Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki

Promotional blog banner featuring the book Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki. Steam rises above the book, highlighting the idea that the setting of the story takes place in a kitchen.

Summary

What does it take to make a satisfying meal for hungry neighbors? Passionate volunteers who are ready to work with whatever they have. In Our Little Kitchen, by Jillian Tamaki, readers watch volunteers pick garden vegetables, rifle through refrigerated items, and warm up day-old bread. They peel, chop and cook in a hurried rush. The clock ticks away the minutes before they welcome their neighbors with food.

Tamaki does an incredible job tackling a serious topic with playful text and drawings. Spot illustrations with interesting text features help readers get a feel for the sights, sounds and emotions that fill the community kitchen. The story is full of love, light and compassion.

The author’s note explains how Tamaki volunteered for many years in a community kitchen. She gives background information about the work and presents reasons why her neighbors were hungry. Our Little Kitchen captures a small moment in Tamaki’s big effort to raise awareness about hunger in local communities.

Double-page spread in the book Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki. Large cans of beans spill over the pages, with a cook and a child falling with the beans.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners Collaborate/Create III.B.1 Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by using a variety of communication tools and resources.

How are your neighbors doing? Contact your local food bank, community kitchen or social services to see if there is a need for donations. Consider inviting representatives from the organizations for a class visit. They can explain their roles in helping the community and point to areas where they need support. Learners can work together to create a plan to get food to those in need.

Do you want to learn about a grocery store that is making an impact on their community? Learn about the Daily Table in Massachusetts. The only items you’ll find in the store are nutritious groceries and prepared meals at low prices. Find out how they do this by reading their website. It’s good stuff!

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.
If you like these lesson ideas, check out our book Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. Here, you’ll find ready-to-go lessons based on the AASL Standards Framework for Learners. Each lesson connects with classroom standards and includes worksheets, assessments and rubrics.

I am an affiliate of Bookshop; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates.

New eCourse

Would you like to learn how to create a lesson plan based on the AASL Standards Framework for learners? Please join me for a 4-week course starting February 1, 2021! During our time together, you will learn how to:

1) find a compelling picture book

2) name an AASL Standard and classroom standards to work with

3) write an objective and a lesson

4) create a rubric to assess learning

By the end of this course, you will have a lesson plan that you can use with your learning community. Every week, you will watch a video, participate in a Zoom meeting, and complete an assignment. The Zoom meetings will take place on Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM Central Standard Time. Here, we can share resources, ideas, and offer support as we build our lesson plans.

The class size is limited to 30 participants, so please sign up today!

https://aasl.digitellinc.com/aasl/store/31/index/158

Snail Crossing by Corey Tabor Lesson Activity

This is a promotional image for a blog post about a lesson activity for the book Snail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor.

Summary

Think of a time when you really wanted something. Did anything get in the way of you reaching your goal? In Snail Crossing, by Corey R. Tabor, Snail spies a cabbage patch on the other side of a countryside road. Snail loves cabbage, and is determined to crawl across the street to the garden. The journey will be difficult, but nothing will stop Snail from reaching the goal.

Readers will enjoy making predictions with Snail Crossing. Fun surprises mixed in with expected scenarios make this a fun read aloud. The audience will never guess the ending of this entertaining story.

Delightful illustrations describe a challenging journey from different viewpoints. Scenes from the sky and the street give readers an idea of how big the challenge is for Snail. Wavy lines that trail behind Snail add more information about a difficult trek.

Lesson Activity

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Grow V.D.1 Learners develop through experience and reflection by iteratively responding to challenges.

Snail was determined to get to the cabbage patch. Nothing would stand in Snail’s way. Cars, crows and even the rain could not stop Snail.

After reading about Snail’s determination, invite learners to think about something they really want. This could be something they hope to achieve, learn or create.

Ask learners to consider obstacles that might get in the way of reaching their goal. How can they work around obstacles they may face? Direct learners to create a plan to respond to possible challenges.

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.
If you like these lesson ideas, check out our book Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. Here you’ll find ready-to-go lessons based on the AASL Standards Framework for Learners. Each lesson has worksheets, assessments and rubrics.

This lesson activity supports the Explore Shared Foundation. Click here for more lessons that compel learners to explore.

I am an affiliate of bookshop.org; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates. If you purchase this book from bookshop.org after clicking on the button below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

If You Come to Earth Lesson Activity

This is a promotional image for a lesson activity for the picture book If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall.

Summary

If You Come to Earth, by Sophie Blackall, is an incredible treasure. The wondrous illustrations and storyline will fill your heart and mind with awe. Evocative artwork fills every page, inviting readers to notice our amazing world. You’ll appreciate the incredible amount of work that went into every detail in this brilliant book.

In the story, Quinn writes a letter to a martian. He tells the extra-terrestrial all there is to know about Earth. Quinn captures the beauty, joys and splendors of our world. He describes the people and animals that inhabit the planet.

Fans of Hello Lighthouse will smile when they recognize Blackall’s technique for containing illustrations in circular shapes. The images inside each circle add information to the story. Some circles show what characters are thinking, while others illustrate feelings.

Lesson Activity

AASL Standards Framework for Learners Inquire/Create l.B.3 Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.

If You Come to Earth invites us to recognize how amazing our world is. This concept might be hard to realize today when the world is in turmoil. Encourage learners to think about something or someone that gives them peace and makes them smile. Share ideas with the group.

Encourage learners to illustrate and write about their ideas. Invite them to add things they wonder about. They can save their work for a time when they need respite from troublesome world events.

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.
If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

I am an affiliate of bookshop.org; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates. If you purchase this book from bookshop.org after clicking on the button below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale. 

Click here for more lesson activities that support the Inquire Shared Foundation. This lesson activity supports the AASL Standard Framework for Learners.

Undercover Ostrich by Joe Kulka

Summary

If you were an ostrich, how would you disguise yourself? It can’t be easy. But the narrator of Undercover Ostrich believes that these large birds are experts at camouflage. The illustrations, however, tell a different story. When the narrator challenges readers to find the ostrich, it’s not hard to do. The world’s largest bird stands out on every page.

Readers will laugh when they see the ostrich “hiding” on a telephone wire and on the subway train. They’ll enjoy the befuddled looks the ostrich gives while “undercover.” More giggles will ensue when the narrator makes an appearance at the end of the story.

Author/illustrator Joe Kulka delivers a humorous story by juxtaposing the narrator’s words with the illustrations. This interesting method of storytelling will engage readers to appreciate the outrageous scenarios of an ostrich hiding in plain sight. The cartoon illustrations add to the fun.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners I.B.3 Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.

The ostrich in this story clearly needs help hiding. Invite learners to consider why the ostrich stood out in each setting. Then, watch “Can You Find the Camouflaged Animals” by Earth Rangers to see what it takes to hide in plain sight.

Next, show learners pictures of ostriches in nature. Ask what they notice about the features and colors of the ostriches. Encourage learners to consider what kind of natural scenery an ostrich would need in order to hide. Explain that they will illustrate a picture of an ostrich that blends in with the background.

If you are wondering how to draw an ostrich, this video from the Art for Kids Hub YouTube channel will show you how.

Have fun!

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

I am an affiliate of bookshop.org; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates. If you purchase this book from bookshop.org after clicking on the button below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale. 

Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali and rahele Jomepour Bell

The cover of the book Our Favorite Day of the Year is centered on top of a green chalkboard with images of holiday icons.

How do we build a sense of community in our classrooms? Start by reading Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali and Rahele Jomepour Bell. This important story features a diverse classroom where cultural traditions are celebrated.

The story begins with a teacher explaining why she loves the first day of school. It’s on this day that she gets to meet new people. She explains that they will all become close friends. They’ll learn about each other by celebrating everyone’s favorite day. This is exciting news to four boys who are the main focus of the story.

Through the boys presentations, we see how they celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, Rosh Hashanah, Las Posadas and Pi Day with their families. The boys are delighted to learn about the different celebrations. They get to know more about each other and become friends.

The illustrations in this book are heartwarming. Readers can feel the excitement from the children as they learn about each other’s families and traditions. The textured illustrations add interest to the story. My favorite picture shows a mother wearing a colorful hijab, a patterned dress and striped leggings. The natural flow in the material make the clothes seem three-dimensional.

The endpapers are a real treat. A quilt made of twenty-eight squares represent different cultures and holidays. Readers will be curious about the meaning behind some of the illustrated squares. They’ll also make connections with familiar symbols.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners II.B.3 Learners adjust their awareness of the global learning community by representing diverse perspectives during learning activities.

Ask learners if they ever heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” In Our Favorite Day of the Year, Musa judged the boys at his table just by looking at them. He doubted that they could be friends because they “didn’t look like his friends.” Ask learners how the show-and-tell presentations changed Musa’s thinking. Invite them to consider how things would be different if they didn’t share their favorite days of the year.

Explain that today they will imagine how people might judge them the first time they meet. They’ll also consider what they want people to know about them. Learners will need a paper bag, scissors, paper and colored pencils, crayons or markers for this lesson.

On the outside of the bag, learners will draw a picture of themselves. They’ll also write how people might see them the first time they meet.

The inside of the bag is for what they wish people knew about them. They will write things people would miss if they judged them solely on their looks. They can write about their hopes, dreams and accomplishments on scraps of paper and put them in the bag. Here are some sentence starters to consider:

Sentence Starters to Learn More About Each Other
  • I am curious about…
  • People may think I am…, but I am really…
  • My favorite thing to do is…
  • I worry about…
  • I am really good at…
  • What I really want people to know about me is that I…
  • By the end of the year, I want to know how to…
  • I’m having a tough time with…

After the writing exercise, learners will share their bags with classmates. They will ask each other questions and have discussions to learn more about one another.

Resources

This lesson idea was inspired by Liz Kleinrock, an anti-bias, antiracist educator/writer. She uses the paper bag lesson to inspire meaningful discussions on identity. Learn more about her work on these websites: Teach and Transform and Empowering Educators. Click here to see Kleinrock’s TED Talk.

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.
If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

I am an affiliate of Bookshop; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates.

Hike by Pete Oswald

Summary

Imagine telling a story using only illustrations. How would you engage readers to look closely at the images to gather meaning? Author-illustrator Pete Oswald is a master at visual storytelling. In his book Hike, Oswald uses vignettes, sequenced panels and double-page spreads to guide readers in a visual journey.

The magic of reading Hike starts on the book’s cover. The title, in block letters, reads from the bottom up. A father and son climb the letters with hiking gear. Each letter in the title illustrates the pair hiking in the mountains. The artwork conveys a sense of adventure that readers will enjoy.

The most fascinating feature of Hike is the revelation on the copyright page. Here, we learn that the story is not really about a hike. Instead, it’s about family tradition. We begin to notice something is up when a family album appears on the pages at the end of the story. We first see the album in the boys hand. Then it appears on the kitchen counter. Finally, the opened album is on the boy’s lap. The copyright page reveals what’s inside the album; generations of family members planting a tree in the mountains. Close readers will remember seeing the album at the beginning of the book on the boy’s bedside table.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Think V.A.3 Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by engaging in inquiry-based processes for personal growth.

Ask learners to write about a family tradition for three minutes. Challenge learners to keep their pencils writing. They don’t have to write complete sentences. Lists and key words will work. If learners can’t think of something to write, they can just write something like “what else can I write about my family tradition”.

After the writing exercise, invite learners to choose a word that represents their family tradition. Explain that they will create block letters out of that word and illustrate the inside of each letter. The illustrations will tell a story about their tradition. They will use the cover of the book Hike as a model for their illustration.

Want to learn how to create big, bold letters? Watch this demonstration of how to create block letters by Dave McDonald. A segment about drawing bubble letters is also included.

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

I am an affiliate of Bookshop; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates.  If you purchase this book from bookshop.org after clicking on the button below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale. 

Just Because by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault

Summary

Are you looking for a book that shows readers how to ask compelling questions? If so, take a look at Just Because by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault. The story begins with a familiar bedtime scene. A little girl, tucked in her bed, asks her dad why the ocean is blue. Readers will infer that she’s asking such a big question because she doesn’t want to fall asleep. They may predict that the father will give a scientific answer. Instead, they’ll be delighted to turn the page where a fantastic explanation fills a double-page spread.

This story has an interesting text structure that will engage readers. It starts with a question that appears in a big circle of color. The questions have no quotation marks, but readers will understand the girl is talking. The answers on the next page float in white circles. It is understood that the father answers the questions, even though it is never stated.

Readers will also love the playful illustrations. The careful observer will notice a common color thread. The color of each circle with a question is featured on the next page. Readers will also realize that the father’s stories are inspired by toys in the bedroom.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: l.B.2 Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.

Ask learners what they thought about the father’s answers. If he were visiting their school library, what resources could he use to find answers to the questions?

Invite learners to pretend the father needs their help to answer his daughter’s questions. Learners will pick one question from the book to research. They will make a plan to find the answer to the question.

Invite learners to create a zine, or a little notebook, to record their findings. They can follow the example in the book and write a question on one page and the answer on the next page.

Click here to watch a video on how to make a zine without scissors or staples. I created this video for young learners. They will need to pause the video along the way as they follow the directions.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

Click here to purchase a copy of Just Because by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault from Bookshop. I am an affiliate of Bookshop; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates.

Please click here to join our Facebook Group where we discuss lesson ideas for picture books.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment Lesson Activity

Cover of the picture book Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry, Jessica Curry and Brittany Jackson.

Think of a time when a painting made you pause and wonder. What was it about the artwork that caught your attention? When Parker Curry was two years old, the portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama stopped her in her tracks. She was entranced by the “queen” who looked like the the women in her family. This connection opened a world of possibilities for Parker. She wrote Parker Looks Up with her mother to explain why the portrait resonated with her.

Readers are going to love the digitally rendered illustrations. Falling confetti and twinkling sparkles float around the pages like magic. There’s a sense of play with the words, too. Some words show up bright and pink, while others are bold and black. Speech bubbles in blue, pink, purple and yellow bring more fun to the pages. Ellipses fill readers with suspense about the wonderful possibilities that could appear on the next page.

Double-page spread of Ava and her sister running through the National Portrait Gallery. The painting Young Omahaw, War Eagle, Little Missouri and Pawnees hangs on the wall.

Parker Looks Up Lesson Activity

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: I.A.1 Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic.

Here’s a lesson activity for the book Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry, Jessica Curry and Britanny Jackson:

Parker noticed nine paintings in the National Portrait Gallery. Create a Padlet with links to the paintings mentioned in the book (see links below). Ask learners what painting intrigues them? Give them time to appreciate the work of art. Learners will record what they notice and wonder about the art on the Padlet.

August Belmont and Isabel Perry by Wouterus Verschuur

George Washington Carver by Betsy Graves Reyneau

Albert Einstein by Max Westfield

Frida Kahlo by Magda Pach

Peacocks and Peonies by John La Farge

The Chinese Fishmonger by Theodore Wores

Young Omahaw, War Eagle, Little Missouri, and Pawnees by Charles Bird King

The White Ballet by Everett Shinn

First Lady Michelle Obama by Everett Shinn

Click here to see Parker share her story on the Ellen Show.

Click on this link to find more lesson activities on our blog based on the Inquire Shared Foundation.

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini. Published by ALA Editions.
If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

I am an affiliate of Bookshop; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates. If you purchase this book after clicking on the button below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd

This is a promotional image of the book The Patchwork Bike. The book lays flat on painted cardboard with paintbrushes and wet paint next to it.

Summary

Here’s something fun to try with The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd. Give the book to someone and tell them to check it out. Watch them as they read the pages. I am willing to bet the reader will touch the illustrations in anticipation of feeling the textured artwork. They’ll be surprised to realize the bumpy cardboard, the wet paint, and the gloopy mud is an optical illusion.

The Patchwork Bike gives readers a chance to explore a place that is much different from where they live. The narrator of the story, a girl with dark skin and cornrows, introduces us to her village. She is happy to show us her house made of mud. Readers see how she describes her “crazy” brothers and “fed-up” mom with affection. But what she is really excited to show readers is her bike. It’s different from the bikes most readers are familiar with. It’s made from branches and various objects.

The engaging text tells this joyful story with words that are fun to say aloud; words like “shicketty shake”, winketty wonk” and “bumpetty bump”. The letters are fun to look at, too. They appear to be hand-painted with a heavy, felt tip pen; almost like the writing learners see on anchor charts in the classroom.

The first pages of the book The Patchwork Bike are shown in this image.

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Include/Think II.A.Learners contribute a balanced perspective when participating in a learning community by describing their understanding of cultural relevancy and placement within the global learning community.

Picture books invite readers to build their schema about the global community. Readers draw on background information and clues from text and illustrations to shape a new understanding of their world. The Patchwork Bike provides readers with an opportunity to learn about life in a village of Africa.

In this exercise, learners will find clues from the text and illustrations to consider what the author and illustrator want them to know about the protagonist and where she lives.

Before showing readers a copy of The Patchwork Bike, tell learners that you have a fabulous book to read. Explain that both the author and the illustrator want readers to learn something about the narrator of the story. The words and illustrations work together to deliver a big message. Tell learners that you are going to read the book aloud twice. The first time you read the story, they will not see the illustrations. They will focus their attention on what the author wants them to know about the narrator of the story. The second time you read the story, they will look at the illustrations and think about what the artist wants them to know about the narrator. They will jot down what they notice and think about the big message.

Discussion Questions

Here are some questions for further discussion:

  • What did you learn about the narrator by just listening to the words?
  • What words help you imagine the bike?
  • How does the narrator feel about the family and the place where they live? How do you know this?
  • What words convey movement? How does the illustrator show movement?
  • What does the illustrator want us to know about how the girl feels about her life? Point to the pictures that support your ideas.

The Patchwork Bike Worksheet

Learners can use this worksheet to take notes while reading The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd.

$1.50

Click here to watch author Maxine Beneba Clarke read her book.

Learn more about this important book by reading Five Questions for 2019 Boston-Globe Horn Book Picture Book Award Winners Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Ruddd.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

Click here to purchase a copy of The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd. I am an affiliate of Bookshop; a business that gives back to local independent book stores and affiliates.

Please click here to join our Facebook Group where we discuss lesson ideas for picture books.

%d bloggers like this: