Author Archives: ewhite5

Emmanuel’s Dream

Title: Emmanuel’s Dream

Author: Laurie Ann Thompson

Illustrator: Sean Qualls

Publisher and Year: 2015 Schwartz & Wade

Number of pages: 40

Tags/Themes: Award Book, Culture, Diversity, Non-fiction, 2-3, 4-5, Evan White

Genre: Africa, Biography, Non-Fiction, Children’s, Cultural, Picture

Descriptive Annotation: Emmanuel’s Dream is about a young boy, Emmanuel, who was born with one good leg in Ghana, West Africa.  His father left the family, but his mother supported him.  Emmanuel would shine shoes for money and bought a soccer ball to play with the school children.  Through this, the school kids respected Emmanuel playing soccer with one leg.  When he became older, Emmanuel went to the city of Accra to work for money.  In the city, he would get discriminated against for having a disability.  He decided he would buy a bike, ride it across and share a message of how people with disabilities can achieve great things.  He rode his bike over 400 miles and became a national image.  Film crews followed him to share his message.

Classroom Application: This text reinforces geography and culture.  The book shows how the boy lives in West Africa, an area the students probably won’t know much about. The story demonstrates Social and Emotional Learning Standards by demonstrating skills related to achieving personal and academic goals.  Emmanuel didn’t let society tell him what he could and couldn’t do.  He created a personal goal of showing his country people with disabilities are strong, and he accomplished it using his skills and using external resources, like getting a film crew and a bike.  This stretches the students mind by showing them they can be strong by destroying harmful norms in their society in ways that are small and unique to the individual student.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book shows the society of Ghana.  It can foster inquiry of how students from across the globe have strong goals and can achieve them, even when their society is trying to dictate how they should act. “Shopkeepers and restaurant owners told him to go out and beg like other disabled people did.  Emanuel refused. Finally, a food stand owner offered him a job and a place to live” (17).  With a little support, he was able to achieve his goal. “The farther Emmanuel rode, the more attention he got. Children cheered.  Able-bodied adults ran or rode along with him.  People with disabilities left their homes and came outside, some for the very first time.  The young man once thought of as a cursed was becoming a national hero” (30).  Emmanuel was changing the norms and culture in Ghana for how to view people with disabilities, and was met with enthusiasm for his actions.  In Ghana, the book shows the citizens view people with disabilities harshly, telling them to beg, or even abandoning them.  Emmanuel was changing that culture climate.  I might introduce this book by showing the students what Ghana is like, showing the students the landscape, grasslands, narrow highways, and the rain forest.  I think seeing the landscape will have the students think the bike riding is more impressive than the book depicts .  The book mostly shows Emmanuel talking to people, but I also want to the students to see how tough riding a bike would be to appreciate the work while reading or listening.

A Different Pond

Title: A Different Pond

Author: Bao Phi

Illustrator: Thi Bui

Publisher and Year: 2017 Capstone Young Readers

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Award Book, Culture, Diversity, Family, Historical Fiction, Picture Book, K-5, Evan White

Genre: Family, Picture Book, Children’s, Cultural

Descriptive Annotation: A young Vietnamese boy and his father wake up very early one day to go fishing.  The two go to a shop to buy some bait fish.  At the shop, the shop owner asked why they came so early, and the father explained how he got another job, so they needed to fish earlier for food.  Once at the fishing pond, the boys father shares a story how the pond reminds him of a pond in his old home in Vietnam before the “War” (implied Vietnam War).  The father shares how he would go fishing for food with his brother, how they would fight side by side.  After his brother died, the father went to America.  The young boy feels proud of himself for catching a big fish to eat later that day with his family.  When they arrive home, the mother starts cooking the fish, while the father goes to work. The authors note explains how the authors parents were refuges from the Vietnam War, and wanted to write a book similar to his experiences.  From the story, it is not clear the family are refugees until the reader reads the author’s note.  It might be helpful for students to know there was war in Vietnam, and possibly what a refuge is to explain why the father needed multiple jobs.

Classroom Application: This book can be used to reinforce content from history or social sciences.  The book can be used to demonstrate how families have had to leave their home country because of war, but also how those families can still keep their family tradition, in this case, fishing.  This book can stretch students thinking about reasons why people need to work multiple jobs.  Thereir can be numerous reasons, and the students can be open to different reasons people need to work multiple jobs and fund ways to save money to make a living.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents Vietnamese American culture, especially those who are refugees. It teaches how refugees work very hard to survive in America. “ “You’re here early today,” the bait man says.  “I got a second job,” my dad explains. “I have to work this morning.” “On a Saturday?” the bait man asks. My dad nods.” (7).  From the bait, they caught a few fish. “Dad smiles, his teeth broken and white in the dark, because we have a few fish and he knows we will eat tonight.” (18).  This quote shows how this family have to be creative to get food showing the creativity and hard work of refuges to make a living.  I might introduce this book by having the students discuss a specific location the students spend time with their family or guardians. The pond is a place of recurring fishing for the father and boy, and the students might have a location where they spend a lot of time with their family.

Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey To The Ballot Box

Title: Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey To The Ballot Box

Author: Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein

Illustrator: James E. Ransome

Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press 2015

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Diversity, Emotion, Family, Historical Fiction

Genre: Historical fiction, Children’s, Culutral, Picture Books, African American, historical, Family

Descriptive Annotation: Michael remembers the time his granddaddy took him to the voting polls.  Michael was only a child and would work on a farm with his granddaddy.  They both dressed up and the voting polls had huge lines and they kept on getting cut by white voters.  His granddaddy kept telling Michael to be patient and saying their time will come.  Once granddaddy got his ballot, he expressed to Michael how it was the happiest day of his life.  Shortly after, a police officer asked granddaddy if he could read, which granddaddy couldn’t.  The police officer then ripped up his ballot, and the two walked away defeated and granddaddy crying.  The book then goes to Michael as an adult voting for the first time.  Michael votes on behalf of his granddaddy and votes for everyone else who wasn’t able to.  The students will need basic background on what voting is, how it works, and the importance of voting, as well as background as to why black people couldn’t vote in the 1950s and 1960s (when the book took place).  The book does have a brief history lesson in the back.

Classroom Application: This text can reinforce social sciences, but more so the importance of voting.  This text could meet Social Emotional Learning Standards of recognizing feelings and perspectives of others.  This text shows the pain granddaddy went through from not voting, and there could be students in the classroom who have family experiences that are similar.  It also will paint a picture for white students to recognize how a specific act of discrimination can affect someone and how important voting is for people of other races.  This can also stretch the students ’ thinking by starting a foundation of how important it is for them to vote as active citizens in America, and to take voting seriously, since it is a privilege to vote.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents the black community and shows the historical struggles of voting.  It teaches how there is a history of different groups of people not being able to vote.  For instance, in one scene, granddaddy faced the hatred of a voting official: “The deputy slammed the book shut, saying, “Well, Uncle, if you can’t read this, then you can’t vote.” He tore up my granddaddy’s ballot and threw it on the ground” (24).  There was a culture of discrimination people of color and those who can’t read.  This book acknowledges and teaches the history of the past culture.  When Michael voted, he held onto his family’s history and said, “When I went to vote for the first time, I remembered what my granddaddy always said: “Patience, son, patience.”  He was right.  The day finally came.  And I knew that – just like my granddaddy – I would never take it for granted” (30).  The end of the book demonstrates the seriousness of voting and how voting is still a recent privilege for black people.  It’s  important to take voting serious since many people fought for the right to vote.  I might introduce this book by asking the students if they have voted before.  Voting is also as simple as voting with your friends  what game to play.  If my class has done any type of voting before (like voting on what science video to watch) then I can bring up how they have all voted before.  This will activate their schema how they all had a voice when they voted and how important their voice was.

Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher

Title: Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher

Author: Becky Ray McCain

Illustrator: Stacey Schuett

Publisher and Year: Albert Whitman and Company, 1998

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Culture, Family, Fiction, 2-3, Evan White

Genre: Children’s, Cultural, Realistic Fiction, Picture Books, Native Americans, Family

Descriptive Annotation: A little Chippewa girl is dropped off at her grandmother’s house while her parents look for a new house.  While the girl stays over, she has night terrors.  Her Chippewa grandmother decides to teach her granddaughter how to make a dream catcher.  As they were crafting the dream catcher, the grandmother told a story about how the dream catcher came to be.  The “Great Spirit” sent a vision to a tribal member on a spider creating a giant web to catch all the bad dreams.  Once they made a dream catcher, the little Chippewa girl stopped having night terrors and made two more dream catchers for her parents.  At the back of the book, there are instructions on how to make a dream catcher.

Classroom Application: I would use this text to reinforce art and culture of Native Americans.  I think this book tells a feel-good family story that teaches about the significance of dream catchers.  In the story, the grandma explains how the dream catcher is important to their family and cultural roots.  Then I would teach the students the differences between Native American dream catchers and American dream catchers.  Typically, American dream catchers are more complex and flashier, while Native American dream catchers have beads and feathers, nothing flashy or anything for aesthetic purposes.  This could be a good time to talk about respecting Native American culture and how making dream catchers more ascetically complex is disrespecting their culture.   I also think this story would be really good with compare and contrast.  There are different origin stories for the dreamcatcher, and it could be a fun compare and contract unit to read different stories on how the dreamcatcher was created.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This story represents Native American culture but more specifically the Chippewa story of the dream catcher’s origin story.  This story fosters a respect for Native Americans and respect to their values and little aspects of their culture. The students would learn a little history of the origin of dream catchers . “So her grandmother did what our people still do.  She asked the Great Spirit for help, and she was given a vision of a dreamcatcher circle.  It had feathers on it just like yours and mine, but inside was empty.  When this grandmother hung the dreamcatcher above the grandchild’s head, a spider came down and made the web inside.  All the child’s dreams were then caught in that web to go to the Great Spirit.  Only the sweet dreams were permitted to go back to the girl” (16).  I think you can have a discussion on how values and cultural ideas get passed down to continue and how individuals can support cultural values, like how the grandma taught her granddaughter .  Then in the story, the little girl makes a dreamcatcher for her parents to continue their cultural values. “Each day, Grandmother and I are busy with our work.  We sew beads on leather to make hair ties for Mama.  Grandmother takes me fishing, and I find a special feather just for Daddy.  We make a dreamcatcher for mama and Daddy” (27). To introduce this book, I would ask the students what they know about dream catchers and their origins and how they imagine them.  They could draw or describe what they have seen in their lives.  The drawings or description can be used to compare after the book and looking at traditional dream catchers.

As Fast As Words Could Fly

Title: As Fast As Words Could Fly

Author: Pamela M. Tuck

Illustrator: Eric Velasquez

Publisher and Year: Lee & Low Books  Inc. 2013

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Award Book, Diversity, Family, Historical Fiction, 6-8, Evan White

Genre: Historical fiction; Children’s; Cultural; Picture Books; Historical

Descriptive Annotation:  Mason is a young black boy during the civil rights movement era.  He types letters for his father to be sent to Congress to fight against inequality.  One day, Mason’s father told him the school bus was going to pick him up to bring him to a closer school.  Mason was scared since all the students were white in the new school.  The bus purposely didn’t pick up Mason the first two days, but eventually he got to school.  No one spoke to Mason or helped him.  Mason still did very well at school and eventually got a job as a typist in the library.  Masons father has to contact the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to fight with the Board of Education to make sure Mason could keep his job at the library.   Soon Mason won his school’s competition to go into a typing contest across many schools.  Many of the students were disgusted that Mason was representing their school.  Mason ended up winning the competition, but no one applauded for him and he got no award.  The book ends with his family being proud of him.  The students need a lot of historical knowledge for this book.  They need to know about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Board of Education, and how integration in schools worked. They would also benefit from general knowledge of the civil rights era.

Classroom Application: This text can reinforce history.  This story is based off of real events and can be a gateway into what life was like for black students during the civil rights era.  The story has many historic references that could be expanded on like the SCLC and school integration.  This book can be used to expand students’ thinking by thinking how black people achieved in many ways not initially thought of to advance in equality.  Mason proved he had value and was capable of anything by showing his typing skills.  The white teachers and students didn’t expect anything from him, but Mason proved them wrong.  This stretches students to show there are many ways to fight against a system they don’t like and make change.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents the history of black culture and how Blacks were relentless during the civil rights movement.  Mason showed courage and strength for doing all his work in a white school.  This brings the black community closer to equality as each new change in society is a change for equality.  The story also shows the culture during this time period, how White people treated Black people.  The culture of schools is exposed to reject Black students. For instance, the book states,  “When the boys arrived at Belvoir High, the principal, Mr. Bullock barricaded the doorway.  He looked as if he had smelled a skunk” (15).  Mr. Bullock absolutely didn’t want the boys to be educated in his school, but the boys still succeeded.  Mason’s father also utilized the SCLS. “Mason had heard plenty of Pa’s stories about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization that coordinated nonviolent actions to end segregation” (21).  This also shows the culture of how the black community seeks leadership in the church, as the church was their own institution to have control of, and a place for leadership.  I might introduce this book by having the students brainstorm ways the civil rights movements made changes in society.  From the list, we can talk about small victories are important for change to and read the story on Mason’s victory, showing there are many ways to win and create change.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word

Title: Desmond and the Very Mean Word

Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams

Illustrator: A.G. Ford

Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press, 2012

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Culture, Diversity, Emotion, Fiction Picture Book, 4-5, Evan White

Genre: Africa; Children’s; Cultural; Picture Books

Descriptive Annotation: Desmond is a young boy in a village in Africa who received a new bike.  He was very proud and wanted to show it to Father Trevor at his church.  While riding his bike he came across a few boys who called him “a very mean word.”  The mean word bothered Desmond and he couldn’t get it off his mind.  Father Trevor taught Desmond how one way to help heal the pain is to forgive the one who caused the pain.  One day Desmond finds the boy in a shop and says he forgives him.  Desmond felt relieved and stronger afterwards.  Later the boy gave him a piece of candy and Desmond thought how people can change if you forgive them. The author’s note explains how the story has some truth to it and explains who Father Trevor was.  Although the mean word is never said it can be implied to be a racial slur.  The students may need some inferring skills or be used to practice inferring before reading this book to fully understand why Desmond is upset and the history of why racial slurs are as damaging as they are .

Classroom Application: This text meets Social and Emotional Learning Standards for using resources for emotional help and establishing positive relationships.  Desmond identified and used external resources for his emotional stress.  Father Trevor was able to guide Desmond on how to cope with his emotions, like how students need practice asking for help when in emotional strife.  Desmond was also able to identify his emotions and used a coping mechanism, that of forgiving others.  This teaches the students not to hold onto anger or grudges and moving on can be part of the healing process for emotional anger. This book can be used to teach students forgiveness is a key to the healing process.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents how black people persevere from racial slurs from a young age.  Desmond lives in Southern Africa where lighter skinned people have social privilege.  Kids grow up hearing racial slurs. “The boys scattered out of the way, but the tallest, a red-haired boy, spat out a very mean word.  The other boys laughed and shouted the mean word again and again.  Desmond pedaled away as fast as he could.  His heart pounded, and his chest ached” (7).  From this ache, Desmond went to Father Trevor.  The church is very prevalent in the African/black culture, since that is an institution they can let their culture shine without other intuitions breaching in.   The church is sanctuary and a place of leadership.  “Father Trevor said very softly, “Let me tell you a secret, Desmond.  When you forgive someone, you free yourself from what they have said or done.  Its like magic”” (22).  Father Trevor is the strong leader that his Desmond and his community relies on.  I might introduce this book by discussing who the students could go to for emotional help, creating a list on the board for everyone to see.  After the book, the students can update their list, to see of the story sparked other people they may not have thought about.

The Secret to Freedom

Title: The Secret to Freedom

Author: Marcia Vaughan

Illustrator: Larry Johnson

Publisher and Year: Lee & Low Books Inc. 2001

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Diversity, Emotion, Family, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Picture Book, 4-5, Evan White

Genre: Historical fiction; children’s; cultural; picture book

Descriptive Annotation: The Secret to Freedom is about Aunt Lucy sharing her story about her experiences in slavery to her grandniece.  Lucy’s parents were sold off and was left with her brother Albert.  Albert was part of the underground railroad movement and taught Lucy about quilts and how different designs tell the run-away slaves different information.  Albert and Lucy became agents to aid  slaves to freedom.  Albert was caught one night and was lashed in the back.  After that night they decided Albert needed to leave.  Once the two children were older and had their own families, Albert found Lucy again and reconnected.  Now Lucy’s grandniece knew their family history.  The students will need to know about Civil War era, about slavery, and why going up north meant freedom.  The back of the book has a brief history lesson and glossary for words the student may not understand.  The illustrations are unrefined paintings but are still very detailed and show sadness on the characters’ faces throughout the story.

Classroom Application: This text would reinforce history and specifically the Civil War era.  This text also meets Social and Emotional Learning Standards of handle challenging situations constructive and demonstrate caring and concern for others.  Lucy shows a lot of control in her emotions.  She identifies how depressed she is but is able to use her emotions to benefit runaway slaves.  This story can be used to stretch the students into using their emotions to make an impact for others even when their emotions are filled with fury or sadness.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents pride in sharing perseverance from slavery.  Aunt Lucy is proud of herself and Albert for assisting runaway slaves to freedom.  ““Now  I do declare, child, your eyes sparkle just like Albert’s did all those years ago” she said.  Then we sat in happy silence, shelling peas into the bowl while the curtains billowed in the breeze beside us” (31). This book shows the value of story telling and sharing family history and how history is imperative to understanding part of American and black culture.  The setting is also very explicit in showing Albert getting lashed and showing vivid images of it. For instance, the text reads, “Those men tied Albert to a tree and lashed him, lashed him hard till blood ran red down his back” (15).  The content of this story is very serious and illustrates how slaves were treated.  I would introduce the book by showing the students some images of common quilt patterns and what they meant.  This can help the students understand the importance of the secret code used in the book and in history.

Ayobami and the names of animals

Title: Ayobami and the names of animals

Author: Pilar López Ávila

Illustrator: Mar Azabal

Publisher and Year: Shanghai Chenxi Printing CO. 2018

Number of pages: 30

Tags/Themes: Animals, Culture, Fiction, K-5, Evan White

Genre: Africa; Animals; Education; children’s picture book

Descriptive Annotation:  Ayobami and the names of the animals is about a little African girl going back to school after a war.  Her father shows her a path to get to school, but she gets confused and lost.  She then asks for help from the animals in the jungle on how to get to school.  They only help her if she promises to write their name on a piece of paper and give it to them.  When she gets to school, she learns how to read a write, and she give a piece of paper with the animal’s name as she goes back home.  There is no vocab background knowledge to know, but the only back ground the students may need to know is why Ayobami is allowed to go back to school. It may be helpful to explain how having a war  takes away students’ opportunity for education.

Classroom Application: This text can be used to reinforce current events or recent events. This book shows how excited Ayobami is about going back to school because she want able to because of the war.  It is never stated what war occurred, but I think this book could be an introduction and talking about wars across the globe and the effect on students and their families.  I think I would introduce this book by having the kids display how they get to school.  Do they walk, drive, take a bus?  Who do they encounter on their way to school?  This will get them in the mindset to understand how Ayobami gets to school.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents a group of children in Africa who can’t go to school every day.  This generates conversations about what other places in the world is like, the difficulties people face but also how they have a goal to learn to read and write.  On each page, there are letters art of the scenery, emphasizing the need to learn letters.  “When the war finally came to an end, the teacher went from house to house, telling everyone that the children could go back to school the next day.  The children ran out into the street, shouting with joy.  They laughed and they hugged each other.  They were very, very happy” (1).  This quote shows how enthusiastic the students are for school and displays how much education means to them.  What is most important is the picture associated with this quote.  On the page, there are bullets on the ground, but cracked open.  Coming out of the bullets are letters and painted flowers, showing a new age of hope for the students, along with the students dancing.  “Ayobami’s father understood that she had learned to read and write at school.  He understood that she had made the animals dream about the sound of their names.  Clutching another piece of paper and another little stub of a pencil, the little girl set off to school again, along, the path that lead to the place where hope is born” (30).  This quote shows how proud Ayobami’s father is of her.  He expects greatness from and knows the value of learning reading and writing.  Ayobami also sparked dreams in animals too, which can lead to her being an influence to others on the future.  In the photo, Ayobami is dancing under a cloud that is raining letters.  She has immersed herself in language and is so happy about it.


Title: Grow

Author: Cynthia Platt

Illustrator: Olivia Holden

Publisher and Year Amicus Ink in 2018

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Fiction, K-1, Evan White

Genre: Nature, Fiction, children’s picture book

Descriptive Annotation:  A young black girl sees a plot of land in the city that was overgrown with dead grass.  The young girl decides to clear a little bit of the land to plant a flower seed.  Other people in the community notice and begin to help her and plant more flowers and regrow the grass. The plot of land brings the community together to revive the land into a beautiful park. 

Classroom Application: This text could be used to reinforce social sciences and science.  On one side it could be used to discuss urban areas and how nature is beneficial and can bring people together.  Working together in unison can result in accomplishing in beautiful creations.  On the other side, it can be used to reinforce science, but specifically with plants, and growing plants, showing the importance of growing and vitalizing a community.   The students can start a garden in school, or continue a preexisting one.  The students can garden in their homes or even create a garden in a dead space with family or friends.  They can live the book and experience how growing gardens creates community.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:  This book represents an urban community.  The book does not give detail on the community, but from the pictures, we know the plot of dead land is massive with buildings all around.  The garden becomes beautiful and the pictures show its beauty.  A young black girl also takes the initiative on her own to revitalize the land.  She takes initiative and uses her own resources to start the garden.  By her starting the garden, she is an inspiration to others.  A very subtle way to show black girls can be an inspiration for many.  I would introduce this book by showing the class similar community gardens in cities to show this book is realistic. “When you have one good seed of an idea, another one always seems to follow” (12).  This quote shows the simplicity of the book.  It encourages the students to stick to their ideas and they will start to snowball.  With time, the good idea becomes easier and easier as help will arise. “A little seed of an idea can turn into something quite big. If only you give it room to grow” (32).  This quote drives in the simplicity of the book.  It is meant for kindergartens or first graders to be straight forward and influence them their ideas matter and can make a beautiful difference in the world.  The last page in the book is the young black girl looking into the big healthy garden she started.  The girl is so proud of herself and the hard work paid off. 

Same, Same, but Different

Title: Same, Same, but Different

Author: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Illustrator: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Publisher and Year: Henry Holt and Company, 2011

Number of pages: 40

Tags/Themes: Award Book, Culture, Fiction, Picture Book, Social Science, K-5, Evan White

Genre: India; Children’s; cultural; picture book

Descriptive Annotation:  Same, Same, but Different is about two pen pals named Elliot and Kailash.  Elliot lives in America and Kailash lives in India. They write back and forth about their life.  As they write they discover there are a lot of similarities between the two, like climbing trees, taking a school bus, and how they live with their families.  With every similarity, there is a photo to show the cultural differences between the two cultures and a photo of the boys doing the same activity just in different ways. The students need no background knowledge.

Classroom Application: This text can be used to reinforce social science and cultures.  Possibly when learning about continents/countries, a teacher could use this text to learn a little about India.  It can be used to encourage students to think more in similarities with humans rather than finding differences, crafting a social bonding with people of diverse cultures/communities, regardless of where they live.  This book could also be used to introduce pen pals for the classroom, encouraging the students to learn about their new friends’ culture and how it relates to theirs.  This can build appreciation in their real life.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:  This book represents the Indian culture.  It shows beautiful drawings of Kailash living in a diverse yet similar way to Americans that highlights his value.  Kailash shows Elliot how his family, school, and city works outlining some basic cultural values and norms within India.  I think this book could be introduced by teaching the students what a pen pal is, then going into the story.  Ending the story with starting a pen pal assignment to put in practice what the story spoke about .  There is much to ask about a pen pal and learning differences and the value in those differences.  “That is my tree house where I play. I live in a red brick building with my mom, dad, and my baby sister.  I live with my family too-all twenty-three of us-my mom, dad, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, aunties, uncles, cousins…” (8).  This quote is awesome because it shows how what American culture sees extended family can be internal for other people.  In addition, this is common for families in America too.  “A great river flows through my village.  Peacocks dance under trees shaped like umbrellas” (13).  This quote shows how beautiful Kailash’s village is.  The page has bright colors with beautiful buildings with peacocks dancing.  It’s very elegant and shows so much value in their city Kailash loves.