Tag Archives: K-1

Two Homes

Title – Two Homes

Author(s) – Claire Masurel

Illustrator/Photographer – Kady MacDonald Denton

Publisher and Year – Candlewick Press,  Cambridge, MA (2001)

Number of pages – 40 pages

Tags/Themes – Rylie Loux, Family, Emotion, K-1, 2-3

Genre – Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: This story is about a boy named Alex and how he lives in two different homes, because his parents are separated. He describes the many different things that he has at his mommy’s house and daddy’s house.  “I love Mommy. I love Daddy.” While these two homes are very different, he knows that whether he is with mommy or daddy, he loves them and they love him.

Classroom Application:  This book would relevant in teaching younger children because divorce and the separation of parents are real life situations and this book would be a helpful independent tool especially if the teacher knows the students family dynamic. This could also be helpful for children who are transitioning into a life of two homes, by giving them a young character that they can connect and relate to. A quote from the story is, “I have lots of friends. Friends come and play at Daddy’s. Friends come and stay at Mommy’s.” This quote shows students that they are still able to have their friends over, because they have two places to go. This book could also be used as an independent study if the teacher knows a student whose parents may be going through a divorce. In today’s world, with divorce becoming more common, it may be appropriate to read this to the entire class for them to know they are not different or any less than those with married parents.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This story focuses on what is gained rather than what is lost when parents divorce. It depicts a child-centered and positive outlook of a family split between two homes. This story highlights how things are different, but they are also the same because both parents love them very much. This book shows that even through this sad moment in life, having two homes does not have to be a bad thing.

Two Bad Ants

Title – Two Bad Ants

Author(s) – Chris Van Allsburg

Illustrator/Photographer – Chris Van Allsburg

Publisher and Year – HMH Books for Young Readers, October 24, 1988

Number of pages – 32 pages

Tags/Themes – Rylie Loux, Animals, Emotion, K-1, 2-3

Genre – Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: This story is about two ants who endure a dangerous adventure in a human kitchen. When morning comes, the ants are violently awakened by a large scoop lifting them out of the crystal jar and dropping them into a hot brown liquid. They manage to escape and take one last crystal each and leave the strange and frightening place. Dragging their crystals back home, they are glad to be doing the right thing and returning to their family.

Classroom Application: This is a perfect resource for engaging students in a descriptive writing lesson. When Chris Van Allsburg is describing the kitchen he doesn’t tell the readers directly. He uses familiar descriptions for the readers to identify the setting without him actually saying it. This encourages and teaches children to give as many details as possible in their writing so the other students or readers are able to guess where their story is taking place. An example of this in Two Bad Ants is “When the ants climbed out of the holes they were surrounded by a strange red glow. It seemed to them that every second the temperature was rising. It soon became so unbearably hot that they thought they would soon be cooked.” In this excerpt, Allsburg is describing the toaster. Through this story, students are able to capture examples of the skill descriptive writing.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents the idea of being bad and what the consequences may be. If someone is doing something they shouldn’t be, they may not always get caught. In the story Bad Ants the ants face many obstacles because they are in a place they shouldn’t be. “But as soon as they had climbed inside, their hiding place was lifted, tilted, and lowered into a dark space.” This quote explains that once the ants thought they were in good spot, they were about to be caught. By the end of it all, after they’ve almost been drowned, cooked, and electrocuted, they are ready to head back home. This is showing the readers that sometimes it’s not a good idea to head off on your own or be somewhere you shouldn’t.


A Bad Case of Stripes

Title – A Bad Case of Stripes

Author(s) – David Shannon

Illustrator/Photographer – David Shannon

Publisher and Year – Blue Sky Press, 1998

Number of pages – 30 pages

Tags/Themes – Rylie Loux, Fiction, Friendship, Emotion, K-1, 2-3

Genre – Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: “Camilla Cream loved lima beans. But she never ate them. All of her friends hated lima beans, and she wanted to fit in. Camilla was always worried about what other people thought of her.” This book shows the story of the girl Camilla Cream who loved lima beans, but was too worried of what other people thought to eat them. She was scared of her first day of school, which led to her diagnosis of a bad case of stripes. This quote starts out the story and shows readers they shouldn’t worry about what others think. Many specialists and media networks were intrigued by this outrageous case, and Camilla’s case only got worse as her stripes turned to stars, roots, and even walls. Finally, the cure for Camilla was simply lima beans as she embraced her individuality.

Classroom Application: This is a perfect resource for engaging students to prompt discussion about why we worry about what others think, bullying, and learning to respect and accept differences in others. This discussion could also lead to what makes a student worry. By doing this, the students are able to think about what they worry about when they go back to school. This demonstrates that each student has their own fears and worries and that no one should ever bully another student because of this. Another ideology that is presented is learning what respectful behavior is and learning how to apply that in the classroom.


Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Individuality is the main idea that is expressed in this story. This story can deliver the message of individuality in many types of cultures. Each person has their own background and culture and the goal of this story is to share that each student should be able to express themselves without worrying what others think. There is some cultural diversity present in the illustrations in this book with many different races represented.

Each Kindness

Title – Each Kindness

Author(s) – Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrator/Photographer – E.B. Lewis

Publisher and Year – The Penguin Group 2012

Number of pages – 28 pages

Tags/Themes – Rylie Loux, Emotion, K-1, Friendship

Genre – Realistic Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: This story is about a girl named Chloe who chooses not to welcome the new girl, Maya, into her friend group at school. Maya is different because she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. One day, after Chloe’s teacher teaches the class a lesson about the importance of kindness, and how the smallest acts can change the world. This causes Chloe to decide that she is going to start including Maya. However, Maya moved away so Chloe lost her opportunity to start a new friendship.

Classroom Application: This is a perfect resource for engaging students in an anti-bullying lesson. By bringing this book to the classroom, it can help express the issue of bullying into the class and how to prevent it and help kids who are experiencing it. The ideology that is presented in this story is the importance of kindness and acceptance of others. Having students understand that each and everything they do, makes a difference on someone else. “This is what kindness does, Ms. Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.” To incorporate this into a lesson, it would include sticking up for your friends, acting as a leader, and analyzing how students being left out might feel. This story also describes a situation where what if you’re cruel to someone and never get the chance to make it right?


Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Throughout this story we see bullying and socioeconomic status are two different aspects of diversity that were displayed. The setting of this story takes place in a classroom. This gives the students the ability to see themselves in this situation. This story gives students a way to learn the importance of accepting one another and never excluding another student on purpose.

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).

Different Abilities

Title: Different Abilities

Author: Rebecca Pettiford

Illustrator: No illustrator, several photo credits

Publisher and Year: Bullfrog Books, 2018

Number of pages: 24

Tags/Themes: Disabilities, Picture Book, K-1, Diversity, Olivia Ruff

Genre: Educational

Descriptive Annotation: This book is all about children with special needs. The images are all photographs of children with special needs. There is an index in the front and back of the book, and there is a photo glossary in the back of the book as well. There is a page with a few images of sign language. The book shows children through a positive lens. Students do not need to have very advanced word knowledge in order to read this book.

Classroom Application: This book would be great to introduce students to the idea of disabilities. The book is written in a way that shows that students with disabilities are not that much different than students without disabilities, so it would be a good book for an early level social justice unit because it puts the focus on leveling the playing field for all students, showing that they are all not that much different from one another.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book is a good way to challenge students to think in a more positive way about students with disabilities. They would be shown that students with special needs are not that different from them. This would not fall under any specific content area but it would be an important learning experience for students in terms of teaching for social justice. Quotations: “Tony plays the violin. He practices every day. Someday he may be famous!” (8) and “Luke can talk without speaking. How? He uses his hands” (12-13).

We Belong Together

Title: We Belong Together

Author: Todd Parr

Illustrator: Todd Parr

Publisher and Year: Hachette Book Group USA, 2007

Number of pages: 29

Tags/Themes: Picture Book, K-1, Family, Olivia Ruff

Genre: Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: This book is about adoption. The book is very basic, and there are no consistent characters. The book gives the different reasons for why a child would be adopted, and it is read as though a parent would be explaining why they adopted the child. The book follows the form of “We belong together because…X.” It is consistent throughout making it an easy read for a child. The colors are bright and cheery, and the characters are bubbly drawings. The last page is a short note from the author.

Classroom Application: This story would be good to use in an elementary classroom when talking about the different ways that families are formed. Children are rarely asked to think about the different ways families come together, and this would be a good book to use to introduce children to the idea of adoption.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book could provide the foundation for conversations about adoption. This would provide the opportunity for students to ask questions and gain a better understanding for the different ways other children live or what their families look like. This book is helpful for students who have been adopted for them to be understood by their peers to some extent. Quotes: “We belong together because… you needed someone to read to you and we had stories to share” (21-22) and “We belong together because… you needed a home and I had one to share” (1-2).

My Name is Celia

Title: My Name is Celia

Author: Monica Brown

Illustrator: Rafael López

Publisher and Year: Northland Publishing, 2004

Number of pages: 26

Tags/Themes: Culture, Diversity, Award Book, Non-fiction, Picture Book, K-1, Olivia Ruff

Genre: Non-fiction

Descriptive Annotation: This book is about the life of Celia Cruz, a salsa musician from Cuba. She left Cuba and pursued music in America. Her music reminds her of home, and the entire story is in both English and Spanish. The illustrations are bright and cheery with Spanish influence.

Classroom Application: This story would be great for an ELL or ESL class for young kids because it has both English and Spanish in it. The story covers the real life story of Celia Cruz, and this could be a positive book for students who are immigrants. This also could be good for students in a Spanish class in high school since it has both languages.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This story is about an immigrant from Cuba, and this would be useful for students who are immigrants themselves as well as students who are not immigrants. The book shows the power of music through nostalgia, so it could foster some conversations about immigrants as well as music. Children could discuss an aspect of their lives that they would see as their “sugar,” something that represents their culture or their family. Quotes: “In the evenings, I would help my mother put the younger children to sleep by singing them soothing, sweet lullabies” (6) and “From that point on, when I walked out on stage I would simply say, ‘SUGAR!’ And they would know exactly what I meant-home and love and lots of kisses” (18).





My Chinatown: One Year in Poems

Title: My Chinatown: One Year in Poems

Author(s): Kam Mak

Illustrator/Photographer: Kam Mak

Publisher and Year: Harper Collins Publishers 2002

Number of pages: 30

Tags/Themes: Allison Henry, Culture, Diversity, Family, Fiction, Friendship, Holidays, Picture Book, Poetry, K-1, 2-3

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: My Chinatown is a book of poems that follows a boy through a year in a Chinatown in America. He laments about the differences between his new home and his old home in China. He talks about many different aspects of Chinese culture, and the differences and similarities between the versions in America and the versions in China. At the beginning, he is resentful of America, but begins to enjoy it as the book progresses. It is written in free verse style poetry and the illustrations appear to be done in acrylics. There are no special features and students should have a good grasp on figurative language before they read this book.

Classroom Application: This text connects to a social science unit on China. It talks about many things that are important in the Chinese culture. The author talks about Chinese food, games, holidays, and other activities. Students could use this book to compare Chinese culture with their own or to compare life in Chinatown to life in China. This book could also be used in a Writing Workshop as an example of free verse poetry and expressive language.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book talks about a lot of aspects of Chinese culture, both in China and in Chinatown, USA. Students can gain an appreciation for Chinese culture through reading this book. A discussion could be had about immigration and leaving your home behind for a new country, particularly one that has an area that is sort-of like your home country, but not exactly the same. In the book, it says, “But I don’t want to go to school, where the English words taste like metal in my mouth.” It also says, “When we left Hong Kong, we had to pack quick. So many things got left behind-a country, a language, a grandmother, and my animal chess game.”

The Journey

Title: The Journey

Author(s): Sarah Stewart

Illustrator/Photographer: David Small

Publisher and Year: Farrar Straus Giroux 2001

Number of pages: 32

Tags/Themes: Allison Henry, Adventure, Culture, Family, Fiction, Picture Book, K-1, 2-3

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Descriptive Annotation:  The Journey is the story of a little Amish girl’s trip to Chicago. It is written in diary format and she tells about her adventures eating hot dogs, going into department stores, and riding on a boat. There are large illustrations on every set of pages. On every other set of pages, there is a diary entry from Hannah, describing her day in Chicago, and the illustrations reflect what they did. On the sets of pages without the diary entries, the illustrations depict life at home, specifically the instances that she compares Chicago to in her entries. For example, when they were walking in the park and a horse got spooked, Hannah writes, “I grabbed the bridle and said, “Whoa, boy, Whoa”-like Aunt Clara used to do for me.” When the page is flipped, the illustration shows Aunt Clara calming down Hannah’s horse. There are no special features in this book and students would need some background knowledge of the Amish culture.

Classroom Application: This text could be used in a social science unit on different religions or cultures. It could be an introduction to the Amish community. This book could also be used in a writing lesson, as a different way to structure a text. It is written in an epistolary format, and prominently features illustrations. The students could take this style and use it in their own writing.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book is about an Amish girl, and many students have little to no experience with anyone from the Amish community. It could be used as an introduction to the culture, with students researching or creating research questions based on the information they learned in the text. In the story, the little girl goes to Chicago, which is something that many students in Illinois know of. They could compare and contrast their trips to Chicago (or their dream trip if they’ve never been) to Hannah’s.