Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Even More Needs vs. Wants Titles

 Bikes for Rent By Isaac Olaleye

Lateef lives in a poor village in Nigeria. He longs to rent a bike from Babatunde's used bicycle hut, but his family has no spare money to give him. Lateef takes it upon himself to collect firewood and mushrooms in the rainforest so that he can sell them for money at the village market. Through hard work he earns enough money to begin renting bikes and loves riding with his friends. One day he rents a shiny, red new bike with the promise that he will be especially careful. On a dare from his friends he rides downhill without holding the handlebars and damages the bike's front wheel. In order to pay back Babatunde for the repair he begins working at the hut learning to repair bikes. Lateef learns a new trade, how to pay off a debt, and the importance of taking ownership over his actions.

At a time when many students are handed anything they want this is a great story to remind students that in other parts of the world things are very different than in America.

 If You Give a Dog a Donut By Laura Numeroff
Grades K-2

Discussion Seed: I particularly like this newer Numeroff If You Give...story, but any of them would work as a needs and wants book. I like to read the book first. Then I go back and reread it, stopping at each page asking the students if what the dog asks for is a Need or a Want.

 Chicken Sunday By Patricia Polacco
Grades 3-6

Chicken Sunday is a heart-warming tale of inter-faith friendships, inter-racial friendships, and doing what's right.  Patricia Polacco tells a true story about two of her best friends growing up, Winston and Stewart. More than anything they want to buy Eula Mae Walker (Winston and Stewart's gramma) an Easter bonnet from Mr. Kodinski's shop. They can't afford the bonnet and things aren't looking good when they are mistaken for some troublemakers throwing eggs at Mr Kodinski's shop door. It takes guts and a lot of creativity to convince Mr Kodinski that they are good kids who mean truly well. They learn to make decorated eggs using hot wax and dye in the Eastern European tradition and present them to Mr. Kodinski as a peace-offering. He allows them to sell the beautiful eggs in his shop to make enough money to purchase the bonnet for Eula Mae, but Mr. Kodinski has a surprise of his own. He tells them to keep their hard-earned money and gives them the bonnet for free.
Though the Holocaust isn't mentioned in this book, it is alluded to and in one illustration you can see the ID number tatooed on Mr. Kodinki's arm. This book could be used in so many contexts for classroom discussions.

Sam and the Lucky Money By Karen Chinn
Grades 1-3

Sam is excited to go shopping with his mother on Chinese New Year's Day and spend the lucky money in the traditional red envelope that his grandparents have gifted him. On his journey through Chinatown Sam sees many things he wants to buy, but he grows disappointed as he realizes he doesn't have enough lucky money to purchase them. Sam ends up giving his money to a homeless man on the street who has no shoes. He tells the man it isn't enough for shoes, but he can at least purchase socks to keep his feet warm. A great story about charity and selflessness.