Zen Shorts: Jon J. Muth

Zen Shorts

Author/Illustrator: Jon J. Muth
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Year: 2005
Brief Summary: Three siblings visit their new neighbor Stillwater, a giant panda, and each learns a lesson about generosity, the randomness of luck, and forgiveness.  This is a good introduction to the Zen approach to the world.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • What lessons do the children learn from Stillwater?  What do these lessons tell us about the Zen way of thinking?
  • Introduction to Zen and other Asian philosphies (Tao, Confusionism, etc.).  Compare them to other major philosophies of the West…how are they similar/different?
  • Scholastic teaching guide: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/zen-shorts-storia-teaching-guide
  • Read Muth’s The Three Questions and Zen Ties.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  Additional information about Zen is included in the back of the book.

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

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The Rabbit and the Turtle: Eric Carle

The Rabbit and the Turtle: Aesop’s Fables 

Author/Illustrator: retold and illustrated by Eric Carle
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Year: 2008
Brief Summary: A retelling of 12 Aesop’s fables.

Awards, Honors and Prizes: N/A

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Discuss fables — characteristics include animals, morals, set in old times.
  • Don’t tell the kids what the morals are and have students tell you what lessons each story teaches.
  • Have students write their own fables.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

Fables: Arnold Lobel

 

Fables

Author/Illustrator: Arnold Lobel
Publisher: Harper & Row
Publication Year: 1980
Brief Summary: Using an array of interesting animal characters, Lobel creats 20 original fables, each teaching a valuable lesson.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Language Arts: Define fables and common characteristics — animal stories; date back to early times; teach lesson/message.
  • Do reveal the moral at the end of the story right away — ask students what they think the message is.  Is there one in particular they really connected with?
  • Have older students plan and write their own fables.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc. Fables discussion guide at Scholastic site http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/fables-discussion-guide  

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

The Lion and the Mouse: Jerry Pinkney

The Lion and the Mouse 

Author/Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Co.
Publication Year: 2009
Brief Summary: In this wordless version of the classic folktale The Lion and the Mouse, a lion’s decision to release a mouse he captures helps him in the end.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:

  • Discussion of wordless stories.  The only words in this book are the sounds animals make.
  • Introduce Aesop’s Fables.  What is a fable?  What are the characteristics of a fable?  Does this story have a moral? Have children write their own fable and share with the class.
  • Have children take parts in narrating the story.  Write out their own version and share with the class.
  • Compare and contrast with other versions of this tale.  Which do they like better?
  • In Pinkney’s book, we see a trap being set.  What do you think the people are going to do with animals they trap?

Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Text-to-text connections
  • Reading to write

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc. N/A  
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library