The Life and Times of Leo Lionni
Teaching with Leo Lionni’s Books
The next book I want to share is all about celebrating differences. A Color of His Own is such a great choice for helping kids with decision making, accepting others, and for helping kids to be comfortable in their own skin. In this book, a chameleon is the main character too, so it’s fun for kids to explore an animal that may be a little new. You might pair nonfiction books or articles about chameleons to help kids compare/contrast fiction and nonfiction. Research reports might also work well. If you like project based learning, you might have your kids research animals with unique features and create a poster, brochure, or slide show sharing why this features is special and important to the animal’s survival, and certainly, class books and prompt ideas are endless. To check out this unit, [CLICK HERE].
In the fall, one of my favorite Lionni books to use is A Busy Year. This one tells the story of two busy mice who care for a tree. The story shares the tree’s life cycle, so if you teach life cycles in second grade, this one could be added to your text sets. This book too could be paired with nonfiction titles about trees for comparison. A project students might enjoy is researching care of trees. They might explore logging practices and create a project explaining how we might reduce the amount of logging or improve our practice. Reading skills included in this set are sequencing, making connection, visualizing, vocabulary development, and narrative elements. To explore further, [CLICK HERE]
The final Lionni book I wanted to share is probably the most popular. Frederick is about a young mouse that’s a poet and dreamer. He spend the fall thinking and contemplating instead of gathering food. If you study fables, this is perfect for that unit. In fact, there are lessons with all of Lionni’s books, so comparing/contrasting them to similar fables is a way to get your kids thinking more deeply. [HERE] is the link to the mini unit I have available.
Whether you choose to use some or all of these wonderful works, be sure Leo Lionni is on your author study list. He left us in 1999, but his life’s work will be with us for a long, long time. These timeless classics have so many important lessons for our students, and we don’t want our kids to miss out.