This section includes descriptions and links to recommended picture books that make excellent feature books in different themes or are special favorites that can extend and enrich the study of a particular subject.
Featured Book Activity
Tibet Through the Red Box
written and illustrated by Peter Sis
A mandala is a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol or diagram representing the universe, often used in sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation. In common use, it has become a generic term for any geometric pattern that symbolically represents things, places, or ideas. In Tibet Through the Red Box most sections are introduced by a full page color mandala. Study the mandala before reading the section and then return after finishing to discover deeper meaning from it.
Look at pictures of mandalas from different cultures, religions, and periods of history, before encouraging children to create their own mandala. Have them choose an idea or theme for their mandala before starting. Point out that mandala frameworks are predominately circles or squares but “anything goes” in the design and details. Provide a variety of materials for their use including markers and paints, colored papers, fabric scraps, and other found materials. Ask each to name their mandala and when completed display with nameplates in a museum-like arrangement.
Make a connection
written by Edith Baer, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman
written by Nigel Gray, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier
Different Cultures Yet the Same
Children around the world make their way to school in many different ways. Even in the United States there are many modes of travel used by students. This Is the Way We Go to School supports meaningful opportunities for categorizing (land vehicles, water transport) and making comparisons (different types of wheeled vehicles). A Country Far Away provides a delightful way to explore the similarities and differences of two disparate cultures in greater depth. These books make a good starting point for further exploration of cultural diversity.