Grandma in Blue with Red Hat by Scott Menchin. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. Abrams, 2015
An art teacher asks a boy and his classmates touring a museum to consider why various pieces are on display: What makes them art? “Because it’s beautiful,” says Alice about one painting. “Because it came from somewhere far away,” says Thomas about another. “Because it’s different.” “Because it tells a story.” “Because it makes me feel good.” “Because it’s funny.” That night the boy thinks about his classmates’ observations, and about what the teacher said, “Anything can be in an art exhibition.” And then he thinks about his Grandma, who is different, funny, tells him stories, makes him feel good, and comes from far away. “I should give Grandma to the museum!” Alas, the museum director explains, they don’t accept Grandmas. A playful yet probing narrative is paired with illustrations blending cartoon styling with renditions of the real works of art that inspire the students’ thinking and creativity. The African American boy at story’s center goes on to paint a whimsical series in tribute to his Grandma. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Pre-reading: What is art?
- Do you recognize some of the paintings and sculptures in the book?
- Why do you think text appears in two formats?
- After reading this book, how has your understanding of art and making art changed?
I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos. Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. Henry Holt, 2015
The fly narrating this informative picture book is full of enthusiasm, not to mention knowledge, eager to convince a class studying butterflies that flies are just as worthy a subject. “Here’s how the story goes: My 500 brothers and sisters and I started out as eggs. Our mom tucked us into a warm, smelly bed of dog doo.” The fly’s impromptu lecture (it came in through the window during a science class) is followed by a Q-and-A session, with the fly dispelling misinformation about its species. Bridget Heos’s funny, factual narrative (well, except for the talking fly) is perfectly matched by Jennifer Plecas’s clean-lined, cartoon-like illustrations. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- How does the fly show us the difference between facts and myths?
- What information about flies do you find most interesting in this book?
- In what ways are flies and butterflies alike? different?
Find more resources for Grandma in Blue with Red Hat and I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are at TeachingBooks.net!