the March/April 2000 issue (vol. 13, Issue 4) of Connect,
a publication of Synergy
of children's literature have been selected because they raise
opportunities for inquiry of one sort or another. But you may disagree.
Any high-quality children's book might raise intriguing questions
for a specific child. On the other hand, our choices here might
not captivate a certain reader or listener. What do you recommend?
Let us know and we will publish your idea or list in a coming issue.
the Elephant, by Ting-xing Ye (Annick Press, 1998),
tells the story of a boy and young elephant. The Emperor
will take the elephant away unless the villagers can tell
its weight. They have two days.
Hei-dou, devises a plan and it works, to the amazement
of the villagers. Colorful and detailed illustrations by
Suzane Langlois add to the story and allow you to raise
other questions about the community, the elephant and the
June 29, 1999,
by David Weisner (Clarion, 1995), tells of strange things happening
all over the US shortly after Holly Evans launches vegetable seeds
in flats into the air, lifted by weather balloons. Her science
project may be the explanation for such things as, "Artichokes
Advance on Anchorage" and other headlines. The book explains one
approach to the scientific method while it is also a work of science
fiction that has been enjoyed by teachers and students.
River Ran Wild, by Lynne Cherry (Harcourt Brace, 1992),
could be used in relation to a specific study of watersheds.
Or, it could raise questions about human behavior, first
about ignoring a valuable resource and then working to
the book is about the Nashua River in eastern Massachusetts,
but the story could apply to many rivers and bio-regions.
Wonderful illustrations, large and small, allow for many
more questions by readers.
Wise Woman and Her Secret, by Eve Merriam (Simon & Schuster,
1991), tells the tale of a woman who will not reveal the
secret of her wisdom. Finally, a young girl discovers it,
yet she is amazed, "How can I have found it?"
the old woman replies, "The secret of wisdom is to be curious
. . . to keep on wandering and wondering." This is an exceptional
book that also includes the criticism that the old woman
faces because she believes so firmly that people must find
the secret on their own. Illustrations by Linda Graves
add to the story and its characters.
Killed Cock Robin? by Jean Craighead George (Dutton, 1971),
is a young adult book with an exciting environmental storyline.
Two eighth-graders have set out to discover why this particular
robin died. After much investigation, they find the cause in
a story that is believable, interesting and informative. Although
its neighborly, small town environment would not be familiar
to all readers, this scientific detective story remains fresh
even after thirty years.
of King Karfu, by Doug Cushman (Harper Collins, 1996), uses
both story and art to tell a story and provide clues to the mystery.
Readers can discover more than the text actually tells. The entire
book pretends to be the notebook of the famous detective, Seymour
Sleuth, with his notes, pasted-in clues and scraps of information.
The text and illustrations would be of interest to many primary
children, but older elementary students can raise interesting
questions from careful study of the book.
post this issue of Connect granted by Synergy
Learning International, Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94123