This week, I chose books that may not be completely non-fiction but are largely based on true events or people. I felt that these books tell stories that are valuable to young readers. I especially wanted to read the work of one author, Patricia Polacco, who has written many children’s books, most of which are based on true events or family history.
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
Many years ago, there were women who traveled up to the mountains where people did not have access to libraries. They were called traveling librarians because they took books to the people in these remote locations and traded them out for new books every so often. In this book, the young man despises how his little sister sits around reading books from the book woman all the time while he works to help his family survive. Eventually, though, he becomes curious and decides to learn to read. He comes to see the real value of the book woman quickly. This is a great story about the importance of reading which reveals history that may be little known, especially to children. I would recommend this book to students from kindergarten to 4th grade.
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
A young girl decides she wants to turn her garment that she has outgrown into a quilt. The women in her family help her to make this quilt. Throughout the generations, the quilt is passed along from mother to daughter to granddaughter and so on. The story of a family is told through alongside the journey of the quilt which eventually leads us to the author herself and then to her daughter. This is a beautiful story about family heritage and traditions as well as love for one’s family. I would recommend this for children in 1st grade to children in 4th grade.
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Polacco wrote this book about two real-life young men who served in the Civil War and despite their skin color or upbringings, became friends. Pink is a young black boy who is fighting in the war and comes across Say, who is wounded. Pink takes Say back to his home where he and his mother nurse Say back to health. Pink tells Say that they must return to their units in order to keep his mother safe from the marauders. Despite the boys’ good intentions, tragedy strikes. This story is a tear-jerker and is one that should be for older elementary students due to the death of Pink’s mother and the violent nature of the Civil War.
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
In this book we see the struggles of a young Patricia Polacco as she longs to learn how to read but cannot seem to make sense of the letters. No one seems to believe in her except for her grandparents who soon pass away. When Polacco moves to a new state and a new school, she hopes that things will get better but they only get worse…until she gets Mr. Falker as her teacher. This is a great story for ensuring young students who may struggle with a learning disability that there is always someone out there who believes in them and if they work hard, they can overcome. I would recommend this book for students in 2nd through 4th grade.
Stay tuned for next week. I am not sure what, if any theme, I will choose but would love to hear some feedback on what I should read this week!