Thursday, October 14, 2021

Three for Your Library: Trust & Step

In the last few years, I've become familiar with this saying: trust and step. Anytime I've been up against a big problem, tried something new, or made a big change, I have found myself repeating the words trust and step. The phrase came up in a conversation with a friend and it seemed to stick for me. It reminds me there are tough situations and risks we take, but if we just take a step we are on our way. It's a one-step-at-a-time mantra that helps me to begin to find a way forward. 

In our classrooms, learners come across challenges as well. There are times we have to solve problems, take risks, or make changes. This trio of picture books can remind us it's okay to just trust and step. The answers aren't always clear, but if we step forward we will find our way through. 

The Starkeeper by Faith Pray

In this picture book, a child finds a fallen star. She works hard to take care of it, but she isn't sure what she needs to do. Through trial, error, and a bit of perseverance, she discovers exactly what the star needs to shine brightly. 

The Way You Might Use It:
Community Conversations:  Each of us carry a little light within. How can students shine their light to make the learning community bright? This book also lends itself to conversations about not giving up when the solution doesn't come immediately. Sometimes if we take little steps, we can figure it out. 

Anchor Text:  This book lends itself to problem-solution conversations. 

Mentor Text:  The story begins with a world that is lonely and dark. It ends with a world that is different. The pages in between are how we got to the change. Young writers can use this framework to think through a story of their own. Additionally, the author often changes of the length of her sentences which slows the story down and speeds it up. This would be a good book to show this crafting technique to writers. 

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

Stella finds herself unsure of how to a handle a tricky situation when her school hosts a Mother's Day visit. Stella doesn't have a mother to bring, but she has two dads she loves very much. Stella worries about the best solution. Finally, she decides to just trust and step. She makes a plan that she hopes will be the perfect solution. It turns out it is - and it also opens doors for others. 

The Way You Might Use It:
Community Conversations:  Family can mean a lot of different things and this book is perfect for this conversation. As a teacher, I'm reminded of the things we do with good intentions but can impact our students. We can all think of times we felt like we didn't fit in, but our tendency can be to just walk away from those situations. Stella, however, finds a way to a solution. 

Anchor Text:  This picture book also lends itself to problem-solution conversations. There is also plenty to talk about in relation to Stella as a character: her complexity, her perseverance, the way her world is impacted by social constructs. There's plenty to discuss about this character through what she says and does. 

Mentor Text:  In it's simplest form, this mentor text is perfect for talking about problem-solution. It also has some great examples for letter writing with our youngest writers. However, what stood out to me the most was the authors use of transitions to move the reader through time. 

Areli is a Dreamer by Areli Morales and illustrated by Luisa Uribe. 

Areli's mom and dad are in America trying to make a better life for their family. Areli's brother is soon able to join them as he was born in America. He is able to move between Mexico and America with greater ease because of his citizenship. Areli, on the other hand, was born in Mexico. She stays behind with her grandma while her family finds a way to get her to New York. When she finally gets the call to go, she's not sure how to move forward. Areli decides to trust and step into this new situation. 

The Way You Might Use It:
Community Conversations:  This book illustrates how we have to be strong in hard times. Areli is strong and works to find her way through difficult situations that are not in her control. It also could open a conversation about the challenges of learning to live in a new country. For older readers, it might be a good early entry into conversations around immigration and DACA. 

Anchor Text:  Areli is a strong character. We learn a lot about her through conversations she has and situations she experiences. 

Mentor Text:  Writers can write about their experiences. This is a true story and the author's note certainly enhances the reader experience. It also talks about a big change that happens across a lot of time. It can be hard for younger writers to determine the most important details to give a big idea succinctly. This book could help with those conversations. 

1 comment:

  1. Trust and step. What a powerful saying! Thank you for sharing. Thank you, too, for sharing about books. Always helpful!