I’m so excited to share with you a cute read aloud that celebrates a love of books and libraries! The characters in this story are very enthusiastic about books, just like the illustrator-author (my writing friend) Debbie Ridpath Ohi.
Summary from Amazon:
Spencer loves to read. He reads a book every night. But one morning his favorite book goes missing, and in its place is a tulip. Spencer searches high and low, but he can’t find his book. The next morning another book is missing, a nut in its place. And the morning after that, another book is missing.
What is happening to Spencer’s books? When he finds out, Spencer devises a surprising solution that will delight readers (and librarians) everywhere.
Where Are My Books? was written and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2015.
My Thoughts as a Writer:
The concept is relatable: Most children have experienced the loss of a beloved object, and maybe even a cherished book. I like the very direct and simple opening line: “Spencer loved books” because it offers so much possibility. It immediately makes me think about books I have loved and I can connect with Spencer, a fellow book lover.
This is a good book to study to think about how character is created using a combination of words and illustration. Spencer’s personality comes through in the words the author has selected to convey his ideas (and distress) about his books. The expressive faces and gestures work well to show his thoughts and feelings.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:
This is fun book to read to introduce a discussion about favourite books and places to read them. The character expressions provide lots of opportunities for talking about feelings. The large size and bold colors of the illustrations make them wonderful for read alouds, since even children in the back of a group can see them. With clues in the illustrations, students can predict or try to guess what happened to Spencer’s books.
A comprehensive teacher guide with lots of activities in different curricular areas is available on the author’s website.
It would also be interesting to talk with students about how the book was created, and especially how she makes her illustrations.
Themes: reading, missing objects, squirrels
Ages: 3 – 6
Grades: preschool – grade 1
- Create a shared list of favorite books.
- Build a library in your classroom. How would you organize it? Draw a plan. Think about how your plan might change if you were creating a library for squirrels. Or for another animal of your choice.
- What clues are there in the text to solve the mystery of Spencer’s missing books? Why did the author choose those clues? Draw a picture or write a story with clues for a missing object.
- Create a guessing game about your favorite book. Using a folded paper or “book cover”, write or draw clues for the book on the outside. Then, inside, draw a picture of the book and explain why you enjoyed reading it.
- Watch this video celebrating books: