Publishing: Little, Brown, & Company, New York, 2013
Description: Laszlo is afraid of the dark, but the dark is not afraid of Laszlo. One night, when the light is out in his bedroom, Laszlo must face his fears and visit the dark in the basement, where he finds a lightbulb. After facing his fears, the dark does not bother him anymore.
Programming: If students are old enough, discussing the personification of the dark throughout the book would be a nice tie-in to language and literature. If not, students might discuss their own fears and how they overcome them.
Publishing: Harper Collins, New York, 2012
Description: All I could think upon reaching the end of this book was that it would be a kid’s first experience with magical realism. Annabelle lives in a very black and white town. One day she finds a box of yarn, a box which never seems to run out of yarn. She knits sweaters for the entire town-including the landmarks-and soon the town is no longer black and white. An archduke comes and tries to steal the magical box of yarn, but it is only magic for Annabelle and she soon gets the box back, living happily ever after with her sweater-covered town.
Programming: I might start by discussing things like: Why did the yarn disappear when the Archduke stole the box? Why were Annabelle’s sweaters so popular? How did the town change because of the sweaters? I would want to do a craft involving yarn, and I like the connotation that the writer of the blog “Crayon Freckles” uses to describe God’s never-ending love. Unless teaching in a religious school this context might not be appreciated, but it could also be secularized (is that even a word?) for a public library or school setting. Maybe you could tie in Annabelle’s care for everyone else to the magic in the yarn, which would explain why it didn’t work for the Archduke.
Here is a link to Andie’s post at Crayon Freckles, where there is also a neat little yarn art activity.
Publishing: Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA; 2011
Awards: Geisel Honor Book
Description: The predecessor to This is Not My Hat, this book tells the story of a bear who is looking for his hat. He finds it and takes revenge. Text and illustrations are both very simple, with a lot of reading between the lines.
Programming: I admit, I was having a hard time drawing my own ideas for this book, but this website has some great ideas: