April 2nd International Children's Book Day

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TSWBAT write stories around the 2014 theme, Imagine Nations Through Story, after learning about a country through informational text.

Big Idea

ALL children of the world should have access to books.

Warm Up

10 minutes

I begin the lesson with the photograph of Antonio La Cava, a retired Italian teacher.  He transformed his truck into a moving library and travels from village to village sharing books with the children.  They're encouraged to write something inside the book when finished, which gives living memory to each of Mr. La Cava's library books.

The students write five Adjectives to describe this photograph, then develop a paragraph around those words.  They Add Adjectives to the Smart Board image Moving Library. Once completed, they turn to a classmate and share. Discussing Moving Library stories.

Writing adjectives is a way to conjur pictures in your mind.  The students will be writing "snapshot stories" in the next section, and will refer to the adjectives used to describe the moving library as they envision the student they're writing about.  In W.5.3 writing narratives to develop...imagined events...the descriptive details are crucial to the building of the story.

This brief activity with the photograph illustrates the joy of books, yet shows the kids the challenge other children have in acquiring them.  


25 minutes

Imagine Nations Through Story is the 2014 theme of International Children's Book Day which takes place on or around April 2nd each year since 1967.  The date is Hans Christen Andersen's birthday.

The kids are separated into Groups of Four, and randomly given a 3 x 5 card with a different nation of the world. I've selected informational books from each of seven countries from the library, and distribute to the groups.  Each group is tasked with reading and Discussing the text together.  They then focus on one area of the country, for example Describing the location of India to describe in story format.  They use the International Children's Book Day Worksheet to report out. 

One of the worksheet questions asks whether or not it appears the children in this country will have access to books.  The students will write inferences, such as this, based on the informational text.

I want my students to practice CCS W.5.3 to improve their skills of imaginative narrative writing.  Within the context of our International Children's Book Day lesson, they're exposed to the fact that not all kids have the opportunity to own or enjoy books.  This surprising revelation primes them for creative writing as they put themselves in the shoes of one of these children.

Their final task is to write a Snapshot Story about a child in the country they learned about.  Included in this story is a reference to books and/or education.

Informational Text Questions student examples

Somalia Snapshot Story

India Snapshot Story


15 minutes

After reading and creating stories from the seven country books, Seven Countries the groups use a square piece of scrapbook paper to create a poster Beginning Somalia Poster about their country.  They hold up the poster as they read their stories, and talk about the country's access to children's books. Here is the Poster Collection.

The children love creating illustrations, and as a perfect image to present with their "snapshot stories" I like giving them the opportunity to collaborate on a cool picture.  Giving them the square scrabook paper doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but the different size and feel (textured) of the paper helped them to approach the drawing a bit differently.  I love hearing them share.