Tag Archives: Fine Arts

Ned the Knitting Pirate

Title: Ned the Knitting Pirate

Author(s): Diana Murphy

Illustrator/Photographer: Leslie Lammle

Publisher and Year: Roaring Book Press, 2016

Number of Pages: 31

Tags: Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Fine Arts, Picture Book, K-5, Sarah Luce

Genre: Fiction

Descriptive Annotation:

Ned the Knitting Pirate has a consistent rhyme to the story and it keeps the story rolling and moving along, much like the pirates the story is about. The story is about a group of pirates who do daily pirate activities, except Ned. Ned likes to knit and it makes some of the other pirates very angry. Ned is eventually banned from knitting, until his hobby saves the ship from an attack by a sea monster. After that, all of the pirates learn how to knit and it is an accepted pirate activity.

Classroom Application:

This text can easily be used to reinforce the idea of breaking gender roles. Boys are often laughed at when partaking in traditionally “female” activities, such as things like knitting. In actuality, there is nothing that says knitting should only be for girls, and this story shows boys that there is nothing wrong with being creative, a typical “girl” trait.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:

This book represents a culture of breaking gender roles. Ned is a boy that likes to knit and the lesson in this story is that that is okay. The captain of the ship at first tries to enforce these roles, saying, “‘A scurvy pirate doesn’t knit, nor wear a fuzzy hat’” (page 8). However, after Ned’s knitting saves the ship, the captain changes his mind. By the end of the story, all the pirates helped fix the sail with knitting “while wearing fuzzy hats and scarves, and knitted pirate booty” (page 30). I might introduce this book by showing the class pictures of my brother and the scarf he knit himself, showing them that boys actually do knit, and it isn’t just something in the story but something that is acceptable in life.



Title: Eraser

Author(s): Anna Kang

Illustrator/Photographer: Christopher Weyant

Publisher and Year: Two Lions, 2018

Number of Pages: 38

Tags: Fiction, Fine Arts, Friendship, Picture Book, K-1, 1-2, 2-3, Sarah Luce

Genre: Fiction

Descriptive Annotation:

Eraser is a story about school supplies that all work together to create projects and complete homework, but Eraser feels left out and unimportant. Many of the other utensils exclude Eraser from meetings and activities so she eventually decides to run away. She meets the Rough Drafts and they all admire her and show Eraser her worth and how useful she is. The rest of the school supplies also realize their need for Eraser and she comes back to the desk and is included into the group. Students reading this book will enjoy it more if they have a grasp of puns and word play.

Classroom Application:

This text could easily be used to reinforce inclusion within the classroom. Nearly all students are aware of the importance of erasers and they understand that all their school supplies have individual uses. That can be a great way to show that just like school supplies, all students are unique and bring different talents and valuable experiences to the classroom.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:

This book represents a culture and an atmosphere of inclusion. I could easily open with an activity, asking students to use a pencil with no eraser to do something where they would need to erase. After reading the book, I would also focus on the idea that all students can be included because they all bring something useful to the classroom, just like Eraser says, “I DO create. I create second chances” (page 24). The setting and characters allow the book to be easily related to, as most, if not all, students have experience using school supplies. The story is also funny, holding students’ attention, like when Scissors says, “I don’t run. EVER” (page 7).


Funny Bones

Title: Funny Bones

Author(s) Duncan Tonatiuh

Illustrator/Photographer Duncan Tonatiuh

Publisher and Year: Harry N. Abrams, 2015

Number of pages: 40

Tags/Themes: Award Book, Culture, Diversity, Fine Arts, Non-fiction, Picture Book, 4-5, Evan White

Genre: biography; art; history; cultural picture book, children

Descriptive Annotation:  Funny Bones is biography of José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada.  Lupe was a famous Mexican artist in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  He was most famous for his calaveras (skull or skeleton drawings).  The book starts at Lupe’s childhood and how he learned different art forms like lithography and wood engraving.  As Lupe grew older, he opened his own shop in Mexico City and would draw calaveras in current political events like the Mexican revolution and the corrupt government at the time.  The students will need no background knowledge as the book explains the Spanish words and what Day of the Dead is.  The author’s note has a detailed explanation of Day of the Dead with its history of calaveras.  There is also a glossary of Spanish words for a more detailed definition .

Classroom Application: This text can be used to reinforce social science and used to give more detail into Day of the Dead and its culture.  This book could be used in a series for students to compare and contrast Day of the Dead and Halloween so the students understand the cultural differences and appreciate the differences.  This book does an excellent job showcasing the artwork for Day of the Dead, with the detail in the calaveras.  Funny Bones could also be used to reinforce poetry.  Calavera drawings could have a funny poem with the drawing, and the students can work on creating fun and silly poems.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Funny Bones would teach about the art culture within the Mexican Culture, diving deep into different aspects of Mexican culture.  I might introduce this book by introducing the art forms of drawing calaveras first or give the students a picture of calaveras, and they have to create a poem around the photo.  Funny Bones also shows different aspects of Day of the Dead.  “On those days, the city was full of vendors who sold pan de muerto (bread), cempasúchil (marigold flowers), alfeñiques (sugar Skulls), and papel picado (paper cutouts).  People bought these and other items to decorate the ofrendas (offerings they made for their loved ones who had died)” (15).  This quote gives an insight into what a day is like and what people would normally buy during this time.  On page 17, there is a drawing of a calavera proposing so another calavera.  “I am sorry Senñor.  But that cannot be.  You’re handsome and all, but too skinny for me!”  This can be a good example for the students for what poems in calaveras are like.  They are short and sweet with some humor in them.  The text is printed on the poster of the calavera drawings with distinct font.

Rechenka’s Eggs

Title: Rechenka’s Eggs

Author: Patricia Polacco

Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Publisher and Year: Philomel Books, 1988

Number of pages: 30

Tags/Themes: Animals, Picture Book, Emotion, Russian, K-1, 2-3, Diversity, Fine Arts, Olivia Ruff

Genre: Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: The book is about an old woman who paints eggs for a festival every year. During the winter she feeds the caribou, and once a wounded goose found her house. She tended to the goose, and once it broke all of the eggs she had painted for the upcoming festivals. The goose then began to lay painted eggs. She laid enough eggs for the woman to take to the festival, and then the goose had to leave with her flock. She left behind an egg with a baby goose in it that would stay with the woman forever.

Classroom Application: This book does not tell any lesson, but it uses aspects from a country that does not get much air time in children’s literature: Russia. The book uses Russian words, but it does not require any previous knowledge to understand it. This book could be used in an art class to introduce the Russian tradition of painting eggs. It could be used in a different classroom to show aspects of Russian culture in the classroom.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: There are a few Russian words in the book, and it puts an emphasis on the culture. The illustrations use aspects of Russian traditions such as the designs on the eggs or the patterns of the fabric used throughout the novel. The buildings are real buildings in Russia as well. Quotations: “Babushka lived alone in a dacha, a little house in the country, but she was known far and wide for the fine eggs that she lovingly painted” (1) and “She crossed the bridge over the Moskva River and soon she could see the onion domes of Old Moskva” (18).

Drawn Together

Title: Drawn Together

Author(s): Minh Lê

Illustrator/Photographer: Dan Santat

Publisher and Year: Disney-Hyperion 2018

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Allison Henry, Culture, Diversity, Family, Fantasy, Fine Arts, Graphic Novel, K-5

Genre: Fantasy

Descriptive Annotation: Drawn Together is the story of a little boy and his grandfather realizing that they don’t need to use words to connect to each other. In the beginning of the story the grandfather and the grandson struggle to understand each other, as the grandfather speaks Vietnamese and the grandson speaks English. One day, the boy is drawing at the table and the grandfather pulls out a sketchbook filled with amazing drawings. The grandson and grandfather begin creating stories together, using only their drawings, no words. There are not many words in the story, so a student reading this book needs a background knowledge of how to read graphic novels, or at least the critical thinking skills to figure out how to read graphic novels, to understand the story. According to the copyright information, the illustrations were done in a variety of materials and then rendered on a computer.

Classroom Application: This story has connections to fine arts and the Social and Emotional Learning Standards. This story shows that art can cross many barriers in communication. One page says, “Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words.” A few pages later it says, “All the things we could never say come pouring out” in response to the newly-discovered shared love of drawing. It can also be used to show the art styles of the Vietnamese culture, and begin an inquiry into different styles of art in different cultures. Social and Emotional Learning Standard 2 talks about building positive relationships and this story is an example of building positive relationships without being able to talk to one another.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Both characters in the story are Vietnamese Americans. The grandfather is more Vietnamese, and the boy is more American. It can generate discussion on many aspects of different cultures (i.e. language, food, art) and ancestry. There are many panels in the beginning of the story that show both American and Vietnamese items for comparison. Many of the grandfather’s drawings are done in what appears to be traditional Vietnamese style.

The Dot

Title: The Dot

Author(s): Peter H. Reynolds

Illustrator/Photographer: Peter H. Reynolds

Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press 2003

Number of pages: 28

Tags/Themes: Allison Henry, Fiction, Fine Arts, Picture Book, K-1

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: In The Dot, Vashti, a young girl is frustrated during art class because she believes that she can’t draw. Her art teacher challenges her to “just make a mark” and Vashti angerly makes a single dot on the page. The teacher has her sign the page and hangs it in the classroom. Seeing her art on the wall sparks something in Vashti and she begins to paint many different types of dots, eventually passing her love of art onto a young boy. A knowledge of art related words (i.e. colors, line types) would be beneficial to a read, but the images provide support to figuring out these words. The illustrations are done in tea, ink, and watercolor.

Classroom Application: This story is connected to fine arts and to the Social and Emotional Learning Standards. The entire story is about a girl developing a love of art. She paints many different colored and sized dots. Her artwork hangs on the wall in the school’s art show that “made quite a splash.” It also connects to the 3rd Social and Emotional Learning Standard. Vashti contributes to the school community by showing her art in the art show. She also helped the young boy to discover his love of art.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: The cultural diversity in this story lies in the main characters name. According to names.org, Vashti is a Persian name meaning “beautiful.” One of the Queens of Persia was named Vashti. This story could apply to many different cultures, as many different cultures value art. This book could be used to begin a student’s inquiry into different art forms and the ways that different cultures create and view art. In the illustrations, the characters are simply shaded, they are not shown as being any specific race. This allows all students to see themselves as Vashti, and see that they are capable of creating beautiful art.