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Be A King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: James E. Ransome
Published January 2nd, 2018 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Summary: You can be a King. Stamp out hatred. Put your foot down and walk tall.
You can be a King. Beat the drum for justice. March to your own conscience.

Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King’s life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford’s poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality. As times change, Dr. King’s example remains, encouraging a new generation of children to take charge and change the world . . . to be a King. 

Praise: 

“While the book is accessible as an inspiring primer on social justice and taking action, it also challenges more sophisticated readers to make connections between the art, the text, Dr. King’s life, the civil rights movement at large, and the continuing struggle to affect change . . .This book is sure to spark discussion and empower readers of all ages.” –  Starred review, School Library Journal

“Thoughtful paintings of moving scenes are paired with brief, motivational reflections that evoke all the sentiment and fervor of the American civil rights movement.” –  Foreword Review

“The book manages to make essential lessons in civic responsibility accessible to the very young reader.” –  Booklist

“The historical scenes, painted in Ransome’s signature thick, saturated style, are infused with a powerful sense of narrative.” –  Publishers Weekly

“The use of rich, realistic paintings with pencil detailing for King’s life contrasts with the brighter, simpler drawings for the contemporary children, giving a physical reminder that his work is ongoing.” –  School Library Connection

ReviewI am so happy that a book like this exists! It makes a beautiful connection between King’s history and how the same concepts can (and should!) drive us today. The book is very young kid friendly and is a great scaffold to talk about Dr. King or about kindness; however, it could also be used with older kids to infer and go deeper into the lyrical language Weatherford uses. I also loved how Ransome’s illustrations changed between King’s biography and the more contemporary school narrative.

P.S. As a teacher and a person who believes in kindness and equity and acceptance and friendship, I am so happy to see conversations like this happening so freely now! My students and I speak about injustice and prejudice and equity so often now when it would have been a stigma just a few years ago to even mention race or other social justice issues. It is important to talk about race in a non-prejudicial way with children to allow them to learn and grown and reflect. Sadly, it has been through horrific injustices that has gotten us to this point, but hopefully with our future generations having these types of conversations starting at such a young age, these injustices will stop.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Have students look at each school spread (or split up the spreads between groups of students) and ask them to connect the ideals happening in the spread with something that King spoke about. This idea can also be used with the King spreads because it does not explicitly state what historical event each spread is representing, so students could look through King’s story and try to match each illustration and words with an event in his life.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What was Dr. King’s dream?
  • What are some ways you can fulfill this dream?
  • Although he was speaking of a much larger issue than a classroom, how can King’s ideals be transferred to how we treat each other in the classroom?
  • What events of King’s life were portrayed in the illustrations?
  • What other ways could you BE A KING?
  • Why do you believe the author wrote this story?
  • What is the author trying to teach the reader?
  • How did the author structure the story to reach her purpose and theme?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Stories of MLK, Jr.’s life, Books (historical fiction or nonfiction) about the Civil Rights MovementEach Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson,

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A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
Author: Atia Abawi
Published: January 23, 2018 by Philomel

Guest Review by Rachel Krieger

Summary: In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

Review: This book is astonishing. In a world where people like to avoid talking about awkward things or situations that make us sad, this novel is completely, unapologetically honest. With every horror that Tareq experiences, you will find yourself crying with him, hoping with him, and loving with him. You will wish you could be with Alexia helping these people to find new lives. It is impossible to read Abawi’s story without reflecting on your own life, wondering what destiny would write about you.

If you know nothing about the refugee crises happening all over the world, this story will give you a glimpse into the lives of people struggling every day. Although it only looks into the lives of a few refugees, it gave me an idea of how different the life of a refugee is to my own. Atia Abawi’s story will make you reflect on your own humanity and actions, changing the way you think about the world and your own privilege.

Teacher’s Tool For Navigation: This is the perfect book to start a discussion about the situation in Syria. Since it is so essential to address current events regardless of the sensitive nature of those events, teachers should start conversations about this war-torn region. There are many young adult novels that address immigration, however, this one specifically follows the process of that immigration. It would be very beneficial to have students read a book like this and a book like American Street to look at very different stories of immigration with a few similar characteristics. This book in conjunction with others about immigration could be the perfect opportunity to discuss the idea of the danger of a single story.

This novel also offers a very interesting twist on narration. Since destiny is the narrator of this novel rather than one of the characters, there are small parts of the story that reflect broadly on war and humanity. It could be interesting to have students think about how this odd source of narration changes the story. They could even experiment with their own unique narrators, discussing how these odd points of view add or detract from stories.

Discussion Questions: What does the perspective switch add to the novel? Do you think a book like this is likely to encourage people to support this cause? How does Destiny as the narrator change this story? How would this story change if Tareq was a woman?

We Flagged: “Making it to Germany ended Tareq’s crossing and escape from war, but his new life as a refugee is just beginning. There are millions of Tareq’s, Susans and Fayeds, all in search of safety and kindness. I hope you will provide that warmth, be that helper, do what you can to make that world a better place. Because when I meet you—and I will—there will be reckoning. There always is.”

Read This If You Loved: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Supetys, American Street by Ibi Zoboi, Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

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I Am Gandhi
Author: Brad Meltzer
Illustrator: 25 Acclaimed Artists
Published May 8th, 2018 by Dial Books

Summary: Twenty-five exceptional comic book creators join forces to share the heroic story of Gandhi in this inspiring graphic novel biography.

As a young man in India, Gandhi saw firsthand how people were treated unfairly. Refusing to accept injustice, he came up with a brilliant way to fight back through quiet, peaceful protest. He used his methods in South Africa and India, where he led a nonviolent revolution that freed his country from British rule. Through his calm, steady heroism, Gandhi changed the lives of millions and inspired civil rights movements all over the world, proving that the smallest of us can be the most powerful.

Galvanized by Gandhi’s example of gentle, peaceful activism, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer asked his friends in the comic book world to help him make a difference by creating this philanthropic graphic novel. Twenty-four illustrators–including many of the most acclaimed artists in comics today–enthusiastically joined the project, agreeing to donate their work so that their royalties can go to Seeds of Peace, a non-profit organization that inspires and cultivates new generations of global leaders. This extraordinary biography is a glorious team effort that truly exemplifies Gandhi’s selflessness and love for humanity.

The illustrators included are: Art Adams, John Cassaday, Jim Cheung, Amanda Connor, Carlos D’Anda, Michael Gaydos, Gene Ha, Stephanie Hans, Bryan Hitch, Phil Jimenez, Siddharth Kotian, David LaFuente, David Mack, Alex Maleev, Francis Manapul, David Marquez, Steve McNiven, Rags Morales, Saumin Patel, Nate Powell, Stephane Roux, Marco Rudy, Kamome Shirahama, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Abhishek Singh.

Kellee’s ReviewI’ll be honest–when I first read on the cover that 25 different artists illustrated this graphic biography, I was worried that the stagnation of illustration styles would hinder the narrative of Gandhi’s life, but I was so wrong. Instead, by allowing each illustrator to give us their interpretation of Gandhi, his spirit instead flowed through the pages as it was obvious that his story had touched each and every artist, and the author, taking part in this graphic biography.

While reading, it was clear to me that Meltzer wanted Gandhi’s message of equality, peace, and kindness to scream at the reader, and this was confirmed when I read the Washington Post article about Meltzer’s inspiration. I believe Meltzer did a beautiful job not only telling Gandhi’s story but also showing that peace is possible in a time of tumultuous relationships but that the only way to truly achieve it is through similar activism as Gandhi.

Ricki’s Review: I read this graphic novel twice to myself and twice with my son. Further, I’ve read portions of it to my students. I can’t stop sharing it! I was blown away by the amalgamation of the 25 graphic novelists—it made for an absolutely stunning text. I appreciate the historical perspective that extends throughout the graphic novel, and I loved that the illustrations really make Ghandi’s story come alive. This is a book that I will share often and widely. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it highly—even if you already know a lot about Ghandi’s life.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Have students connect Gandhi’s philosophies to those who influenced him and those he influenced. For example, in one of my literature classes, one person picked an author who was influenced by another (for example, Woody Guthrie was influenced by Walt Whitman) then the next student built on that (for example, Bob Dylan was influenced by Woody Guthrie OR Ralph Waldo Emerson influenced Walt Whitman) until a complete chain of influences were made. Then each student wrote an analysis paper showing how they were influenced then presented their findings (in order of influences) to the class. This same idea could be done here: Henry David Thoreau influenced Gandhi who influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. who influenced Barack Obama who influenced Cory Booker, etc. This idea could also be used just to look at the idea of peaceful protests that have changed the course of history: Gandhi, MLK, Black Lives Matter, Never Again, etc.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is the theme of Meltzer’s story of Gandhi?
  • How did Gandhi change the course of history for Indians in South Africa and India?
  • How did the 25 different artists illustrating the graphic novel affect the reading of the biography?
  • How did Thoreau influence Gandhi? Can you infer how Gandhi influence Martin Luther King, Jr.?
  • What was the importance of Gandhi’s march to the sea to hold salt?
  • Why do you believe Meltzer chose the specific quotes he included in the back matter of the book?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Ordinary People Change the World series (ex. I am Lucille Ball, I am Jackie Robinson), Nonfiction graphic novels such as Drowned City by Don Brown

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“What Kinds of Storybook Characters Teach the Best Lessons?”

Do you want to teach your students prosocial behaviors? What are good ways to teach children about sharing, caring, helping, honesty, fairness, and responsibility? One popular way is through storybooks, which have been a part of children’s lives and schooling for hundreds of years. Storybooks entertain, but they can also teach important life and moral lessons. But what are the best kind of characters in storybooks to teach children prosocial behavior? Does one type of character work better than another? Many stories for young children often contain animal characters who are anthropomorphized: they take on human characteristics and can talk, walk, eat, and get into all sorts of mischief too. A group of researchers at the Jackman Institute of Child Study in Toronto found that in a review of over 1000 children’s books, more than half the books featured animals, and only 2% were realistic depictions of the animals; in other words, 98% of the animals in over half of picture books feature anthropomorphized animals. People on all sides of the picture book equation – teachers, students, parents, authors, and illustrators – all have assumed that children are naturally attracted to animals and therefore in using anthropomorphized animals, a story may be more enchanting and its lessons more accessible to children’s young minds. And the bigger assumption is that children may be more likely to act in agreement with the moral of the anthropomorphized animal story.

But is this true? These same researchers – Nicole Larsen, Kang Lee and Patricia Ganea – realized in 2017 that no direct psychological or child development study had ever asked this question – are anthropomorphized animals better at promoting prosocial behavior in children compared to a book featuring human characters? The researchers realized that it was unclear as to whether children can learn prosocial moral lessons from stories with anthropomorphized animal characters and then act accordingly.

The researchers designed a study to help answer this very question: Can children learn prosocial moral lessons from stories with anthropomorphized animal characters? Do stories with anthropomorphized animal characters work better than stories with human characters at teaching kids lessons?

How did they study this? They first picked a book called Little Racoon Learns to Share by Mary Pacard. The book has a sharing theme and a moral lesson – that sharing makes you feel good. The story features anthropomorphized animals as the main characters. The researchers took the book and used Photoshop to create the same book, only with human characters instead.

All children in the study (males and females ages 4 – 6) had a vocabulary test first to make sure that they were all at a similar language ability level. Next, the children were allowed to choose 10 of their favorite stickers from a huge pile of stickers. They were then told that there was a child their same age that could not be there that day and therefore would not get any stickers. The children were told that they could share some of their stickers with this (imaginary) child by putting them into an envelope when no one would be looking. This was the pre-test or baseline measure to get a sense of their sharing level before they heard the book about sharing.

Next, students were divided into three groups of 32 children each. The first group heard the sharing story with the human characters. The second group heard the same story, but with the original animal characters. The third group, the control group, heard a story about seeds. The children in the control condition were also asked to choose between reading either a book about human characters or a book about animal characters. This question was asked to determine whether children would prefer to read the animal book or the human book when given a choice. If the argument that using anthropomorphized animal characters makes a story more captivating to young children is correct, then children should be more likely to choose the book about animal characters. I’ll cut to the chase on this one – the children in this control group picked each book equally – there was not a clear preference for the animal book over the human book.

After the three groups heard the book, the same sticker sharing task was given with new stickers (post-test). The researchers measured the differences in sticker donation before and after the story reading. Again, the researchers were wondering whether reading storybooks with a sharing theme could significantly increase children’s generous giving relative to reading the control story about seeds. More importantly, they examined whether the story in the animal condition with anthropomorphized animal characters and the story in the human condition with real human characters would have differential effects in promoting generosity in young children, that is, would the children share more stickers after hearing the sharing story with animals or humans, or would it even matter?

What happened? I bet you are very curious by now! Reading a book about sharing had an immediate effect on children’s sharing behavior: Children who read the book with human characters became more generous with how many stickers they donated to the fictional child. In contrast, there was no difference in generosity between children who read the book with anthropomorphized animal characters and the control book; both groups decreased how many stickers they gave.

Here is the chart I adopted from the study:

Condition Before the book: How many stickers did they donate? After hearing the book: How many stickers did they donate?
Human characters 2.03 stickers 3 stickers ↑
Animals characters 2.31 stickers 1.7 stickers ↓
Control condition – book about seeds 2.14 stickers 2 stickers ↓

Why did the researchers think this happened? Maybe children see anthropomorphic characters more as animals than humans. Maybe they are not able to interpret the anthropomorphic characters as being similar to themselves, and as a result, the lesson in the story is not absorbed. This does not mean that children should never hear stories with animal characters, but it’s important to keep this in mind.

Future research future should look at whether anthropomorphism in books has the same effect on older children as on younger children as this study was done on 4 – 6-year olds.

It’s fun (at least for me as a cognitive neuroscientist!) to think about storybooks from an academic perspective – maybe the assumptions we hold are not true – studying these assumptions in a systematic way can provide real answers and guidance for future generations of teachers and parents.

This post was adopted from the following article should you like to read it yourself: Larsen, N.E., Lee, K., Ganea, P.A. (2017). Do storybooks with anthropomorphized animal characters promote prosocial behaviors in young children? Developmental Science, pp. 1-9.

About the Author: Patty lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, a zany awesome toddler, a dog named Pippa, and a dog named Spencer. She grew up in the Twin Cities and is a Minnesotan at heart (you betcha!). She has a BS in Psychology from the University of St Thomas and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. She currently works in higher education. Her first book, Catalina and the King’s Wall, released May 5th, 2018 from Eifrig Publishing. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found standing at her desk, helping her university run smoothly and working on her next children’s book. For fun, she likes to trail run, mountain bike, cross country ski, and hike. She is also a voracious volunteer for various local organizations.

Catalina and the King’s Wall
Author: Patty Costello
Illustrator: Diana Cojocaru
Expected publication: May 5th, 2018 by Eifrig Publishing

About Catalina and the King’s WallWhen Catalina overhears the king planning to build a wall, she fears her family won’t ever be able to visit. Catalina tricks the king into building walls that droop, drip, swirl, and swoosh away. But now the king demands an impenetrable wall. Luckily, Catalina has the perfect ingredients to bake up a family reunion! Through beautiful illustrations and enjoyable prose, kids learn how to stand by their convictions of inclusivity and kindness even when powerful people tell them not to.

Thank you, Patty, for a look at this study and for sharing your book!

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Moon
Author and Illustrator: Alison Oliver
Expected Publication April 17th, 2018 by Clarion Books

Summary: Like many children, Moon leads a busy life. School, homework, music lessons, sports, and the next day it begins again. She wonders if things could be different. Then, one night, she meets a wolf.

The wolf takes Moon deep into the dark, fantastical forest and there she learns to howl, how to hide, how to be still, and how to be wild. And in that, she learns what it’s like to be free.

ReviewJust as Where the Wild Things Are made children think about controlling our inner wild things (anger), Moon has us look at the new pressures of childhood and the need to let kids unleash their inner wild thing (playfulness). I talk often about the pressure that kids with other parents and teachers about the pressure that kids have on them now. Computer programs and homework starting in kindergarten, multiple standardized testing starting in 3rd grade, high school classes starting in middle school, AP classes required for almost everyone, etc. etc. etc. It makes me so sad to see that a lot of the joys of childhood are being pushed away to make kids grow up earlier (but then we complain about kids growing up quicker…). Moon, the main character, represents so many of our kids, and her adventure shows how important it is to let our kids just be themselves to be happy and to remove some of the pressure. I loved this message, and I thought it was told in a beautiful and figurative way that will lead to wonderful discussions and lots of rereading.

And I couldn’t review this book properly without commenting on the beautiful illustrations. I particularly loved the palette changes to highlight time and place and the bits of humor in the illustrations. Just a wonderful combination of artwork and story.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Moon‘s theme and symbolism are what jump out to me first, and I see them being what is discussed the most when it comes to this book, and I could see it be extended from early elementary all the way to middle school just pushing the conversation to different levels the older students get.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What do the wolves symbolize in Moon’s story?
  • How is your life similar to Moon’s at the beginning of the book?
  • How does Moon’s life change from beginning to end?
  • What lesson was the message the author was trying to spread from Moon? 
  • Do you see any differences between Moon from the first couple of pages and the last couple of pages?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Yellow Kayak by Nina Laden, Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

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Bat and the Waiting Game
Author: Elana K. Arnold
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Published March 27th, 2018 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: The second book in the irresistible and “quietly groundbreaking”* young middle grade series starring Bat, an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world—even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor.

When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons.

Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends. Bat just wants everything to go back to normal. He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance…

*Kirkus Reviews

Critical Praise: 

“Delightful. This humorous follow-up is even stronger than its predecessor and will leave readers hoping for a third book featuring Bat and his family.” — School Library Journal

“A gentle tale of shared similarities rather than differences that divide and a fine read-aloud with a useful but not didactic message of acceptance.”  — Kirkus Reviews

A winsome blend of humor and heart, vibrant characters, and laugh-out-loud dialogue. Arnold’s narrative also gracefully explores life through the eyes of a boy on the autism spectrum.  The ever-lovable Bat is sure to resonate with readers of all ages. — Booklist Online

About the Author: Elana K. Arnold grew up in California, where she, like Bat, was lucky enough to have her own perfect pet — a gorgeous mare named Rainbow — and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She is the author of picture books, middle grade novels, and books for teens, including the National Book Award finalist title What Girls Are Made Of. Elana lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She calls the “Bat” series for Walden Pond Press “books of her heart.” You can find her online at www.elanakarnold.com.

ReviewBat is one of my favorite characters ever. He is a flawed character but is also so perfect as who he is! What I love about Bat, other than his amazingly sweet personality, his brilliance when it comes to skunks, and his coping skills, is that he teaches us to treasure the little things. Also, the way that Elana write Bat, his story will help middle grade readers think about their classmates who may not think or act the way that they think is normal. We are all normal for who we are! Bat’s story shows about the good in life and teaches us what good humans are like.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to an amazing read aloud opportunity, I can definitely see the text being part of lit circles. Bat himself is unique, but he and his story remind me of so many other characters who I love and I wish all students would read about: Auggie from Wonder; Melody from Out of my Mind; David from Rules; Candice from The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee; Rose from Rain, Reign; and Adam from How to Speak Dolphin. All of these texts are must reads! I picture all of these texts with their extraordinary characters being part of lit circles with a focus on disabilities/disorders and empathy. [From my review of A Boy Called Bat, 3/10/17]

Educators’ Resource Guide: 

Flagged Passages: “Maybe, Bat though, there was something better in the world than cradling a sleepy, just-fed baby skunk in your arms. But at this moment, it didn’t seem likely.

Bat was sitting in his beanbag chair, having just put down the tiny, nearly empty bottle of formula. In Bat’s hand, licking his fine soft whiskers with a tiny pink tongue and then yawning widely to reveal two rows of new white teeth, was a six-week-old skunk kit named Thor.” (p. 1-2)

“When Israel first handed [a skunk kit sculpture] to Bat last Monday at school, it had taken Bat a moment to figure out what exactly he was holding…

Bat had rubbed his thumb down the smooth shiny back of the clay ump. It didn’t look much like a skunk kit, but its pleasant weight felt good in his hand. And when he had flipped it over to find the words ‘From Israel’ on the bottom, a warm good feeling spread through his chest and up his neck.

A friend had given him a gift. And even if it didn’t look much like the real baby skunk now nestled in his hands, it definitely deserved a place on his bookshelf,a long with his other important things.” (p. 4-5)

Read This If You Love: A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold, Any lit circle book listed under Teacher’s Tools

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Don’t miss out on the other blog tour stops!

3/12 For Those About to Mock, @abouttomock Sam Eddington

3/15 Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook @knott_michele Michele Knott

3/15 @iowaamber Amber Kuehler

3/16 The Hiding Spot @thehidingspot Sara Grochowski

3/18 Educate*Empower*Inspire…Teach @guerette79 Melissa Guerrette

3/19 Maria’s Melange @mariaselke Maria Selke

3/20 Nerdy Book Club post by Elana

3/20 Writers Rumpus @kirsticall Kirsti Call

3/22 Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl Nicole Levesque

3/28 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders Kellee Moye

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**Thank you to Walden Pond Press for hosting the blog tour and providing a copy for review!!**

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George the Hero Hound
Author: Jeffrey Ebbeler
Published March 20th, 2018 by Two Lions

Summary: George is a good ol’ hound dog. He helps Farmer Fritz with the chores and—most important of all—he keeps those sneaky cows out of the cornfield.

Then Farmer Fritz moves away, and a new family from the city moves in. The Gladstones have a lot to learn. George tries to help, but they don’t understand his job on the farm…until the day little Olive goes missing, and George shows everyone what it means to be a hero hound!

ReviewFirst, I have to talk about how much I just love George, his expressions, and his story. Just look at that cover! Don’t you want to just follow him around?! But you want to know what made the story for me? The extra story that was told through the illustrations. George’s story that is told through the text is a look at figuring out home when things change and dealing with a new situation, and George is definitely the hero in all of it; however, it is the hilarious stories told in the background that add just the extra HAs! to the story. Watch for the cows to make some Mission Impossible-esque moves and for the Gladstones to make some silly mistakes.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: What a great way to introduce storytelling through words and illustrations. When I did my Caldecott unit with my middle schoolers, so many of them didn’t know how to read a story without being told it in words. Use the illustrations in the background for a creative writing prompt to have students write an alternate text for each page using what is going on in the background of the told story.

George’s tale would also be a good text to use to introduce theme and the idea that a text can have more than one theme, depending on which character you are learning from.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How is George a hero?
  • What do you think the cows’ master plans include?
  • How are the Gladstones different from Farmer Fritz?
  • What are clues that the Gladstones are from the city?
  • How does the author indicate dialogue versus narration?
  • What is a clue that would have told the Gladstones George’s name?

Flagged Passages: “George was a good old hound dog. Every day George was up, even before the chickens, to help old Farmer Fritz with the cores. That rust-bucket tractor was always falling apart. . . and those wily cows were always plotting to get out and feast on the cornfield.”

And some passages from after the Gladstone family moves in:

Read This If You Love: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman; My Dog is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson; Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin; Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell; Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer

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**Thank you to Two Lions for providing a copy for review!**

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