My first grade students and I read >Your Alien, written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Goro Fujita, and published by Sterling Books.Tammi Sauer's fun and heartfelt narrative engages the reader, while Goro Fujita's vivid art hooks them. Fujita's work as an animator is evident in the rich and cinematic illustrations. It doesn't hurt that he has created one adorable alien. That our protagonist is allowed to have his alien friend stay is one of those universal reading moments where a child asks his or her distracted parents for something. (I had fun asking students if they had ever asked their parents for something knowing full well that their parents were otherwise occupied and not paying attention.)
Adventures ensue for these two new friends, who go about a day filled with school and exploring. As night falls, the little alien's mood starts to shift. At this point in the story the alien sniffles, I asked my students to wonder why. Here are some responses:
He is sniffling because...
he is sick
he is not used to air on earth
his stomach hurt from eating the couch
he misses his parents
he needs a hug
Quite the conversation followed. After hearing their ideas, we turned the page to learn that the little alien misses his family. The right amount of humor lifts the sad mood as our young protagonist decks his house in lights to help the little alien get back home. After an "out of this world" reunion, the young alien heads off into space and our young friend receives a much-needed hug from his parents. I love the repetition of the closing lines. I also love how the bracelet made by the little alien is clearly visible on the little boy's arm. A memento of their friendship.
During browsing and borrowing, students could draw the alien that they would like to visit them and/or draw and write about a time they had helped someone who needed it. Given what I see here, I'd like to be there when these aliens land...
...and I know there are some great helper friends out there.
"When a little boy meets a stranded alien child, the two instantly strike up a fabulous friendship. They go to school, explore the neighborhood, and have lots of fun. But at bedtime, the alien suddenly grows very, very sad. Can the boy figure out what his new buddy needs most of all? This funny, heartwarming story proves that friends and family are the most important things in the universe . . . no matter who or where you are.