What James Said

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What James Said written by Liz Rosenberg and illustrated by Matt Myers (2015)

The girl tells the story about the fight she had with her best friend, James. James told someone who told someone else, who told more people, who told even more people, that she thought she was perfect. The word got back to her and now she’s mad at James because she does not think she’s perfect. She is angry, but James doesn’t even know that they are having a fight because she refuses to speak to him. Then during the art show at school, she won the Best of Show ribbon. Everyone applauded and James whistled for her. He told her that he loves her artwork and that he had said it was perfect. Now she knew that his words had gotten twisted by the time they got back to her and she realized her mistake. Her artwork hangs in James’ room with the blue ribbon which now says Best of Friends.

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This is an adorable book on friendship and how sometimes things can be misconstrued and hurt feelings. Written in the first person really helps a child understand the girl’s feelings. Even though this is a serious theme, it can provide a lot of silly fun.

Do you remember playing the telephone game when you were a kid? All the kids would sit in a circle and the first person would whisper a message to the kid next to him who would pass on what they heard to the next person and so on around the circle. The last person would give the message out loud for everyone to compare it to what they heard and what they said. It’s a lot of fun to see how a message can change slightly to dramatically from the beginning to the end.

You can play this game with a twist by making a set of string telephones to use for relaying the message. Try making one of these using tin cans, yogurt containers, or paper/plastic cups.

 

Another twist on this game is to draw the message and pass it on. The receiver needs to guess what the message says and then passes the message in words to the next person who reads and draws that message. Continue for as many players there are in the game. In the end compare the last drawing to the first message.

 

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