This month, my BFFs from We Teach So Hard, and myself are discussing read aloud books about LOVE. It seems like such a timely theme to showcase… a new decade, what better way is there to begin 2020 than by showing love, kindness and compassion… Just imagine, if we all do acts of kindness for one another, what a wonderful world this would be… annnd a great place to start is in the classroom with our students.
❤ The Lion Who Wanted To Love, by Giles Andreae & illustrated by David Wotjowicz. This is a wonderful book, written in rhyme, about Leo, a lion who walked to the beat of a different drum, instead of hunting prey, he wanted to love them. His mother tried to explain to him that he needed to hunt other animals in order to eat. He just wouldn’t listen, so he was kicked out of their pride. Sadly he walked away, but knew he had to be true to himself, so each time he saw an animal who was hurt, or in some type of danger, he’d help them. One day he saw a cheetah being swept away in rapids and was very close to a waterfall that would surely drown him. Without hesitation, Leo jumped in and saved him, but lost his footing and got caught in the rushing water himself. He started crying out so the cheetah gathered all the animals that Leo helped. They stood on rocks that went across the rapids, formed a chain to reach him and a lioness pulled him out. Lo and behold, the lioness turned out to be his mother who realized that she had been wrong all along. She now understood that when you’re different, you need to be strong. More importantly, if you have love on your side, you’ve got the most valuable gift there is. He went back to the pride and was made king. This book encourages kids to be their own person and to do what they know is right.
Here are some discussion strategies that you can use to engage your students:
- Before reading the book, write the word love on the board, and brainstorm all the ways that one shows love. Write their responses on the board.
- Tell them you’re going to read a book, written in rhyme, about a little lion who wanted to love.
- Ask them to predict what they think will happen in the story and have them write their predictions on paper.
- After reading is finished find out if their predictions were correct, discuss.
- Also talk about the morals/themes.
- Then ask them to talk about the ways that love is shown.
- Have them write and illustrate a little booklet of their own showing one of the ways love has been shown to them, and/or how they’ve shown love to others.
❤ I Am Love by Susan Verde, drawings by Peter Reynolds is a another read aloud that shows many of the ways love can be communicated and demonstrated. With opened arms, the cover illustration calls out to little ones as well as older children and beckons them to look inside. It is beautifully designed with original positioning of words and images that include a lovely choice of colors, precious drawings of children, and a fitting theme for this day and age. This little gem is simple but offers many opportunities for great discussions about different types of love that we experience. Best of all it will help plant the seeds for understanding and compassion towards others. I Am Love is about a young girl who wants to show love to others by being compassionate when they’re fearful, sad, lonely, scared, etc. The little girl explains that love is all of these: listening without speaking, being present, giving comfort, being gentle, showing gratitude, taking care of oneself, being creative, understanding, showing effort, remembering those who’ve passed, connection to each other, showing compassion, and tenderness.
- Discuss with your students the ways they’ve shown love to others.,
- Talk about the ways people have shown love to them.
- Discuss the storm metaphor that you’ll notice throughout the book.
- Then have your class pick out the elements of a weather storm that correspond to their personal struggles.
- Using their journals have them write and illustrate a “storm” that they were confronted with and how they were helped by someone.
- They could also write about a time when they helped another person through their personal trial or storm.
- Have them use sensory words to be more descriptive.
❤ There’s one more little picture book that I’d like to share with you, one of my all time favorites that brings tears to my eyes as I remember my childhood and losing my mom at a young age. it’s called I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw. The poem that runs throughout the story originated as a poignant song dedicated to to the author’s two stillborn babies. It’s a gentle testimony to the unconditional love a parent feels for their child from infancy through adulthood as well as the deep feelings one has for an aging parent. No matter how old you are, you’ll always be someone’s baby. Delicate colors used for the timeless illustrations are complimentary to the sentiment of the book.
“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.” by Robert Munsch
I’d like to share a resource that works well with the theme of love and kindness.
Be sure to visit Kathie, Retta and Tracy’s blog posts from We Teach So Hard for more inspiring tips and ideas about the many ways to show LOVE… To listen to our podcast click HERE or the image below.
(Clockwise, from top left:)
One Heart // Rainbow City Learning
What a Wonderful World This Would Be. . . If We Loved One Another // Socrates Lantern
Showing Our Love // Tried & True Teaching Tools
Love is in the Air: Using Kid Lit to Teach Discourse// Wild Child’s Mossy Oak Musings
Peace, Love & Happiness