October 17, 2018
by Jacqueline Woodson
illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.
Discussion questions and activity from the Teacher Guide:
Dive in & Discuss
1. Have you ever walked into a room full of people who seemed different than you? How did you
feel? What made you feel that way? Discuss your feelings and how they changed as time passed.
2. What is something that makes you unique? Is it a positive or negative trait? How can you turn
this trait into your new beginning?
3. What is diversity? Create a kid-friendly definition and post it in the classroom. Why is it important
to have conversations about diversity? How might people with differences in ability, culture, race,
gender or wealth/money feel when they are in a group that seems different from them?
Who’s in the Room?
This would be a great first day of school activity or one to use any time your class is entering a new
situation and meeting new people. After reading The Day You Begin, lead the class in a discussion
about what information is important to know when you meet someone new. What things do you learn
about each of the characters in the book as they reveal themselves to one another? What would you ask
someone when you meet them for the first time? Generate a list of questions that the class feels will
help them get to know their classmates. Encourage them to think of a few questions that will help them
dig a little deeper when they interview their peers during the activity. Partner students and ask them
to interview each other. Have them list all of the answers that they have in common as well as their
differences. A Venn diagram is a great graphic organizer to use with this activity. At the conclusion of
the interviews ask students to introduce their partner to the class. They can choose the most interesting
parts of their conversation to share. Finally, ask the class if there is a character from the book that they
relate to and, if they are comfortable sharing, to explain why.
October 17, 2018
by Minh Le
illustrated by Dan Santat, Caldecott Artist 2015 (Adventures of Beekle)
A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy.
Starting out as a wordless picture book, you meet a boy and his grandfather. They seem to have nothing in common until they boy gets bored and pulls out his art supplies. Then a whole new world opens up as the boy draws and the grandpa draws, building “a new world that even words can’t describe.”
- Mentor text for illustrations telling details from the story
- Discussion starter: language barriers
An introspective look by other educators:
September 10, 2018
Counting on Catherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
by Helaine Becker
Blurb: From Katherine‘s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the story of an American icon who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives.
Want to make a case about precise computing? Read an excerpt of this book to your students about the importance of Katherine’s math being precise or people would die in space!
This harrowing biography of how Katherine Johnson, an unsung hero, helped the Americans in the Space Race shows just how important minorities were to the effort.
My favorite quote, from Katherine Johnson herself, comes from the back papers: “Despite her many achievements, Katherine never liked to take any credit. Her reason? ‘Because we always work as a team,’ she says. ‘ it was never just one person.'”
This book is for:
- space enthusiasts
- biographies highlighting otherwise unsung people of history
- February — Black History month
- Women’s History month
- Context Clues: use the page about “all of the computers were women” to have students figure out what the author means by “computers” (people, not machines)
- goal setting
- reaching one’s potential, despite setbacks
Check it out at your local library! ISBN 9781250137524
September 11, 2017
The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon
by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee
Illustrated by Susanna Chapman
Do you want a book about NEVER GIVING UP? This is for you! Bobbi Gibb is a girl in the 1960s. All she wants to do is run. But others try to stop her, her father even says “Girls don’t run!” That doesn’t stop Bobbi. For her first race, she disguises herself as a boy, wearing boy tennis shoes and covering her hair with a hooded sweatshirt. Midway through the race, she had been spotted and the men running the race replied “We won’t let anyone throw you out; it’s a free road.” So Bobbi took off her sweatshirt and finished the race!
An inspiring biography of one person who wanted to change the world, who wanted to follow her heart.
Use this at the beginning of the school year as you build community and discuss hopes and dreams! Bobbi Gibb will definitely inspire your students to never give up and to follow their dreams!