Are you looking for a way to start a meaningful conversation with learners? Here’s an interesting idea: begin with a compelling illustration from a picture book. Just open up the book and give the audience time to notice…quietly. After some time, start the conversation. Ask learners what they notice and wonder. What does the illustrator want them to consider? The trick to this lesson is finding a fascinating illustration, and boy did I find one!
Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
This beautifully told story will make every child feel good about themselves. Take a look at the introduction. You’ll see a gorgeous boy beaming at you. You can’t help but smile back at the page. But this is not the illustration for discussion. Turn to the page that features a boy holding a songbook. He is surrounded by trophies in his bedroom. Some of the trophies are related to sports. Others are not.
After giving learners time to quietly notice the illustration, ask the following questions:
- What are you noticing? What are you wondering?
- Why do you suppose trophies are in the illustration? Why are the figures holding blank signs? What do you think the signs would say if there were words on them?
Record responses on chart paper. It would be interesting to hear what learners would say about the signs. If they have background knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement, they might suggest something about eradicating racism. But they may also make a connection to the March for Our Lives and Black Lives Matter demonstrations. If that’s the case, the signs may hold a different message. They may even connect to a cause of their own.
Learn more about this particular illustration by watching Book Chat with the Illustrator: Bryan Collier on Hey Black Child from Little, Brown School & Library.
Make a Poster
Now for the fun part. Give learners a chance to create a poster for the trophies in the illustration. Here are some options for making a poster:
- Poster boards, crayons, markers and paint.
- Canva. This AASL Best App for Teaching and Learning platform offers free backgrounds, images, and fonts.
- WalkWok. This iOS App is specifically made to design posters for a cause. Read WalkWoke: an iOS app for your student activists (and a media literacy app) by Joyce Valenza to learn more.
I would love to see the posters your students create! Please share them using the hashtag #AASLstandards and refer to the Include Shared Foundation.
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: II.B.1 Learners adjust their awareness of the global learning community by interacting with learners who reflect a range of perspectives.
Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. (http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards/best/apps/2016)
“Book Chat with the Illustrator: Bryan Collier on Hey Black Child.” Vimeo, 9 June 2018, vimeo.com/229746715.
Perkins, Useni Eugene, and Bryan Collier. Hey Black Child. LB Keys/Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Valenza, J. (2018, May 23). WalkWoke: an iOS app for your student activists (and a media literacy app)[Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2018/05/23/walkwoke-an-ios-app-for-your-student-activists-and-a-media-literacy-opp/
Author: Maureen Schlosser
I am a certified school librarian who has a passion for curating and creating content for school and community programs. Most of my work is inspired by remarkable picture books that compel children to wonder about the world around them.