One Plastic Bag

November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving provides a time for reflection. Family. Job. Friends. Health. Seat-warmers in my van. Coke Zero. A microwave. Electricity. Clean water. I am sure you could add more to the list.

Having lived in a third-world country for two years, I learned to be thankful for the everyday conveniences we have on a daily, hourly, minute basis. Trash pick-up is one of those conveniences I am thankful for. When the heavy rains came in the Dominican Republic, trash flooded the streets. Daily, I would notice garbage lying around. And the smell. The foul aroma clogged my plugged nostrils and I could hardly breathe.

A swelling of thanks rose within me as I read One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. Miranda Paul shares the story of change, illustrated beautifully by Elizabeth Zunon. Plastic bags have many uses, and I am thankful. But living in a condition with no garbage system poses a problem. Isatou noticed the growing problems the piles of plastic bag garbage was causing. Goats and other livestock were dying. Gardens were affected. Something needed to change. As in Ada’s Violin, the creativity of one person sparked hope and an answer.

View the book trailer (1.34 min.) and be drawn into the story of change, of hope, of making a difference.

Learn more about how the women of Gambia create the bags from the founder, Isatou Ceesay.  Information on how to help this organization is also listed on this video. (9.27 min.).


Savorings for reading and writing for One Plastic Bag:

  • Repeating Structure
  • Making a Difference
  • Believing in Yourself
  • Persevering
  • Varied sentences
  • Author’s Note and Timeline

The Bear and The Piano

November 18, 2018

Delightful story, The Bear and The Piano by David Litchfield! I am drawn to the beauty of the setting, the internal conflict, the story. I have been savoring this book over several days. The words linger. The dream lingers. The question of acceptance, friendship, and love lingers with me. You just need to read it and fall in love with the bear, his music, and the family waiting for him.

The Power of 3 is used often as a craft in this text.

He missed the forrest. He missed his old friends. He missed his home.”

No piano, no bears, no anything.”

View the reading of The Bear and the Piano (5.5 minutes).


Savorings for reading and writing for The Bear and The Piano:

  • One day
  • Adverbs – shyly, eventually
  • Onomatopoeia – Plonk!
  • Power of 3 – several forms
  • Frienship
  • Teaching ideas – click on this link

Ada’s Violin

November 15, 2018

Philanthropy. Defined by Merriam-Webster, philanthropy is “1 : goodwill to fellow members of the human race especially : active effort to promote human welfare. 2a : an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.”  Other words associated with it: generosity, social conscience, brotherly love, compassion. 

My parents taught me from an early age to notice the needs of others, to be thankful for what I have, to care. Living in the Dominican Republic for two years, I saw first hand the needs of people in struggle. Teaching for thirty years, I see first hand the needs of children in need too. It’s all around us. Fourth graders at our PES school featured Socktober, raising funds and donations for wool socks for veterans. Read more about it at Mrs. Clark’s Twitter. The level of energy was raised and kindness prevailed. So thankful!

Favio Chavez, with the help of local carpenters, brought hope to the children of Cateura, Paraguay. The town grew beside the dump. Families made their livelihood from the trash. Señor Chavez created hope. He taught his students to respect, to listen, and be in tune with each other. Ada’s Violin: the Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport, demonstrates philanthropy in action. (Click on this link to hear the book read.) Instruments were made from items found in the dump. Ada’s father had sparked her interest in  music, listing carefully to the individual instrument sounds from the radio. Grandma sang.  Ada learned to play violin from an old paint can, wooden crates, trays and a fork. A priceless piece of art.

See the book trailer below.

See Senor Chavez and his orchestra on this YouTube video. Ada Rios is featured along with her grandmother, who first signed her up for the free violin lessons. Heartwarming philanthropy at it’s finest. Talk to your kids about how they can help others in their community, their country, and around the world.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Ada’s Violin:

  • Hope
  • Transitions
  • Setting
  • Wonderings
  • Varied sentences


November 4, 2018

Did you know Booksavors is also on Instagram?

I love reading children’s picture books. Some books, I linger in the words and begin to comb the text for many mini-lesson possibilities. Sometimes, I read a book and think how engaging and fun it will be to read to a certain class. All texts are crafted and have potential to be used as a mentor text. I just don’t have time to cultivate every text.

I have found that many teachers are using Instagram and Twitter as their PD. I sure do. I love reading short, quick snippets of learning to use with my kids. Thus, I began the Instagram account, Booksavors. Not all of the books on the Instagram account are featured on this blog. It’s just another way to connect you with books to connect with kids. And in the process, maybe you’ll find a great mentor text!

Happy Reading!