Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Poetry and Empathy, #classroombookaday week 3

This week our writing focus was poetry, so I wanted to share books that used poems or poetic language, as well as titles that would prompt conversations around empathy and understanding. You can't go wrong with any of these titles.

Week Three: Poetry and Empathy


Titles: Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo and The Stuff of Stars (2018) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. (An advanced review copies of both books were provided by Candlewick. All thoughts are my own.) Can I Touch Your Hair: poems of race, mistakes, and friendship by Charles Waters and Irene Latham and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis.

Imagine by former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo is fantastic! The entire book is an invitation to the reader to imagine themselves through the life of the author and eventually to what they could accomplish in their own lives. With both my classes it took about halfway through the story before they suddenly started to realize that the author was sharing about himself. This realization made them especially excited and engaged for the rest of the read aloud.


You can read my full review of The Stuff of Stars (2018) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes here. Suffice to say, this is an absolutely incredible book for language classrooms, science classrooms, and giving as a gift at baby showers. Caldecott-contender for sure!

Can I Touch Your Hair: poems of race, mistakes, and friendship by Charles Waters and Irene Latham and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. We spent two days unpacking this one, as the poems make for a longer read than most picture books. It also has some heavy content that required some schema-building with my fifth graders: about police shootings, about Trayvon, about the N-word, and continuing our conversations about identity, prejudice, and stereotypes.

Our conversation about the N-word turned into a mini discussion about reclaiming words and the pejorative use of the term "gay," which led to a brief discussion of the full LGBTQIA abbreviations, which led to me deciding to move up our read aloud of Prince and Knight to the next day. The kids enjoyed this rhyming fairy tale book, and while many of them suspected that the mysterious knight would turn out to be a girl, none of them blinked an eye when instead the knight was still a boy and still the prince's one true love.

What books have you been sharing lately? Click here for all of our #classroombookaday posts.

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