Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life lessons

As I did yesterday, I am forgoing a simple recitation of the contents of the picture book biographies below. They represent people who have made contributions in a variety of fields. Some are key players (Mandela) and some may be unknown to readers (Lodner Phillips). However, there are a couple of approaches to using this set of books:

1. Have students create a reading ladder with them. The ladders could be organized from simplest to most complex text or from least to most important contributions. This can be done in a group or individually. Ladders would then be displayed in the walls or on the classroom blog.

2. Use these as a jumping off point for older students. They can select one to read. Make notes. Then as them to pursue other sources of information (this might just prevent Google or Wikipedia from being the initial contact for information).

3. Compare and contrast these picture book biographies from an artistic perspective. Why certain color palettes? Why different media and techniques?

4. Compare and contrast cover design and talk about how each "sells" the book.

5. Have students locate other books by these authors. Do they write biographies exclusively? What observations can me made about the author? Perhaps, an author study?

WHEN THE BEAT WAS BORN: DJ KOOL HERC AND THE CREATION OF HIP HOP by Laban Carrick Hill with illustrations by Theodore Taylor III. Roaring Brook Press, 2013.

FLYING SOLO: HOW RUTH ELDER SOARED INTO AMERICA'S HEARTS by Julie Cummoins with illustrations by Malene Laughsen. Roaring Brook, 2013.

NELSON MANDELA by Kadir Nelson. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2013.

PAPA'S MECHANICAL FISH by Candace Fleming with illustrations by RIS Kulikov. FSG, 2013.

THE BOIY WHO LOVED MATH: THE IMPROBABLE LIFE OF PAUL ERDOS by Deborah Heiligman with illustrations by LeUyen Pham. Roaring Brook, 2013.

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