Author/Illustrator: Matt James
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2018
Themes: death, funerals, family
Opening: “No school for Norma!” said Norma, putting on her mother’s shoe. A few days earlier, there had been a phone call. Her great-uncle Frank had died, and today was for saying goodbye.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Although Norma does not understand all the rituals that happen when she attends a funeral with her family, she does enjoy playing with her cousin and feels the deceased would have liked the funeral.
Why I like this book: it is my personal belief that we do not talk about death enough. It was a mysterious thing to me as a child, especially when I was not allowed to attend funerals as a small child. This book reminds me, in the best way, of my first experience. It was not as bad as the grown-ups made it out to be. Share it – it’s beautiful.
Resources/Activities: to help make death a part of life, share this book with friends and relatives, bring it to class to share; companion titles: The Scar/ Charlotte Moundlic, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney/Judith Viorst, My Father’s Arms Are a Boat/Stein Erik Lunde.
For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
Author: Louise Greig
Illustrator: Vanya Nastanlieva
Publisher: Picture Kelpies, 2017
Themes: bears, Scottish Hebrides, true stories
Opening: (image below)
Summary: (from the publisher) One morning on a wild and quiet Hebridean island, a bear appeared where there should not have been a bear. The gentle giant would not harm a living thing. But even friendly bears don’t belong on Scottish islands. Will he ever find his way home?
I like this book because: the illustrations are warm, inviting, energetic, evoking the feel and climate of life in the Hebrides (favorite read for adults linked in ‘Resources’); the writing is equally evocative, with a rhyming style so gentle it has you believing this is how the islanders themselves speak!
Resources/Activities: read more Scottish stories: about Kelpies, Selkies, the Loch Ness Monster, or Robert the Bruce; Research where Scotland is on a map. How is their climate different from yours? What is a school-day like in Scotland? Fro adults: read some of my favorite books about life in the Hebrides from Lillian Beckwith: The Hills is Lonely, The Loud Halo, Lightly Poached, and Beautiful Just.
For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to bring attention to the struggles of teachers serving our communities today. In my state (CO) a walk-out is being planned one week from today – April 27, 2018. If you cannot join them in their protest, send a teacher you know a letter of gratitude, of support, or encouragement as they continue to support and encourage our children. Thank you!