I’ve just presented a mega-book talk to the group of teachers from Nellie McClung Elementary School centered on their ‘big’ idea for this coming academic year. It’s all about ‘journey’.
I always enjoy the process of reading and considering old and new resources with a specific focus. It gets me to think in new ways, re-envisioning how I might use materials in a classroom situation. In this case, I didn’t feel like I had any epiphanies about ‘journey’ but certainly enjoyed the many tangents I developed over the last couple of months. (See past postings, if you’re curious as to what those are.)
To wrap up, I thought I’d list three picture books that all touch on the same idea but in different ways and also speak to one element of ‘journey’ -- returning home.
The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert (823 Sch77U PIC BK) is a wordless picture book that illustrates one intrepid dog’s adventure as he is whisked along by the wind while holding a red umbrella. Strong autumn winds take him high into the clouds until he drops through a hole in the sky towards an African savannah. Danger is averted when helpful elephants blow him along until he catches an ocean wave. Enchanting sea life and an obliging whale help him continue his adventure. Over a tropical island, a pelican helps our pup avoid hostile people. Passing over a snowy landscape with polar bears and seals, his journey slowly winds down, as the weary dog gently lands at home again. (Suggested for preschool to grade 2.)
Follow Me by Tricia Tusa (823 T87F PIC BK) is an imaginative exploration of senses and colour. A young girl gets lost in the blue of the sky as she swings higher and higher. She asks us to follow her “deep into brown, into the bright white of yellow, into orange that slips into red all tumbled together…” which is in a natural environment of some sort (forest, garden, etc.). Exploring her world, reaching out, she returns once again to earth and home. Lovely illustrated poem. (Suggested for grades K-4).
And the last book I’ll highlight is Instructions by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess (823 G126I PIC BK). This is a poem that guides the reader through a fairy tale land where there is much to enjoy and beware. Being kind and helpful will stand you in good stead and has its rewards. Being cautious is also very important, so as to not go astray or run afoul of savage creatures. Completing the journey requires turning back, feeling more confident in our ability to look after ourselves, trust in our decisions and realize that we’ve grown up and gotten bigger from our adventures. And, then it’s time to “go home. Or make a home. Or rest.” YouTube has an animated reading by Neil Gaimon. (Suggested for grades 2 and up. Maybe even a good graduation gift.)
So ends this summer’s ‘journey’. Poetry, imagination and an appreciation of things that are different and familiar, have all played a part. Really, it’s limitless, isn’t it?