We are participating in the #classroombookaday challenge. Our goal is to read 180 picture books this school year. We're well on our way. We've read 36 so far. The books I've selected are pretty diverse. Some of the books are silly, while some are rather serious. The kids look forward to this special time each day. Many have gone so far as to say that #classroombookaday is their favorite thing about fourth-grade.
Some of the books I pick are selected for very specific reasons. For example, we read, Picture Day Perfection on picture day. Other books are chosen because I just love them and I'm eager to share them with my students. My students are not living and being educated in a particularly diverse community so some books are selected to increase their awareness and to help them experience diversity if only through the characters who live on the pages of a book. A few have been read because kids have requested them. Still others are selected for no real reason.
I love reading funny books to my students. Listening to their giggles is pure joy. I love when a silly book surprises them and I get to look up and see expressions of wonder and excitement. Kids love to laugh and teaching them that books can be fun and elicit laughter is a wonderful byproduct of #classroombookaday.
Every once in a while I ask the students to name a few of their favorite books read so far this year. I'm often surprised that the silly books don't make their lists of favorites as much as the serious ones do. Today I read a book titled, Tomas and the Library Lady. This is the tale of the son of migrant farm workers. This family includes two parents, a grandfather, and Tomas. They have moved from Texas to Iowa as they often do to secure work on a farm. This boy, who loves his grandfather's stories, wanders into a library in search of more stories. Greeted warmly by a librarian, who takes him under her wing, Tomas becomes transported by all the stories at his fingertips. He begins to emerge as his family's storyteller. Let's be clear, there is not a ton for my students to relate to in Tomas' tale. He is an eight-year-old child but aside from that, his life is foreign to them. Still, as I read this book to them today, they seemed to be in a trance. They hung on every word. When I was finished, I asked them the same question I often ask, "What did you think?" The first child who shared said, "I just loved it. This is my new favorite. May I have this book for my book box?" Many children echoed a similar fondness for the book. They loved the warmth of the illustrations. They picked up on the fact that the mother in the story, thankful for the librarian's attention to her son, baked a dessert as a gift of thanks. They noticed that this family was so grateful that they gave from their need which was truly generous.
my students to understand what life as a Mexican migrant farm working family felt like. is one of the greatest gifts of #classroombookaday.