Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Three for Your Library: Picture Books In Which Characters Lift Each Other Up

This week I listened to Eric Thomas, share "I Am," on The Quote of the Day Show podcast.  It's worth a listen.  Eric tells the story of a pastor who may have changed his life.  Eric shares, "He saw something in me that I didn't see.  He gave me permission to be what other people said I couldn't be." As teachers, isn't that a great goal:  to be the person who gives a learner permission to be what other people think they can't be?

When working alongside readers, we talk often about character change.  Yet as I began to consider in a recent search for books in which the character changes across the story, in some books characters don't make great visible change.   Instead, in many picture books - as in life -the secondary character lifts the main character and helps them to see who they are.

As Eric Thomas reminds in his talk, we all need someone to remind us that we have the power.  We all need to learn to say, "I am."

Here are three picture books in which characters learn to say "I am" thanks to another character in the story.


Nico Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Simone Shin

Nico loves to draw, but he begins to doubt his work as others fail to see the meaning behind his pictures.  He's about to give up when he meets Iris.  For the first time, someone sees the emotion he tries to portray in his pictures and helps Nico begin to believe in himself again.

Three Ways You Might Use It
Community Conversations:  This book is perfect for talking to our learning communities about the ways we can support each other as we talk risks and learn.      

Anchor Text:  This books works to talk about character feeling and the way a character's actions can help us to know more.  

Mentor Text:  This book allows young writers to take a look at the ways authors might show the way a character feels.  


Sad, the Dog by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit

Poor sad.  His owners pay little attention to him and don't appreciate him for who he is.  Sad is lonely.  One day his owners move from the house and leave him behind leaving Sad feeling even more unloved.  When a new family moves, a young boy quickly notices the dog and enjoys spending time with him.  This changes everything for the dog.

Three Ways You Might Use It
Community Conversations:  The way we treat others can make a difference in how they feel about themselves.  

Anchor Text:  This book works perfectly for finding the turning point of a story.  

Mentor Text:  Using dialogue to help tell a story.  


Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Ramon loves to draw.  He creates picture after picture until one day his brother makes fun of his drawing.  Ramon no longer believes in himself.  He can't make anything look the way he thinks he should. He begins to get frustrated and gives up.  One day he discovers that his sister has been saving all of his drawings.  She helps Ramon to see that his drawings are beautiful just the way they are.

Three Ways You Might Use It
Community Conversations:  This book opens the door to conversation about the way our words can hurt someone or build them up.  It is also perfect for talking about ways to take risks.

Anchor Text:  What does ISH mean?  How do you know?  In thinking beyond the text, what evidence can we use to explain our thinking.  

Mentor Text:  Using dialogue to help tell a story. 

What other titles do you know in which the main character is lifted by another character in the story? Please share them in the comments below.

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