Posted tagged ‘Families’

The Important Thing

December 19, 2013

At this time of year when priorities can easily become confused, a certain book comes to mind. I’ve mentioned this book before, but it’s a classic and deserves to be mentioned again.

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The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown has been around for over fifty years, and it still hasn’t lost its charm. The illustrations by Leonard Weisgard are a combination of bright colors and black and white drawings that compliment Brown’s rhythmic text. It’s a perfect book to share with a child. It celebrates the importance of the world around us − the simple things. When the book ends, the story need not end. You can continue by telling about the things you think are important. It’s fun. Give it a try.

With Christmas just around the corner, here’s my important thing.

The important thing about Christmas is the presence of love. It’s a time for family and friends, a time to share, and a time to laugh. But the important thing about Christmas is the presence of love.

What’s your important thing?

New Books At My Door!

October 17, 2013

My cup bubble-ith over! The mail carrier delivered books I ordered for our school library. A very generous family made this all possible. Oh, joy!

The book I immediately connected with on an emotional level was The Matchbox Diary written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

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Fleishman weaves a story of a little girl and her great-grandfather and how she learns about his past in a unique way. Unable to read and write as a young boy, her great-grandfather kept an unwritten diary by putting meaningful objects into matchboxes to chronicle his life. The girl learns about her great-grandfather’s home in Italy, his ship ride to America, and his fear of doctors at Ellis Island. The matchboxes tell the of difficult times he and his family had as transient workers in America, seeing his first baseball game, and his mother convincing his father to let him attend school to learn to read and write. Each matchbox is a peek into the happy and sad moments of her great-grandfather’s past.  Ibatoulline’s detailed illustrations done in acrylic gouache bring past and present together.

Paul Fleischman’s story touches the heart. It reminds me of my grandmother who came to America as a young woman from Czechoslovakia.

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As in The Matchbox Diary, my grandmother traveled  by ship and went through Ellis Island. She married and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My grandparents worked hard – sometimes two and three jobs at a time – in order to provide for themselves and my dad. They were able to buy a house, but my grandmother wanted more for her family. She insisted my dad attend a good school to learn to read and write properly. She saved money and sent him to Marquette High School and then to Marquette University where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. For her, it was a dream come true.

When I first read The Matchbox Diary I saw many parallels between the great-grandfather and my grandmother. Life was not always easy, but there was an unspoken work ethic to do your job and do it well to attain your goals. This book works on many levels and is well-worth taking time to enjoy a look into the past.

Stay tuned for more treasures the mail carrier delivered.

What’s Important?

April 11, 2013

What’s important? The Important Book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard is. It’s been around since 1949, and it’s still popular today.  That says a lot for a book!


I’ve used this book year after year with my students. The book lends itself to discussions and provides a springboard for writing activities. Repetition plays a big part in making this a great book to share. Each page of the book follows a pattern.

Look at what some of my second graders wrote.

The important thing about a goldfish is that it swims. It is gold and small. It lives in a bowl full of water. And it has gills for breathing. But the important thing about a goldfish is that it swims.

-by Sydney

The important thing about school is that you have recess. You have lunch. You have math. You read. You write. But the important thing about school is that you have recess.

-by Henry

The important thing about gold is that it is shiny. It is the color of the Green Bay Packers! Leprechauns love gold. It’s worth money. But the important thing about gold is that it is shiny.

-by Andrew

I decided to share in the writing fun.

The important thing about families is that you are there for one another. Sometimes families make you laugh. Sometimes families make you cry. Families pull together during good times and bad times. But the important thing about families is that you are there for one another.

-by Me

Speaking of families, we went to visit our daughter over spring break. We stayed eleven days. That’s almost four times as many days as Ben Franklin said visitors should stay. In his words, “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” We took showers. We didn’t stink, but we stretched the limits of our stay. What can I say? We love our daughter! She’s family. And during our overextended visit, we picked up a new family member.

A wonderful man asked our daughter to marry him. We’re thrilled! We now have one more person in our family to be there for.

That’s the important thing!

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