Picture Books Help Kids Soar

PPBF: Crow Boy and World Read Aloud Day

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources.  Parents and teachers can find the best of the best in picture books…a little synopsis, a thoughtful review, and an activity and/or resources to extend the learning experience.  This is a great way for parents and teachers to preview a book before they take it out of the library or spend money buying it.

My selection today is another classic picture book recommended in Show Me How!…this one from 1955…the author/illustrator, Taro Yashima, won the Caldecott Honor Book Award.  

World Read Aloud Day is coming up on March 7th and I thought that Crow Boy would be a perfect choice to get us all in a global awareness mood.

 

  

Crow Boy

Written and illustrated by Taro Yashima

Publishers: Viking Juvenile (original edition 1955), Picture Puffins (1976)

Ages: 4 – 8

Themes: Celebrating the uniqueness of each individual, bullying/teasing, mastering tasks and skills, positive attitude, goal-setting, fitting in.

Opening: “On the first day of our village school in Japan, there was a boy missing.  He was found hidden away in the dark space underneath the schoolhouse.”

Synopsis:  Many years ago, in a small village school in the countryside of Japan, a young boy attends school.  Chibi is always perceived as stupid and is treated as an outcast by the other students.  When Mr. Isobe, the new teacher, observes Chibi’s strengths and talents (the boy is a wonderful artist and is also the only person with perfect school attendance even though he has to walk seven miles to school each day), he encourages the boy to participate in the school pageant with an imitation of the voices of crows.  Does Chibi’s performance have any effect on how the children perceive him?  Remember the talent show in Oliver Button is a Sissy.

Why do I like this book

Wonderful illustrations give the reader the sense of the small rural area in Japan…I love books that give young children a window on the world.  The story addresses many important issues as well…bullying/teasing, teacher recognition and encouragement of a student’s gifts and talents, overcoming obstacles in order to achieve one’s goals…as relevant today as it was almost sixty years ago when it was first published.

Related Activities:

 

Black and White Painting

Although Crow Boy had a difficult time expressing himself verbally, he was able to do so more easily with his artwork.  Painting is a wonderful way to allow a young child to express his feelings and to encourage his creativity.

You will need: Paper (construction paper or grocery bag cut open), black and white non-toxic tempera paint, brushes (or Q-tips) and coverups to protect work surfaces and clothing.

1.      Cover the work surface and your clothing to protect from splatters.

2.      Pour a small amount of black and white paint into two separate containers.

3.      Let your child paint several pictures using different size brushes and/or Q-tips.

4.      When dry, hang up this amazing art. 

5.      Tip to parents and teachers: Art is one thing…crafting is another.  Art is pure expression.  Crafting is following certain rules or steps to produce a particular product.  This activity is art…the child is creating whatever he or she desires…if you ask, “What is this?” or you inquire, “Didn’t you forget the dog’s tail?”…you are passing judgement on your child’s creative voice…I beg you, please don’t!  You can engage with your child by asking, “Please tell me about your art.”  In praising, it is more empowering to say, “I’m so proud of how hard you worked making thick strokes and thin strokes.  Was it difficult?” instead of just saying, “That’s nice!”

 

Crayola official website with lots of arts and crafts activities and print-outs for kids.

Website for the Japanese American National Museum where you can purchase the documentary narrated by Mr. Yashimo, Golden Village.

Taro Yashimo papers in the de Grummond Collection

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

SAVE THE DATE:

WORLD READ ALOUD DAY…MARCH 7TH

Do you have anything special planned?

You can go to LitWorld’s website to get more information and/or register…there will be events online and in different locales around the world.

They are a global literacy organization that aims to help entire communities through books.  We all that that, I know!  According to their website: 

“LitWorld’s mission is to use the power of story to cultivate literacy skills in the world’s most vulnerable children through Education, Advocacy and Innovation. Lit World creates resilience building reading and writing experiences which connect and fortify communities.”