Author: Dan Yaccarino
Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 2011
Genre/Format: Biography/Picture Books
Summary: Dan Yaccarino tells the story of his great-grandfather coming from Italy and the values his family has handed down from generation to generation.
What I Think: I've been waiting to get my hands on this book ever since Dan Yaccarino sent me the book trailer! I love his illustrations and the story of the little shovel and the values his family has passed down to him. I think it's important for kids to know where their family comes from and who their ancestors are. I love hearing my own family stories and hearing my students talk about their families. Reading this book would be a nice way to start a discussion about families.
Including families into teaching is important because students need support at home to be successful in school. After reading this book with students, you can ask students to interview their parents or even grandparents about their family history. To put a literacy swing on it, you might ask them to include questions like who read to the child when he or she was a baby, what books he or she liked as a baby, what was the first book he or she read, what book he or she would ask to be read again and again. I recently thought about asking my students to interview their family about when they first thought the student had a hearing loss and what they did when they suspected the child might have a hearing loss.
I know as a mom I love telling Peanut about when he was a baby. He already likes to hear stories and then he'll retell them to us or other family members. I know it makes me feel warm and fuzzy and loved to hear my mom talk about me as a kiddo. Just the other day she was talking about how surprised and excited she was when I took my first steps!
You can watch the book trailer at Dan Yaccarino's website to get an idea of the story and the illustrations! I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Dan last year after I read The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau. You can read my interview and learn a little more about this awesome author and illustrator!
Read Together: Pre-K - 12
Read Alone: 3 - 12
Read With: On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born and/or When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis
Snatch of Text:
"'Work hard,' his father told him, handing him the little shovel.
'But remember to enjoy your life.'
'And never forget your family,' his mother said. She hugged him and gave him their few family photographs and her recipe for tomato sauce."Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository - Interview, Personal Narrative/Autobiography
Writing Prompts: Interview your parents/grandparents about you when you were growing up. Use the interview to write your own biography or a story from your life when you were a baby.
Topics Covered: Family, Tradition, Values, Morals, Hardwork, Determination
Translated to Spanish: No