12.14.2012

PPBF: Great Joy

Since today marks the anniversary of the date in 1954 that the UN General Assembly recommended there should be a Universal Children's Day, Susanna was hoping that our PPBF picks could help to raise awareness of the plight of children around the globe and promote the welfare of children in the world by focusing on multicultural/multiracial issues, human rights, and/or children who have helped to change the world in some way. My selection spotlights the latter, a little girl whose kind invitation warms up a homeless man, inside and out! And just for fun, we've added a little snow flurry to the Corner, thanks to Deb from Fabulously First! Can you make it switch directions and speed? OK, enough playing. 

Without further ado, I give you Great Joy.


Title: Great Joy
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date: October 2007
Suitable for: ages 4 and up
Themes: homelessness, kindness, caring, compassion, holidays
Brief Synopsis: Frances can't help but worry about the homeless man and his monkey on the street on a cold winter's night, but her idea to invite him over to dinner is squashed by her mom. Will she give up or find a way to help him out?


Opening Page: The week before Christmas, a monkey appeared on the corner of Fifth and Vine. He was wearing a green vest and a red hat, and with him was a man, an organ grinder, who played music for the people on the street.

Resources: 

A Reading Rockets video interview with the author {here}
A Pirottablog book review {here}
Enrichment ideas I shared last December {here
I looked for a reading of the story online but didn't find one, so my friend Jennifer kindly agreed to flip my visit to her first-grade class yesterday:


video

Why I like this book: This story has many layers with SO much food for thought, but the biggest draw for me is a child who sees a need and works to problem-solve it. When I read it, we pause after Frances is told that they cannot have the Organ Grinder and his monkey over to share a meal because I ask them if she should just give up. When they agree she shouldn't give up, I ask them what they would do next if they were Frances. Their answers always manage to warmly touch my heart, like these ideas that a first-grade class brainstormed with me earlier this week: 

Get money from my piggy bank and put it in the monkey's tin cup, build them a fire to warm up, give them a blanket, take them some hot chocolate, build them a log house, knit them some mittens, bring them some food, make friends with them so they're not strangers any more.

After the big finale, there's an illustrated picture of the post-pageant party with no words, which gives us a chance to write the next page. Ask students what they would say if they could put the words on that last picture. Finally, talk about what happens tomorrow. Does the homeless organ grinder go back to the streets? Or has his situation changed now? Again, expect miraculous responses that'll show you that they get Great Joy!




14 comments:

  1. Barbara, this sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Barbara, I LOVED hearing how the First Graders would help the man and his monkey. I certainly want to find out what Francis does!

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    1. Oh, Joanna, the discussion about what happens tomorrow was SO interesting! Thanks for stopping by the Corner.

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  3. Barbara, such a wonderful choice. I loved hearing the story read and the students responses! Kids have such huge hearts and want to help others! You really hit today's theme!

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    1. Thank you, Patricia. I just love engaging children with a good story and this one is TOPS in my book! I appreciate your kind affirmations.

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  4. I love those ideas from the first graders. So simple and sweet. I haven't heard of this one and will look for it. Thanks!

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    1. Oh, this one will be a gift, Carrie! And yes, I am blessed every time I get to talk with my firsties.

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  5. Sounds heart warming. Children show their caring hearts when given the opportunity. We need to give them that opportunity.

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    1. Yes, this story will warm your heart on even the coldest of winter days, just as the innocence of a child can.

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  6. Thanks for this review, Barbara. It seems to encompass the Christmas spirit of giving instead of getting...which is all about faith and character!

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    1. Faith and character, I like that! Appreciate you stopping by, Jarm!

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  7. This looks like a wonderful book, Barbara. I've heard of diCamillo, but I haven't read anything she's written. Perhaps this should be my first one.

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    1. Yes, she's probably most well-known for Because of Winn Dixie; I believe this was her first illustrated picture book.

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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