Tag Archives: SEL in the library

This Is How We Do It by Matt LaMothe

There’s been a push in education (and in school libraries) to make connections with those outside of our building.  Tools like Skype and Google Hangouts make it easier to see and interact with children outside our school walls, but those connections are usually across the US.  Trying to get out of North America and learn about others in the world is harder, if for no other reason than the time differences. And that’s where books and librarians can come into play.

It takes a concerted effort to teach global understanding and build empathy for others.  Finding titles that encompassed multicultural backgrounds and deepened world understanding AND are engaging read-alouds is even harder.  Lucky for us, there’s a new book to make teaching global literacy a bit easier.

This is How We Do It: one day in the lives of seven kids from around the world by Matt LaMothe

Children take center stage as they explain what their daily lives are like in seven diverse countries around the world.  Because none of the countries featured are from North America (children from Japan, Russia, Uganda, Peru, India, Iran, and Italy are included), it stands to reason that this was created for children with background knowledge from that continent.  The big takeaway is that we have similarities regardless of where we are from: we play, we go to school, we eat meals, etc.  It’s the little details that make our countries, our cultures, distinctive: while many children walk to school, it is what they experience on that walk – from mosques to fruit stands to cafes – that is unique to their country and culture.  The crisp font and child-like illustrations lend themselves to sharing with a group, and the captions on each page, describing the child’s experience in each country, are brief yet informative.  A book with a timeless quality, this is highly recommended.  Share with ages 6-10.

For teachers developing and implementing social-emotional learning in their classrooms, This is How We Do It is a must-purchase. Oftentimes, a lack of cultural awareness or knowledge is what leads to exclusion and bullying in schools.  There are rich research opportunities within these pages, too. Paired alongside the CultureGrams database, students could research about lives of children not featured in this book and – potentially – create their own.

Were I still teaching in the Northwest, this would be the 4th book in a “Learners Around the World” unit (the other three are Rain School, Waiting for the Biblioburro, and I’m New Here).

 

This Is How We Do It publishes on May 2, 2017.

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Chronicle/Abrams booth.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

Mine by Jeff Mack

There’s this book – Good News, Bad News – that I often put on display in my former library. The cover was eye-catching, but better still was the story’s message: that if you look hard enough, a bit of good can be found in any bad situation. This takeaway, the eye-catching illustrations – along with only those three words (good, bad, news) – made it a favorite among students and staff.

The author is Jeff Mack, and he has another hit on his hands with the forthcoming Mine!.  Mice again star in this limited-word story; in this case, the title word is the only word in the book.  It is, however, far from a one-note hit.

Mine! by Jeff Mack

Two mice. One large rock. And one giant problem: whose rock is it? Both mice declare “Mine!” as they engage in a match of cunning and try to outwit the other to lay claim to the prize. As the trickery increases, so too do the reactions.  The storyline and subject are enough to make it a good read for young learners struggling with sharing; however, it’s Mack’s illustrations that are a gold mine for teachers incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) with their students. There is much to take in and then discuss from the animated mice – their facial expressions and body language range from ebullient to miserable, triumphant to dejected – and ensuing conversation would likely be rich and impactful.  Mine’s unique case cover under the book jacket adds to the design appeal and provides an opportunity for some critical thinking for young readers: imagine what the mice would do if they saw that cheese!  Pair with Anna Kang’s That is (Not) Mine for a double-dose of consideration for others and cooperative agreement.  Share with ages 2-7.

Mine! releases May 9, 2017.

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Chronicle/Abrams booth.

I’m a fan of book cover/case cover designs. It’s something I look for, teach students to examine, and share in every read-aloud. My own children will often inspect library books to see what’s under the taped cover. If you like these design differences too, be sure to look into The Undies, an award for best book/case cover design.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika