When you are reading, on average, a book a day, you are bound to find some gems! I finished an absolutely wonderful book today! It is going to be the first read aloud this fall. Many of you, I am sure, have the same go to read alouds. I do to, but am always open to new finds...and sometimes I get bored, so need to change it up a bit. Last year, somehow the theme through my read alouds had to do with animals/toys that could talk...sort of. I didn't plan this....it just happened. You can read about them here. Today I finished The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson. In the early 1900's a group of Japanese dolls were send to the United States as a friendship gift. The story tells the journey of one of those dolls, through a bunch of short stories. I can not wait to read it (and since I am keeping my students) make connections to Edward Tulane! Getting my boys to buy into this story (since it is about a doll!) may be a bit tricky.....but using Edward as a connection may help, they loved that story.
Also, I learned a ton! First of all, it is based on facts. Miss Japan, one of the dolls who didn't do a "tour" around the country was sent to the Smithsonian and many of the other dolls are still circulating. I also didn't know that people moving west from Oklahoma were so un-welcomed...I am going to need to do some digging into that. Friendship Dolls fascinating piece of history, I never knew about. 45 out of 58 dolls have been recovered and the search is still on for the missing ones. See reading always makes you better!
For those of you in older grades....this book has got so many different social studies concepts....Westward Movement....FDR's Work Progress Programs.....The Depression.....Japan....Even Oregon and Klamath Falls are specifically mentioned (which is just a 5 hour drive from Portland:-)
For more geeking out, here is Kirby Larson's inspiration for the story.
Now going to put the rest of Kirby Larson's book on hold! Yes, I am a reading dork and I know it!
The Teaching Thief has whole linky of great reads going on. Check it out!
A quote from from the book, for my friend Jennifer at Owl Things First: “The wren and the nightingale sound nothing alike, but think how dull the world would be without the songs of both birds."