This year, we reinstated our Book-of-the-Month practice. Throughout the school year, every class will be reading a common book, so that we can have conversations across classes and grades. The theme of our books for the 2018-2019 school year, will be aligned with one of our schoolwide goals—creating inclusive and equitable learning environments for all children. Our message is simple: EVERYONE is welcome.
September–Red: A Crayon’s Story–Our first book is Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall. Some of you are already familiar with the tale of Red, the crayon who, notwithstanding his name, is clearly blue. Though he tries to draw cherries and hearts and the other crayons cheer him on in well-meaning ways, everything he draws comes out blue. Infused with emotional smarts and empathy, this story celebrates diversity and difference in all its forms. Central Themes include: Being true to yourself; appreciating differences; the value of friendship
October–We’re All Wonders–This month’s book is We Are All Wonders by A.J Palacio, which introduces young readers to Auggie, a boy whose face doesn’t look ordinary, but he likes to do the same things that the other kids do. Just as in Palacio’s Award Winning Book Wonder (and the movie of the same name), the other kids don’t see past Auggie’s facial difference. They don’t invite him to play, and they point at him and call him names. This is when he is feeling especially lonely. But with the help of those who love him, Auggie realizes that he is a “Wonder” regardless of the physical differences among friends. Central Themes include: Physical Differences, Bullying, and Friendship
November–I am Human–Susan Verde is the author of other books such as I Am Yoga, I Am Peace and The Museum. I Am Human is the story of what it means to be a human being as both an individual and within our worldwide human community. This book recognizes that as humans we make mistakes, but that also means we have the ability to choose how we respond to our mistakes. The focus of this book is having empathy for others and ourselves. We can do this by learning from our mistakes and making a change. For example, we can be kind to one another, even when it is difficult. We can choose love and compassion and celebrate the “human-ness” in all of us. Central Themes include: Empathy, Self-Awareness, Self-Reliance and Being Unique
December–A Family is a Family is a Family–Our selection this month is the book A Family is a Family is a Family, by Sara O’Leary. This is a story that showcases the beautiful variety in family compositions. A Family is a Family is a Family recognizes that although families can be configured in many different ways, all families are composed of love. What a beautiful message, indeed. Central Themes include: Families are Different, Appreciating Diversity, Pride in One’s Heritage/Background
January–Rescue and Jessica–Based on a true story, Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a guide dog—it’s the family business, after all. But when he gets news that he’s better suited to being an assistance dog, he’s worried that he’s not up the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. Central Themes include: Special Needs, Disabilities, Understanding, Inclusion, Acceptance, Collaboration, Determination, Friendship, Courage