Thursday, March 31, 2016

Learning from Picture Books – WE’RE ALL FRIENDS HERE

This book shows that there is more than one side to a story and would be useful to discuss in a classroom. It’s one of the nominees for this year’s Blue Spruce Award from the Ontario Library Association. 



Sonny and Arthur have been thrown together since nursery school, but the two boys couldn't be more different. Sonny is careful and studious while Arthur is a whirlwind of mess and noise.

But when Arthur is not on the school bus one day, Sonny realizes it's pretty boring without his usual seatmate. Could it be true that the two boys are good for each other, even though they are so different?

With all the humour and silliness that appeals to readers of this age, the story is cleverly told in alternating perspectives — first from Sonny's point of view, and then from Arthur's — that will get kids thinking about putting themselves in someone else's shoes.

We’re All Friends Here, written by Nancy Wilcox Richards and illustrated by Tom Goldsmith was published by Scholastic Canada in 2014.

First line: “Arthur Leevy bugged me in nursery school.”

My thoughts as a writer:

Such an interesting story structure! It’s told by two different main characters in first person. First it starts with Sonny’s side of things, then we get Arthur’s perspective. The ending is told on two spreads, one from each character. I’ve never seen a picture book told in this way before. I’d be interested in reading it with students to see if they understand what is happening or need help from an adult.

I liked the way the illustrator included a lined paper drawing that looked like it was drawn by the character to start their section of the story. The realistic illustrations help to clarify which student is telling each part of the story.

My Thoughts as a Teacher:

This story would be useful for teaching about different perspectives and how, while everyone has their own point of view, one isn’t better or worse than the other. It would be good for starting discussions about listening to and thinking about other points of view.



Ages: 4 – 8

Grades: K - 3

Themes:, friends, different points of view, tolerance for others, empathy

Activities:

Do Arthur and Sonny like each other?  Explain.

Try comparing perspectives on the same event (e.g., going to an assembly, what happened a recess) with a partner, either by writing a paragraph or acting it out.

Another character, Debbie, is mentioned in the story. Write or draw a comic showing what things are like from her point of view.

Scholastic provides classroom activities

7 comments:

  1. Wow! I really want to read this book. I'd like to see how the author tells the different perspectives. It is used frequently in modern literature so it is awesome to introduce the concept at a young age. When I first started reading multiple perspectives it was not until college. I was clueless and confused for a while. LOL

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  2. Perfect for this time of year- we're all getting waaay too used to each other. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. What a treasure! I love the emphasis on how everyone can be different, but still be friends. In fact, opposites usually attract. It would make sense why Sonny would feel a bit empty when Arthur isn't there. Great discussion book.

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  4. This makes me think of The Odd Couple! I like that this book shows two different perspectives. This is such an important and sometimes tricky concept for kids.

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  5. I'm always on the lookout for a great empathy title, and this one looks like the PERFECT pick! Thank you. What a common experience, to be "stuck" in class with "that kid." And such a positive outcome.

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  6. Wow! Very cool and unusual. I've got to check this out. And yes, I agree with Gabi, it does sound like the Odd Couple. They sometimes irritate but truly love each other.

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  7. Thanks. I'm looking forward to finding this to see if it has mentor text potential.

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