting by the window looking longing through the droplet covered pane), Jazmin goes outside with her anger to confront that nasty old storm and , cheered on by the neighbors, literally stomps the rain away.
THOSE SHOES is a touching story about a young boy who sees all the kids at school getting a certain kind of expensive tennis shoes. He really, really, REALLY wants THOSE SHOES, so badly, in fact, that when he finds a used pair at Goodwill, he buys them with his own money EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT HIS SIZE! After days of walking around with pinched toes (actually wishing his toes would fall off! ha), he notices a boy in his class who needs new shoes even more than him and his feet are a little smaller. This decision is not an easy one, but our utterly believeable protagonist ultimately gives his beloved shoes away. (and admirably, anonymously)
What a wonderful springboard for writing! Read this book to a class, and then ask them to write about a time when they really wanted something that was 'all the rage' but too expensive to be practical. (Heelies, anyone?)
Last but not least, the brilliant Lois Lowy delivers a touching story in CROW CALL about a little girl becoming reacquainted with her father after he returns from the war. She goes on a hunting trip with him, complete with her own (albeit WAY too big) hunting shirt, even though she's not so sure about shooting crows. The story is heartfelt and true,with a cozy, old-timey feel, and the hunting aspect is well delivered. One of the things I just adored about this book was the fact that it's based on her own experience as a child with her father, and there's even a picture of her in her own giant hunting shirt as a little girl. This book would be an awesome springboard for writing with children about a specific article of clothing and the memories it holds OR a special time with a parent.
And YES, I finally got MOCKINGBIRD today, so I just can't wait to read it and report back to you.
Remember it only takes ONE BOOK for a child to fall in love with reading, help a young person fall in love today! Gift a great book, and take a child to the library.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.