I love picture books. I love reading them. I love exploring them more thoroughly. And I love creating a range of activities to bring them to life in classrooms around the world. I have a house full of picture books and a list full of studies to tackle.
But right now, I wanted to introduce a couple of books to you, and the book studies which will help you to bring them alive in your classroom
This is the autobiographical picture book story of Li Cunxin, who spent his early childhood living in a small peasant village in China until he was chosen to join a ballet school in Beijing. It’s a story of family, working hard and following dreams.
This lovely story is excellent to explore for classrooms looking at persistence, or classrooms exploring memoirs or biographical texts. Students can compare it to other biographical and autobiographical picture books (including The Little Refugee by Anh and Suzanna Do or The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield).
This book study includes comprehension, reader response and review activities as well as activities exploring Li Cunxin, allegories and writing memoirs.
One of my favourite things is the interactive notebook activity which brings together a quick retell and student impressions of the book. You can see how this activity goes together here:
This is the fourth book in the natural disaster series from Jackie French and Bruce Whately and a beautiful, heartbreaking look at drought and its impact on the people, animals and land.
Drought is an incredibly important book and a great way to open discussion about drought and to prompt further research about what causes drought and how we can help communities who are going through droughts.
The extensive book study for Drought includes comprehension, reader response, vocabulary, language, theme, research and writing tasks. It’s everything you need to take a comprehensive look, with most activities available in a variety of formats to suit your classroom and your students.
I love this little interactive notebook activity within the book study which explores what happened before, during and after the drought. You can see how it goes together here:
I adore the work by both of these creators and this is a truly special book - the benchmark for books which deal with Australian involvement in wars. It tells two stories - the story of family and the impact of war on the family and the story of two war memorials - a statue and a tree - which have had a world grow up around them.
This is a must read if you are looking for activities around Anzac Day or Remembrance Day or when you’re exploring the impact of war on Australia and Australians. There are so many avenues for further discussion, from looking at whether the tree should be removed, to exploring how we can create memorials for those who fight (and die) in wars.
The book study for Memorial takes a really close look at the book, encouraging students to develop questions, to look at how the text is structured to tell a story through conversation and dialogue, to look at the symbols included within the picture book.
One activity asks students to look at what Memorial says about memories and what it says about war. Students discuss the message of the story, then put together an interactive notebook resource where they can record those messages. You can see how it goes together here