Tag Archives: Teamwork

PPBF – The Field

As the snow is melting and temperature’s rising (a bit!), I’ve been enjoying the sight of teams, families and friends heading to the town sports fields near my home, sports gear in tow. As is clear from today’s Perfect Picture Book, this is a sight that’s replicated on fields near and far – even those that are never snow-covered.

the-field-cover-300x233Title: The Field

Written By: Baptiste Paul

Illustrated By: Jacqueline Alcántara

Publisher/date: NorthSouth Books, Inc/March 2018

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: soccer; teamwork; play; St. Lucia (Caribbean); #WNDB; #ReadYourWorld

Opening:

Vini! Come!

The field calls.

Brief Synopsis: An island field calls a group of children to play a pick-up game of soccer, friend against friend.

Links to Resources:

  • Learn about the island of St. Lucia, the unnamed setting of The Field;
  • Match the Creole word to the English word and color the book illustrations in this Activity Sheet;
  • Play soccer, or another sport, with your family or friends;
  • Find more ideas in the Discussion Guide.

Why I Like this Book:

This exuberant debut picture book follows a group of island children as they play a game of pick-up soccer, friend against friend. Not only do the children need to first gather their shoes, ball and goals, but they also must convince the fruit vendor to serve as referee, shoo cows from the field, and decide whether to call the match when the “sky falls” and rain muddies the field.

Paul’s short, poetic text, with many Creole words paired with their English equivalents, coupled with Alcántara’s vivid, mixed-media illustrations make this a book that children and their parents will want to read, and reread.

A Note about Craft:

The word count of The Field is extremely low, with only a few words, at most, appearing on most pages, and with only a few full sentences. The longest sentences I found were a mere five words long! The text, to me, reads as a free-verse poem. With short, staccato phrases and sentences, Paul mimics the action and pacing of a soccer match and helps the reader feel as if s/he is part of the game. As writers, we should consider the subject matter and match the pacing to the subject, as Paul does so well here.

Likewise, in a story about teamwork, Paul (or his editor) chose not to name any characters or attribute any dialogue. I’m presuming this may be because attributing the dialogue would slow the pace. Another result, though, is that this encourages any child reading this story to feel as if s/he is on the field, too, a kind of “Every Child,” effect, if you will.

The two-word title of this book, The Field, captured my attention, and, after I’d read the book, caused me to think back on all of the places I, or my kids, enjoyed playing. Thinking about the many other possible titles this story could have had, makes me realize the importance of just the right title to lure readers in.

Finally, The Field is about universal themes like teamwork and soccer and playing through an obstacle, like rain – things everyone can relate to. But the children playing in this story don’t all wear official soccer gear, or even sneakers, the field is shared with livestock, and no bleachers line its sides. From the illustrations and the inclusion of Creole words, we can guess at its island setting.  From the illustrations, we know a diverse group of kids comprise the players. As author and editor Denene Millner wrote in a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece, children of color “want to read books that engage with their everyday experiences, featuring characters who look like them….White children, too, deserve — and need — to see black characters that revel in the same human experiences that they do.” I’d add to that, that kids who don’t have fancy soccer gear or state-of-the-art fields want to read stories that show kids having fun without those things, too. I think Paul and Alcántara have created a book that fulfills both of these desires.

Among the many reviews, including starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist,  see this interview with Paul in The Brown Bookshelf, Vivian Kirkfield’s PPBF review and interview with Paul, Latinxs in Kid Lit’s interview with Alcántara, and Maria Marshall’s PPBF review and interview with Paul.

This is a double debut picture book. Visit Paul’s website and Alcántara’s website. Alcántara won the inaugural 2016 “We Need Diverse Books” illustration mentorship award.

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

I pre-ordered the subject of today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post because I was curious to learn how anyone could explain such a difficult concept in a way that would resonate with young listeners and because I was so pleased to see a young girl grace its cover. Last evening, I had the pleasure of discussing the genesis of the book with one of its authors, Emma Dryden, of drydenbks. I learned that she and co-author Rana DiOrio encountered problems while working on the book, but, with true entrepreneurial grit, they pivoted, solved them and produced a book that is better than the one originally envisioned. I applaud Emma and Rana for showing us all what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Happy belated Book Birthday to What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?, the sixth book in Little Pickle Press’ What Does It Mean To Be…? series.

 
unnamed-2Title: What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

Written By: Rana DiOrio and Emma Dryden

Illustrated By: Ken Min

Little Pickle Press, January 2016

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Entrepreneurship; problem solving; teamwork

Opening: “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? Does it mean making lots of money? No.”

Brief Synopsis: From explaining what being an entrepreneur is not, to focusing on the skills entrepreneurs need, What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? follows a young girl who perseveres to open a business that solves a problem and, thus, becomes an entrepreneur.

Links to Resources: Explore the steps necessary to start a business with your own child or children by identifying a problem, brainstorming solutions, and working to realize your dreams. There are also several online resources for teaching entrepreneurship to children, although most focus on older children and teens. See http://bizkids.com/games for some interesting entrepreneurial games, and http://www.bschool.com/little-entrepreneurs-business-for-kids/ , which includes lesson ideas that are searchable by age group, including pre-K.

For more resources and some further perspectives on What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?, see Joanna Marple’s review.

Why I Like this Book: I’ve been working with college-age entrepreneurs at my alma mater for the past few years, and was, frankly, curious to read a picture book devoted to the subject, especially as both authors are entrepreneurs. Going beyond the “open a lemonade stand” or “rake the neighbors’ leaves” models of youth business, What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? not only shows what it means to be an entrepreneur but explores the work and skills necessary to succeed. That the problem and business solution involve dogs and that the first myth debunked is “making lots of money” are added plusses. As importantly, though, I’m thrilled to see a young girl portrayed tackling technology and entering the world of entrepreneurship.

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!