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My Friends

Last updated Friday, March 6, 2009

Author: Taro Gomi
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0811848493
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2009

Synopsis: In this ode to everyday activities and things, a free-spirited girl hops, jumps and kicks her way across the countryside, paying homage to her friends along the way. Like a satellite launched into perpetual motion, the constantly moving child praises--among others--the rooster who taught her to march, the ant who taught her to explore the earth and the teachers who taught her to study. In spare, luminous landscapes, the minute world reveals a special beauty to those still and attentive enough to behold it. The activities depicted are alternately lively and quiet, but the prevailing mood is one of continuous celebration. Gomi's ( Bus Stops ; Where's the Fish? ) meticulous sense of design and careful use of brilliantly colored, highly delineated images imbues the story with a sense of the wonder and delight to be derived from life's simplest--but bountiful--moments.

Note to readers:
•  Note: Please read the English version. If you have time and can read Spanish, read the Spanish version. The book is short so read slowly and go over pictures extensively.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is your friend?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How do you make friends?
•  Can you have animals as friends?
•  Can you learn from friends? Can you learn from animals?
•  Do you have a book as a friend? If so, what book is your friend?

Craft ideas:
•  Conversation HEARTS: Letters to the Troops and First Family. In response to President Obama's call to service and volunteerism, make valentines to send the Troops or any member of the First Family (President Obama, First Lady Michelle, Sasha, Malia). Have each student write their first name, school and grade on the back of their valentine. Turn the valentines into the Site Coordinators to be sent out following the reading clubs.
•  Valentine's Day bookmark. Take a piece of construction paper and fold in half lengthwise. Fold lengthwise again, so there will be 4 long rectangles. Then, fold the paper in half width wise. This should give you 8 bookmarks per page. Cut on the creased lines. Next, decorate by drawing, putting tulle overlay or cutting and pasting on different colored hearts. After decorating, make a small hole towards the top. Take a piece of ribbon and fold it in half. Insert the folded end into the hole and bring the loose ends of the ribbon into that hole.
•  Paper heart ornament. Trace a large heart onto construction paper and cut out. Cut additional smaller hearts in other colors or using tulle/lace circles. Glue these additional pieces directly onto the large heart. Make two hole on each side of the heart. Cut ribbon and insert it through the 2 holes. Secure the ribbon by tying knots on each end. Heart ornament can be put on door knob or on a bulletin board.
•  Color templates of Horse, Cat, Dog and Butterfly or Cut out templates of animals and trace on paper for kids to cut
•  Draw a picture of your best friend and you having fun
•  Make a Valentine’s Day card to give to your best friend
•  Activities-- Have the kids hide like a rabbit; walk like a cat, jump like a dog, march like the rooster; nap like the crocodile; sing like the birds...

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!