Well, I’m a little late for my morning post today, but better late than never! Today’s theme is “2-way stories” – one can be read back to front; the other side by side – and both are unique and surprising!
The first is A Long Way Away by Frank Viva, author of Along a Long Road. (Which, it just occurred to me, would be a great addition to my previous post about bicycle books!) A Long Way Away is a book you may need to read a few times to fully understand and appreciate. When read one way, it tells the story of an alien child who leaves his family, goes down to Earth and then down, down to the depth of the ocean; when read the other way, the alien child begins on the ocean floor and journeys back up to space to be with his family. As you read the book in a different direction, you will notice the mood changing. (back up to space is definitely happier!)
I have never read a book quite like this one and think it will be a big hit with many kids. Once children understand how the book is designed, I can see them wanting to read it over and over.
Mirror, by Jeannie Baker, (author of Where the Forest Meets the Sea) is a book I have shared at many workshops. This ingenious wordless picture book follows the parallel lives of two families; one family from an urban setting in Australia; the other from a remote village in Morocco. The book is designed to be read side by side. As you turn the pages simultaneously, you journey through the daily routines of each family and are invited to compare their seemingly different cultures, surroundings and daily routines. But there are more similarities than at first appear and as the two stories unfold, the families are unexpectedly connected. The illustrations are extremely detailed and tell the story exquisitely. I have used this book many times with intermediate classes to practice inferring. It is also an effective way to introduce similarities and differences in culture.
Whichever way you read these two books – side by side or back to front – you won’t be disappointed!