One of my favorite ways to engage my students with print is to send home "Book Buddies". Each Book Buddy bag contains a book, a journal, and a matching buddy. The children keep this bag for a night and (with their parents help) they write down the adventures they had with the buddy and then share their adventures with the other students the next day.
This year I decided to send home buddies with a biographical bent. These book buddy bags contain a stuffed historical figure, a biographical picture book, and a journal. I'm so excited to introduce these new friends to our class as I help them get to know some amazing people from history.
Our first book buddy is Mae Jemison, the first female African-American astronaut, created in doll form by Kathy at A Button and a Stitch and her beautiful picture book Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed. The pictures in this book are absolutely stunning and children can relate to Mae's childhood dreams and aspirations and the love of supporting parents who encouraged her to follow her own path.
My next book buddy is Jane Austen, genius author, whose love of writing inspires of love of language in my little learners. I love the book series Little People, Big Dreams, and their Jane Austen book does not disappoint. It's beautiful illustrations and simple story is a perfect introduction to Jane Austen for my Kindergarteners.
Mary Anning was an English fossil collector who help to discover the first species of Ichthysoaurus. I couldn't find a good stuffed animal to represent Mary, but both of her picture books Stone Girl Bone Girl by Laurence Anholt and Sheila Moxley and The Dog That Dug For Dinosaurs by Shirley Ray Redmond and Simon Sullivan feature Mary's dog heavily, so I am sending home a stuffed dog with Mary's books. Now the children can take the dog "fossil hunting" just like Mary Anning used to do along the cliffs of Lyme Regis
My next biographical book buddy is Albert Einstein and the picture book On A Beam Of Light by Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky. The illustrations in this book are so beautiful and almost pointillistic, a fitting art style for a man whose scientific thought centered on atoms and energy. I especially enjoyed how the author drew attention to Albert's early years, where student's can instantly relate to the way he was dismissed by some because he has a different way of thinking.
I'm so excited to introduce these new book friends to my class and I'm already itching to find some more to add to the fun!