Sunday, May 19, 2013

Because Amelia Smiled

Title: Because Amelia Smiled 
Author: David Ezra Stein  
Illustrator: David Ezra Stein 
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: September, 2012 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary:  Just try not to smile! A positively inspiring picture book from the creator of the Caldecott Honor–winning Interrupting Chicken.
Because Amelia smiles as she skips down the street, her neighbor Mrs. Higgins smiles too, and decides to send a care package of cookies to her grandson Lionel in Mexico. The cookies give Lionel an idea, and his idea inspires a student, who in turn inspires a ballet troupe in England! And so the good feelings that started with Amelia’s smile make their way around the world, from a goodwill recital in Israel, to an impromptu rumba concert in Paris, to a long-awaited marriage proposal in Italy, to a knitted scarf for a beloved niece back in New York. Putting a unique spin on "what goes around comes around," David Ezra Stein’s charmingly illustrated story reminds us that adding even a small dose of kindness into the world is sure to spur more and more kindness, which could eventually make its way back to you!

 
What I Think: Having the Because Amelia Smiled suitcase come visit was a blast! My kids enjoyed opening the package and finding out-of-the ordinary contents. They thought the lips were very fun and were passing them back and forth and wanting me to take their pictures. As we sat down to read the book, they enjoyed hearing about all the different people in different places doing all sorts of unique things. I think we especially loved the idea of baking cookies to give to someone. We recently celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week so Peanut participated in his school's plan to honor teachers. He wrote his teacher a nice card and took a flower to school for her. It was very sweet. We also celebrated school lunch ladies and Peanut drew a very nice picture of himself and his school lunch lady. Both of my kids enjoy being helpers and are always proud to know that they can make someone else day.
     I would recommend Because Amelia Smiled to 2nd or 3rd grade readers because I think they will be more able to understand the idea that Amelia's sweet smile made an impact that went around the world. I can see how older students would have fun finding all the places on the map and seeing exactly how Amelia's joy spread. It would be really neat to ask students to pick a character from the book and write a story for that character in his or her context based on what the story tells us. Each of the characters in this book seem to be larger than life and I can only imagine what stories students would come up with for each of the characters.
     I also see how this book would match so well with Each Kindness and Wonder and the Choose Kind initiative. While this book is very light-hearted and simple, it does also capture the importance of sharing positive experiences with each other as much as we can.
Read Together: Grades 1 - 4 
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 4 
Read With: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Wonder by RJ Palacio 
Snatch of Text:   
"In the apartment next door, Betty Marlinspike, glamorous rumba queen, got a great night's sleep."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Narrative, Seed Ideas, Fan Fiction  
Writing Prompts: Write about at time in your life when someone shared a smile with you and it made a difference in your day.  
Topics Covered: Happiness, Feelings, Emotions, Family, Friendship, Love, Sharing, Joy
I *heart* It: 
A giant thank you to Candlewick for including my family in the suitcase tour for Because Amelia Smiled! We also received a copy of Because Amelia Smiled to give away! If you would like a chance to win your own copy of Because Amelia Smiled, tell us how you have shared a smile with someone in the past week. Have you taken part in a random act of kindness or inspire someone else to do something good for themselves or others? Leave your name, e-mail address and your response in the comment section to be entered in the contest. One name will be randomly selected. Contest will close at 10:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, May 19th, 2013. Only one entry per person.
 

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