LCM Book of the Month
Each month, LCM will feature one of our favorite children’s books that can be found in one of our five book nooks in the Museum, in our Talk and Play Center, or in our Museum Store. Some of these topics can be difficult to discuss, so we have included several discussion questions to help you engage more deeply with the reading. Overall, the books included promote empathy and kindness. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
If you would like to suggest a discussion question for one of our selected books and/or if you would like to share something that you and your child discussed, we would love to hear from you.
What are we reading?
This month, we read Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport.
What do you think the author means by “big words”?
During or after reading:
What are some examples of words that hurt young Martin and words that helped him?
Dr. King was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and his legacy continues to impact us today. That’s why we celebrate his birthday each year. What are some examples of his leadership in the book? If needed, highlight the verbs in the story - studied, read, listened, marched, shared, cared.
Think of a time when you were a leader. What words describe your leadership? What did you do or what actions did you take?
(Or How might you be a leader? What could you do?)
What big words is Dr. King known for?
Why do you think it’s important to honor his birthday each year?
You can also do a picture walk and enjoy all of Bryan Collier’s paintings. Inspired by Bryan Collier, our Studio in the Park designed a collaborative art project that focused on Unity.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Having a special designated time to celebrate African Americans was the idea of historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
This month, we read ABC Black History and Me, written and illustrated by Queenbe Monyei. It is an alphabet book so children can practice phonics, but they also have an opportunity to prepare for big ideas.
What does history mean?
We know that history means things that happened in the past, but what we do now, the decisions we make now will one day be our history, so it’s important to think about that and to think about how we can learn from the past.
B is for brave. What makes you brave?
E is for equality. How did Ruby Bridges stand up for equality? She was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 14, 1960. You can read her biography in our Studio or Make Your Mark galley book nooks.
I is for Inventors. Where do you get your ideas?
Have you played in our Make Your Mark Gallery? How do you make your mark?
T is for Teachers. What makes your teacher special?
What questions did your child come up with? What might you suggest for interacting with this book? We’d love to hear from you.
In March, we read Stacey’s Extraordinary Words by Stacey Abrams. March is Women’s History Month and Stacey Abrams is definitely a woman we love to celebrate!
Stacey Yvonne Abrams is an American politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017. She ran for governor of Georgia in 2018, but she did not win. This loss helped her to persevere and work for voting rights for all people. She is running again for governor of Georgia in 2022.
Perseverance is the theme of her autobiographical children’s book Stacey’s Extraordinary Words. As you read this beautifully-illustrated book, perhaps discuss:
* When is a time that you persevered?
* What does it mean to be a good sport? Why is that sometimes hard to do?
* Do you have a favorite word? Why do you like that word?
* What makes Jake a bully?
* How does Stacey respond to Jake?
* How would you respond to bullying?
Earth Day is April 22! What are some ways that you and your family work to help our planet? At the Museum, we are committed to help our world, too. We recycle, we avoid one-use plastics, and our entire building is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold building, which basically means it was designed to save energy and promote a healthy environment for all guests. If you would like to learn more about our commitment to sustainability, we would love to share details with you.
For April's reading, we focused on kindness to our planet and read 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Marsh.
Which of the things in the book are something you do at home or at school?
Which could you try to do?
Have you ever made a toy or instrument from used materials like old boxes? Would you like to?
Are there things that you do at home to help our world that are not included in the book?
In May, we read Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, written by Nina LaCour and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita.
This book is about a child who misses her mommy when she goes on a trip. We sometimes miss people we care about when they’re not with us. Is there someone you miss right now or have missed before? When we miss people, it’s because we care about them so much, which is such a wonderful thing!
* What are some things the child in the story does when she misses her mom?
* What are some things you and your family do when you miss someone?
* How did the child react when Mommy returned? Why do you think she responded that way?
Sometimes our feelings for happy, longing, excited, or scared can get all jumbled up. That’s ok. It’s good to try to talk about the feelings we are having.
When the child and later Mommy describe how much they miss each other, they use similes. Similes are comparing one thing to another using the word like or as.
The child says, “I miss you as much as all of the snow in Minnesota.”
Mommy says, “I missed you as deep as a scuba diver down in the ocean.”
Can you try using a simile to describe how much you love or miss someone?
June we celebrated PRIDE month at the Louisiana Children’s Museum and read Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. This beautifully-written book is about identify, love, and acceptance. Here are some ideas and questions for you and your family as you read this lovely tale.
Each of us is unique. What are some things that make you uniquely you?
Some people have the idea that there are things only boys do and some things that only girls do, but we know that all games and interests are open to all kids. What are some games you like to play? Could a (boy or girl) also like that game?
How would you describe Julian? Why?
How would you describe Abuela? Why?
When Julian joins the other mermaids, how do you think that makes him feel? Why?
What does it mean to celebrate differences?
Abuela loves Julian unconditionally. That means she loves him forever and ever no matter what. Think of someone you love unconditionally. Wouldn’t it be fun to draw a picture of you and this person together?
In July, we shared Ruby Has a Worry by Tom Percival. In this book, the main character is Ruby, who is a very curious, creative girl, but one day something starts to worry her and this worry gets bigger and bigger and Ruby is not her usual adventurous self any more. Ruby finds a way to face her worry though.
Takeaways from this book include:
- Everyone has worries. We are not alone.
- Ignoring our feelings can increase our worries.
- Sharing our worries helps us deal with them.
Here are some conversation starters/ questions:
* I get worried sometimes. Do you ever get worried or Is there something worrying you now?
* How does Ruby feel about her worry? How can you tell?
* Describe what you notice is happening to the worry.
* How does Ruby change?
* Ruby tried to ignore her worry. What happens when you pretend you are not worried?
* What happened when Ruby met a child? How did talking with him help her to manage her worry?
* Sharing our worries with someone who cares about us is a good way to handle our worries. What are some other ways that might help?
In August, we chosed the empowering story "Say Something!" by Peter Reynolds. This story teaches children that we need their voices to speak up for themselves and for others to make the world a better place.
After reading the story, talk about things you care about. What are some reasons people and the world need your voice?
In the book, what are the different ways to say something? Is there a way to use your voice that is not mentioned?
Why does the world need YOUR voice?
How do the kids in the story who said something appear to feel? What do you see that makes you say that? Why do you think they feel that way?
Who is someone in your life with whom you can share your voice?
If people don’t use their voices and actions to communicate about things they care about, how will people know about needs, injustice, or something you feel passionate about?
Sometimes all we need to do is “say something” to make a difference.
International Dot Day is celebrated on September 15, and was established to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration. It's also a great day to foster self-expression. It all started with the book "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds, which we will read this month. Here are some discussion starters to share with your child when you read "The Dot" together.
* How does Vashti feel about drawing?
* What did her teacher tell her to do? Why do you think she told her that?
* How did Vashti feel about what her teacher did to the drawing?
* How did Vashti help the boy she met?
* How do you feel when you help people? Why?
* Tell me about a time when you helped someone or someone helped you?
* What do you think Vashti learned from her experience?
* How do you make your mark? Do you paint, sing, dance, draw, build, help others?
Be sure to visit our Make Your Mark Gallery at the Museum on your next visit!
When the Morning Comes by Big Chief Juan Pardo
Written by Juan Pardo, the big chief of the Golden Comanches, this book provides an insider’s view about the rich tradition of the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans. This story is about two brothers’ interpretation of our beloved Mardi Gras tradition. The younger brother, Jason, is not so sure about how he feels about it. The older brother, Max, tries to explain to Jason what happens in New Orleans on Mardi Gras morning, when the Mardi Gras Indians come out in their colorful, feather-and-bead suits. Eventually, Jason understands just how unique and beautiful the tradition really is.
The Museum has been honored to have multiple visits from Big Chief Juan Pardo! We look forward to his next visit. Stay tuned to our programming to find out when he will return.
* How did Jason feel at the beginning of the story? Why do you think he felt that way?
* What helped to change Jason’s mind?
* Have you ever seen a Mardi Gras Indian? If so, what did you think?
* Do you have connections to Mardi Gras Indians in your family?
We’d love to hear your story!
What are some customs or traditions you share with your family? Songs? Foods? Games? Holiday celebrations?
What are your favorites? Why are they your favorites?
Join us for our November Book of the Month reading of If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson. This heart-warming book is about reaching an understanding and learning to cooperate with others.
What do you know about seeds? What could they grow into?
What do bunny and mouse grow in their garden?
The bunny and the mouse did not want to share. How does it feel when someone doesn’t share with you?
Why is it sometimes hard to share?
How is the ending of the book different from the beginning of the book?
What happens when all of the animals are a part of the garden?
Small acts of kindness can make a difference. What can we do to plant kindness or how can we be kind to others?
What Is Given From the Heart by Patricia McKissack is a three-time Coretta Scott King award winner. It is an inspiring and touching story of compassion and the power of giving to others, a perfect theme for the holiday season. On your next visit, find a copy in our Make Your Mark gallery or purchase your own from our gift shop.
What are some of the challenges that James and his mother have faced?
What is special about the gift that James gives to Sarah? How does it make Sarah feel? How does it make James feel?
What does it mean to give from the heart? Have you given from the heart lately?
How might you give from the heart? We’d love to hear your ideas!