Picture books that I love!

This is such a thoughtfully written book that carries such a powerful message about being true to yourself. It tells the story of Faizah first day and her pride that it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K.Ali explore the prejudices that she might face and show how the beauty in her strength and the power in celebrating who you really are. Hatem Aly’s art work is bold and powerful too.
This story will resonate with all our pupils as we are all facing new experiences but it will answer so many questions too.
I have used this book with every age group in very different ways and am actually on my second copy as it’s been used so much! It is a lift-the-flap book that explores what’s actually inside a wolf, a giant and a witch and it’s very clever! It’s glorious!

Pupils love finding out what is really under-the-skin of these characters. What is the wolf thinking? What sort of tattoos would a giant have? How do we know that the witch is literally two-faced?

I have used this structure to explore other characters, such as The Pied Piper of Hamelin or The Highwayman. Pupils have referred to the text to gather information about the character to create the outside image and then used inference skills to think about what might be hidden under their clothes. Would the Highwayman have tattoos of all the ladies he has loved before meeting Bess or would there be just the one tattoo of his sweetheart’s name:
We had a great time discussing the subtlety of the characters.

It has been a great text for exploring ‘voice’ and register as we hear the characters introducing themselves to the reader.

I asked pupils to read the text carefully and then tell me how to read it out aloud. Would I use a high-pitched voice or a deep rich one? Would it be breathy or slow and languid? This led to really thoughtful discussions on characterisation. One Year 4 girl asked me if I could read The Wolf’s speech bubble in an Italian accent and when I asked why she thought that it would sound like a character from the mafia. She showed me what she meant and it was perfect!

We would then use these two synonym circles to explore the character of the wolf and then create our own for a new character:

We then used a similar approach for predicting what the witch might say and the pupils had a go at writing their own versions and reading them aloud.

The book unfolds and shows us what the special objects are that these villains own and then we are given the story itself. Again, another great way of exploring tone is to compare the voice of the character and their secrets with their story which is told in the third person.

I adore this exquisite picture book all about the life of E.E.Cummings. I have always loved the poetry of E.E.Cummings but never knew anything about the poet himself, so when I saw this book that tells us about his life in such a poetic way, I knew I had to have it! I want to show pupils his story and how his love of language permeated every part of his life.

Each page is poetry and will make your pupils think about how to play with words and ideas, whilst also thinking about how all of us have poetry within us.
I would use pages like this to open up a discussion about language and then ask pupils to find poetry they love and create a page where they explore it for others to share.

I carry E.E.Cummings in my heart and my sister actually read this poem on my wedding day.

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