Fiona’s Lace

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Author/Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Publisher/Year: Simon and Schuster 2014

Number of Pages: 36

Genre: Historical Fiction



 Fiona, her sister Ailish, mother, and Da all live in Ireland. After the mill in the village closes, Fiona and her family set their sights for America. They decided to leave their beloved Ireland and immigrate to Chicago, Illinois. They all must find work to make money, so Fiona, having been taught by her mum, makes fine white lace for the richer folks to buy.

Green and white are important colors throughout the book. First of all, the colors green and white appear on the Irish flag. Green symbolizes nationalism and white symbolizes peace. Regarding the book, green can symbolize rebirth as the family leaves behind the only life they know to travel and move to another country, creating a new life for themselves. White is a universal symbol for purity. Fiona’s white lace that she creates symbolizes her innocence and that fact that she is still a child. But as a fire breaks out, she leaves her lace behind in pieces so her parents are able to find her and Ailish. After Fiona and Ailish are reunited with their parents, the lace is covered in black soot. The black soot covering the white lace could symbolize the end of Fiona’s innocence because the fire marks her lace as well as her understanding of her world.

The illustrations are not framed so the reader is involved with the story, unlike an outsider looking in. In the beginning of the story, there are more colors present, but as the book progresses, the author uses fewer and fewer colors. The text could stand alone without the pictures, but most children wouldn’t know what Ireland or Chicago looked like, so the pictures do help to give an idea of the setting.

This book can act as a window for children to learn about families who have immigrated from other countries to America. It shows the stereotypical flaming red Irish hair and freckles as well as popular Irish names.  In the end, children see a different culture from their own.


Bug in a Vacuum

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Author/Illustrator: Melanie Watt

Publisher/Date: Tundra Books 2015

Number of pages: 45

Genre: Fiction



A fly is accidentally sucked into a vacuum and goes through the five stages of grief. After he experiences the final stage, which is acceptance, his luck changes, and he finds a way out of the vacuum.

This book is an informative piece on the different stages that people go through when they experience loss or a traumatic event in their life. This book can serve as a mirror for children who may be experiencing the same feelings as the fly. It also serves as a door to lead children to learn how to cope with these feelings that they might face in the future. Moreover, the book is a window for those who may not have experienced a loss or upsetting event but may know someone who has. It can teach children to understand how another person may be feeling, therefore, helping that person cope with his/her struggle(s).

The illustrations are not framed, so the reader is in on the action as the story progresses.The colors in the pictures are mostly shades of green. The color green can symbolize many thoughts or ideas, but in this particular story, green could symbolize growth. As the story progresses, the fly goes through different stages in the vacuum, and as he is trapped, he finally learns to accept things the way they are; therefore, growing and maturing. Green is also seen as the color for rebirth (associated with nature). Since green is so heavily used in the pictures, it almost foreshadows the fly’s fate as he is “reborn” with a different perspective on life.

A Chair for my Mother

Author/ Illustrator: Vera B. Williams

Publisher and Year: Greenwillow Books 1982

Number of Pages: 29

Genre: Fiction




A little girl, her mother, and her grandmother save up to buy a big, comfy chair to put in their apartment. The mother has no place to rest from a long day’s work at the diner. All they have is the wooden chairs from the kitchen because a fire burned most of their furniture. All that is earned is put into a big jug to save up for the big chair.

Just as in the book as people came and helped the girl and her mother after the fire burned up most of their possessions, children can also learn to help others when they are in need. It can open the door to teaching about sharing or helping others. It can also teach about how working together can solve solutions. When all the neighbors came together, they helped the little girl and her mother. Or when the girl would work in the diner along with her mother, she helped earn a few extra coins to add to the jar that would eventually buy a new, comfy chair.

Perceptual- The little girl saves up all her money in a huge jar. She even helps out at the diner her mother works at so she can make a little extra to save up for the brand new chair.

Structural- All the of the text appears on the opposite side of the pictures. On each side with the text, a very small object that is already seen on the bigger picture (on the opposite page) is underneath the text. The only time the text is not on the opposite side of the picture is when the little girl tells how the community comes together and donates items to her family after the fire.

Ideology- Giving to those who are in need. The new neighborhood, that the little girl had to move to, all got together to donate items that they didn’t need.  Saving money is better than spending money.  The little girl, her mother and grandmother all save up their money and put it in the jar so that they can buy their new chair.

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Miss Nelson is Missing

Author: Henry Allard

Illustrator: James Marshall

Publisher and Year: Houghton Mifflin Company 1977

Number of pages: 32

Genre: Fiction




            The students in classroom 207 are always misbehaving and disrespectful to their lovely teacher, Miss Nelson. One day, Miss Nelson does not show up and the kids believe they can really goof off, but are instead introduced to their mean substitute teacher. Suddenly the kids are scrambling to find Miss Nelson and bring her back.

This book can serve as a mirror for some students who get into a lot of trouble and who might be disrespectful. Even though the punishment for misbehaving might not always be a substitute teacher, the consequences will still stand and punishment will be given out. While the book is meant to be funny, it can serve as a purpose to show students how to behave correctly towards their teacher(s).

Perceptual- at the beginning of the book, the children are very rude and disrespectful to Miss nelson. After dealing with Miss Swamp, their horrible substitute, Miss Nelson returns and suddenly the children no longer misbehave and are very polite and quiet. Detective McSmogg is not very much help considering he only points out the obvious.

Structural- The text does not have a particular pattern or place that it is located. Sometimes it is located on the page underneath the pictures, or other times it is on the opposite page of the pictures. Some of the pictures are in a rectangular shape and others are in a round shape.

Ideology- Miss Nelson disguises herself as Miss Swamp and becomes the new substitute teacher. She scares the kids and forces them to do very large amounts of homework, more than they are used to. Scaring children into behaving correctly is not a good tactic to use in a classroom, but it does teach a lesson to children to be more respectful to teachers.



Author/Illustrator: Michael Hall

Publisher and Year: Greenwillow Books 2015

Number of Pages: 37

Genre: Fiction


This book tells the story of a blue crayon that is labeled as a red crayon and all the other colors try to fix him. They give many suggestions as to why he can’t produce a red color and try to find different solutions so he finally can create red. In the end, he and everyone else finally realizes that he is blue and not red.

This story is all about learning to accept a person the way that they were made. Just because a person might have a label on them does not mean that they have to conform to that label. If someone is gay, they might feel pressured to fit into society because society says that guys should not like other guys. People shouldn’t change the way they are or feel just to please society. And society shouldn’t force or try to change people. In the book, all the other crayons came up with all these excuses as to why the “red” crayon couldn’t produce a red color. They suggested that the “red” crayon was lazy or not very bright. Other’s questioned if he was actually red at all. “Don’t be silly. It says red on his label.” “He came that way from the factory”. Just because someone might have a label most certainly does not mean they have to conform and fit the characteristics of that label.

Perceptual- All the other crayons know that he cannot produce a red color even though he is labeled as a red crayon. All the crayons have reasons why he colors red instead of blue.

Structural- Most of the crayons are the same size so the “red” crayon isn’t different in shape and size, but different because he cannot match the color of his label. Just like someone who might be gay may look like other people on the outside, but on the inside, he is different.

Ideology-Accepting people even if they are different. In the book, the “red” crayon kept telling himself that he was red, and all the other crayons made up excuses as to why he couldn’t make the right color. After they all find out that he is actually blue, all the other crayons are very supportive of him.




The Little Red Fish

Title: The Little Red Fish

Author/ Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo

Publisher and Year: The Penguin Group 2007

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Fiction



A boy named Jeje and his red fish visit a library and Jeje falls asleep and wakes up alone and must find his fish. Suddenly he opens his book and water starts pouring out. He must then jump through a book in order to save the little red fish before he loses him in the ocean.

This short story is full of magic and imagination. The power of the story rests in the mind of Jeje. After he falls asleep, he dreams about the alternate world and how he has to find his little red fish. He imagines that his fish dives into a book and Jeje must go after him, and after he opens the book, water gushes out of it and the library disappears.  This book is a door that can lead to teaching children that it is good to be creative and to use their imagination. Imagination is an important part of childhood. Without it, creativity and magic is never introduced.

Perceptual- Jeje was very excited to go inside the library for the first time. He explored all the rooms and then sat down to read some of the books. Structural- The text always appears at the bottom of the page. It could symbolize reality while the pictures are above which could symbolize the fact that parts of the story that are Jeje’s imagination aren’t real. The pictures are in black and white, with the exception of the little red fish. In some of the pictures, if looked at closely, the reader can find shadows of where the little red fish is going. Ideology- this book is all about imagination and how children need to be creative. It could also be an encourager of dreaming. When Jeje falls asleep, that’s when the magic comes alive and his creativity is shown through his adventure trying to find his little red fish.

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