The Blue Spruce™ Award program brings recently published Canadian children's picture books to Ontario children ages 4 to 7 in kindergarten through to grade two.
This program promotes reading for enjoyment and begins to develop the reader’s skill in evaluating a picture book based on story, text and pictures. Students read 10 nominated picture books during the school year and vote for their favourite book in the spring. The best picture book is selected by student voting, and the winning author is presented with the Blue Spruce Award.
Young Frank Architect by Frank Viva
Young Frank, Architect follows the adventures of Young Frank, a resourceful young architect who lives in New York City with his grandfather, Old Frank, who is also an architect. Young Frank sees creative possibilities everywhere, and likes to use anything he can get his hands on—macaroni, old boxes, spoons, and sometimes even his dog, Eddie—to creates things like chairs out of toilet paper rolls and twisting skyscrapers made up of his grandfather’s books. But Old Frank is skeptical; he doesn’t think that’s how REAL architects make things.
Although sure of his opinions and critical of his grandsons methods, Old Frank makes an important discovery during the story. I appreciate that the author included an elderly gentleman in the story without focusing on his age. It is great to see people with some years on them represented in stories without being silly, a punchline or a problem. I found I really liked Frank, both the younger and the older. I am a fan of young Franks creations. The back page includes info about some of the real designs Young and Old Frank saw at the museum. Information on the designers and architects is included.
LESSON IDEA: create
Have students draw a structure (building, chair, etc) that they designed. List materials to be used in building it (can be fanciful such as a 58 lollipop bridge or a purple brick castle).
The Highest Number in the World by Roy MacGregor
9-year-old Gabe (Gabriella) Murray lives and breathes hockey. She's the youngest player on her new team, she has a nifty move that her teammates call "the Gabe," and she shares a lucky number with her hero, Hayley Wickenheiser: number 22. But when her coach hands out the team jerseys, Gabe is stuck with number 9. Crushed, Gabe wants to give up hockey altogether. How can she play without her lucky number? Gabe's grandmother soon sets her straight, though--from her own connection to the number 9 in her hockey-playing days to all the greats she cheered for who wore it, she soon convinces Gabe that this new number might not be so bad after all.
My favorite part of the story? I'm almost exhausted with all the hockey themed books that I have seen lately (almost...I am Canadian!) but the final page got me: Gabriella and her hero both wearing their hockey jersey's. Why? Read the book. It's worth it!
LESSON IDEA: discussion and draw
Who is your hero? Is it someone you have met? WHY is that person a hero? Do you have any heroes in your family? What makes them a hero? Draw a medal (or provide medal template for them to personalize) for your hero, include something in the design that illustrates why they are a hero (eg. hockey stick, sport jersey, uniform, fireman's hat, etc).