A Whale of a Mistake by Ioana Hobai; illustrated by Ioana Hobai. 2020. Ink, watercolor, and acrylic. Published by Page Street Kids.
Brief summary: A young girl makes a whale of a mistake and is taken out to sea by it. She tries to get the whale to leave her alone, but the mistake takes her further out into the ocean until she finally accepts it. She notices how amazing the stars are out in the quiet ocean while continuing to ride on the back of the whale. Upon reflection, she begins to wonder if those stars are mistakes too. She begins to see how large the universe is and realizes she is not so big and can change her perspective. As she begins to feel that she can move on, the whale becomes smaller and takes her back to the shore where the young girl can stand on solid ground again.
Comments: Love how this book could be read to a child who has made a mistake, admits it, and is encouraged to move on instead of wallowing. Great metaphor. Wordplay. A superb addition to any guidance counselor’s or teacher’s collection to be used to help students recover from a mistake upon reflection.
I think this could be a school assembly read-aloud to discuss mistakes and how to move on after admitting to them.
Are Your Starts Like My Stars? by Leslie Helakoski; illustrated by Heidi Woodward Sheffield. 2020. Published by Sterling Children’s Books.
Brief summary: Children from around the world wonder if their everyday neighborhood colors are the same as other children in the world.
Comments: I would share this book at the end of the kindergarten color unit to summarize the colors and to think about how color may have different or similar perspectives to someone else in the world.
Moon!: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis. 2019. Colored pencils and digital tools. Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Brief summary: Moon tells the story of the friendship she has with Earth. She is Earth’s best friend and only satellite. Moon tells all about how she orbits the earth, smiling the whole time and never showing her back to her BFF. Moon explains how some earthlings have walked on her and left their footprints. Earth’s friends are her’s too.
Comments: Superb beginning book about the moon, how it rotates, tides, gravity, myths and so on. Definite must for any library collection.
Back pages have interesting facts about the moon. Illustrations are large and often two-fold.
This story is told through the moon’s perspective.
Personification of the moon and earth.
Others in the Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty:
A Perfect Day by Lane Smith; illustrated by Lane Smith. 2017. Mixed media. Published by Roaring Brook Press.
Brief summary: It’s a warm sunny day in Bert’s back yard. A perfect day for cat, dog, Chickadee, Squirrel, and Bear but all in different ways. Bear is unaware of spoiling the other animals’ perfect day as he relaxes in Bert’s back yard.
Comments: It will get readers to stop and think what a perfect day means to them. A turn-and-share with students could teach about others’ interpretations.
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They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. 2016. Colored pencil, oil pastels, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, Magic Marker, #2 pencils, iBook.
Brief summary: A house cat walks through his world and is seen differently by each being. Sometimes the cat is a large monster; sometimes the cat is a small creature. It also can be different colors and shapes.
Comments: This book demonstrates different visual interpretations of the same object which can differ from one another depending upon one’s own attitude towards it or the fact that an eye can only see certain colors and shapes. I would use this in an art class for different visual perspectives and in a reading unit when discussing points of view. I recommend this as a Caldecott contender.
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex; illustrated by Christian Robinson. 2016. Acrylic paint & collage techniques.
Brief summary: School is built one day and named Frederick Douglas Elementary. Janitor is cleaning him and shares that teachers and children will fill him soon. School learns about the children on the first day of school and what they do inside of him. At the end of the day, School tells Janitor that the whole time before he thought of himself as the Janitor’s house. Janitor explains that the children will be visiting all school year.
Comments: Cute story to read during the first day of school. I would also read this during a personification or perspective unit of study.