The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco

The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco

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Publishing: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2012.

Description: Patricia Polacco struggled in school for several years until someone figured out that she was dyslexic. This is the story of her art teacher, Miss Chew, and how her caring helped Patricia start to see that she was not unintelligent, she just saw the world a little differently.

Programming: This would be a great book to read to any students that are struggling, because Polacco’s story is inspiring. It might be included with a whole class’s lessons on learning diversity. In a public library, patrons might write or draw their own favorite teacher.

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The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say

The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say

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Publishing: Arthur A. Levine Books, New York, 2013.

Description: Yuriko doen’t like her name anymore when her art teacher calls her “Eureka” instead and the other students laugh at her. She decides she wants to take a new name: Michelle. She and her father travel to Golden Gate Park and visit the Japanese gardens to help her appreciate her name.

Programming: As a kid, my name was never very common and often mispronounced. Some students would very likely be able to relate to Yuriko’s problem, and so I might start with a discussion of where some names come from. Because Yuriko’s name reflects her heritage, discussions could even be had about family names and the fact that last names used to be related to the person’s family line (i.e.-Jacobson, Jacob’s son) or from professions such as baker, mason, tanner, etc. Students might do some sort of name tag craft.

This book could also segue into discussions about diversity, and how everyone has a right to be proud of where they came from.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie DePaola

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie DePaola

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Publishing: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1988

Description: Little Gopher longs to ride out with the other boys who will become warriors, but he has a different life mission. This book tells the story of how he paints the colors of the sunset and brings it down to the people. The illustrations are in a folk style appropriate for the native american influence, and the images are not over-powered by the text. The very last page contains facts about the Indian Paintbrush flower referenced in the story, and how DePaola came up with the story. 

Programming: There could be some great connections made to diversity of talents and strengths. Students might take a personality test or see whether they are left- or right-brained. For a craft project they might paint their own sunsets using a picture as a guide, or they might simply go outside and paint something in nature.