Do you have that one special book shelf in your classroom where only YOU are allowed to touch the books that sleep there? I always did. I felt TERRIBLE that I didn't put them in the hands of my kiddos buuuuuuut they were expensive, some irreplaceable, and basically straight up AMAZING books that I didn't want to hunt down when I needed them. My class always knew about this special shelf of mine and soon it became a mysterious novelty. I would always prep them that I was heading over to MY shelf because I wanted to share a special story with THEM. It really stirred up a lot of excitement as I dramatically pulled out a chair, reached up to the "special top shelf", and sifted through my collection until I found the exact book I was looking for. Ahhh...the little things that pump kids up :) I miss that.
That special shelf of mine has now turned into a purple plastic bin that sits in my attic. There was NO way I was getting rid of those gems even though I no longer had a classroom of my own. About ten minutes ago I was up in my attic trying to choose which read aloud I would take to school tomorrow and it truly was as challenging as picking out my wedding dress. Ekkkk! That just brought back nightmares.
So, here are three, in no particular order, that I would consider SOME of my favorites. These were the books I would read EVERY year regardless if I was teaching 2nd grade or 5th grade. EVERY year they made an appearance and EVERY year they captured the hearts of my little readers. I miss that.
#1: The Crane Wife: I was assigned an amazing teacher mentor my first year teaching. She was another fifth grade teacher across the hall who guided me in so many ways and taught me so many amazing teaching strategies. This book was the first book she introduced me to and I knew I needed to add it to my collection. The Crane Wife is a Japanese folktale that Amazon summarizes better than I ever could as a:
"classic Japanese folktale, accompanied by stunning paintings by award-winning illustrator Gennady Spirin, gently explores the nature of love, promises, and betrayal. Osamu was a sail maker who lived high above the sea. "As he pulled the warp and weft of his sail together, he would often think to himself, How beautiful the cranes are. Of all the birds, they are the most like sails. It is as if the wind is held in their wings." One blustery night, a large crane crashes into Osamu's door and lies stunned on his porch. The lonely sail maker nurses it back to health and watches the graceful bird soar away. When this crane returns to Osamu's door in the disguise of a beautiful young woman, the drama really begins. They fall in love, and marry, but there comes a time when there is no longer food for them to eat. Yukiko tells her husband that she can make a magic sail for him to sell in the village, but that he must promise never to look at her while she is making it, and later, that he must never expect her to make another one. Both promises are broken, and in the end, Osamu never sees her again: "He wove simple sails for the rest of his years, there at his window, gazing at the marsh and the white cranes. And each autumn, in the season of storms, he waited for a knock on his door." Spirin's moody, intricate watercolor illustrations evoke medieval Japan, and perfectly complement the spare, poetic prose of Odds Bodkin's skillful retelling."
We used this book to teach story elements. Yup, the kiddos got out a story diagram graphic orgainzer and filled that puppy in:
Well, that's all folks! I am excited to be a mystery reader tomorrow. There is nothing better than sharing a good old fashion PAPER book with kiddos :) Happy Wednesday!