Monthly Archives: June 2020

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #10: Dusk Exploring!

Hello everyone!  This will be my LAST OLLI lesson for the school year as I believe classes are wrapping up this week.

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

Before my lesson, I just wanted to say WELL DONE, everyone!  You did it!  You juggled online and in person teaching AND supported your family AND wrote report cards AND learned how to ZOOM and so many other things!  Great job!!!

THE INSPIRATION:

Summer is here!  School is almost over!  The days are longer (last night it was starting to get light at 3:30 am – yes, I was awake!) and the weather hopefully warmer. (Can you say “NO MORE RAIN”?)  With some restrictions being lifted, we want to encourage children to spend more time outside enjoying the outdoors during the summer.  I have many happy childhood memories of playing outside in the summer with my sisters.  The endless days and evenings playing in the back yard, riding bikes to the park, the back alley, the neighbour’s house – outside until the streetlights came on or my mum called us in for supper – whichever one came first.   This week’s OLLI, I wanted to share a lesson that is an ode to these outdoor summer adventures!

THE ANCHOR:

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Dusk Explorers – Lindsay Leslie

This beautiful new book invites children (and parents) to enjoy playing outdoors on a summer evening.  The story winds through the neighborhood streets, with lyrical, descriptive language and encourages readers to head out for bike riding, tree climbing, playing, and wonderful exploring.   It’s like a hit list of childhood’s best memories!  I can’t imagine any child who wouldn’t want to try out all the outdoor “dusk explorer” activities after reading even just the first pages of this book.  Beautiful illustrations by Ellen Rooney.  This book came out in early June (warm book alert!) so it is not one that I was able to find as an online read-aloud, unfortunately.  But if you order it soon, you could read it online to your class before school breaks for summer.

Watch the book trailer HERE: 

THE LESSONS:  

This is one of those books that can inspire MANY different reading and writing lessons.  Below are just some of the ideas I thought about while reading this book.

NOTE:  I would recommend discussing the word “dusk” (and “dawn”) with students before reading this story!  In my experience, some have never heard of the word!

  1. VISUALIZING – Because of the author’s use of sensory details, this is a perfect book for visualizing.  I would read this story and invite students to listen for different sensory words and images.

Click HERE for the Six Senses Visualizing Template

Click HERE for the Single Image Visualizing Template

TIP – When practicing visualizing, I don’t show the pictures to the students the first time I read.  I want the words from the story to help them create their own visual images.

       2. BECOME A DUSK EXPLORER –  It’s hard to read this book without wanting to immediately run outside and start exploring your neighbourhood!  I think the author really wanted readers to feel that outdoor summer excitement so think this would be a wonderful “enjoy your summer” send off activity to give your students!

After sharing the story, invite students to make connections to their “dusk exploring” experiences.  Ask what their favorite “outdoor” games are?  (climbing trees, running races, kick the can, hide-and-seek, lane-way hockey or basketball, firefly catching)

Tell the students that now that summer is here, there will be more time for outdoor adventures.  Invite them to become “dusk explorers” in their neighbourhood this week.  Use the “Dusk Explorer” template to record things they saw, heard, played, felt.  Encourage them to try something new like a new game.

Click HERE For the Dusk Explorer template.

NOTE:  Remind them to ALWAYS be with a parent or tell a parent where they are going.

3. WRITING – I will definitely be adding this book my list of Writing Anchor books  as it is such a great example of an author who uses senses to create images.  I was also excited to find a video from the author, Lindsay Leslie, talking about writing sharing how to develop sensory details in writing.  It’s a video I would definitely share with students!

Watch the author talk HERE: 

After watching the video, reflect on what the author was saying.  I like to explain that in science, we talk about “the FIVE senses”, but writers actually use “SIX” senses – adding the sense of “emotional feelings” in additional to physical feelings.

Invite your students to go outside at dusk one evening this week.  Have them sit quietly in one spot and pay close attention to their senses.  What are you noticing?  What do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel? (physically), feel? (emotionally).  Have them record their observations on the Six Senses of Dusk template.   Invite them to write a descriptive paragraph, using as many of the sensory words as they can.  Remind them not to just write a list “I saw… I heard…” but to use similes and interesting detail words in their descriptions such as “sometimes”, “once”, “if”, and “when”.

ie – I see the pink clouds, fluffy like cotton candy.  Sometimes, I pretend the clouds are animals playing in the sky.  

Click HERE for the Six Senses of Dusk template

For younger students, they could write about dusk using the 5 finger planner:  TOPIC, DETAIL, DETAIL, ONE TIME…, FEELING.  (one sentence for each of their five fingers)

ie.  I like to play outside when it’s dusk. (topic)  The clouds are pink like cotton candy. (detail)  The leaves rustle in the wind. (detail)  One time, my brother and I played badminton until we couldn’t see the birdie. (one time).  I like being outside when it’s dusk.  

For more mini lessons for adding details, see my new book Powerful Writing Structures.  

Additional Books to Support the Lesson:

I hope you find one or two ideas you could share with your students this week, either online or in person.  Below is a list of more summer books – some new releases and some old favorites.  Many of these would also make great anchor books for writing sensory details.   Check YouTube as some of these are available as online read-alouds.

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And Then Comes Summer – Tom Brenner

A lovely, lyrical ode to summer fun.  Great for making connections and sensory details.

Summer Song – Kevin Henkes

So excited about this brand new book – the last of Henkes’ seasonal series.

Summer Color – Diana Murray

Love this book for younger and older students – beautiful details of nature.

Summer Days and Nights – Wong Herbert Yee

Beautiful small moment details about summer with great sensory words.

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Rules of Summer – Shaun Tan

Master artist and storyteller Shaun Tan’s book about summer rules is weird, mesmerizing, dark in places but a great choice for older readers.

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Hooked – Tommy Greenwald

Beautiful descriptions of fishing, some dad bonding, and I love David McPhail’s illustrations.

Jules Vs. the Ocean – Jessie Sima

Brand new book about a young girl who attempts to build elaborate sandcastles to impress her older sister.

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Down Under the Pier Nell Cross Beckerman

Beautiful descriptions of the inter tidal zone with a dreamy, magical “endless summer” feel.

Cannonball – Sacha Cotter

Love this new summer story about family, overcoming fears, and the importance of being oneself, all in the pursuit of performing the perfect cannonball!

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The Little Blue Cottage – Kelly Jordan

Lovely story about returning to that special summer cottage year after year.

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball – A Nighttime Insect Celebration – Loree Griffin Burns

Love this idea of having a summer event to celebrate nighttime moths!  Stay up late one night this summer and discover the amazing world of moths in your own back yard.  This would be a great summer family event!

 

Teacher friends… you have been through a lot of challenges these past few months and have faced them all with determination, dedication, open minds, and open-hearts. You have supported your students through through all the ups and downs, the online and in person, and all the “wash your hands” and “don’t stand so close to me” moments!  And in case it wasn’t clear before, you have shown the world just how important the role of a teacher is in the life of a child.   Thank you.

I will be continuing to post book lists over the summer, and will return with more OLLIs in the fall!  Thanks to everyone who has been using and sharing my posts.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy summer, everyone!

Enjoy your holiday – you have earned it (x 100!)

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Connect, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Seasons, Summer

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #9: “Happy Right Now!” 

Hello everyone!  Sorry for my late post (I usually post my weekly OLLI on Monday)  Hope you all had a restful weekend and enjoyed some time with people in “your bubble”.   Report cards finished?  Well done!

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance and in person lessons.

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

THE INSPIRATION:

Last week, I came across a lovely quote on Instagram (forgive me, I did not record the source so unable to credit).  It read:  “I used to think that when it rains, it pours.  But now I think – when it rains, it grows.”   What a lovely way of shifting our perspective from the negative to the positive.  I often refer to this purposeful action as “practicing happy”.  While we could spend many hours discussing the negative things that might be “pouring” on us at the moment, instead, we could be “practicing happy”  by choosing to focus on the new “grows” in our lives.

Let’s face it.  It’s been a challenge “practicing happy” during these past few months.  Many of us can connect with that feeling of doom and gloom, negative energy, the dark cloud hanging over our heads… the “If only…s”.   With Covid, the recent protests, the stress of school, family, finances, and so many unknowns – it’s all been a bit much!  Being happy is hard work some days!  But it’s so important that we each try to “practice happy” even for a few minutes each day and encourage our students to do the same – helping them understand that being happy is a choice we all need to make for ourselves.  Instead of wishing for what you don’t have (or don’t have yet), we should make the most of what we do have.

THE ANCHOR:

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Happy Right NowJulie Berry

What can you do when things sometimes don’t go the way you want them to? You have a choice, you can either let it get you down, or choose to be happy in the moment. This inspirational tale gives the reader some insight on making their world as best as it can be and embracing the circumstances we find ourselves in each day.  What I like about this book is, while its main message is the importance of focusing on happy, the author also explores the notion that its okay to feel sad sometimes too.  This book is a perfect choice for exploring emotions and how we deal with them, as well as choosing happiness, even on bad days!

THE LESSON:  

Before reading the story, I like to introduce the concept of “practicing happy” by first exploring the question – “Is this glass half empty or half full?”  If possible, bring in a glass half filled with water to start the discussion.  (If you are doing distance learning, you can do show the glass half full/empty when you are zooming with them.)  Ask the students how they would answer that question.

Explain that some people may look at the glass as being half empty – and wish they had a full glass (negative mindset); others see the glass as being half full – and are grateful for the water they have (positive mindset)

Explain that how someone views the glass, the perspective they take, determines how they feel.   Being happy about a half glass of water is a choice.  Wishing you had more is also a choice.  But which feeling do you want to carry inside you?  If you always look for what you don’t have, then that negative feeling fills you up.  If you choose to “practice happy”, you will feel more positive inside.

Read the story Happy Right Now – or show the story on YouTube.   Invite the students to think about the glass question while they are reading/listening to the story.

After sharing the story with students, discuss the fact that the girl in the story was “practicing happy” , making a choice to be happy for things she had, rather than wishing things were different. She was working on being “happy about right now”!  Explain that this can be helpful when we are feeling like things aren’t working out for us or we are feeling like life just isn’t fair!   “Practicing happy” means not wishing your life away but making a choice to appreciate what we have “right now”.

Choose a few of these and invite students to “practice happy” with these scenarios.

  • I’ll be happy when the coach picks me to be in the starting line up!  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when it stops raining!         But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when my ice cream cone stops melting!    But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I can see all my school friends together!   But I am happy right now because….
  • I’ll be happy when I win the World Mine Craft Championship.  But I am happy right now because… 
  • I’ll be happy when my baby brother stops following me all around.  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I’m allowed to walk to school by myself.  But I am happy right now because..

Invite the students to make up some of their own:

I’ll be happy when….. But I’m happy right now because…

ACTIVITIES:

If you are working in your class, create a “Happy Right Now” collaborative poster in the Ask students: “What makes you happy right now?” Model your own (ie – being your teacher, my morning coffee, the smell of my shampoo this morning) Invite them to add and record their own ideas onto the wall poster.  Encourage them to focus on specific small, personal things that make them happy.  This would be different from, for example, Earth Day or Thanksgiving when you might be saying “I’m thankful for the sun.  I’m thankful for the forest”.  Students working from home can contribute by telling you during a zoom conference or emailing it to you.

Read any of the additional anchor books to continue exploring this theme of “practicing happy”.   Invite the students to complete the “Happy Right Now” template.  (see below)

Happy Right Now – Primary 1

Happy Right Now – Primary 2

Happy Right Now – Intermediate

ADDITIONAL ANCHOR BOOKS:  Below are other books about happiness, mindfulness, appreciating what we have, and choosing to “practice happy”!

There, There – Tim Beiser

 

Rain Brings Frogs – A Little Book of Hope – Maryann Cocca-Leffler

 

Saturday – Oge Mora

 

The Three Questions – Jon Muth

 

Hap-pea All Year – Keith Baker

 

Layla’s Happiness – Maria Hadessa

 

Here and Now – Julia Denos

 

I Think, I Am – Louise L. Hay

 

Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy – Scott Menchin

 

The Wrong Side of the Bed – Lisa M. Bakos

 

Good News, Bad News by [Jeff Mack]

Good News Bad News – Jeff Mack

 

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I’m wishing you all many happy moments and many opportunities to “practice happy”.  See you next week!

For more lessons on emotions, hopes and dreams, and mindfulness, see my book Powerful Understanding.

 

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Filed under Connect, Growth Mindset, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #8: “I’m Talking DAD!”

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance lessons.

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

After a very “heavy” week in the world, (click HERE for my recent book list on racism and civil rights), I decided to offer a more uplifting OLLI this week in preparation for Father’s Day.   Now I recognize that it’s sometimes challenging to focus on Father’s Day when some of our students are without a Father figure in their lives.  However, I have always found ways to encourage children to think about a special grown up in their lives who, for them, has given them support and love, whether it be a dad, uncle, grandparent or older sibling or cousin.

THE INSPIRATION:

Collin McNaughton’s Poem “I’m Talking Big” is the inspiration for this lesson.  It is a great poem for introducing synonyms and practicing triple scoop words.  Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but I’ve included the poem (all you really need for the lesson) and you can find used copies of the book at Abe Books (my favorite source for finding out of print books!)

Click HERE for a copy of the poem.

THE LESSON

Colin McNaughton’s poem “I’m Talking Big” is jam-packed with triple scoop words so it’s a perfect one to build vocabulary and encourage students to be more adventurous with their word choice.

After reading this poem, I use a simple frame to have students write their own mini synonym poems for some of our “single scoop” words including: walking, hot, small, happy, good, cold, sad, mad.

I’m Talking ________

I’m talking ________ (repeat the title)

I’m talking ___________ (1 synonym)

I’m talking _____________, ________________ (2)

I’m talking ____________, ________________, ______________ (3)

I’m talking ___________   (repeat the title)

Example:

I’m talking HOT

I’m talking burning!

I’m talking steaming, sweating!

I’m talking roasting, sizzling, blistering.

I’m talking hot!

 

The pattern frame can be adapted and used for practically any topic but for this lesson, I am focusing on their Dad or a special grown-up in their life.

Use the template frame and “write aloud”, modeling your ideas before having the students complete theirs.   The frame is easy to follow as it gives specific things to include.

Click HERE for the Poem template for Intermediate

Click HERE for the Poem template for Primary

I’m Talking Dad!

I’m talking Dad!

I’m talking _________ (name you call your dad)

I’m talking ____________,_____________, _____________  (3 character traits)

I’m talking ____________,______________,____________,___________(4 jobs your dad does)

I’m ______________,_____________,____________,___________,__________(5 “ing” actions)

I’m talking  ____________,____________,____________,____________,

___________, _________ (6 triple scoop words)

I’m talking ______________ (1 feeling)

I’m talking Dad!

Completed Poem example:

I’m Talking Dad!

I’m talking Dad!

I’m talking Popo!

I’m talking smart, funny, athletic

I’m talking taxi driver, hockey coach, lawn cutter, dog walker

I’m talking laughing, snoring, singing, tickling, fixing

I’m talking amazing, tremendous, legendary, epic, fantastic, extraordinary!

I’m talking love!

I’m talking Dad!

Lesson Extension 

I love this poetry frame and find it a great one for integrating poetry into into your content areas.  For example, with the grade 2’s and 3’s at my school a few years ago, we used it when we were exploring communities.  Here is an example of the same frame, but children chose a special place in their community to write about.

I'm Talking Vancouver

Last example… here is one about hockey!  (I’ve been missing the playoffs so thought I’d include this one written by a grade 6 student.)

I’m Talking Hockey!

I’m talking hockey!

I’m talking Canada’s sport!

I’m talking players, goalies, coaches!

I’m talking skating, puck control, shooting, passing!

I’m talking skates, shin pads, helmet, mouth guard, stick

I’m talking heart-stopping, exciting, cheering,

Thrilling, disappointing, nail-biting.

I’m talking Stanley cup playoffs!

I’m talking hockey!

 

Additional Anchor Books About Dads:f

My Dad – Anthony Browne

My Dad is Amazing!  – Sabrina Moyle

Made for Me – Zack Bush

My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers – Hope Anita Smith

My Father’s Hands – Joanne Ryder

You and Me, Me and You – Miguel Tanco

My Dad Used to Be So Cool – Keith Negley

Darth Vader and Son – Jeffrey Brown

How To Surprise a Dad – Jean Reagan

 

Have a great week, everyone!  Hope these lessons inspire some ideas for your online or in-person learning this week.  Happy reading and Happy Father’s Day and Special Grown Up’s Day!

You are doing an amazing job!  There are only a few weeks left! You can do it!!!

 

 

 

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Filed under Connect, Family, Father's Day, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Writing Anchor book

Turning to Children’s Books to Help Our Students Make Sense of Racism and Injustice

Like all of you, I am troubled, saddened, and horrified by what has transpired in the US (world) over the past week (year, century).  Racism exists there, here, everywhere.   It exists now and it existed then.  But I believe if there is one positive thing to come out of  this tragic event is the possibility that a slightly brighter light is being shined on the treatment of minorities – possibly an historical tipping point.  Many of us will never truly understand the feeling of injustice so many face on a daily basis.  But by helping to bring greater awareness of these issues to our students, we can all do our part to promote inclusion and equality.

Children notice injustice.  They see it and hear it in the playground, in the community, on TV, but perhaps don’t have the schema, the memory or fact pockets, to make sense of it all.   And so, as in so many learning opportunities that arise in our daily lives, I turn to children’s books to help me help them.  Between the covers of these books are the stories we can use to start the conversations we MUST be having with our children now; conversations about racism, about injustice, about segregation, about intolerance, about peaceful protests, about rioting, about civil rights, about activism, about marching for freedom.  It is never too early to start these conversations!

Below are my recommended anchor books, many based on true events, that can spark important conversations about racism, activism, segregation and social justice.  While I recognize that all people of color have experienced racism, the majority of these books are focusing more on issues stemming from racism against black people in the US because those are likely the conversations you will likely be having, given the situation there at the moment.  This is by no means diminishing the issue of racism against any other minority.

While this is not one of my official OLLI posts, click HERE for a response template your students could use with any of these books.

Let’s Talk About Race – Julius Lester

Likely my favorite book to read aloud to a class to spark conversations about race.  Julius Lester’s voice in this book is so real, so honest, so personal, so intimate, so authentic – it feels as if he stepped into the classroom and is speaking directly to us.  Lester uses “story” as a metaphor for race – we all have a different story to tell.  The book is filled with questions which makes it great for interactive reading.

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The Undefeated – Kwane Alexander

A beautiful celebration of black Americans throughout history: both the “dreamers” and the “doers,” who have made a difference, despite the many injustices endured and challenges they faced.  Alexander Kwane wrote this poem “The Undefeated” when Barack Obama was elected to office. It is a powerful poem accompanied by gorgeous oil painted illustrations by Kadir Nelson.

Race Cars – A Children’s Book About White Privilege – Jenny Devenny

This book uses metaphor to explain the issue of race and privilege.  In it, 2 best friends, a white car and a black car, that have different experiences and face different rules while entering the same race. I like the way the book offers a simplistic, yet powerful way to introduce these complicated themes to kids.

Something Happened in Our Town – A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice – Marianne Celano

This is a timely book aimed at younger children. The story starts with a police shooting where an unarmed black man is killed. Two children ask their families why it happened: the girl is white, the boy is black. So readers get two different points of view and distinct emotions. But they both share the feeling of injustice.  I was impressed with how the story addresses social/racism issues in a way that younger children can easily understand and I really like the two perspectives.  Excellent back notes for parents and teachers.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story From the Underground Railway – Ellen Levine

This is the true story of escaped slave Henry Box Brown. The book follows his life from his childhood as a slave on a plantation and as an adult working as a slave in a tobacco factory. After the devastating event of having his wife and three children sold to different masters,  Henry decides to mail himself to a place where there are no slaves. With the help of a white doctor, Henry is mailed in a crate to Philadelphia and most amazingly is successful.  This story is both heart-breaking and hopeful and Kadir Nelson’s stunning illustrations once again bring the story alive.

The Story of Ruby Bridges – Robert Coles

On November 1960, in New Orleans, 6 yr. old Ruby Bridges was selected as one of the first African American student to attend an all white elementary school (William Frantz Elementary)  Many parents kept their kids home that day and gathered outside the school to protest.  Accompanied by US Marshalls,  little Ruby said a quiet prayer to herself and marched through the mobs of angry white people, shouting and jeering at her up the steps and into the school.  This is SUCH an inspiring story!  Ruby demonstrates courage, determination, faith, and kindness.  We can all learn a few things from Ruby.

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The real Ruby Bridges.

Smoky Night – Eve Bunting

Eve Bunting wrote this book after the riots and looting in Los Angeles in 1992 because she wanted to help children understand such events, especially those who actually live through them.  The story is told from Daniel’s perspective during one night when he, his mother and their cat witness rioting and looting outside their apartment.  They eventually have to flee to a shelter as the riots get closer and sadly, their cat gets left behind.  When this book was released in 1994, Eve Bunting received considerable criticism for the subject matter being too mature for children. She later received the Caldecott Award in 1995 for the book.

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White Socks Only – Evelyn Colman

In the segregated south, a young girl thinks that she can drink from a fountain marked “Whites Only” because she is wearing her white socks.  This is a heartbreaking, touching story and while the story is fictional, the events like separate entrances, water fountains, etc. for black and white people make it a good choice for introducing segregation to intermediate students.

Freedom on the Menu – The Greensboro Sit-Ins – Carole Boston Weatherford

In 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina, 4 black college students sat down at a counter at Woolworths during a time of segregation, marking a major event in the Civil Rights Movement.  This historical event, known as the Greensboro Sit-In, is told through the eyes of a young black girl, who shares her experiences living a segregated life.   The book below is based on the same event.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down – Andrea Davis Pinkney

 

We March – Shane W. Evans

In simple prose and images, Evans tells the story of one child whose family participated in the 1963 March on Washington.  The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.   I love how this story uses simple text but manages to capture the thrill of this young child’s experience.  You feel as if you are joining in the March, too.  A great book for teaching about civil rights and includes information in the back.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer - Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Voice of Freedom – Fannie Lou Hamer – Carole Boston Weatherford

I didn’t know anything about Fannie Lou Hamer until I read this book. She played an integral role in the civil rights movement and despite fierce prejudice and abuse fought for the equal right to vote.  I like the way this story is told in first person free verse poems and spirituals.   A story of determination, courage, and hope.  Weatherford includes additional information about Hamer as well as a timeline at the end of the book, which I found helpful as I did not know her story.

Rosa – Nikki Giovanni

Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus sparked a huge wave in the civil rights movement and, eventually, to the desegregation of public buses.  This book gives readers a little more background before and after the incident, which I always enjoy.  I have such a vivid memory of reading this book to a Grade 2 class many years ago and being absolutely amazed at the depth of conversations they had about injustice, race, and segregation.

Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged – Jody Nyasha

Every Canadian child should know the story of Viola Desmond who, in 1946, was arrested and dragged out of a movie theater in Nova Scotia because she refused to move to the “black” section of the theater. After being fined $20 she was released but did not give up.  With help from black community groups, she appealed the case and although unsuccessful, her fight began the Canadian Civil Rights movement, eventually outlawing segregation in the late 1950’s.  I love the narrator in this story – speaking directly to the reader and the illustrations are bright and bold.

Stamped – Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Lots of buzz about this new book by Jason Reynolds that came out in March which is a remix of Ibram X. Kendi’s adult book “Stamped From the Beginning”.   In it, Reynolds explores the history of racism from the past (“this is NOT a history book”) to right here and now.  While written for a younger audience (high school), it’s apparently an excellent read for everyone, especially for those not living in the US and don’t know a lot about the different shapes of racism.  I have not read it yet, but am very excited about the audiobook with Jason Reynolds narrating!

Antiracist Baby – Ibram X. Kendi

Wonderful rhyming board book that introduces nine steps to being antiracist.  While not really geared for babies, I love that the book introduces younger children to important language connected to racism.  This book will be released on June 16th.

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The Other Side – Jaqueline Woodson

Such a powerful story about two young girls – one black and one white – who observe each other from different sides of a fence.  This poignant story explores racial segregation and the tentative steps toward interracial friendship that are taken, despite the barriers (both physical and social) the girls face.   This is such an important book for so many reasons and when I get to the last page of the book, I always get teary.  “Someday, somebody’s gonna come along and knock this fence down.”

The Color of Us – Karen Katz

This story is about a girl named Lena who wants to paint a self-portrait.  She realized that in order to get her skin color, she would have to mix some colors in order to get the perfect shade. Her mother takes her on an adventure through her community where they notice different shades of brown, connecting the colors to food such as butterscotch, ginger and coffee.  Uplifting, colorful and positive.

Skin Again – bell hooks

“The skin I’m in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story.”  This story tells young readers that the skin they have is just that – skin. If you want to truly know someone, you have to dig deeper to get to know them on the inside.  Love the poetic text that address readers directly and Chris Raschka’s signature illustrations.

I hope you are able to find a few books from this list that will help spark some important discussions with your students in the coming days.    Be well, everyone.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Activism, Civil Rights, Racism