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  • Writer's pictureAliza

Write the Book Your Students Need

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

As a teacher, it can be tricky to find just the book you need to share with your class.

Sometimes there is a topic you are studying, but the books out there have a slightly different focus than you and your class.

Sometimes the books out there are simply not written for your age group.

Sometimes, you want books filled with characters that reflect the diversity that exists in your classroom. More of such books are being created and published. The problem is that those books are sometimes written in order to "have books with more diversity." Which is different than having great books and stories written by and about all different kinds of people, families, experiences.

We can sit and wait for the better books to be published. We can make do with what currently exists. Or, we can write those books ourselves.

If we want our students to see themselves reflected in the books we read, well then, let's PUT THEM in those books. I think they deserve to be there. Don't you?

In preschool, especially for our littlest littles, we like to start the year with books about saying goodbye, and being reunited with our loved ones. Because that is what our youngest children are learning about when they first go to school; they can leave their caregivers, have fun in a new place, and that those grown ups will still be there when the day is done.

One of the best books on the topic is Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell. The Kissing Hand and Llama, Llama Misses Mama are sweet enough, get the job done, and are enjoyable for kids. But, they are all about missing Mommy.

What about the Daddies? They get missed too. Not all families have Mommies. And what about the nannies, grandparents, and other caregivers who love your students, and will be there to greet them at the end of the school day?

All families are different, but all families have times that they say goodbye to each other. And then times when they come back together and say hello again.

I created this book for my class about coming to school, saying goodbye, and being reunited again with loved ones. It's a book about separation that includes photos of all different kinds of families, and it includes the caregivers we do not usually see represented in story books. You can find a template for this book in my shop.

There is some legwork involved in creating this book for your class. It requires asking families to provide family photos, and photos of nannies and other caregivers. In the first week, or so, of school, I snapped photos of children arriving inside the classroom, and being picked up at the end of the day. Those are some of my favorite photos; capturing the tiny moments of children and their families, that really are everything; The tight embraces, and the kisses on the cheeks of a child too busy to notice.

And those children who are, oh so, busy, have a constant reminder of who will be there to love them at the end of the school day.

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