[ISLMA-Share] Fwd: Kids Talk Kid Lit

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Tue Nov 21 10:30:02 CST 2017

This is for the colleague who was looking for lesson ideas about the
importance of reading.  Here's an article addressing that topic
specifically with regard to picture books.  Thoughtful message here!!
Thanks to Kristen for writing, Kurt for sharing, and Kids Talk Kids Lit.


Happy Thanksgiving!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kids Talk Kid Lit <noreply+feedproxy at google.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 10:33 PM
Subject: Kids Talk Kid Lit
To: Kkerner at dps109.org

Kids Talk Kid Lit <http://strohreads.blogspot.com/>

The Power of the Picture Book: Kristen Picone

Posted: 20 Nov 2017 03:15 AM PST

Memories of the Heart

A picture book for some is just that...a book with pictures. Something for
babies and young kids to enjoy. But for many of us, a picture book is so
much more. A work of art, a delightful marriage between text and image,
something to pour over and savor. Picture books provide memories. As Megan
Dowd Lambert says in Reading Picture Books With Children (2015), “...I know
that we carry picture books about with us, not just as physical objects in
our hands with pages that we turn, but as remembered experiences with
stories and art, and with each other.”  Through picture books, we can see
ourselves, learn about the world outside of ourselves, and revel in the
work of talented artists. Reading a picture book should be an
experience...a memory.

I have used picture books in my classroom since I first began teaching in
2001, but, more recently, picture books have become the foundation--the
heart, the soul--of our classroom community.  We reach for them when we
need comfort, they help us celebrate diversity, they make us laugh, they
make us cry, they help us feel seen and gain new perspectives. In every
way, picture books guide our learning journey. Whether the picture books we
read are part of reading or writing lessons, our Mock Caldecott Unit, or
read simply for the joy of sharing a book together, the books create an
experience...a memory.

Many of my 5th graders come to me thinking that picture books are not for
them anymore.  They think they have outgrown them. We start our year
talking about our reading lives, and I share how proud I am of my
always-growing picture book collection. I let them know that I buy these
books for me, because there is no age-limit on a picture book, and that my
favorite thing to do is share them.  On the first day of school this year,
when I told my students that we read 180 picture books last year, they
looked at me wide-eyed and someone said, “Let’s read 181!”  Between
#classroombookaday, Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, content-area lessons,
Mock Caldecott, and Battle of the Picture books, the students in room 214
will experience over 200 picture books.  And each book will be an
experience...will provide a memory of the heart.

In Disrupting Thinking (2017), Kylene Beers and Bob Probst remind us WHY we
read (and write): “If we aren’t reading and writing so that we can grow, so
that we can discover, so that we can change - change our thinking, change
ourselves, perhaps help change the world - then those skills will be for
naught.”  When Kurt asked me to write this post, I kept reflecting on these
words and thinking, Have these picture book experiences resonated with my
students? Have they changed their thinking, changed them, in any way?  The
only way to find out was to ask the kids!  What follows are the responses
from students that I taught last school year.  What shocked me most were
the similarities in their reflections, considering the only prompt I gave
them was to write a few sentences around the theme “the power of the
picture book.”  Here are their experiences...their memories:

*To me, picture books are important because they can bring you into a
different world. Some people think that picture books are for babies, but
what they don’t realize is that there are a lot of deep messages that
children will get when they explore the picture book universe. Picture
books can make a topic that is hard to understand, easier to understand.
For example, the book The Youngest Marcher, by Cynthia Levinson is a book
about a child protester that got arrested during the Civil Rights Movement.
While that might be a hard topic for a child to think about, the picture
book made it clear and understandable. Picture books are smaller than
novels, but you know what they say...good things come in small packages! -

Picture books may not be big in size, however, they are huge in meaning. A
lot of picture books have great lessons. One example is The Story of Fish
and Snail, by Deborah Freedman. This book is about taking risks and trying
something new. Fish is ready to leave their book, but Snail is not sure if
she wants to step outside her comfort zone. Snail finally decides to leave
their book and loves it. You get this giant message from one tiny book.
Some people don’t even realize how powerful picture books are. This shows
there is a lot of power in a picture book. I love reading picture books
because they have very powerful messages. - Kelly

The best thing about a picture book is that all ages can enjoy it. Younger
children may like the pictures, while older people will understand the
theme better. This is the case in Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, by Bob
Shea. Little kids will love the pictures, particularly the scene when Goat
puts the plunger on his head, or when Unicorn makes it rain cupcakes. Older
kids and adults can understand that there is more than one theme, including
that other people may realize and admire your talents, even if you don’t. -

Picture books are powerful. They describe life lessons and teach you things
you did not know. For example, Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie
Clark Became the World’s Most Fearless Scientist, by Jess Keating, and Swimming
With Sharks, by Heather Lang taught me about Eugenie Clark and showed that
sharks are fascinating and the women can be anything they want to be. - Sean

You are NEVER too old for picture books. Picture books are very powerful
because each of them has a special message that’s hidden between the
lines.  They can stick with you for the rest of your life, whether you
realize it or not.  For example, one of my favorite picture books is We’re
All Wonders, by RJ Palacio, because this book has beautiful illustrations
along with amazing writing. This book’s message is “Don’t judge a book by
its cover”, which may be a little cliche, but is very true. That’s only one
example out of dozens of picture books that have stuck with me in a
positive way. So just remember, no matter how old or young you are, or how
silly or educational the book is, you are never too old for picture books.
- Holly

Picture books are meant for anyone and age. Even though it seems like they
are just for younger children, older children or even adults can take a lot
out of them.  Younger children look at the pictures to understand the
story. Older children and adults understand what the author is trying to
teach you when they correlate the picture with the story. My favorite
picture books are the Elephant and Piggie books, by Mo Willems.  They are
entertaining for younger children by including large, colorful pictures to
tell the story but to older children they can learn about friendship,
caring, and acceptance. With the power of picture books there are many life
lessons to learn no matter what age you are. - Sophia

The power of the picture book is extraordinarily significant to children
since they teach about lessons and morals. For example, Each Kindness, by
Jacqueline Woodson teaches kids a powerful anti-bullying and kindness
message. Kids will learn to be respectful and courteous toward others and
to not judge people by the way they look. Children can learn life lessons
that will take them far in life. That is...the power of the picture book. -

There is so much power in picture books. So much power that kids don’t even
know about. My favorite picture books ever are Explorers of the Wild and To
the Sea, by Cale Atkinson.  They are my favorite picture books because in To
the Sea, no one really saw Tim. But the whale, Sam, got lost and no one
else noticed Sam, until Tim. I felt like Tim and Sam had an extremely
powerful connection. In Explorers of the Wild, the boy and bear keep
rotating pages. They both love to explore and find new things in the wild,
but when bear and the boy separate their connection reaches so far, they
realize they will always be together at heart. - Garrett

Many people think there is no need for picture books for older kids, but
they have deeper messages and more of an impact on readers than people
realize.  Picture books translate strong topics into a book that makes many
messages easier for EVERYONE to understand. Others also think that they are
made just for entertainment, which is true, but they also teach meaningful
lessons using characters as examples. A book that teaches a lesson is The
Story of Fish and Snail, by Deborah Freedman.  This book shows how Fish
wants to explore while Snail is comfortable where he is and isn’t willing
to try new things. Eventually, Snail becomes lonely and looks for Fish. He
realizes he likes this new adventure. This teaches readers to try new
things in life. As you can see, picture books really do have power and a
deeper message behind the cover. We learned that in 5th grade after reading
over 180 picture books!  - Bryan and Kyle

A picture book holds a lot of power.  It can hold a strong theme that can
stick with you over a long period of time. It shows you in just a few short
pages something that you might use in your life over 50 years later. An
example of this is Be a Friend by Salina Yoon.  This book’s thematic
statement is that you are never alone and there is always someone there for
you. Picture books are very powerful and you are never too old for them. -

A favorite book of mine is Blue Chicken, by Deborah Freedman.  Even though
we read it for “fun” we were still able to make connections and see life
lessons.  I like picture books as a link to what else is to come and the
variety of styles lets me learn in different ways. I would rather read a
handful of picture books of different styles than a chapter book that
doesn’t hook me. - Lauren

I really love picture books because they bring the story to life.  When I
read If I Built a House, by Chris Van Deusen,  I could really see myself
jumping into the ball pit from the trampoline.  After I finished the book I
started to draw my own house and all the fun things I would put in it. -

A picture book is more than pictures and words on a page. It’s not just to
look at the pictures and stare at it blankly. It’s a piece of art, it has a
lesson, it has a meaning. It could lead you down your path in life. Take Each
Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson, for example. The main character, Chloe,
had a new girl, Maya, come to her school. Chloe and her friends acted like
Maya was a nobody. They laughed at her. They were bullies. One day, Maya’s
seat was empty. That day, the teacher brought in a huge bowl of water for
an activity about kindness. When someone dropped a pebble in the water,
tiny waves rippled. The teacher said “Each little thing we do goes out,
like a ripple, into the world.” When they dropped the pebble in, they had
to say something kind. When it was Chloe’s turn, she couldn't say anything.
All she thought about was how she treated the Maya. Days passed and Maya
didn’t return and Chloe realized she wouldn’t have the chance to ever be
kind to her. That right there is why you should always choose kind. That is
why picture books are so much more powerful than just simply pictures and
words on a page. “A picture book is a small door to the enormous world of
the visual arts, and they’re often the first art a young person sees.”
(Tomie dePaola) - Owen

These students read the books they mentioned over a year ago. They had no
trouble drawing upon titles, remembering authors’ names, recalling the joy
of sharing these books together, and thinking about the lessons learned.
In time, they may forget some of the details of the books they have read,
but they will always remember how the book touched their minds and their
hearts. One of my most important jobs as an educator is to open children’s
minds to the power that picture books can have on all of us, young and old
alike. I will forever be grateful for the countless picture book authors
and illustrators that have provided us with these reading
experiences...these memories of the heart.

As Kylene Beers and Bob Probst said, “We read to become more than we knew
we wanted to be.”  Picture books have changed these children, they have
changed me, and can change the world.


*Kristen Picone* is a self-proclaimed book nerd, always has been and always
will be.  She teaches 5th grade ELA/SS in Kings Park, NY, in a classroom
that is filled to the brim with MG novels and picture books.  Teaching is
not just her job, it’s her passion! When she isn’t opening boxes of new
books that have arrived on her doorstep, she can be found planning for the
next nErDCampLI, or lost among her many TBR towers.  Reading picture books
to kids of all ages is Kristen’s absolute favorite thing to do,
particularly snuggling up and creating memories of the heart with her
favorite book-loving 8 year old. She is incredibly grateful for her nerdy
PLN, who have helped her learn and grow in ways she never imagined. Kristen
can be found on Twitter at @Kpteach5 or through her class account at
@KPStars5.  She often tweets book recommendations using the following
hashtags: #nErDCampLI and #BookJourney.

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*Kathleen M. Kerner, M.L.S.*
Library Information Specialist
Walden Elementary School
Deerfield Public Schools District #109
630 Essex Ct.
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 945-9660 x 3136
kkerner at dps109.org

"The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach
them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And
that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them
access to those books, and letting them read them." -- Gaiman, Neil. "Neil
Gaiman: Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming." The
Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Oct. 2013.

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