Books for the Kids in Front of You #sol18

Books for the Kids in Front of You  #sol18 #IMWAYR

Immigration Edition

March 5, 2018

I am thankful for our school librarian for being my tireless exploration partner in book acquisition.

Our school in multicultural.  Perhaps yours is too.   We were exploring topics for our historical book clubs in grade 4,  I questioned what topics could students relate to without a significant amount of historical knowledge.  Can we learn about social justice in our modern times in elementary school? Many books I have purchased this year and wrote about before carry a growth mindset and empathetic message, but what about the experience many of our students have of immigrating from another country.  Here are some of our current favorite picture books.  51kqn6wGIcL._AC_US218_.jpgThis may be my current favorite book.  While it doesn’t specifically discuss immigration, these young bear brothers seek shelter from the storm.  Asking each animal neighbor one by one,  they are turned away by all.  Remaining positive, the bear brothers create their own shelter using the one gift received from a young fox, a lantern.  When the fox’s home is threatened, they come asking for aid from the brothers and are warmly welcomed into their small shelter.  So many wonderful messages in this beautifully illustrated book.


We debated this book purchase as the book doesn’t turn away from tough information.  This book has photographs of children many in situations that we often want to shelter each other from,  sleeping on the streets,  asking where will we live.  In a school where we do meet and nurture students in transition, this is a delicate topic.  This book examines this in a gentle, unflinching way

816jNphsaIL._AC_UL320_SR270,320_.jpgThis book takes a different approach to the immigration experience in a intimate family way.  In a moment that many children may have, fishing with their families,  a father tells the child how he fished in his home country.  Beautiful illustrated and simply told. A Caldecott nominee.


I hope reading and enjoying this book will give children I know an idea about welcoming those new to our community.  One girl, adrift and awash in experiences that she can’t understand meets another girl in the park. She smiles in greeting and the new girl is distrusting at first.  Over days, she looks for the smiler and then finally see her again.  The welcomer teaches the new friend to swing.  As the book continues,  the welcomer begins through objects to assist our new settler in learning the words she speaks.  I love this story full of everything we hope from community.

81pXXl2ZebL._AC_UL320_SR288,320_.jpgThe simplest of this set,  I’m New Here is a straightforward book about arriving fresh in a new spot.

Not reviewed here, but worth a mention are some lovely novels including.

Same Sun Here

Inside Out and Back Again

Esperanza Rising

Day  of 31 days of writing. Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiration and encouragement and toTWO WRITING TEACHERS for creating this opportunity.  Read more amazing blogs and join the writinghere.

The Space Between

The Space Between   March 1, 2017

I was working on coaching points for the next units of study in reading and writing for our elementary building when I began thinking about… the space between.  Sometimes it’s a rush moving from one unit to another, there really isn’t any breathing space for the teachers or… the students.

I feel rushed during the day, during the week, during a month, during the year.  How do our students feel?   I thought about this in earnest several weeks ago during a professional development day with our primary teachers.   Our trainer for the year and this day, Clare Landrigan said we need to create balance between destinations.  I began thinking about this balance and the concept of lingering began to take shape in my thinking.  

Oh,  I’m a lingerer.  I am a lingerer from way back.  Ask my husband.  I can spend an hour looking at yarn color,  recipe books,  dishes,  a sunset,  the list goes on.  So if I find peace, comfort, and inspiration from lingering,  why don’t I encourage it in others?

So I began in small ways to encourage the linger through my collaboration meetings.  I would say to a teacher partner, “we could spend another day on this and… have the students present their thinking to each other,  write long about what we talked about today, linger over one more mentor text.  I thought they would offer excuses not to,  telling me that we were “moving forward”,  “ground to cover”, and so on.  They really didn’t.  They exhaled… and they lingered with their students.

I had a lingering moment today with a fourth grade class.  We had worked through a novel prior to February vacation and the last day, the teacher had asked the students to write a ‘stickie’ about the theme and put in our their exit ticket board.  As the two of us read through the stickie notes, she said,  “They think it’s about getting a puppy. That’s what happen in the last chapter.”  We decided to sleep on it,  for real.  We spend the next week on break.  Melissa and I thinking sporadically on theme and the students enjoy the nice weather.  

Melissa saw a great idea about students writing an additional chapter for the book based on their thinking about the theme, but decided that the class needed a little more work prior to diving in.  I saw the short animation Oscar winner,  Piper, and could clearly see the theme in the movie.  So I suggested that we try to talk through theme, again and again moments, and life lessons using this short film with no dialogue.  When the students didn’t immediately jump to the lesson,  we asked,  what was the problem?  We went back and rewatched.  You get the idea.  Rewatching is like rereading.  
So here we are a few days later with several picture books under our belts along with some great discussions, some collaborative learning, and some breathing room.  Tomorrow we might actually go back to the novel…  There’s always next week.