Books to Spark Action: Five Themes to Read Aloud
March 15, 2016
Catch this new list of books selected for high school students to read aloud to New York City upper elementary school students (grades 3-5) to raise awareness and deepen understanding of five different societal issues. As part of a NYC Service in Schools Leadership Program being developed by CBK Associates, a week of preparation will enable high schoolers to design service experiences for the younger participants. These books will be part of the process. More about the leadership program at the end.
In making these selections I was seeking to refresh my list of “standards” – my go-to books that have been tried and true over the years. Fortunately I have a local children’s bookstore (they do exist, however they are endangered), Children’s Book World in West Los Angeles. Their wonderful staff also are amenable to digging into the shelves to find some fabulous titles we can all enjoy.
The result? A blended list. Some of my tried and true books, and new ones that have me inspired!
- Where’s the Elephant? by Barroux – illustrates how deforestation takes the land once inhabited by animals for urban sprawl, a hide and seek book (Candlewick Press, 2015)
- Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts — shows a boy’s delight in adopting a dog from a shelter including imagining what the dog’s life may have been like – was the dog harmed or treated well? Now the dog will only be loved. (Putnam, 2007)
Health and Exercise
- How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals by Michael Phelps with Alan Abrahamson – a humorous telling (lots of math and comparisons) to see how much work yields great results (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
- Tillie, the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle and a Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher – connects health, exercise and social change with women’s rights (Knopf, 2011)
- Zora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor – has a girl planting an abundance of zucchini and reaping the harvest with ideas to share within her community. Check out the fabulous publisher Readers to Eaters for more great books! (Readers to Eaters, 2015)
- The Magic Beads by Susan Nielsen-Fernlund – seven-year-old Lilian is nervous about “show and tell” when she lives at a shelter and doesn’t have fancy things. But she has a brilliant imagination and “magic beads.” (Simply Read Books, 2007)
- The Promise by Nicola Davies – how a desperate act leads to a realization of being able to help rather than harm. (Candlewick 2014)
- The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena – a boy and his grandma travel by bus to volunteer serving food at a shelter. (Putnam 2015)
- Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt – a girl helps her friend so they both have good healthy food in the fridge. (Flashlight Press 2015)
Trash and Pollution
- The Wartville Wizard by Don Madden – a man is given the power over trash to curb the littering habits of people in his community; IDEA! The story telling can include attaching clean trash to kids (think tape) and they use this clean trash to make posters about litter to take back to their school. (Aladdin, 1993)
- One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul – shows what happened in a community where women’s resourcefulness replaces waste. (Millbrook Press 2015)
Books to inspire understanding of Service and Learning! Gifts for young service learning students and their high school counterparts to keep the fires burning!
- Make a Splash: A Kid’s Guide to Protecting our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye and Philippe Cousteau – follows the five stages of service learning to inspire kids to take action to protect our waterways and the environment for people, animals and the planet; filled with action ideas! (Free Spirit Publishing 2010)
- Our School Garden by Rick Swann – is a book with many thoughts on how and why a school garden is a great idea, including sharing the harvest with others. (Readers to Eaters 2012)
- Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Flesichman – a wake up call to action regarding a array of environmental concerns. Paul also has a related website, click here to learn more. (Candlewick Press 2014)
What is this leadership program all about?
This innovative leadership program blends youth development of knowledge and skills through a range of highly interactive learning experiences. Over five days in April, high school students will explore leadership concepts and theories, design and conduct interviews with people immersed in five societal issues, use the five stages of service learning to conceptualize a plan for engaging elementary children in their chosen theme, and develop story-boards to develop a Youth Summit for Service to be held in May – and more! CBK Associates leadership team, Maureen Connolly and I are collaborating on this venture, with an added group of college students being on site as role models for the teens. The interactive experiences also meet specific learning outcomes and align with Common Core State Standards. All is custom-designed for the New York City Service in Schools program. We are delighted to support this important work of developing young leaders and a new cadre of youth engaged in service learning, all in the Big Apple!
Always loving books,
Cathryn Berger Kaye
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