Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

We watched this favourite video for older students:

Here are a couple favourite read alouds for Pink Day

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Over the winter break, I read some fantastic graphics. My favourite was Roller Girl, the tale of twelve year old Astrid who signs up for roller derby just as she is losing her best friend to clothes, crushes, ballet and the horrid Rachel. Astrid explores her evolving identity as she faces the uphill battle of learning roller derby and dealing with friendships. Nice first graphic by Victoria Jamieson. My ten year old read it straight through in one sitting.

Lumberjanes is an odd mash up of genres: girl gang, rebels, mystery detectives, fantasy with mythical creatures, adventures and girl friendships all wrapped up in a funny take on girl guides. When I offered it to a group of kids today, they collectively gasped, waving their hands around, asking to be the first to read it.

Nanjing: The Burning City is a powerful historical fiction story of a captain and one of his men that have remained in the city too long and are now surrounded by invading Japanese soldiers. Trying to escape to safety, the two soldiers must choose againa and again: help others or save themselves. For older students, this would make a great lit circle selection.

Space Dumplins is the entertaining story of Violet, who sets out with her two companions to save her father, who has gone missing during a secret mission.

Sugar Falls is a haunting and beautiful story of a young girl who is taken away from her family to an Indian Residential School. Based on a true story. A good lit circle selection for older students.

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Building a community in your class or school is so critical to learning, to the children’s sense of belonging and security, to their social and emotional development, and let’s face it, to your sanity. Picture books are perfect for getting into some gritty topics in a slightly detached way. Addressing delicate class or school issues through fictional characters enables children to do it in a safe way. A non defensive way. It also helps kids to imagine themselves in various roles or situations, building the capacity for empathy and understanding.

Here are a few books to get you started:

You can be different and alone or you can work together and build something great.

When Roberta moves to a new school, she isn’t sure how she fits in. Can she be herself and still belong?

Don’t be a bystander when bulling is happening. Another great book by Peggy Moss.

A school principal helps the class ‘bully’ shift his thinking and his behaviour. Books where the bully is punished in the end aren’t my favourite, and so I like this one that ends with redemption.

How are you affected by other people and how are they affected by you? Help your kids build more self awareness with the bucket concept. When I was a classroom teacher, I did a version of this called IALAC.

Woodson is well known for her heart wrenching tales and Each Kindness is no different. When a new girl comes to school, the protagonist participates in excluding and bullying her. Although there is no redemption in the end and we are left with feelings of regret, shame and sadness, this book is an excellent launching point for deep discussions with your kids.

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Willow finds her voice and learns to stand up to a bossy classmate in a charming and empathetic way.

When Mom comes to Kindergarten, it’s an embarrassing disaster.  Will she ever learn the rules?

Emily is worried about starting school so Foxy tries to help by using magic. Unfortunately, Foxy’s magic doesn’t work out as planned with hilarious and rhyming results.

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Allo! Allo!

In this charming book, Soushi is lonely and looking for a friend. Soushi’s first attempts at friendship are not very successful. Will he finally find un ami?

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True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships

Every class I have this with has been so touched by these amazing cross-species friendships, especially the long term ones and the ones where one species typically eats the other. Read about Ldinka the camel and her friend Pashka the Vietnamese miniature pig who live in a zoo in Siberia. My personal favourite pair is Muschi the black cat who for twelve years and counting has been living with Mauschen the Asiatic bear.

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There are four Penderwick sisters, all different but equally charming. Rosalind is twelve, the eldest, and the most responsible. Then there is Skye, and although she is considered to be the pretty sister and the only one who looks just like their mother, Skye is a tomboy and is sometimes more than a little grumpy. Jane is ten and an author who is completing her first novel. Batty is the youngest and can’t remember Mamma. She only speaks if she feels like it, a rare occasion.

While spending their summer in a lovely cottage on a grand estate, the four Penderwick sisters try desperately to stay on the good side of the estate’s owner, the scary Mrs. Tifton and her fiance Dexter. A seemingly impossible goal, especially considering all their antics. Things just seem to go sideways sometimes!

The sisters befriend Jeffery Tifton, the owner’s son, and try to help him avoid being sent to military school in his grandfather’s footsteps. Even though it might crush his mother’s hopes and dreams for him, Jeffery would much rather study music. Rosalind, the eldest Penderwick sister, develops a crush on the friendly and helpful ground keeper, a cute young man named Cagney.

Reminiscent of old family classics, The Penderwicks is good, old-fashioned fun that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would.

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