Sunday, December 1, 2013

Top 10 Books for December...in honor of mom!



I first want to apologize for not posting my Top 10 list for November, but I was dealing with my mom and the cancer that attacked her brain. We had a Celebration of Life party on the 24th with over 200 in attendance. We made it through Thanksgiving, just barely. 
I have a very difficult few weeks ahead of me, and with my mom so freshly on my mind, I have decided that this month to look at books about moms. 

Just Me and My Mom by Mercer Mayer is about a special day with mom. It shows mom being ever so patient with Little Critter as he misbehaves at lunch and looses their train tickets. At the end Little Critter is happily sleeping on mom's lap as they ride the train home after their special day. A great book for having students compare a special day with their mom and Little Critter's special day with his mom.
 
You Are the Best Medicine by Julie Aigner Clark is a great book for kids that might have a parent that is sick, whether a serious illness or just the common ailment like a cold or flu. The book is about a mother telling her child she has cancer but the overall message is that love and kindness is the best medicine for anyone that is sick. This books is probably not the best read aloud for an entire class but it is a good one to keep tucked away when the time may arise to help one of your students or families.
Todd Parr once again does not disappoint in his book The Mommy Book. He celebrates the differences between all moms, whether it be how they look, what their hobbies are and the everyday things they do. But in the end he reassures all children that no matter what their mommy is like, they love their kids all the same. For this story, it might be fun for students to pair up and compare and contrast their moms.

Vera B. Williams writes a wonderful story about love, togetherness and teamwork. After loosing their furniture in a fire grandma, mom and daughter work and save to buy a big comfy chair for them to sit and rest and snuggle. A Chair For My Mother will warm any child's heart, especially if they snuggle together someplace comfy with their mom or grandmother.  A great activity to do after reading this story would be for students to describe a time when they saved their money to buy something special.

I Believe in You by Marianne Richmond is written to help encourage children and raise their self-esteem. It is filled with positive messages and encouraging words for all those times kids think that something is hard. It helps children to see that their parents are always there cheering them on and that they have what it takes to get it done, even if they don't think they do. A great activity to do after reading this book is have students think about something they think they can't do and then think about how their parents encourage and support them while they do it.

I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is a story that brings a tear to my eye every time I read it. The story goes through how the mom takes care of her son and then how when the mom gets old how the son takes care of his mom, just as she did him so many years ago. To dig a bit deeper into this story you can discuss with your students the problem this story presents and the solution the character chooses to solve the problem.

In Our Mother's House by Patricia Polacco looks at a household where there are two mothers. It compares a two mother house to a house that is different- a mom and a dad, two dads, a single parent- showing that it doesn't matter who your parents are as long as the home is filled with love and support from those that raise you. A great story for helping children understand that it is okay for there to be different kinds of families. After reading this book have students think about the one thing that makes their family different than any other family and say why this is so special.
 
An unseen child narrates My Mom by Anthony Browne. He tells of all the great things about his mom. How talented and wonderful she really is. This book helps children to focus in and see that even those simple things, like the bathrobe she wears every morning to the beautiful garden she keeps makes your mom so special. After reading this story, have student draw a picture of their mom, wearing that special piece of clothing, doing that thing the child thinks is so special. After the picture is done, have students label it, pointing out all those special things.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst shares with children how we are all bound together. It explains how the invisible string is love, and how in a family we are all tied together because of the love we have for one another, or, by the invisible string. It is a great story for those children with separation anxiety, showing that they are always connected to their mom.

Audrey Penn author of The Kissing Hand tells the story of Chester, a little raccoon that is so nervous about going to school and being without his mom. Chester's mother gives Chester a kiss in his hand and tells him that whenever he feels lonely or needs her to be close to him, all he has to to is hold his hand on his cheek and she will be there to comfort him. I think Chester has one of the best mom's out in storybook land. After reading the story, have students think about what their mother does or what they have from their mother to help them feel safe. Have them either write or draw what it is.

These books are all about moms, child and mother relationships and family. They are books that are perfect any time of year. There is never a wrong time to remind one another of how special mother's are and how important you are to them and they to you.

Enjoy!

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