Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Circle by Jeannie Baker

I have been a fan of Jeannie Baker's wordless picture books since the beginning of my wordless picture book obsession. Her art and the messages in her books are always powerful.

Circle is a different kind of book for Jeannie Baker but I loved it and can't wait to share it with our 3rd graders next year.  We have a basket of bird books in our classroom and I've try to create a basket with a variety of topics within the bigger topic of birds. I know kids often begin their reading with bird guides as they want to learn to identify various birds. But I've noticed that some readers move on from the basic identification of birds to bigger issues. The book Circle takes us on a journey with the bar-tailed godwit ("who undertake the longest unbroken migration of any animal") as they migrate from Australia/New Zealand to the Arctic and back again.  Baker creates text that helps us understand time and distance as well as the amazing thing that this journey is.  And her illustrations help us appreciate the various places on Earth that are part of the godwits migration.  Not only does she help readers understand all of that but she also invites them to understand the bigger idea of how connected our world is and that changes to one part of the world can have consequences for another. The map in the back of the book showing the migration is also fabulously helpful.  There are so many layers of conversation and learning that I think can happen because of this book and I am excited to add it to our classroom in the fall.

(Another book about this journey is The Long, Long Journey by Sandra Markle. Pairing these two would invite even more great learning.)

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