Picture This

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!

About Rita K.

Veteran educator and Certified Reading specialist, Freelance writer
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5 Responses to Picture This

  1. Theresa Passerini says:

    Rita, thanks for the recommendations for Black History Month. I am always looking for new ways to engage my third grade students in social issues such as segregation and equality. One more picture book I would like to add to your list is “More Than Anything Else” by Marie Bradby. Set in the late 1860’s, this book eloquently depicts Booker T. Washington’s desire to learn to read when few African Americans had the time or the opportunity. Through this read aloud and our resulting class discussion, my students cultivated a new appreciation for the theme of the book, “reading is freedom.”

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  2. Pam Barbera says:

    Rita, It is a big help to have suggestions for reading material for the grandchildren. It is overwhelming to go to the book store and not know where to begin. I love historical stories that the children can follow and understand. I also like books with a moral issue to understand and maybe relate to everyday.
    Keep up the blog it is helpful. Good Work!!

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    • readarose says:

      Yep, That’s exactly why I’m committed to this blog. Once you know some winners and a few good strategies to make the most of reading time, you’ll easily engage the kiddos and help them learn in an enjoyable manner. Thanks for sharing. Stay tuned!

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  3. Patty Foley says:

    Rita this is wonderful! Thanks for including me. Terrific stuff! According to the age, I think it’s important for young people to know that Rosa Parks did not just decide to do what she did on a whim. The event was coordinated with backing from many groups, including the NAACP. In my opinion, it demonstrates the ability for effective change when people collaborate for a purpose. I’ve read other books by Nikki Giovanni, but not this one. Maybe she does address that- most children’s books don’t. Love you! You go girl!!!!!

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    • readarose says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment, Patty. This book does allude to the groups of people that worked together to organize the bus boycott. Check it out. It is very well done.

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