Posts Tagged ‘picture books’

Picture book about Acceptance: My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

Posted on April 3rd, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts reviews a picture book about acceptance, tolerance and gender identity, My Princess BoyMy Princess boy written by Cheryl Kilodavis and illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone
Picture book about acceptance, tolerance, bullying and gender identity published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon and Schuster

Please have a look at our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

My Princess Boy is a non fiction picture book about acceptance, written by Dyson Kildavis’ mom, Cheryl. Dyson is a young boy who likes to wear pink, sparkly clothing including dresses. He also likes to dance like a ballerina. Dyson’s mom worried that her four year old son would be teased and bullied by classmates and that he would encounter intolerant people who would not respect his preferences, so she wrote this book in an effort to encourage acceptance and compassion.
spread from My Princess Boy, a picture book about acceptance
After introducing us to “My Princess Boy” and his preference for pretty pink clothing, we meet his brother and his father. Both are very accepting of Princess Boy. We also learn that Princess Boy has playdates with both boys and girls. We discover that he especially enjoys playing dress up and he wears a tiera when he climbs a tree.

Not everything is rosy for Princess Boy, however. When he shops with his mom, if he buys something that would typically be worn by a girl, people around them notice and laugh. When Princess Boy dresses up for Halloween, a lady reacts badly to the princess dress he is wearing.

My Princess Boy shares a message of acceptance and encourages tolerance. The reader is reassured that if Princess Boy wears a dress to school, his classmates won’t laugh. Friends will play with him even when he wears “girl clothes.”

The book then encourages readers to consider their own behaviour –

If you see a Princess Boy…
Will you laugh at him?
Will you call him a name?
Will you play with him?
Will you like him for who he is?
Our Princess Boy is happy because we love him for who he is.

I must admit to having somewhat mixed emotions about My Princess Boy. At one time, my nephew wanted to dress up at preschool. He preferred the “feminine” costumes. He wanted to wear high heels. My sister was quite disappointed that the preschool teachers did not want him to put on the “feminine” clothes. They wanted him to choose “male” costumes – fire fighter jackets and police officer helmets. My nephew is now eighteen and, as far as I know, has outgrown his desire to wear “feminine” clothes. I don’t think it was just societal pressure that did this, my sense is that some things that are very appealing at age four, lose their luster as a child grows older. I can’t help but wonder, what might have happened if my sister had written a book about my nephew’s fondness for “feminine” clothing. How would he feel about it ten or fifteen years later? Might it seem to be an invasion of privacy? I support Cheryl Kilodavis’ unconditional love for her son but I wonder how he will feel about being a poster child for gender identity (possibly for the rest of his life) based on his preferences at age four.

As a picture book about acceptance, My Princess Boy “works” to some extent. It most certainly will encourage discussion about individuality and respecting differences. Having said that, when Princess Boy is laughed at, there is no attempt to problem solve or deal with the issue head on. Princess Boy is not provided any means of coping when people laugh at him other than asking, “Why did she laugh at me?My Princess Boy will only work as an antibullying resource if readers are encouraged to problem solve ways he might cope with the bullying that he is sure to encounter.

Finally, as evidenced by both the cover art and the spread from My Princess Boy, the illustrations for this book are somewhat unusual in that they are devoid of facial features. There are no eyes, noses, mouths or ears on any of the faces in the book. Some readers find this problematic, even creepy. It seems to me that seeing Princess Boy’s happiness ought to be a goal of the illustrator. Body language is one thing but, My Princess Boy is a book about emotions (happiness, contentedness, disappointment, hurt, joy and love), one would think that showing us those emotions would serve to enhance the message conveyed by the text.

My Princess Boy at Amazon.com

My Princess Boy at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our post about (chapter book) The Boy in the Dress.


Speech Delay and ESL – Making Progress With My Student

Posted on March 27th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Speech Delay and ESL, Reading Breakfast for Jack and Making Progress With My StudentFor the past six weeks, I have been working with a four year old girl who is learning English as a second language and who has a speech delay. We meet once each week for one hour.

I have been using a variety of materials and techniques to support her learning. Today I thought I would highight a few of them.

Wordless Picture Books
During each of our sessions, we read one or two wordless picture books. These are books that have little or no text. Readers use picture clues to decide what is happening in the story. Wordless picture books invite discussion because, as you turn the pages, the story unfolds and there is plenty of opportunity for meaningful talk.

Although we have read several wordless picture books together, Breakfast for Jack has been our favourite. The book is a good size for sharing one on one. The story is relatively simple and yet the illustrator has included many interesting details. It is morning, the sun is rising. Jack wakes up and stretches. Soon Boy is awake. He and Jack go downstairs. Boy feeds the black and grey cat but, each time he starts to get Jack’s breakfast, he is distracted. Poor Jack is very hungry.

When my young student and I first started reading Breakfast for Jack together, she was only able to talk about small snippets of the story because of her speech delay and limited vocabulary. Now she explains that Jack is orange and white, the cat is black and grey, Boy wears purple pyjamas. We talk about the family’s breakfast of toast and cereal. We also talk about the cat enjoying a bowl of milk and then snoozing under the telephone table.

Breakfast for Jack is engaging. The illustrations ensure that the reader understands exactly what is happening. The story and illustrations draw young readers in and keep those same readers involved in telling the story.

Puppets
Since Breakfast for Jack has become a favourite, last week I added dog finger puppets to our session. You may be aware that hand puppets and finger puppets are frequently used for play therapy because children often feel safe using a puppet to express themselves. In working with a child with a speech delay, it seems very logical to include puppets and encourage her to play with them. On Thursday, our three little dogs played together, they talked and raced at the park.

Illustrated Vocabulary
Keeping in mind that my student is not only dealing with a speech delay, she is also learning English as a second language. Each week I prepare one page of vocabulary that is related to a theme. The page introdues nine words that are illustrated and related by theme. We have done ‘Weather Words,’ ‘Things Families Do,’ ‘Clothing Words,’ ‘In My Neighbourhood,’ ‘Valentine’s Day,’ etc. We review all of the vocabulary each week. As well, she reviews the vocabulary at home each week. Her progress with these words has been quite dramatic.

Rebus Poems
Each week we add a new rebus poem to our program. Usually the poem is related to the vocabulary we are learning. For example, when I introduced ‘Weather Words,’ I created a rebus version of ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider.’ When I introduced ‘Things Families Do,’ we learned ‘Grandma’s Glasses.’ I like using rebus poems with young children very much. We track the text with our fingers (reinforcing that we read left to right and top to bottom). When reading rebus poems, we use picture clues to help us remember the poem / chant, we hear rhyming and we learn new vocabulary.

My young student’s mom and I are thrilled with the progress she has made to date. She is an enthusiastic learner and she is happy to enjoy stories, chants and learning new words. Next week, I will write again about our session together.

Breakfast for Jack at Amazon.com

Breakfast for Jack at Amazon.ca

All things Seussical – Jody’s Favorite Dr. Seuss Books

Posted on March 3rd, 2013 by Jody


All things Seussical - Jody's Favorite Dr. Seuss BooksIt was Dr. Seuss’ birthday this week. No matter how many kids books I read, middle age, young adult, or adult fiction, I love Dr. Seuss. I love the silliness and the seriousness. I love the rhymes and the made up words. I feel an unwarranted sense of pride when I can get through a book like “Oh say, can you say?” without messing up.

I love reading it to my children and love listening to them read it back to me. He writes the kind of books that remind us that reading needs to be fun. When I write my children’s stories, I can’t help but rhyme them. I think that it’s a lingering affect of my ‘Seuss-induced’ childhood. My mom rhymed everything. Names, random words, phrases. My earliest memory of a favourite book is One Fish, Two Fish. That and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. She must have read them to me endlessly, until I could read them myself. They were so ingrained that the first time I read Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb to my oldest daughter, I remembered all of the words.

Dr Seuss transends time. His books are timeless, enjoyable, and put together in a way that make you think they’d be easy to imitate but are actually quite the opposite. To be able to piece together rhyme, in a way that works, is a challenge of it’s own. To piece it together with non-sensical words and impart a moral? That’s impressive. So to celebrate my own love of rhyme and Dr. Seuss’ birthday (and because Top Tens are my thing this week), I’m going to share my Top Ten Favourite Seuss books. How many have you read?


10: Oh the Places You will Go
An impossible book to not like; it congratulates you for a job well done and tells you that you have so much more you can do, but to expect bumps along the way because that’s life.

(Quote) So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

9. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day

One of my very favourites, it was finished by Jack Pretlusky (who I consider amazing). As a teacher, I love that Miss Bonkers reminds the students of all the things they know and how well they learn.

(Quote) “We’ve taught you that the earth is round,
That red and white make pink.
And something else that matters more –
We’ve taught you how to think.

8. Green Eggs and Ham

This book makes me smile every time I read it, think about it, or hear my kids read it. It’s just this sweet, adorable book about withholding judgement until you’re sure. You may think you know, but sometimes, you just don’t.

(Quote) “Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.


7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I just realized, as I typed the title, that my list of ten cannot be in order of preference because I LOVE this book.

(Quote) “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

6. There’s a Wocket in my Pocket

I’ll be honest, I just really like the word Wocket. It’s fun.

(Quote) “All those Nupboards in the Cupboards they’re good fun to have about. But that Nooth gush on my tooth brush…..Him I could do without.”


5. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

A great entry level Seuss for beginners. It has an easy rhyme pattern and is fun to read together.

(Quote) “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”

4. Horton Hatches the Egg

A book about doing what you say you will do, even if it’s inconvenient and someone has taken advantage.

(Quote) “I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”

3. The Cat in the Hat

It’s that wonderful, Seussical combination of rhyme, fun characters, and a moral. The moral being: use your imagination. That’s what it’s there for.

(Quote) “Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.”

2. The Foot Book

It’s another good, entry level Seuss. It identifies opposites with its easy rhyme pattern.

(Quote) “Wet foot. Dry foot. Low foot. High foot.”

1. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

While my list might not be in order, this one is my favourite. Sometimes, we don’t know what makes something our favourites. Maybe it’s the one my mom read to me the most or maybe I just like the rhyme, but I really adore this book. Every time I cross the street with my daughters, we say “Hand, hand, fingers, thumb”.

(Quote) “Dum, ditty, dum, ditty, dum, dum, dum.”

Add Dr. Seuss books to your bookshelf



Crouching Tiger highlights Tai Chi, Chinese New Year and Family

Posted on January 22nd, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts review Crouching Tiger, a picture book that highlights Tai Chi, Chinese New Year and FamilyCrouching Tiger written by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Picture book about Tai Chi, Chinese New Year and a child’s relationship with his grandfather published by Candlewick Press

Link to Chinese New Year writing paper for kids

When Vinson’s grandfather leaves China and arrives in America for a visit, Vinson is excited. But, from the moment his grandfather arrives, Vinson is surprised and confused. His grandfather persists in calling him “Ming Da” and he dances in the garden slowly and quietly. Vinson is familiar with kung fu and, curious about the new moves, he asks his grandfather to teach him tai chi.

Vinson and his grandfather meet in the yard after school and Grandpa teaches Vinson. The young boy is impatient, he prefers kung fu’s kicks and punches. Tai chi leaves his knees tired and his arms heavy. Vinson wonders why his grandfather insists on speaking Chinese with him despite the fact that he knows how to speak English well.

When Vinson’s mom says that Grandpa is going to accompany Vinson to school, he is embarrassed. He chooses to read while on the bus. He and his grandfather sit together, each stealing glances at the other. Similarly, Vinson chooses to wear his headphones rather than talk with his grandpa. It is only when Grandpa’s surprising and athletic intervention prevents a serious accident that Vinson pauses to reevaluate his perceptions.

As time passes, Vinson becomes more adept at tai chi and soon Grandpa adds a new twist to their work. Vinson carries a long bamboo pole and learns the cat walk.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Vinson’s hair is cut, the family cleans the house and enjoys a traditional meal. When Grandpa gives Vinson an embroidered red silk jacket, he asks him to wear it for the upcoming parade. Vinson is embarrassed. He worries that his friends will see him and he feels self conscious about the new jacket.

As Vinson and his grandfather approach the parade route, Vinson gains appreciation for how his grandfather is regarded in the community and the tremendous pride he has for his grandson. When the two of them arrive at the start of the parade, Vinson discovers that he will be responsible for carrying a long bamboo pole, teasing the parade lions by waving a dangling cabbage.

An Author’s Note at the conclusion of Crouching Tiger includes notes about tai chi and Chinese New Year as well as a small glossary.

Beautifully illustrated with pen and ink as well as watercolors, readers will notice small details such as Vinson’s untied shoelace and his body language when his father cuts his hair.

Crouching Tiger invites discussion about family relationships and respect for one’s heritage. In a classroom, it could be used as a Chinese New Year resource and will be particularly interesting to children who are learning about martial arts. On each two page spread there is a small illustration of a tai chi stance.

Best suited to children aged five years and up.

The Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book of 2011 and Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List for 2012

Crouching Tiger at Amazon.com

Crouching Tiger at Amazon.ca


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes Teaching Ideas

Posted on January 21st, 2013 by Jody


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes is a classic children's picture book. Storytime Standouts shares teaching resources for homeschool, preschool and kindergartenPete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean
Picture book about resilience and optimism (self published and subsequently) republished by Harper Collins Children’s Books

Over the weekend, I read a completely charming and adorable picture book called Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. I had never heard of it, so when my daughter asked to read it to me, and my friend said it was great, I sat back and listened. Its language is simple, perfect for early readers and the message is strong, perfect for kids of all ages. Pete is a cat who likes his shoes, which start out white. As the book progresses and Pete steps into some different things, such as strawberries, blueberries, and mud, his shoes change colors. Though the message is clear throughtout, I love that the story ends by telling the moral of Pete’s story. No matter what color your shoes or what happens, go with it; carry on and be okay. The multicolored shoes, of course, can be substituted for a wide multitude of things. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes Teaching Resources

People often see picture books as a way to engage young children, but their message can be very important to older children as well. In fact, sometimes, the simple but powerful messages in a picture book can be more meaningful than a long novel, particularly for struggling readers. Even for strong readers; who are used to making sense of text, finding connections, predicting, and summarizing. Ask them to give you the moral and key points of a picture book and they often get stumped. They stopped reading such books when they were around eight or nine so now, to them, those books are for little kids learning to read. They forgot, or don’t see, the message that is embedded in most pictures books and young children’s tales. Taking them back to those stories and seeing what they pull from it, is a true delight. Every kid loves to be read to.

My grade five class, whom I read to almost every day, was asked by our librarian if they wanted to hear a story. There was a resounding yes. They all sat on the carpet in front of her rocking chair, listening to her animated voices. They did exactly what we want kids to do; they fell into the story. They engaged and enjoyed. They saw the moral and the next day, when they did their writing, the book was mentioned more than once. Picture books are powerful tools, regardless of a person’s age. This is why, at the workshops I attend, there are frequently picture books used to share and show strategies and ways to improve reading levels. Picture books connect; they draw you in and charm you in a short amount of time. You can never be too old for that.

Pete the Cat’s website

Pete the Cat learning activities and downloads, including a free MP3 download of Pete’s song, from Harper Collins Children’s Books

Kim Scott’s Pete the Cat Pinterest board

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes at Amazon.com

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes at Amazon.ca

A New Year’s Reunion, An Award Winning Chinese New Year Picture Book

Posted on January 18th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts shares An Award Winning Chinese New Year Picture BookA New Year’s Reunion written by Yu Li-Qion and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
Chinese New Year picture book published by Candlewick Press

Link to Chinese New Year writing paper for kids

Maoman’s papa is a housebuilder. He works far from home and only returns to his family once each year. On the day he arrives home, Maoman is hesitant at first. He looks different to her. Once Papa gets his hair cut, the family makes sticky rice balls and it is time for Maoman to snuggle into bed with her parents.

As firecrackers explode nearby, Maoman drifts off to sleep, The following day, the family enjoys eating their rice balls together. They leave their home and go to visit friends. Maoman discovers that her friends are also outside and visiting.image from A New Year's Reunion

As Chinese New Year unfolds, Maoman sees a dragon dance and she plays outside in the snow with her friends. When she discovers her fortune coin is missing, she is devastated. Fortunately, the coin is not lost in the snow. Maoman finds it in her jacket and uses it to establish a lovely, heartwarming family tradition.

Beautiful illustrations lovingly depict Maoman’s family, her home and community. References to sticky rice balls, hair cuts, new clothes, firecrackers, a fortune coin, house repairs, a red envelope and a dragon dance provide all sorts of information about traditions associated with Chinese New Year.

A New Year’s Reunion was awarded a Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award by The New York Times Book Review in 2011 and it won the Feng ZiKai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award.

A New Year’s Reunion at Amazon.com

New Year’s Reunion at Amazon.ca

This year (2013) New Year’s Day falls on Sunday, February 10

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart – A Sweet Treat for Valentine’s Day

Posted on January 13th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at Lilly’s Chocolate Heart, a sweet story about Lilly (of Purple Plastic Purse fame) and her one remaining foil-wrapped Valentine’s Day chocolate heart.

Lilly's Chocolate Heart - A Sweet Treat for Preschool Valentine's DayLilly’s Chocolate Heart written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Lilly is a beloved picturebook character. Best known for Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse , she also appears in Lilly’s Big Day, Chester’s Day, Wemberly Worried and Julius The Baby of the World.

Before going to bed on Valentine’s Day, Lilly must decide what to do with her one remaining foil-wrapped Valentine’s Day chocolate.

image of foil wrapped chocolate hearts“Lilly wanted to find the perfect place to keep the heart. She looked under her bed, but it was too dusty. She looked inside her dresser, but it was too messy.

Those who know Lilly, will agree that she is exhuberant and sometimes just a little bit impulsive so finding the perfect place for the precious chocolate is quite a challenge.

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart will be a delicious treat for Lilly fans who will no doubt notice her purple plastic purse hanging from a dresser drawer handle and a painting of the purse that hangs on a wall.

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart at Amazon.com

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart at Amazon.ca

You will also be interested in our Valentine’s Day printables. Storytime Standouts is on Pinterest – Check out our Valentine’s Day Board



Lion’s Lunch? A yummy anti-bullying picture book for age 4 and up

Posted on January 5th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Lion's Lunch? A yummy anti bullying picture book reviewed by Storytime StandoutsLion’s Lunch? written by Fiona Tierney and illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain
Anti bullying picture book published by Chicken House, an imprint of Scholastic

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

When Sarah goes for a walk in the jungle, she sings a happy song. Before long, a ferocious lion jumps from behind a bush and demands to know why she is in his jungle. When Sarah explains that she is walking, the lion asserts that jungle creatures “Run, sprint, prowl, creep, swing, lumber, slither, swoop, gallop and scuttle.”

When Sarah says that she was singing, the lion states that jungle creatures “Roar, yowl, grunt, chatter, buzz, trumpet, hiss, growl, pant, and harrumph.”

Lion decides that Sarah would make a tasty lunch especially since she can’t stalk like Tiger or leap like Gazelle.

Sarah suggests that she can do something that no jungle creature can do. She can draw. When, at last, she shows Lion her picture, he is not impressed with the angry lion face he sees and, when the other animals agree that he is a bully, Lion decides to change his ways.

Wonderful descriptive language and bright, bold drawn and computer-generated illustrations enhance this examination of bullying behavior and leave readers with a sense of optimism about one’s ability to speak up, enlist help and ultimately encourage a bully to change for the better.

Lion’s Lunch is best suited to children aged four and up.

Add this anti bullying picture book to your bookshelf –

Lion’s Lunch? at Amazon.com

Lion’s Lunch? at Amazon.ca

My Brother is Autistic, A Picture book about Autism

Posted on December 13th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


My Brother is Autistic, A Picture book about Autism reviewd by Storytime StandoutsMy Brother is Autistic written by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos and illustrated by Marta Fabrega

Picture book about autism

part of the Let’s Talk About It! series published by Barron’s

You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Written from the perspective of an older sibling, My Brother is Autistic looks at the realities and challenges of being the brother or sister of a child with autism. Usually Billy and his brother get along reasonably well but, when a classmate frustrates Billy and makes him angry, his older brother is embarrassed by Billy’s reaction. He runs away from the scene in the school cafeteria. Help is not far away as he encounters his teacher in a hallway. She listens to him explain what happened and she has empathy for the frustration he feels.

I told my teacher that I wished more kids understood autism, because if they did, then maybe they’d give kids like Billy a chance!

With a consderable amount of text, this picture book is best suited to children kindergarten age and up. A Note to Parents provides general information about autism, characteristics typical of people who are autistic and suggestions for helping siblings of children with autism.

My Brother is Autistic at Amazon.com

My Brother is Autistic at Amazon.ca


Bullies Never Win – an anti bullying picture book by Margery Cuyler

Posted on December 11th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Bullies Never Win - an anti bullying picture book by Margery Cuyler reviewed by Storytime Standouts
Bullies Never Win written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Arthur Howard
Anti bullying picture book published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Jessia and Brenda are in the same first-grade class. In Jessica’s eyes, Brenda is perfect. Her hair is perfect, her homework is perfect and her clothes are perfect. Jessica is a worrier. She is frustrated by her clothing, her knees, her barrettes and making mistakes at school but mostly she is frustrated by Brenda’s bullying.

If Jessica got all her homework right, Brenda would say, “I bet you cheated.” So Jessica hid her homework.
If Jessica wore a new skirt to school, Brenda would say, “Your legs look like toothpicks.” So Jessica started wearing pants.
If Jessica scored at kickball, Brenda would say, “You were just lucky.” So Jessica stopped playing kickball.

Finally Jessica reaches the breaking point and she tells her mom about the bullying she is enduring at school. Mom encourages Jessica to tell her teacher about the bullying. Jessica is not sure that is the solution. She spends a sleepless night, trying to decide on the best strategy. Finally, Jessica decides to tell Brenda that Bullies Never Win!”

At last, Jessica can stop worrying and relax. She has spoken her mind and silenced her bully.

Mr. Howard’s illustrations, especially those of the characters’ facial expressions are a highlight of this excellent anti bullying picture book.

Written from the perspective of the victim, this resource is recommended for kindergarten and older children.

Add this anti bullying picture book to your bookshelf –

Bullies Never Win at Amazon.com

Bullies Never Win at Amazon.ca

Lesson plans for Bullies Never WIn

Literature unit from edHelper.com

Lesson plan from Spoken Arts Media

Bully vs Friend activity from Scholastic

Looking after Louis, An Autism Picture Book Highlighting Inclusion

Posted on December 3rd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Cover Art for Looking After LouisLooking After Louis written by Lesley Ely and illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Autism picture book highlighting inclusion published by Albert Whitman & Company

You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

When a new boy arrives at school, he is partnered with a girl who notices that he is not like the other children in the class. He often just sits and stares at the wall. If I ask him what he’s looking at, he says, “Looking at,” and keeps on looking.

Louis tries using his new friend’s crayons but she can’t decide what he is drawing and he can’t say. When they go outside for recess, Louis runs around with outstretched arms. He runs through the boys’ soccer game and annoys the players. When invited to join the children who are climbing on a tire, Louis does not move. He just stands and watches.

In the classroom, Louis sometimes echoes his Miss Owlie’s instructions. His classmates laugh when he sounds like her. His partner notes that he is granted more leeway to speak out than others would be given.

When one of the children arrives at school with a new soccer ball, Louis shows interest. His classmates join in the game and, each time Louis touches the ball, he is encouraged. Later in the day, Louis and the boy with the soccer ball are allowed to escape the classroom and enjoy an impromptu game.

When Louis’ partner talks with Miss Owlie about Louis, she asserts,

“I think we’re allowed to break rules for special people.”
Miss Owlie put her finger to her lips and nodded a tiny little nod that nobody saw but me.
We peeped through the classroom window at Sam and Louis’s Great Game… and I felt special, too.

An afterword, written by Kori Levos Skidmore, Ph.D. provides information about the advantages of inclusion for all children.

Readers will be interested to consider Inclusion vs Seclusion: A Review of Looking After Louis published in Disability Studies Quarterly. While Ms. Hirad’s comments are interesting, I am not sure that I agree with them. When Louis repeats his teacher’s instructions to, “Sit up straight, everybody.” The children laugh because he sounded just like Miss Owlie. The text does not imply that the children are laughing at Louis, they are laughing because he sounded like his teacher. In a happy, relaxed and tolerant classroom, this would seem to be a natural reaction. When Louis runs through the boys’ soccer game, one of the boys yells at him. Again, while not an ideal reaction, this is likely a typical response to the interruption of a recess soccer game. Finally, Ms. Hirad seems concerned that the classroom teacher has not labelled Louis as autistic. Surely, we do not require labels or even explanations in order to show understanding and tolerance.

Looking After Louis is written from the perspective of a classmate.

Looking after Louis at Amazon.com

Looking After Louis at Amazon.ca


Picture Book Challenges Attaching Labels to Children with Autism

Posted on December 2nd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts Shares a Picture Book That Challenges Attaching Labels to Children with AutismA-U-T-I-S-T-I-C? How Silly Is That! I Don’t Need Any Labels at All written and illustrated by Lynda Farrington Wilson
Picture book about labelling children with autism published by Future Horizons Inc.

You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Author-illustrator Lynda Farrington Wilson is a mother of a funny, brilliant, and talented sensory seeker who has autism. In A-U-T-I-S-T-I-C? How Silly Is That! I Don’t Need Any Labels at All she challenges readers to examine the labels we often attach to people on the autism spectrum.

Asking, I have brown hair, I wonder if that makes me… brown-hair-tistic? she asserts that there are many ways we might choose to label individuals but, in fact, labels are unnecessary. A child with autism is not unlike everyone else, he simply has a different approach to the world.

A-U-T-I-S-T-I-C? How Silly Is That! I Don’t Need Any Labels at All includes seventeen pages of exhuberantly illustrated text. It also includes an author’s note which explains that Ms. Farrington Wilson’s goal of encouraging the world to see past the labels and understand the importance of “people-first” language.

Autistic? How Silly is That!: I Don’t Need Any Labels at All at Amazon.com

Autistic? How Silly is That!: I Don’t Need Any Labels at All at Amazon.ca


Ian’s Walk, Autism Picture Book by Laurie Lears and Karen Ritz

Posted on November 27th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standout reviews Ian's Walk, an autism picture book by Laurie Lears and Karen RitzIan’s Walk: A Story About Autism Written by Laurie Lears and illustrated by Karen Ritz
Autism picture book published by Albert Whitman & Company

You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Ian’s mom is reluctant to have him go to the park with his sisters. She warns the two girls to keep a close eye on him. Enroute to the park, the children pass a diner. Ian is fascinated by the circling ceiling fan. He hardly notices the siren of a passing fire truck but seems to hear something else. Not interested in fragrant lilacs, Ian would rather put his face up to a brick wall.

Ian feels things differently … while Tara and I toss cereal to the ducks, Ian lies on the ground with his cheeks pressed against the hard stones.

Ian is non verbal and sometimes waves his hands. Aware of how Ian is different and conscious that other people watch him, his sister acknowledges that she sometimes feels angry.

When Ian wanders away while they are all at the park, his frantic sisters race to find him. Finally, Julie tries to think like her brother does. She remembers he likes a bell and, sure enough, finds him underneath it.

As the three siblings return home, they pause to enjoy the walk and especially the sights, sounds and smells that matter to Ian.

Ian’s Walk acknowledges the frustrations of loving a sibling who is autistic and encourages young readers to consider a different perspective.

Beautiful watercolour illustrations enhance the narrative and lovingly depict the children’s facial expressions.

Ian’s Walk is written from the perspective of a sibling.

Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism at Amazon.com

Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism at Amazon.ca


Bullying Stopped by Tiny Katie Sue – Alexis O’Neill’s The Recess Queen

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts reviews picture book Alexis O'Neill's The Recess QueenThe Recess Queen written by Alexis O’Neill and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
Anti bullying picture book published by Scholastic Canada

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti-bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti-bullying board

MEAN JEAN was Recess Queen and nobody said any different.
Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung.
Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.
Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced.

Mean Jean is a playground bully. At recess, she commands all those around her. She controls the swings, the soccer ball and the basketball.

One day, a new girl arrives at school. Tiny Katie Sue is completely unaware of Mean Jean’s position of authority at the playground. Katie Sue does not wait to be told what to do. She swings and she kicks and she bounces. When challenged by Mean Jean, Katie Sue asks, “How DID you get so bossy?”

Before long, there is a showdown between Mean Jean and Katie Sue. When Katie Sue pulls a jump rope from her pocket, she invites Mean Jean to skip with her.

Repetitious text, delicious wordplay and bright, energetic illustrations highlight a terrific anti-bullying book that begs to be read aloud. Recommended for children aged four and up.

Add this anti-bullying picture book to your bookshelf –

The Recess Queen at Amazon.com

The Recess Queen at Amazon.ca



The Cost of Being “In” – Two of a Kind by Jacqui Robbins

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts Reviews Two of a Kind by Jacqui RobbinsTwo of a Kind written by Jacqui Robbins and illustrated by Matt Phelan
Anti bullying picture book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon and Schuster

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Kayla and Melanie love to work together on projects. They are very much alike and sometimes they dress the same way. At recess, they sit together on the jungle gym. They don’t want anyone else to join them.

Anna and Julisa also like to be partners at school. They both wear glasses and sometimes they laugh so hard that their glasses fall off. At recess, Anna and Julisa sit together. They are friendly and would be happy to have any of their classmates join them.

In class, Kayla and Melanie sometimes make fun of the other children and, one day, they make fun of Julisa and her glasses. When Anna is unexpectedly partnered with Melanie for a science project, she is able to share her knowledge.

Melanie says I am so smart. She says maybe I am cool after all…
“Hey,” she says, pulling my arm away from the mess. “Do you want to play with us?”

Like magic, Anna is invited to sit with Kayla and Melanie at recess. Anna’s two new companions laugh at Julisa and continue to exclude her.

Fortunately, Anna pauses to consider her relationship with Julisa and before long she realizes where true friendship and her loyalty lies.

Two of a Kind is a thought-provoking depiction of how easily children can be lured by the desire to be popular and how difficult it is to be outcast. Sure to prompt discussions about friendship, loyalty and standing up for what is right, it is best suited to readers aged five and up.

Readers will be interested to know that Matt Phelan also illustrated Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky and Betty G. Birney’s The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs – two of my favourite novels for middle grade readers.

Add this anti bullying picture book to your bookshelf –

Two of a Kind at Amazon.com

Two of a Kind at Amazon.ca


Billy Bully Learns Consequences of Bullying

Posted on November 17th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts writes about how Billy Bully Learns Consequences of BullyingBilly Bully A school-yard counting tale – written by Alvaro and Ana Galan, illustrated by Steve Simpson
Counting book about bullying and friendship published by Scholastic

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

When Billy Bully arrives at the school playground, his animal friends are already there. Cow is enjoying a swing, horse is on the teeter totter and duck is on the slide. Within moments, Billy Bully has taken charge. He chases the others off the slide, grabs toys and he won’t wait his turn. One by one, he upsets each of his classmates and loses friends.

Eventually Billy Bully discovers that every one of his classmates has run away from him. There is no one to play with.

Now Billy Bully’s feeling blue,
Until – he figures out just what to do.

He says to Sheep, “It’s you who won.”
And now his friends are up to 1!

After counting down his friends, Billy sets to work repairing the harm he has done.

When Billy Bull learns how to play,
all his friends come back to stay.

Best suited to preschool or kindergarten age children, Billy Bully is a rhyming counting book with an important message about bullying and friendship. It includes an Afterword for parents and teachers by Ellen Jacobs, Ph.D., Clinical Social Work

Billy Bully at Amazon.com

Billy Bully at Amazon.ca


Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Song Lee and the “I Hate You Notes”

Posted on November 7th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts shares Anti Bullying Chapter Book - Song Lee and the Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes written by Suzy Kline and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
Anti bullying chapter book (reprint) published by Puffin

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Suzy Kline has written many books for young readers. She writes about school life, family life and social situations in chapter book series that feature Horrible Harry, Song Lee and
Herbie Jones.

In Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes, Mary has been staying up late. She is tired when she arrives at school and she is grumpy for most of the day.

Everyone laughed but Mary. She was too busy biting and chewing on her braid. Her rotten mood was as mean and angry as the dark clouds gathering outside our classroom window.

I could tell something bad was going to happen.

I hoped it was just a storm.

Doug’s intuition is correct. Not only is a storm brewing outside, there is one developing inside Miss Mackle’s classroom. Mary is upset with Song Lee and leaves two notes on her desk. Harry and Doug see Song Lee open the notes. They quietly retrieve the notes from a garbage can and read them. They are reluctant to “tattle” but they can see that Song Lee is upset. Harry speaks quietly to Miss Mackle and she is grateful for the information he provides. She has the perfect solution: she reaches for a picture book. Lovable Lyle by Bernard Waber has just the right message for Mary and her classmates.

Best suited to children in grades two and three, Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes realistically depicts both the bully and her victim and encourages bystanders to get involved and enlist the assistance of an adult.

Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes at Amazon.com

Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes at Amazon.ca

Lexile Level 650L

Lovable Lyle at Amazon.com

Lovable Lyle at Amazon.ca


Autism Picture Book – Waiting for Benjamin A Story About Autism

Posted on November 6th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts reviews Autism Picture Book - Waiting for Benjamin A Story About AutismWaiting for Benjamin A Story about Autism written by Alexandra Jessup Altman and illustrated by Susan Keeter
Autism picture book published by Albert Whitman & Company

You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Written from the perspective of a sibling, Waiting for Benjamin A Story about Autism deals with several issues that are important to brothers and sisters of children who are diagnosed with Autism. Alexander is frustrated. His younger brother doesn’t play with him. Instead, Benjamin wiggles his fingers and stares at the wall. Alexander can’t wait for Benjamin to grow up and take an interest in the same things he likes. Benjamin’s older brother has other worries, too. He worries that his friends will tease him about his brother’s unusual behaviour and he feels jealous. He doesn’t understand why Benjamin is rewarded for seemingly easy behaviours like saying, ‘ball.’ Alexander would love to be praised and to share in the special treats.

I wanted it to be my turn. Then I would say everything perfectly, and Julie would smile and give me a special reward.

Waiting for Benjamin follows Benjamin from before his diagnosis until he learns a few words and begins to respond to his older brother. Best suited as a family resource, this Autism picture book focusses on the relationship between the two brothers and ends on a somewhat positive note with Alexander gaining understanding about his brother’s challenges and Benjamin showing some interest in playing with his brother and attempting some words.

Waiting For Benjamin: A Story about Autism at Amazon.com

Waiting for Benjamin: A Story about Autism at Amazon.ca

Note: Author Alexandra Jessup Altma was a Senior Interventionist, Autism Spectrum Program, Howard Center for Human Services


Anti bullying book for beginning readers: Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl

Posted on November 4th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


For beginning readers, Storytime Standouts suggests Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl
Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl written by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser and Ted Enik
Anti bullying book for beginning readers published by Harper Collins Children’s

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl is part of Harper Collins Children’s I Can Read series. Ranked by Harper Collins as “Beginning Reading Level 1,” it is generously illustrated and includes words such as appetite, splendid, speechless and canceled.

Field Day is just around the corner. Most of Nancy’s classmates are excited about the upcoming races but Nancy is not. She is dreading Field Day because she is not good at running and last year, when her team lost, she was teased. When Nancy discovers that Grace is on her team, she is doubly concerned. Grace is sometimes mean.

Nancy trains hard for the relay race but her training is too little. too late. She decides a different tactic might work. She pretends she has injured her foot and she begins limping. Nancy’s dad is not convinced by her limp and he questions her about it. Finally, Nancy confides and explains why she is upset.

After a conversation with her dad, Nancy feels better and she approaches Field Day and Grace with a plan. She speaks to Grace

“I will run as fast as I can.
But if we lose,
don’t say mean stuff.
You are a good runner.
But you are not a good sport.”

Fans of the Fancy Nancy series are sure to enjoy this anti bullying book for beginning readers. The story is engaging. Both Nancy’s problem and the outcome are realistic. Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl could lead to discussions of teasing and bullying as well as sportsmanship and doing one’s best in a difficult situtation.

Recommended for children aged six and up.
Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl at Amazon.com

Fancy Nancy And The Mean Girl at Amazon.ca

Note – my copy of Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl is a (hardcover) First Edition, copyrighted 2011. There is a typo on page 16: “That’s means I’m not hungry”


Tony Ross Anti Bullying Picture Book – Is It Because?

Posted on November 1st, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts shares a Tony Ross Anti Bullying Picture Book - Is It Because?Is It Because? written and illustrated by Tony Ross
Anti bullying picture book published by Andersen Press

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Is it Because? provides a refreshing and altogether different take on the anti bullying picture book. Peregrine Ffrog is a nasty bully. He leaves his victim stretched out in a mud puddle with a black eye. Peregrine’s target is a boy with a fabulous imagination. He can envision all sorts of serious and not-so-serious reasons for Peregrine’s horrid bullying behavior.

He asks

Is it because he’s friendless, you see?
Is it because he lives in a tree?
It is because of the size of his head?
It is because he wees in his bed?

Happily, after posing questions and imagining what has led Peregrine to this behavior, his victim is left with a healthy sense of self worth, the loyalty of a pet dog and a couple of good friends.

Encouraging the reader to view the perpetrator through a different lens, Tony Ross imagines and, with humour, illustrates all sorts of reasons someone might bully. He does not make excuses for the bullying nor does he “solve” the problem. His approach, which encourages readers to ask questions and rethink assumptions, is empowering.

Fans of Tony Ross will not be disappointed with this anti bullying picture book. As well as considering the “why” of bullying, readers may gain some sympathy for the bully and may even decide the bully is a victim of sorts.

Great for kingergarten and older children.

Is it Because? at Amazon.com

Is It Because? at Amazon.ca


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