2.08.2013

PPBF: Sam And The Lucky Money

Happy Chinese New Year! It actually falls on this Sunday this year, but we're celebrating it today at our school with a hallway parade hosted by our first graders. I'm celebrating it at the Corner by showcasing my favorite Chinese New Year tale and a chance to win some Fill-a-Bucket Border. For more PPBF picks, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog {here}.


Title: Sam And The Lucky Money
Author: Karen Chinn
Illustrators: Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Date: August 1, 1997 (Reprint Edition)
Suitable for:  ages 4-8
Themes: Chinese New Year, traditions, culture, kindness, compassion, homelessness
Brief Synopsis: Sam receives the New Year's Day traditional red envelope (leisees) from his grandparents and he is so excited to be able to go shopping and get himself something, until he realizes that the four dollars isn't quite enough to buy anything he wants but very well may be enough to fill a need for someone else. 
Opening Page:  
   Sam could hardly wait to get going. He zipped up his jacket and patted his pockets. It was time to go to Chinatown for New Year's Day!
   Sam thought about sweet oranges and "lucky money": crisp dollar bills tucked in small red envelopes called leisees.
   Sam's grandparents gave him leisees every New Year. Each envelope was decorated with a symbol of luck: Two golden mandarins, A Chinese junk. A slithering dragon. A giant peach. Sam's leisees were embossed in gold.
   Sam counted out four dollars. Boy, did he feel rich! His parents said he didn't have to buy a notebook or socks as usual. This year he could spend his lucky money his way.
   "Sam!" his mother called. "It's time to go shopping. Hurry, so we don't miss the lion!"
   "Coming!" said Sam.

Resources:  
Get a complete classroom guide from the author {here}.
Find a review and activities at the Learning To Give blog.
Check out the Chinese New Year Zodiac {here}.
Chinese New Year Activity ideas {here}.
Invite a dance troupe to come and perform for your class or share this Lion Dance clip:



   
Why I like this book:  As you may know, I am naturally drawn to books that have sort of a character theme in their DNA and this tale is no exception. It's got an excellent wants versus needs underlying theme that provides rich food for thought for children and adults alike. Before the part where Sam goes shopping, survey your students to find out how they would spend the $4.00 if they were Sam. When Sam can't find anything that he wants, his focus shifts a bit to the needs of the stranger on the street. After this part, engage your students in a discussion about Sam's choices in the story and then re-survey your students to see what they might spend their money on now that they've heard Sam's story. 

As a class, research the Chinese calendar which drives the date of the new year. Last year was the Year of the Dragon. Which animal is assigned to the 2013 calendar? Then research the leisees (red envelopes) to find out the history behind the symbols on them. Finally, ask your students why they think the author refers to the money as "lucky money."


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Are you feeling lucky? Just leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday (February 10) for your chance to win this
Bucket-Filler Border
Then check back after noon central on Chinese New Year's Day to see if you'll be decorating your next bulletin board with this!




25 comments:

  1. Barbara, thanks for this recommendation. What a fun way to expose kids to another culture AND build character.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Laura Anne ... the tale is absolutely a CE treasure with a built-in bonus for kids (and adults!) to learn about the tradition of the leisees.

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  2. I remember this book! It's interesting to think that even back in 1997 (and probably several years earlier when it was first written)four dollars didn't buy anything the boy wanted. Nice message of sharing.

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    1. Wendy, I appreciate your interesting insight about how much $4 was then vs. how much it is now ... we could add in a math lesson so very easily! Then they could research the unit of money in China and compare it ... thanks!

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  3. I always enjoy your resources. The book sounds great on many levels.

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    1. Thank you, Stacy. I love PPBF because it just begs me to think really hard about the books I recommend and how other educators might use them.

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  4. Oh, this story really caught my attention. I love it when I child shows compassion for others through sharing. And, to include it in a Chinese New Years book. The video was cute.

    I love the Bucketfilling books. Reviewed them in 2011. Didn't realize there were logos -- and very happy to see them in a classroom. You must use the program in class -- great!

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    1. I have had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with Carol McCloud, the author of Have You FIlled A Bucket Today? so when she offered to send me some of the new border, I said "YES please!!" We have called ourselves Bucket Fillers at our school for five years now.

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  5. I hope your recovery is coming along nicely. You have been in my thoughts and prayers.
    I love this border. I have not seen any like it. I do "Bucket Fillers" in my class. I also have a few of the books. Character education is a MUST!!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com (in NC)

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    1. Thanks Susan, for stopping by the Corner and leaving me a nice note. I have to say that everyone's prayers and support have sped up my recovery in ways that I can't comprehend. Check back on Sunday to see if you're our lucky winner!

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  6. I read this story last year with our 3rd graders and tied it into Random Acts of Kindness Week and being a Bucket Filler. Such a lovely story.
    jkmatuch@aol.com

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    1. Oh, Mikes' Mom, I just LOVE that you, too, have connected this book with the Bucket FIller concept. Maybe your name will be drawn as our winning entry ...

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  7. Barbara, only you would write about being drawn to books with character themes in their "DNA!" Love that! I remember this book from many years back when I was a classroom teacher. Now, our second graders study China as part of their state standards in Social Studies so I will be sharing this excellent blog entry with the 2nd grade team. Oh...they will love me! And oh, I love Barbara's PPBF entries!! I'm a huge Bucket Filling fan, too! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

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    1. Lisa, you are indeed a Bucket-Filling expert! Thanks for stopping by and making connections with me ... I'll bet your 2nd grade team already loves you but I am glad that I could help seal the deal for you with this little gem.

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  8. I am feeling lucky!! :) I love this border and teaching children about being a Bucket Filler...can do so many creative things with this border!

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    1. Ok, Jessica, you have been entered to win ... if I sent that border your way, I'll expect to see a picture of your dynamic display! Check back on Sunday after noon!

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  9. Barbara...beautiful book and a wonderful review and a great resource list. Thank you so much...I LOVE the message in this story...thank you so much for sharing it.:)

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    1. Thank you, Vivian. I always love it when you stop by the Corner and leave me such kind reflections. This treasure is definitely a keeper!!

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  10. I love this book! I used it years ago as part of my project for my Masters. I try to read it every year:)
    ❀Barbara❀
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

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    1. Ooo, you've intrigued me. I'd love to know more about that project!

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  11. Wow! A Chinese parade at your school! How cool is that! You always do such great things! This book looks like a good thought provoking one. Thanks for sharing it and all your good ideas!

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    1. Yes, Rhythm, I think you'd love the parade! The first graders wear masks that they've colored and march through the halls saying Gung Ho Fat Choy (Happy New Year!).

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  12. This looks lovely. I enjoyed the video - thanks for posting it.

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  13. My pleasure, Julie. We actually had one of those dance troupes come to our school a few years back and the students and adults alike were enchanted by the colorful pageantry and the story that they told through dance!

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  14. I wish I'd known about Chinese New Year as a child -- I think I would have found it fascinating to learn about. This book sounds fabulous. Thanks for sharing! (Sorry I'm late to the party this week!)

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

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