Theme is often a difficult concept for elementary students. Many children give a single word as the theme and stop there. But I’ve found that exploring several books with the same idea/one word theme, helps students dig in and see the more specific theme of the book. So this week’s text set is a set of books about friendship. And even though “friendship” may be the one word answer for theme, each of the books teaches us something very different and very specific about the idea of friendship. I love exploring several books like this with students as we are learning to dig deeper with the idea of them.
One of my favorite new picture books about friendship is Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away. This book captures so much that is friendship and there are a few themes within. This book is one that can be read over and over and it has access points for students no matter where they are in their understanding of theme.
Both Be a Friend and Nothing in Common explore the concept of making new friends, but both books do this in very different ways and both have different messages for the reader. I paired these because Making Friends is the thread that connects them.
I debated including Little Brown in this set because it isn’t quite about friendship but it is one that I would pull in and ask readers if there is a message here about friendship and if so, what it is. This is a book that leaves the reader a bit unsettled and one that can be read over and over. It is a favorite of mine for talking about theme and I think it always invites deep conversations with lots of right answers.
I love Jenny Mei is Sad so much. It is a book about friendship with a theme that I don’t see often and one that is very accessible to young readers. The words and images work together perfectly and there is lots to discuss and ponder about the friendship in this book.
City Dog, Country Frog is classic book about friendship, grief and healing. There is no single theme in this book so readers can explore the multiple themes in this heartfelt book by Mo Willems. I like this in a monocycle on theme and I also love that it is by author Mo Willems-it is such a different kind of book than the ones our young readers know that it is always a good way to expand what they know about a favorite author.
This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. These are my two favorite children’s independent bookstores. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. (Warning: You will want to create a bookmoji while you are there. This will be the highlight of your weekend I’m sure! Below is one of mine:-)