I awoke to a 5:30 AM text informing me that we had a two-hour delay. The early start is catching up with me, but in spite of my fatigue, I’m determined to write my promised blog post. Picture books are my weakness. From primary to grad school, I incorporate them into every class I teach. The beautiful illustrations, rich language and concise length appeal to all. Stick with me and you’ll be hearing about a ton of picture books and how you can use them to reel the in your kiddos and make storytime at your house popular and powerful. The following read-alouds will work best with children ages seven and up.
Since February is Black History Month, I’d like to share some of my favorite texts and suggest how you can use them to extend your child’s thinking about some of these famous Americans and why their stories matter. My latest find is Testing the Ice, written by Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon. It sheds light on a little-known fact about Jackie Robinson and why it took a lot of courage for him to test the ice when his children wanted to skate on the lake surrounding their home. This story will enable you to discuss how Jackie Robinson “tested the ice” both literally and figuratively. Of course, it’s just natural to extend this idea by using some other books that show people “testing the ice”. Pair this book with Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni to help your child discover another courageous figure. Finally, you can serve up Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles, a fictional story of friendship and how one of the characters “tested the ice” to honor his friend. Savor these tales. No need to rush…no need to even read an entire book in one sitting. Just present them one after the other, allow time for talk and you will have given your child the gift of a memorable literacy experience, that includes not only reading, but a chance to talk and connect to ideas and YOU!