Tag Archives: school

The Invisible Boy

20 Aug

17140549

The Invisible Boy written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton (2013)

 Brian is the invisible boy. Even his teacher, Mrs. Carlotti doesn’t notice him because Nathan is too loud and Sophie is a whiner. When it’s time to pick teams, Brian is left out. And at lunchtime, Madison invited everyone to her birthday party except Brian. Brian loves to draw, it’s what he does best. He sits quietly at a table and draws fire-breathing dragons, space aliens, pirates, and superheros. Then one day, Mrs. Carlotti introduces a new boy to the class. His name is Justin, and looks a little different than the rest of the kids. At lunch, Madison makes fun of his chopsticks, and J.T. makes fun of his bulgogi, calling it Booger-gi. All the kids laugh, except Brian, he just sits there feeling invisible. The next day Justin finds a note in his cubby. It was from Brian and it said, ‘I thought the bulgogi looked good.’ And he drew a picture of himself eating with chopsticks. That afternoon, Justin played with Brian on the playground. But when it was time to team up for a special project, Emilio pairs with Justin, leaving Brian out again. Luckily for Brian, Justin adds him to their team. When Mrs. Carlotti gives the directions, the boys are work together to put on a three-man play. From then on, Brian didn’t feel invisible anymore. Justin and Emilio make room for him at their lunch table and they share a bag of cookies together.

Trudy Ludwig tells a very important story about friendship and inclusion. She gets right to the meat of the problem that both Brian and Justin face in school, and helps the children solve their own problem. Her examples of inclusion serve as real-life solutions for countless children in schools everywhere.

Patrice Barton’s illustrations are soft and tender. She allows the reader to see Brian in outline form only when he is feeling invisible, and adds color a little at a time as he becomes accepted by his peers. In contrast, all of the other characters are painted in soft watercolors further emphasizing Brian’s feelings throughout the story, and I think also showing that the other characters are not necessarily mean-spirited just unaware of Brian’s feelings.

Inclusion doesn’t have to be a major event, it can be as simple as inviting someone to sit at your lunch table or letting them join your group at work or play.  I adore the paintings in this story. My heart goes out to the invisible Brian on every page. This is a beautifully written and illustrated book. I highly recommend it to my teacher friends, parents, and children.

My Teacher is a Monster (No, I Am Not.)

28 Jul

18349884

My Teacher is a Monster (No, I Am Not) written and illustrated by Peter Brown (2014)

Bobby has a problem at school… his teacher. Bobby goes to the park on Saturdays to forget about his teacher problems. But one Saturday, Bobby meets his teacher at the park! Neither one of them seem to happy to see the other at their favorite spot, but gradually Bobby sees that his teacher isn’t really a monster after all and his teacher sees that Robert is really a pretty awesome little kid.

Peter Brown has done an awesome job himself showing us both sides of Robert/Bobby and the Monster/Teacher. With very little text and superb drawings, the reader follows the changing relationship between a student and his teacher. And of course, there is the signature Peter Brown style to make this story a read-again book not just a read it-done it story.

I love that both characters change and that we can see both points of view. And even at the end, when Bobby throws another paper airplane and his teacher’s face turns green, there is love and humor to hold the relationship together.

Planet Kindergarten

30 Jun

18228483Planet Kindergarten written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore (2014)

The main character tells the story of his first day of kindergarten. It’s a strange and unusual place. He is prepared with his medical check-up and supplies. Then the day arrives, his father takes him in his rocket booster. The boy is afraid they might crash into a comet or get sucked into a black hole. When he arrives, he is assigned to his commander, capsule, and crew mates. There are many aliens from many different galaxies on Planet Kindergarten. Mission Control calls on the intercom welcoming them all on their journey. The boy notices that everyone has to get used to the new atmosphere where gravity works differently. At recess, he leaves the capsule with his crew mates to explore and test the situation. After a disagreement over the equipment he and another crew mate have to sit in isolation. Back in the capsule, they run experiments and write in their logs. At lunchtime, he learns that he loves space food! Afterwards, he has trouble with rest time and worries that he’s running out of oxygen. Then he remembers the NASA motto: Failure is not an option. He takes a deep breath and gets back to work. Before he knows it, his mission is complete and his parents rush to greet him. Back home on his own planet, it’s splashdown then time for bed. This time he’s ready and thinking about returning the next day.

Sue Ganz-Schmitt writes this story with imagination and just enough space jargon to keep little explorers involved and interested in the boy’s adventure in kindergarten.

Shane Prigmore’s illustrations are quirky and action packed. Readers will enjoy exploring each page for unusual details.

I think this book will be a great help in preparing little ones for kindergarten. Knowing ahead of time that the rules of gravity involve sitting in your seat and raising your hand or that time-out may be employed for misconduct on the playground, help astronauts-in-training understand what to expect in school. In a place where everything is new, readers will enjoy exploring each page.

%d bloggers like this: