Perfect Picture Book Friday – Willow Finds A Way


Whose idea was this polar vortex thing?

I have to say, I am not in favor.  (Not that I recall getting a vote!)

My thermometer has forgotten how to go above 1.  I have been forced to waste gas to get Princess Blue Kitty’s engine properly warmed before driving (which I’m sure is contributing to the environmental circumstances responsible for this weather!)  Worst of all, I’m afraid Punxsutawney Phyllis isn’t even going to emerge on February 2 if it doesn’t get a little warmer, never mind make a prediction!  She is a fan of all weather, but even she has her limits!  Plus, I heard a rumor that her long underwear is missing…

In protest, since I’m feeling bullied by the weather, I’ve decided to do a Perfect Picture Book about one way to deal with bullies!

Title: Willow Finds A Way
Written By: Lana Button
Illustrated By: Tania Howells
Kids Can Press, March 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: bullying, problem solving, friendship, self-confidence

Opening: “In Willow’s class, Kristabelle was the boss.  Willow wished for words that would say, “no,” when Kristabelle told her where to sit, and what to play, and who to play with.  But when Kristabelle spoke, everyone did as they were told.  Even Willow.

Brief Synopsis: Kristabelle, the class boss, is having a fabulous birthday party, and Willow really wants to go.  But when Kristabelle un-invites some of the other kids, Willow has to decide which is more important: the party, or doing what’s right.

Links To Resources: This book is a good one for opening discussions about friendship, bullying, and self-confidence.  What makes a good friend?  How does bullying make people feel?  Anti-Bullying Tips and Conflict Mediation Tips which you can read and then discuss with kids.  Read Enemy Pie and talk about how Derek and Willow’s approaches are different.  Which one do you think would work better?

Why I Like This Book: This is a charming story in which Willow models one way of dealing with a classmate who is a bully/has a controlling personality.  Her response is a refusal to take part in the exclusion.  She doesn’t get mad or yell or carry on.  She thinks.  And she comes to a decision about what is right for her.  By taking the action she does, she shows the other children that they have a choice and encourages them to embrace it.  She makes her point by disengaging, which is something a lot of kids could have success with in similar situations.

(Willow’s Whispers was reviewed for PPBF a couple weeks ago by Pat Tilton and would make a nice companion read.)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Following Willow’s example of disengagement, I’ve decided to disengage from winter and go where it is not negative-something degrees!  If you need me, I’ll be here 🙂

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links on the list below so we can all come visit you (if we can thaw enough to move :))

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

(Oh, and P.S. – I’m hoping to have an interview with Lana Button, the author of Willow’s Whispers and Willow Finds A Way, sometime in the not-too-distant future, so keep a weather eye! :))

Perfect Picture Book Friday – How The Moon Regained Her Shape

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I should just start Fridays off by going to the library.  Then I could fire up my computer, read all these wonderful posts, and be right in the library to snatch up every picture book that strikes my fancy 🙂  Except the library in these parts doesn’t open until noon on Friday… and that’s way too late to get started 🙂

Today’s Perfect Picture Book serves two purposes: it’s a great story – one with that folktale flavor I love – but it also carries an anti-bullying message and as such is a wonderful choice for this month which is National Bullying Prevention Month.

How The Moon Regained Her Shape
Written By: Janet Ruth Heller
Illustrated By: Ben Hodson
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006

Suitable For: ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: Native American folktale, phases of the moon, kindness, bullying, friendship
Opening: “Once the moon was round and full, proud of her gentle light.  She did not fear the darkness around her.  She danced across the sky, laughing as she twirled her skirts.
Brief Synopsis: The happy moon is deeply hurt by cruel words from the sun.  She takes them to heart and the resulting sadness causes her to shrink away.  Fortunately, her kind friend Comet is worried and sends her to Round Arms who helps her see her true worth, how loved she is, and that one should never listen to the mean words of a bully.  Her confidence restored, she once more graces the sky.

Links To Resources: The back of the book itself has a “Creative Minds” section which lists information and activities related to the phases of the moon and how to deal with bullies, a List Of Related Websites from Sylvan Dell, Teaching Activities from Sylvan Dell, Comprehension Quiz from Sylvan Dell, Math Quiz from Sylvan Dell.

Why I Like This Book: The book is written in the style of a Native American folktale.  It is both a story about how bullying can hurt someone and an explanation for the phases of the moon.  The two are woven beautifully together.  The art has a southwestern feel to it and suits the story perfectly.  This book has won a number of awards, including a 2006 Book Sense Pick, a 2007 Children’s Choice, a Benjamin Franklin Award for art in 2007, and a Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards 2007, all with good reason!  It is a lovely, gentle story with a subtle, important message.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Before we all go off to read all the other wonderful entries today, I’d like to announce that the Perfect Picture Book Book Mark design is complete, and I’m ready to order them!!!  So exciting, isn’t it?  Here’s what they’ll look like:

Sorry you have to twist your neck this way and that to see!
I’m not tech-savvy enough to turn these around 🙂

If you would like some to hand out to local librarians, teachers, parents, day care providers, preschools, friends and relations – anyone you think would enjoy the resource and benefit from it, please let me know.  You can mention it in the comments and/or use the handy Email Me button in the right sidebar to let me know how many you’d like and the address to which I should mail them.  You can also email me at susanna[at]susannhill[dot]com if you have trouble with that button!  Help us spread the word! 🙂

Now, if all you lovely PPBF bloggers would kindly leave your post-specific link in the list below, we will all come visit you and see what fabulous offerings you have for us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, and don’t forget to tune in Monday for an interview with Natasha Yim and a giveaway of her new book, Sacajawea Of The Shoshone!