Category Archives: Empathy

PUG meets PIG by Sue Lowell Gallion

PUG meets PIG by Sue Lowell Gallion

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is PUG meets PIG

Written by:  Sue Lowell Gallion

Illustrated  by:  Joyce Wan

Publisher: Beach Lane Books (2016)

Suitable for ages: 2- 6

Themes/Topics: sharing, kindness, adapting to change, acceptance, friendship

Brief Synopsis:  Pug is quite happy with his life until Pig moves in. What’s a Pug to do when a Pig who moves into his home eats from his bowl, interrupts his routine, and sleeps on his bed? 

Opening pages:

“This is Pug’s home. This is where Pug lives.

This is Pug’s bowl. This is where Pug eats.

This is Pug’s yard. This is where Pug works.

This is Pug’s bed. This is where Pug sleeps.

Pug is happy hear at home with his bowl, his yard, and his bed. But one day when the door opens…” 

 Why I like this book Delightful story! The easy to read text delivers a powerful message about kindness, adapting to change, sharing, acceptance, and friendship. The illustrations are adorable and expressive. They show exactly how kids look when someone else wants what they have.

PUG meets PIG is a wonderful story to share with kids who are expecting a sibling, or learning to share, or who are having difficulty resolving conflicts. It is also a perfect story to introduce the concepts of empathy and kindness to very young children.

The easy to read text coupled with fun illustrations also makes this book a great pick for beginners to practice independent reading.

Resources

  • Find an activity guide to accompany the book here

  • We’ll see more of this dynamic duo in a second book “Pug & Pig Trick or Treat,” in July 2017.

Read more of today’s reviews at author Susanna Hill’s blog.

Happy reading!

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Reflections

Reflections

“The mind of an adult begins in the imagination of a child.”

Kwame Alexander

 

It’s been a tough week. Violence, death, injustice. We can barely keep our heads above the flood of emotions.

 

Award winning Children’s author and poet Kwame Alexander spoke on NPR – Weekend Edition Sunday about the recent unrest in our country – Reflecting On Police Shootings, Author Kwame Alexander Focuses On Next Generation. His words helped calm the waters.  They enlighten and uplift.

 

What Kwame said is true for many of us in this kidlit business. It is more fulfilling to focus on children. Children’s authors have responded by sharing their creativity and focusing on the children. I too found an artful outlet by creating a meme using the character I introduced in my book, THE KING CAKE BABY.

 

He may be naughty & naked, but the King Cake Baby loves all. I know he believes baby hugs are the best.

KCB hugs FB

It is times like these that literature is a way to help children feel safe and provide comfort. Kwame shared this poem he wrote fifteen years ago.

When

 

When the world is not so beautiful
The flowers waste water
The women can no longer find their song
The children refuse to play
There are no men to teach to love
The ground inside collapses
The coldest winter screams
The summer burns red
The sea is full of blues and the sky opens up
At least I’ll have poetry
A gathering of words
A get-together of emotions
A font of ideas
Hope with wings

 

~ Kwame Alexander, children’s author and poet

 

Read on and go forth and hug!

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I AM A BEAR by Jean-François Dumont

I AM A BEAR by Jean-François Dumont

I AM A BEAR  is my pick for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post!

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Written/Illustrated by: Jean-François Dumont

Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, English Edition 2015
Originally published in France under the title Je Suis un Ours by Kaléidoscore, 2010

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: homelessness, poverty, compassion, kindness, friendship, hope

Brief Synopsis: I AM BEAR is a story written from a bear’s point of view who sleeps on the sidewalk, on cardboard boxes, in old clothes. We learn early on people do not like this dirty, smelly, hungry, homeless bear which makes him sad until he meets a little girl.

Opening pages:  “I don’t know how I got here… I have no memory of my life before, just a few images that flash before my eyes from time to time, like the car headlights that sweep over my bed at night. All I know is that one morning I woke up here, on this street, and I haven’t left since.”

Why I like this book: This is a heartwarming story about what life is like for someone who is homeless and sleeps on the streets. It allows readers to experience the despair many homeless feel when trying to find food and or shelter. And the humiliation they feel when asking strangers to help. The bear realizes that people no longer pay attention to him but on one day when sitting on the sidewalk feeling grumpy, a little girl walks up to him and asks, “Why do you look so sad?” She reminds her of a ”teddy bear”. Unlike the adults bear encountered, this act of kindness gives him hope.

This is a wonderful story to introduce young children to a difficult topic. The bold illustrations keep readers engaged and helps deliver a message about social ills such as homelessness and poverty that exist everywhere.

Resources:

Click here for The Teddy Bear Project based on another book, The Teddy Bear about a boy who gives a bear to a homeless man.

Click here for teaching kids about poverty using chocolate. Especially good at this time of year when those of us celebrate Thanksgiving by overindulging in food.

Click here for lesson plans from Teaching Tolerance: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center geared toward grades 3-5 about poverty and homelessness.

For more of today’s book reviews, click here  to go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.

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Elephants Make Fine Friends by Colter Jackson

Elephants Make Fine Friends by Colter Jackson
Elephants Make Fine Friends is today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday! 

elephans

Written/Illustrated by: Colter Jackson 

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (August 2015)

Suitable for ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: friendship, recognizing differences, empathy, acceptance, elephants

Brief Synopsis:  Ella has elephant problems. She sent her elephant away although they are best friends because of their differences. Elephants don’t fit in bathtubs or at the dinner table. They make big messes. Then Ella realizes watching the moon rise or reading books or going to the movies is just not the same without her best friend. When Ella reunites with her elephant she learns humans make fine friends too.

Opening pages:  “Ella’s best friend is an elephant. They went everywhere together. And did everything side by side.”

Why I like this book: This story is such a tender yet powerful story of friendship. It helps young children see that although differences exist and are even expected between two friends, it’s the similarities they share that matter. The illustrations are warm and inviting.

Resources:  Click here to land on the book Facebook page.

Click here to land on Colter Jackson’s website.

Click here for more stories about friendship from The Measured Mom.

Click here for more stories about friendship from No Time For Flash Cards.

For more of today’s book reviews, click here to go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.

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Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans

Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans

Title:  Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans 

Written by: Phil Bildner

Illustrated by: John Parra

Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 4, 2015)

Suitable for ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: Hurricane Katrina, spirit of New Orleans, empathy, community, resilience, courage, recovery, pride, joie de vivre

MarvelousCornelius.Neighbors.Wave

Brief Synopsis: This story is based on the life of a friendly, hardworking, energetic, fun loving man named Cornelius Washington, a trash collector in the French Quarter. He did his job well taking pride in keeping the streets clean. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans the trash pickup became a monumental task. But that didn’t stop Cornelius because he was a monumental man. Everyone he greeted on his morning route pitched in, and people came from all over the United States to help.

“Cornelius rose. He dried his eyes. For his spirit and will were waterproof.”

Opening pages:  “In the Quarter; there worked a man known in New Orleans as Marvelous Cornelius.”

“Mornin’.” He saluted the sliver-haired man with the Times-Picayune tucked under his arm.

“Greetings.” He waved to the couple with the baby on the balcony.

“Ma’am.” He nodded to the woman shanking rugs out at her front window.”

Why I like this book: Phil Bildner creates a tall tale depicting the life of Cornelius Washington into a modern American folk hero. The art of John Parra is authentic; filled with humanity and emotion. Neither the story nor the art shy away from the pain suffered as a result of the storm. Yet it brilliantly captures that joie de vivre of the people and New Orleans culture. It saddens me to know that Cornelius Washington died at age 48, a few years after the storm, and before the story was written. Many of us who are native New Orleanians have untold stories that include our own personal heroes during that difficult time who showed unbridled courage.  And there were those from afar who came to help that showed tremendous kindness. Thanks to Phil Bildner and John Parra we are reminded that they too are Marvelous Cornelius.

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Resources:

Click here to read an interview with the author  Phil Bildner and learn about Cornelius Washington

Click here to read the Time-Picayune story about Cornelius Washington by Katy Reckdahl.

Click here to hear Cornelius Washington.

Click here to see the book.

Click here for the teacher’s guide.

Click here for Facts for Kids.

Click here for Education World lessons on hurricanes.

Click here for more about hurricanes from Science for Kids.

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A Storm Called Katrina

A Storm Called Katrina

Title: A Storm Called Katrina

5

Written by:  Myron Uhlberg

Illustrated by: Colin Bootman

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Suitable for ages: 4 and up

Themes/Topics: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, natural disasters, family, community, survival, compassion, empathy, courage

Brief Synopsis: A Storm Called Katrina is the story of a family’s experiences with Hurricane Katrina told through the voice of Louis Daniel, a 10-year-old boy who dreamed of one day playing his trumpet like Louis Armstrong. Like many in the city, the family prepared for the storm but did not evacuate. The day after the storm the water began to rise and the family was forced to leave their home. They left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing but Louis took his horn. They were rescued and ended up in the Superdome.  Although the family survived the flood waters, the conditions in the stadium were harsh and dangerous. When his father went out to find water for the family, Louis and his mother, feeling unsafe, moved to different seats. Fearing his father would not be able to find them, Louis ran down to the football field to play his trumpet. The family is reunited when his father hears him play.

Opening Pages: “HURRICANE’S COMING, Baby,” Mama said.

“I’m not a baby anymore, Mama. I turned ten last month.”

“Doesn’t matter how old you are, Louis Daniel. You’ll always be my baby,” she said. “Hush now and go to bed.”

The wind rattled my window something fierce. When the storm howled louder, I covered my ears and hid under the blanket.”

Why I like this book: Author Myron Uhlberg writes a moving story about a tramatizing event that shows how one family was able to navigate and survive a natural disaster. However it is presented in a way that is not too scary for children and is rather touching. Illustrator Colin Bootman adds to the story with his authentic images of New Orleans at the time of the flood. I especially like the page where sunlight beaming through the torn off roof of the Superdome shines on Louis as he plays his trumpet hoping his father will hear his music. This book is a wonderful tribute to family, community, and survival.

Resources:

Click here to find classroom discussions questions about A Storm Called Katrina.

Click here for Facts for Kids.

Click here for Education World lessons on hurricanes.

Click here for Scholastic site. Hurricane Katrina for upper primary and middle school kids.

Click here for a wealth of articles and lessons for kids from TeacherVision

Click here for more about hurricanes from Science for Kids.

In My Heart: A Child’s Hurricane Katrina Story on YouTube.

Children of the Storm on YouTube

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