I was handed Yard Sale at a meeting at a Starbucks. The bustle and noise of the coffee shop faded away on each page turn.There are times that I have been handed a book and, on just one brief reading, I know that it is an important book and that I need to choose the right time to share it with students. That time happened to be yesterday with my third graders.
Yard Sale is written by Eve Bunting, author of over 250 books, and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, creator of over 10 books for children and winner of a Caldecott Honor this year for her book, Nana in the City.
I won't do the retelling of Yard Sale justice, so here's the description from Lauren Castillo's web page, "Almost everything Callie’s family owns is spread out in their front yard—their furniture, their potted flowers, even Callie’s bike. They can’t stay in this house, so they’re moving to an apartment in the city. The new place is "small but nice," Mom says, and most of their things won’t fit, so today they are having a yard sale. But it’s kind of hard to watch people buy your stuff, even if you understand why it has to happen. With sensitivity and grace, Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo portray an event at once familiar and difficult, making clear that a home isn’t about what you have, but whom you hold close."
Lauren's illustrations allow the reader to enter Callie's world and begin to understand her experience. There are many points to connect with during this story, such as: when a women at the yard sale wants to pay less for the bed on which Callie has carefully marked the number of times she read Goodnight Moon; the point when Callie and her friend are trying to understand why the family has to move; and the moment when Callie realizes that family is all that matters. This last point really resonated with my students who had a long discussion about wants versus needs. I chose the moment when Callie sees her beloved bicycle being loaded into a truck to offer students an opportunity to share a time when they had to give away or sell a beloved item. (If they had not had that experience, I offered that they could think about an item that would be very hard to part with.)
I think this image really resonated with me because we still have the bike that my now twenty-year-old son learned to ride as a two-wheeler when he was four. He has not wanted us to give it away, so there it hangs in our garage. I also told the students about my experience selling the baby items that my children had outgrown and how hard it was, but that the money allowed me to buy things they needed as they had grown.
Here's what they had to say about their own experiences with special items:
Learn more about Lauren and her work: