This beautiful book is a Caldecott Medal winner is based on a Yiddish folksong, “Hob Ich Mir a Mantl”. I read it to my preschoolers and kindergartners and got a wonderful response. This book is not only set apart because of its beautiful, colorful illustrations but because of the cutouts that show how Joseph creatively uses his old overcoat as it shrinks to a button and then, finally, to nothing. “Joseph had a a little overcoat. It was old and worn. So he made a jacket out of it.” My favorite message is on the last page. When Joseph finally loses the small button he’s made out of the remains of his overcoat, he says, “So Joseph made a book about it. Which shows…that you can always make something out of nothing.” A great message and a beautiful book for little ones.
This graphic novel might just rank with Amulet as my favorite in my library. Zita the Spacegirl has characters you’ll love, evil villians, wonderful drawings and a plot full of suspense. It is a huge favorite with my students.
Zita and her friend Joseph are surprised when a small meteor hits the earth where they are playing. Zita is adventurous. She goes into the small crater and finds an interesting object that looks like a button. As all adventurous girls are wont to do, Zita pushes the button. Off goes Joseph onto another planet. Zita quickly presses the button again and finds herself on the same strange planet, just in to see Joseph kidnapped.
Zita meets new creatures that soon become friends, a large creature she names Strong Strong, another called Mouse and Piper. She learns that this new planet is just about to be destroyed by an enormous asteroid. Everyone is trying to get off the planet before the asteroid hits. Zita is determined to find her friend. She learns that he has been taken prisoner by the original creatures to inhabit the planet, Scriptorians. The Scriptorians think that sacrificing Joseph will stop the asteroid.
Zita sets out with her new friends to find Joseph and save him. Will they be successful? Who will try to stop them? Will the planet survive? Read Zita and the Spacegirl to see how one strong, adventurous girl can team up with friends and make things happen.
Don’t miss the next two books in this trilogy, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Look for Ben Hatke’s new book, Little Robot, to be released on September 1, 2015.
Here’s a lesson idea, contrasting two different retellings of a fairy tale, that worked really well with my fourth graders. I love the book The Girl Who Spun Gold, by Virginia Hamilton and wanted to pair it with the traditional telling of Rumplestiltskin. I used a very old copy of Rumplestiltskin that we had in our library. I wasn’t thrilled with this older book and ordered Paul Zelinsky’s version of the book after this lesson (winner of the 1987 Caldecott Honor). The illlustrations are full of vibrant color that are sure to attract students and compare nicely with Leo and Diane’s illustrations in The Girl Who Spun Gold.
I took two class times to read Virginia Hamilton’s book, about 20 minutes, in all. I then read the traditional telling of the story. My students were jumping up to offer me similarities and differences between the two retellings of the story. It was a lot of fun to see them so excited.
Next week, I’ll do a book talk and read the first couple of chapters of Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, a new book by Liesl Shurtliff, a fractured fairytale.
I love to read parts of this book aloud to my students during African-American history month. This book features quotes, black and white photographs and a page about many notable African-American women, including: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, The Delany Sisters, Septima Poinsette Clark, Ella Josephine Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Marian Wright Eledman, Alica Walker, Alexa Canady, Mae C. Jemison with a list of more notable women in the back of the book.
This book makes a great resource for teachers or a wonderfully inspiring book for young people. Read a page here and there, or read the entire book. Either way, don’t miss it.
The Caldecott Medal is awarded by the Association of Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds(2013 Honor)
Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (2013 Honor)
A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka (2012)
The Lion & the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney (2010)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (2008)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems (2004 Honor)
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback (1997)
Journey, by Aaron Becker (2014 Honor)
Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully (1993)
One Fine Day, by Nonny Hogrogian (1971)
Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young (1993 Honor)
Ezra Jack Keats (Snowy Day – 1963)
in alphabetical order
in alphabetical order