Saturday, March 9, 2013

World-Wide Reading: Across America and Beyond

This was a busy book week at Redwood. We celebrated Read Across America on Monday with volunteer readers from around our community. In Marcia Douglas’ class, a high school student came to read Green Eggs and Ham to her kindergarteners. The kids decided to ham it up when I took their picture.

Marcia had a creative activity lined up to accompany the story. She introduced the students to the art of making green smoothies. 

They took their jobs seriously as they chopped the fruit and kale leaves for this creation. 

Speaking of chopping greens, Yoyo had a similar task in the original folktale, The Market Bowl by Jim Averbeck. 

In this wonderful tale, set in Camaroon, Yoyo had to slice bitterleaf (a leafy green vegetable) “thin as a whisper” to make her first bitterleaf stew. She was impatient and ignored her mother’s instructions because; “people just chew everything up anyway.” So she didn’t bother slicing, grinding or measuring the ingredients. When she showed her mother the creation, Mama Cecile gasped. My students grimaced at the clumpy, dripping greens in this fabulous illustration. Yoyo hid her stew in the market basket and several students cried, “oh no.” Others started laughing. They were sure there was trouble ahead and they were right.

The striking illustrations in this book inspired my second grade students to try some of their own.

I read this book to several speech groups and a first grade class in celebration of World Read Aloud Day. It was the perfect choice for March 6th, a day celebrating the power of words across the world. After reading the story, we looked at Cameroon on an African map in the back of the book. Then we went online to find out more information about the author.

Jim Averbeck brings personal experience to this story. He was a Peace Core volunteer in Cameroon for four years. On his website, he shared some interesting facts and I passed on one to the kids. When Mr. Averbeck was in Cameroon, he ate crocodile, boa constrictor, and fried termites! That created quite a stir with my students. They loved the drawing on his website, depicting his Cameroon diet and they tried their own rendition. Take a look at one:

I haven’t shared this book with Ms. Douglas’ class. If I do, I’m curious what sort of cooking project it might inspire. Fortunately, there is a recipe in the back of the book for bitterleaf stew and it sounds almost as good as the green smoothie I had with that generous kindergartener group. 

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