Cheerios Presents…Spoonfuls of Stories, www.Spoonfulsofstories.com. Cheerios knows that kids who grow up around books grow up to be better readers. That’s why they have given over 30 million books and counting. Bringing books and kids together. I sound like an ad don’t I? That must have come from the jacket. *yes* So have you had your cheerios today? No, just kidding, I know we like chocolate donuts and coffee for breakfast. And that is just what I had. Here is another one in my series from Cheerios.
Story by: Jacqui Robbins
With Art by: Matt Phelan
Published by: Atheneium books for young readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster’s Cheerios Publishing Division. 2006, fiction
Themes: friendship, iguanas as pets, African-Americans, kindergarten, schools, affecting others, accepting and tolerance, belonging, common childhood experience, emotions, fitting in, getting along, helping others, kindness, making new friends, neighbors, problem solving,
Summary from jacket: “Two girls become friends when Shakeeta boasts that she has an iguana named Igabelle at home, and Mia learns how to help Shakeeta “feel at home” even when she is in school.” “Stories like this one help kids identify their own feelings and be sensitive to others.”
Resources: “We hope parents who read this aloud to their kids will pause to point out the pictures that show emotions and ask their child to notice what the characters might feel and think, and how you can tell by their faces and bodies.” This tip is from the kids parenting expert of Kids Health, www.Kidshealth.org. “One of the things to do is make the new families in their neighborhoods feel welcome. Let your child decorate an empty box or basket. Fill it with a snack, a list of favorite places nearby and include a neighborhood map. Add a personal note. Deliver it with a smile!” This one is from parenting expert, Donna Erickson, www.donnasday.com. Here are some others: http://www.welcomingschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Welcoming-Schools-Lessons-A-Welcoming-Classroom.pdf and The authors own site http://www.jacquirobbins.com/newgirl.html.
Why I love it: The subject is universal. We all have been in a situation of trying to make the new kid or neighbor “feel at home.” Kids especially have this challenge more often in school. This book is a very good look at how it is to be the new kid and also the one who is trying to make her feel welcome. The art is whimsy lines with overlapping images from double page spreads. Mia, a wispy white girl, is the main character, in first person trying to make Shakeeta, a pretty African American, “feel at home.” In this cheerios story the Spanish translation is right below each sentence of English making it feel even more universal. (This could readily happen to a Hispanic child.) And it makes it easy to read in both translations. The Hispanic parent reading this can easily translate the English and vice versa. The New Girl also has so many themes, I was surprised. (And happily so)
For more books with resources please visit Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. And if you’d like to be whisked away through cyber space to the resource page and the list of more marvelous recommended perfect picture books just click on the perfect picture book badge on the right.
Do you think you will like this book? Why?