Saturday, June 20, 2015

Read THIS Next! Yard Sale by Bunting/Castillo

Perfect. Every word written. Every brushstroke painted. The location of the text on the pages. The colors chosen. The heart-wrenching scenes about Goodnight Moon tallies and letting go of a treasured bike. The spot-on facial expressions. Perfect.

I love sharing brand-new books with my students, and each year I showcase current publications to expose them to the latest and greatest in children's literature. But, some masterpieces are worth sharing year after year after year. This is one of them. Yard Sale written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo is going to be the book I read to all of my future classes, the book I recommend to all of my colleagues, and the book I repeatedly share with my own daughters. It is that beautiful.

Callie, the little girl in this story, has to move from her comfortable two-story house into a small, one bedroom apartment. She tells her friend that "it's something to do with money", but she doesn't quite understand. Since they are downsizing and likely trying to earn extra money, nearly all of their possessions are being sold in their front lawn. When I teach with the book, I will display this opening scene with the words covered (and before revealing the title) onto a projection screen. I'll ask students to tell me what they can infer from the illustrations. Castillo lets us know how the character is feeling with the way she is sitting and the look she is wearing. We'll predict why the family may be selling their belongings. Then I'll begin to read. I'll pause on the page with the lady buying Callie's headboard and we'll discuss how she feels, and I'll try to collect myself because that page always brings tears to my eyes. I'll continue reading and pause when we see Callie getting so upset about the man that is buying her bike. We'll discuss the next page: whether Callie's dad is teary-eyed, and if she really will get her bike back. I know my eternal optimists will believe she will and I'll hope right along with them. As I continue to read, we'll infer from Bunting's words how the parents are feeling. And we'll pause again after Callie's dad reassures her they wouldn't sell her for a "million, trillion dollars", and I'll remind my students that their parents feel the exact same way even when they break the rules or forget to do their chores. I'll have to try to regain my composure once again because this scene, too, always moves me to tears. We'll wrap up the story and discuss the author's message.

In the future, we'll use it as an mentor text for writing personal narratives. Here are my lesson ideas and slides. (Lesson 1 is for the initial read-aloud, and lessons 2-4 are for using it as a mentor text. Read speaker notes to see how I will use the slides.)

This book will make you ready for a new school year to begin so you can lovingly read it aloud and take in the children's reactions. Wishing you and your students a wonderful experience! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your ideas Beth. I will use this with my student writers group.