Thursday, March 7, 2013

More Needs vs. Wants Titles

 The Rag Coat By Lauren Mills
Grades 4-6

Minna's father has died from a coal miner's cough and her mother struggles to make ends meet in their Appalachian community. She isn't able to walk to school because the family has no money to buy her a coat. Through the thoughtfulness and generosity of the local women they use their fabric scraps to stitch together a "rag coat." The children at school tease Minna for her "rag coat" until she reminds them of the precious stories that come from each piece of fabric.

A Chair for My Mother By Vera B. Williams
Grades 2-5

Rosa and her mother's apartment is burned in a fire and they lose all their belongings. Her mother works hard in the diner earning tips so that they can buy a new comfy chair. It takes a long time and some help from family to fill her tip jar, but eventually they do. This is a story about working hard to reach a goal, about the love of a tight-knit community, and about the generosity and bonds of a family.

 Something Special for Me By Vera B. Williams
Grades 2-5

This is the second book in the series about Rosa and her mother. In the first book the money in the tip jar is spent so her mother can have a nice chair. In this story, mother and grandmother want the money in the jar to go to Rosa for her birthday so that she may have something special. It is hard for her to decide what to get. She doesn't want to be frivolous because she understands the value of hard-earned money. When money is tight decisions become more weighty and this is an important underlying message in the book. A loving non-nuclear family is highlighted once again.

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
Grades 2-4

 Alexander gets a dollar when his grandparents come to visit. He intends to save it up for some new walkie-talkies. Before he knows what's happened it's been fiddled away for chewing gums, bets with his mom, being fined by his dad for fighting, eating his brother's chocolate bar, etc. A good lesson in spending and saving and thinking carefully about what we want in the moment vs. we need in the long-term.

I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses By Lauren Child
Grades K-2

My students adore the Charlie and Lola series and this is no exception. In typical fashion Lola decides she NEEDS glasses because her friend Mini has a great flowery pair. Unfortunately, the
optician tells Lola she has strong eyesight and is in no need of correction. Charlie is there to save his little sister's day and together they make a pair of sparkly glasses out of paper much to Lola's delight.

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