"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Monday, January 18, 2016

ReedALOUD: Waiting

I was reading Waiting by Kevin Henkes this fall, but not for the reason I am writing about today. I was reading Waiting as part of my Mock Caldecott Unit. This beautifully illustrated book has perfect Caldecott elements to it, so I was not surprised when it won a Caldecott Honor at the ALAYMA on Monday. I was totally surprised when it was also recognized with a Geisel Honor. But, of course, it's perfect! I was just looking at the book with too narrow a lens.

So this week, I read Waiting with my first graders, who are in the midst of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Unit. We've been exploring what they now about Dr. Seuss books and how that compares to the purpose and criteria of the Geisel Award.  From the Geisel Award page: "The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award recognizes the author(s) and illustrator(s) of a book for beginning readers who, through their literary and artistic achievements, demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading."

To reinforce this new understanding, last week we read You Are (Not) Small (last year's Geisel Medal winner). With this knowledge in mind, we read Waiting.

I was a bit worried that they would focus too much on the humorous aspect of Dr. Seuss books and have a harder time connecting the award, but they did not. They loved this book. They talked of the imagination and creativity in writing about characters (and their adventures) on a windowsill. They fairly unanimously wanted to read it again.

Along with the conversations about the book and the Geisel criteria, the students also shared their thinking using the iPads as well as drew pictures of characters they would like to visit those on the windowsill in the book. 

Some children created pictures of the items on their own windowsills. (I did preface the book by talking about windowsills and keeping treasures there as not all houses in this area have windowsills.)