PPBF: Because

Today I woke up early, feeling incredibly grateful.

For pretty much everything.

For family, for friends, and for a stranger who would make this image after 
reading my empathy guest post at the Character Strong blog.

Gratitude feels like euphoria, so I enjoy being thankful just because.

Prepare for today's PPBF to give you all the musically-euphoric feels.

Title: Because
Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator: Amber Ren
Publisher: Hyperion Books For Children
Birth Date: March 5, 2019
Suitable for: ages 4-8 (I'd recommend 7-10)
Themes: inspiration, work ethic, stakeholders
Brief synopsis: What series of inspirational events are behind getting a young girl from wannabe conductor to a position of leadership center stage?
Opening page: This is how it happened ...

Resources: The Story Behind The Score

Compare and contrast this title with David Ezra Stein's

Read about author Mo Willems' Funny Failures {here}.

Why I like this book: First, its incredible illustrations help bring this new Mo Willems' score to life, to move its audience. Wow and holy cow; exquisitely done, Amber Ren. My students especially LOVED how the golden musical score became green as young Hilary took the stage with a score of her own!

Second, brace yourselves, because this treasure veers away from the author's usual funny; its intrigue truly lies in showing us the power of our every action to influence and inspire.

So Beethoven influences Shubert, who writes music which listeners love so much that they create an orchestra, and guess what? Someone's uncle gets sick, so someone's Aunt has an extra ticket to the symphony. See where this is going?

*Note: One of my fifth-grade learners also pointed out that the musical score changes colors as the music changes the main character. {Sigh}

It reminds me a little bit of that 1980's Heather Locklear commercial advertising Faberge Organic Shampoo. Talk about your multiplier effect. She told two friends how amazing that shampoo was and they told two friends and so on and so on. Some people refer to that phenomenon as the Butterfly Effect. It's not just for weather, but for human influence as well. Compare and contrast Because with Andy Andrews' The Boy Who Changed The World. So many stakeholders in our every decision. Challenge students to come up with a different title, just for fun. 
I think I'd call it Her Uncle's Ticket.

Then invite them to write some words of encouragement,
empathy and kindness on a PostIt for someone ...

Check out this bright newcomer to see how it happened, 
then head to Susanna Hill's Blog
to thank her for hosting PPBF every Friday

Enjoy today ... just because.


  1. Wow! This does seem like a huge departure for Mo Willems Will have to check it out.

  2. The trailer describing the story behind the story was fascinating! Thanks for sharing the book and post, Barbara!

  3. Wow! What a review! What a book! Can't wait to hold this one in my hands. Thanks for the rec!

  4. I found this book at the ALA Midwest Conference. I fell in love with it. Great review and activities, especially the sticky note idea.

  5. I am in line at the library waiting for this book! I can't wait to read BECAUSE as it is a different side of Mo Willems. From your review, it does remind me of "Because Amelia Smiled," and the butterfly effect. Excellent review and activities. And, thanks for sharing the video.

  6. Well now you did it - I have BECAUSE in my Amazon cart and I ordered Because Amelia Smiled from Better World Books - can't wait to use them with students!!! ♥


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