Saturday, March 10, 2018

Reading For Research Month, Day 6

On Day 6 of Reading for Research Month, author Keila Dawson discussed tough subjects in picture books. She says such books introduce kids to "characters who have figured out how to cope with difficult circumstances or problems." Actually Dawson's brief paragraph on the subject was quite good. She did quick discussions of each of the books she uses, listing the topics involved and giving what sounds like a moral for the story.

Unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on one of the six books she recommends.

Day 6 Picture Book

The Water Princess by Susan Verde with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds is a lovely book that could easily have spiraled into an instructive problem story, but it most definitely does not. I think a big part of what makes this book so workable is the main character, who fantasizes about being an African princess. Also, she recognizes the struggle she and the women she knows deal with, making a lengthy round-trip each day to get water, but she doesn't lecture the readers about it. The author trusts us to recognize that this is a tough subject.

This book illustrates several points Dawson makes:
  • It's inspired by a real person and a real situation
  • The situation is going to be unfamiliar to most American child readers, but they can empathize with the main character, in large part because she is introduced as someone with an active fantasy life, much as many readers have.
  • This has the potential to spark conversations, particularly because of the back matter. See Day 3.
What does the subject of tough subjects have to do with my picture book manuscript? Nah, really nothing.

ReFoReMo Books Read To Date: 17

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