Okay, okay! I know this is a little Christmasy...but I couldn't resist.
As my first student teaching assignment, I have been placed in charge of the Read Aloud. This was always my favorite part of the day (and still is!). As I began to research "best 4th grade read aloud books," however, I quickly became frustrated. Flipping through the chapter books, I discovered that many contained some rather "colorful" language... Most of these recommended books (award winners!), I felt I couldn't in good conscience read to children. What a dilemma!
When did popular children's literature take such a dive in standards, and why have we allowed it to continue? As a teacher, this is a huge thorn in my side, and a rant I'm sure I will reprise in the future.
Leafing through my own boxes of books-- my Goodwill treasures-- I was comforted by running across one of my favorite picture books: The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger:
This is a book that all children (and adults) should read. It is the story of a dream that a special donkey has one night. He dreams he is carrying a majestic city, then a special ship, then a fountain, and then a soft rose. His last dream he thinks he is carrying a lady full of heaven...and soon realizes this is no dream! A beautiful story about the night Christ was born, this story incorporates different symbols of Our Lady as a city of God, an ark, a spiritual vessel (fountain), and the mystical rose. The author points out that decorating most of the pages are tiny blue forget-me-nots, which in French are called les yeux de Marie, the Eyes of Mary. How appropriate!