Busy-Busy Little Chick
Teaching tips for Busy-Busy Little Chick:
Busy-Busy Little Chick is based on an African fable. A fable is a story with a moral or a lesson. The moral of Busy-Busy Little Chick might be Npankele ntakambak'olemo, a Lonkundo proverb that means "I will do it (one of these days) does not get the job done."
Ask students to write a "list" poem where every line begins "Tomorrow, I will" and a second poem where every line begins "Today, I will." Students can make their poems as imaginative or funny as they wish. This can also be a group activity with younger children. The children can generate the poems and the teacher can write down their poems.
Tomorrow, I will do my homework.
Tomorrow, I will take my vitamins.
Tomorrow, I will make my bed.
Tomorrow, I will eat anchovies.
Today, I will eat ice cream.
Today, I will grow wings and fly away.
Today, I will jump rope.
Today, I will drink the ocean.
Share Houses and Homes by Ann Morris. Morris shows photos of houses and homes from around the world. How are the houses the same? How do they differ? Students can make drawings, collages, or construction-paper pictures of a house they have seen, or of their own home.
Students can make popsickle-stick puppets for Little Chick and the crickets. These don't have to be anatomically correct: a yellow circle for Little Chick, small green rectangles for the crickets. Then they can act out the end of the story: "But Little Chick said nothing at all. He was busy-busy chasing cricky-cracky crickets all by himself!"
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County
Teaching tips for The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County:
Help students to define the word "proverb." As students read or listen to The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County ask them to find the proverbs that the young girl attributes to her grandmother. Ask students to interview an adult family member or another adult and ask about family sayings or proverbs. Bring a list of the sayings to share at school.
Ask students to pretend that Miss Hen can read and write. Ask them to write a letter from Miss Hen to the little girl or to Big Mama. What would she write?
The little girl wants to catch Miss Hen. That is her goal. But to accomplish a goal, you need smaller steps to reach the goal. What small steps did the young girl try to reach her goals? Ask your students to set a goal for something they would like to do within two weeks. Ask them to write down their goals and the necessary small steps on the path to their goals. Everyone who reaches their two week goal gets a paper chicken!
Students can turn file folders into marvelous chickens.
Teaching tips for Going North:
Before reading Going North aloud to students, let them to take a “picture walk” through the illustrations. Use visual thinking strategies to help students make predictions about the story’s plot and tone: What’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What else do you see?
Jesse’s father says that they are going to be pioneers. Ask students to make a chart comparing the experiences of Jesse’s family with the experiences of pioneer families. How are they similar? How are they different?
Students often ask what happened to Jesse after her family moved to Lincoln. Allow students to brainstorm and imagine her new life in the North. Ask them to draw pictures or make a collage to show her neighborhood, school, friends, and the things that may have happened to her in the North. What do students think might go well for Jesse in the North? What challenges might she face?
Roberto Walks Home
Teaching tips for Roberto Walks Home:
Roberto is angry at his brother. He jumps on the bed and kicks his blocks. Talk about emotions and how we handle them. Ask students to describe something that made them angry. How did they handle the bad feelings?
Ask students to interview an apartment dweller or passerby who might have seen Roberto flying home, or ask them to create an imaginary news report about a boy seen flying over the neighborhood. How would people react?
Read and compare other stories about children who fly, such as Abuela by Michael Dorros or Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. Ask students to think about an imaginary skill that they might have and to write a story about their adventure.
CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARDS
Selected Awards for The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County:
- Children’s Literature Author Award, Alabama Library Association, 2009
- Oprah’s Book Club, Kids Reading List: 6–9 Years, 2008
- Cybils Award for the year’s best fiction picture book: “the children’s and YA bloggers’ literary awards,” 2008
- Notable Children’s Books: “the best of the best in children’s books.”
- Association for Library Service to Children, the American Library Association, 2008
- Charlotte Zolotow Award for outstanding writing in a picture book, highly commended (one of fourteen best books of the year), 2008
- TIME Magazine, Top 10 Children’s Books of 2007 (number 7)
- Parents’ Choice Gold Award
Selected Awards For Going North:
- Children’s Literature Author Award, Alabama Library Association, 2006-2007
- Ezra Jack Keats Award, New York Public Library, 2005
- Nebraska Book Award, Children/Young Adult category, 2005
- Top of the List, 2004 Editor’s Choice, Booklist, best Youth Picture book of 2004