29 Oct It’s Monday! Look for the Helpers and Look for Books #BuildYourStack #IMWAYR
We are both overwhelmed by the events that occurred this past week. It is hard to know what to do, how to be hopeful, or move forward. We are reminded once again of the power of books. When we read, we find strength, courage, and hope in the characters we meet. We are reminded that kindness, love, and peace are stronger than hate. Today we are sharing three books we discovered this summer that are stories about the power of choice and kindness. All three texts show how one person can make a positive change and impact the lives of others. These books will inspire your students and remind them of all the goodness in our world. You might even invite your students to create a basket of books with themes of community, taking a stand, the power of kindness, or making a difference.
Don’t miss the authors’ notes in these books. Each shares a story about how they helped their community and what inspired them to write these books.
Rainbow Weaver, Linda Elovitz Marshall and Elisa Chavarri
This book was written in 2016 but it is new to us. Rainbow Weavers tells the story of a girl in a village in Guatemala who decides to make a tapestry out of the plastic bags littering her community. The author, Linda Elovitz Marshall, is not from Guatemala but has worked closely with an organization called Mayan Hands and a portion of the proceeds of this book will benefit weavers of the Mayan Hands and Maya Works Cooperatives. The illustrator, Elisa Chavarri, was born in Peru and she was inspired to illustrate this story because it reminded her of the beautiful textiles from her homeland.
If you have read, One Plastic Bag: Isatou Cessay and the Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul these stories will remind you of each other. Don’t miss Rainbow Weaver. It is a story of innovation, determination, and creativity.
The One Day House, Julia Durango and Bianca Diaz
This beautiful story is about a boy who dreams of helping fix up his elderly neighbor’s (Gigi) house. Each time he tells Gigi what he would like to fix, she tells him how much joy he brings to her life. As time passes Wilson gets the neighbors together and they do fix her house.
This is a story of love, joy, and social activism. In the author’s note, Julia Durango shares how she got this idea from her writing partner and friend who participated in an annual Labor of Love event to repair homes for the elderly, disabled and need in eastern LaSalle County, Illinois. If your students loved Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena they are going to love this warm-hearted story too.
Take a close look at these illustrations. This is Bianca Diaz’s first picture book and the illustrations are stunning. She shows the main character drawing throughout the text and how his illustrations come together to create a plan to help his friend. We hope to see her illustrations in many more books in years to come.
This book was published in 2009 but it new to us and was an NAACP image award winner. With carefully chosen words and powerful illustrations, Our Children Can Soar tells the story of important Black Americans and how their determination and breakthroughs made way for others to succeed. Michelle Cook uses a “The House that Jack Built” type structure to show how one person’s life, helped to make way for another. Each historical figure mentioned is illustrated by a different artist. In the author’s note, Michelle Cook provides biographical information about these famous Americans as well as shares information about each illustration.
Don’t miss the forward by Marian Wright Edelman. She urges families as they read and share their stories. She writes, “As families read this book together, I hope parents and grandparents will share their own memories about the people in the family trees who stood strong and laid the foundation for the generations that followed them. All of these stories bring history alive and reinforce the idea that anyone and everyone can use their lives to make a difference.” This is a wonderful book to reflect on the people in our lives who have made a difference and for readers to think about how they want to change the world.
If you are looking for more titles with these themes to read aloud, these Pinterest boards have some additional titles: https://www.pinterest.com/tammyandclare/students-power-of-being-kind-text-set/