Books give the reader a sense of different perspectives that they otherwise would never experience. I thought, with this premise, I would make a short list of outstanding books that most likely give the reader a different point of view and help point out the fact that life can be looked at completely differently - depending on whose "shoes" you are in.
"All I see", by Cynthia Rylant, and illustrated by Peter Catalanotto, is a beautifully written picture book centered around a boy who watches a painter from a distance. The painter is completely unaware of this young boy as he whistle's Beethoven's Fifth. The reader quickly observes how the painter and the boy observe all that is around each of them. This is a wonderful example of two completely different points of view. The pictures are colorful and will entice even the youngest of readers.
"I am the Dog, I am the Cat", by Donald Hall, and illustrated by Barry Moser, is a picture book that will be an easy grasp on this subject. This book demonstrates the obvious difference between a large Rottweiler and a small cat. Both animals talk from their point of view which makes this book an excellent story for younger children to understand. The pictures are great as well!
"Mississippi Mud: Three Prairie Journals", by Ann Turner, and illustrated by Robert J. Blake, is a powerful picture book that is written with older children in mind. Ms. Turner has woven an historical account of crossing the prairie in a covered wagon in order to live out West in Oregon. The story is told through the eyes of three members of a family. Because of the different points of view, the reader will begin to understand the agonies and hardships these people faced as they traveled long and difficult miles each and every day. The text, along with the beautiful pictures, make for a journey to not only understand, but not soon forget.
"Morning Girl", by Michael Dorris, is an historical fiction account of what life was like before Columbus discovered America. This account is about a twelve year old Native American, Morning Girl, and her younger brother, Star Boy. Each chapter alternates with one, then the other, discussing life among their tribe. The text is so beautifully written that it could almost be in poetry form. But it doesn't lose the interest in the story line. There is much that one will learn from each point of view and the ending of this incredible story will not leave your memory for a very long time!
"Seedfolks", by Paul Fleischman, is a perfect example of different view points to a similar experience! Even though I've reviewed this book before, the subject matter warrants listing it here. It's a short book full of short stories that become entangled and connected with each other. It begins with a young girl who plants a small seed in the center of an overgrown, refuse-ridden lot surrounded by high-rise apartments. The next chapter begins with an observer, an elderly woman, who spies this young child from her window and is very suspicious. She sets out to find out what this young child was doing out in the middle of this filthy area. By the end, the reader will discover how these people all became united through a simple obsession of beauty and plants. This book is a great read aloud and will be enjoyed by all.
"The Shrinking of Treehorn", by Florence Parry Heide, and illustrated by Edward Gorey, is a humorous picture book that takes on a funny view point. It's about a small boy who begins to shrink and no one notices except himself - and the reader. Both the author and illustrator have created a wonderfully funny book that shows how adults ignore children and how they forget how children feel about things. There are also two sequels, "Treehorn's Treasure" and Treehorn's Wish". Young children will especially identify with these stories.
And I can't complete this list without a poetry book on the subject. "If You're Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand", by Kalli Dakos, and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This poetry collection can be enjoyed by all with the perspectives of both teachers and students alike.
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