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Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review: Some Good Ones On Differences

Alex and Lulu Two of a Kind
Author: Lorena Siminovich
Interest Level: Ages 4-8
Alex and Lulu are best buds. Alex begins to notice the many personality differences in their likes and dislikes (not to mention that Alex is a dog and Lulu is a cat). He starts thinking maybe they are too different to be friends. When Alex asks Lulu, "Are we opposites?" she responds like a good friend would. She points out they have more things in common then they do different. Lulu says, "But different is OK. It doesn't matter how different we are." Heart this book about friendship and differences!

Cheese Louise!
Author: David Michael Slater
Interest Level: Ages 5-9
This is an entertaining and vividly illustrated story about food in the fridge. All of the food items can talk and have names! The story starts with, Louise, a piece of Swiss cheese with low self-esteem. She thinks her holes are horrible. She wants so badly to be perfect so she will be "chosen" every time the fridge door opens. She even tries filling her holes with pudding. The story ends with Louise finding her inner strength and also using her holes to help save a fellow food item. She realizes her "flaws" are actually gifts. I like using Cheese Louise to discuss the "myth of perfection." Kids start at an early age comparing themselves to others. They notice the differences and often see them as a negative. The message in this story proves that thinking to be false. It's a fun one to read.

Bee-Wigged
Author: Cece Bell
Interest Level: Ages 5-8
All Jerry Bee wants is a friend. But everyone is terrified of him because he is an enormous bee. They are afraid he could sting them. Jerry tries to change the way he looks by wearing a wig that he finds on the sidewalk. And it works! No one is afraid of him anymore. By the end of the day he makes friends with everyone at school and the kids adore him. They like him because he is helpful, funny, artistic, and generous. He's a good friend! The wig changes Jerry's life. But one day the wind blew Jerry's wig off. Everyone immediately runs away until.....the wig starts talking. Turns out the wig is a squirrel who saves the day by reminding everyone of Jerry's many positive qualities. This book cracked me up the first time I read it. I love sharing it with the students. I also like how the "wig" character stands up for Jerry Bee. Good life lessons in this one. And the whole squirrel/wig thing is kinda funny.

Something Else
Author: Kathryn Cave
Interest Level: Ages 5-8
A little creature named Something Else is rejected and made to feel bad by everyone. The kids and I call that bullying. Everything changes when a creature similar to Something Else shows up on his doorstep. But instead of treating the Something with the kindness he was never shown - he promptly rejects him. When he realizes he has caused the same pain and sadness - he charges after his new friend to begin an amazing friendship. It ends with a cute surprise when something Weird shows up allowing both of them to embrace yet another different looking friend. I'm still learning how to fine tune this book with the students. I've mostly been using it to talk about differences. But we also bring up friendship and bullying. I love hearing kids' reactions to this book.

It's Okay To Be Different
Author: Todd Parr
Interest Level: Ages 4-8
Okay, I'm sure you've seen lots of books by the amazing author Todd Parr. It's Okay To Be Different is a fun one. I mean hellooo...how can you not love the line, "It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub." That one gets lots of giggles. The message is so LOUD and CLEAR to the students - IT'S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT!!! Books that motivate students to be accepting of others. Love em!


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