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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Esmeralda and the Children Next Door by: Jenny Nimmo and Paul Howard

Theme: Friendship and Differences
Grades: K-2
Esmeralda and the Children Next Door By: Jenny Nimmo and Paul Howard is a wonderful story about friendship, and how friends can come in all shapes and sizes.

Summary and Review:
Ever heard the phrase, Never judge a book by it's cover? Esmeralda wished the children next door had. When Esmeralda was a young girl who was different from the day of her birth. She was a larger child with two parents who were members of a traveling circus. They wanted her to be a big and strong circus performer, whereas the only thing she wanted was to be friends with the children next door. The only problem was, these children were afraid of her because of her size. These children were mean to her, constantly telling her she can't do this or that, especially play with them or hold their baby sister. One day there was a giant wind storm and a branch was very close to falling on their baby sister. Esmeralda ran to her rescue! The children realized she wasn't scary at all. Esmeralda became ill and the all the children wanted to do was play with her. The children visited her everyday, until one day she finally awoke. The children were so excited to see her, Esmeralda went back to working in the circus, but not as a strong girl, as a trapeze artist. And during the fall, Esmeralda and the children played together everyday. They became the best of friends. This is a wonderful story about how different people make the best of friends. 
Pre-Reading Activities:
1. Reader Response Journal 
Students can respond in their journals or through class discussion to the following questions:
-Have you ever turned a friend away because of their appearance?appearance -Have you ever tried to be friends with someone who wasn't very nice to you?
-Make a prediction based on what you think the story will be about.
2. Quality Character Traits
-Students will brainstorm a list of character traits they look for in a friend. The teacher will write these words on chart paper. The teacher and students will discuss the meaning of these words before, during and after reading.
3. Pre and Post Reading: Compare and Contrast Your Thinking
-Students will draw a picture of their ideal friend. Then, after reading the story, ask them how their picture has changed. Ask them to draw another picture that reflects their thinking after reading.

Post-Reading Activities
4. Quality Character Traits Continued
- Using the chart the teacher and the students had made before reading, students will make a story cube with each character trait. Each side of the cube will include:
a. Trait
b. The definition of the trait
c. Illustration depicting the trait
d. A sentence that describes the trait

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