Chris Maynard's Reviews > Sam and the Lucky Money

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
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Student Name: Chris Maynard

Purpose: Picture Book (Wide Reading Project)

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Format: Picture Book

Grade: Intermediate

Subject/Themes: See Above Bookshelves

School Use: Sam and the Lucky Money has great applications beyond teaching students about homelessness and the importance of putting materialism aside for the sake of helping others. I can see this being used in a social studies classroom around the holidays to teach about different celebrations such as the Chinese New Year. Similar multicultural ideas, such as different neighborhoods like Chinatown, could be explored in the classroom and related to student lives. This is definitely a picture book that I would like in my late primary or intermediate classroom.

Review: Besides its incredible message of taking care of the less fortunate by putting material needs aside, Sam and the Lucky Money stood out in terms of its content about the Chinese New Year (e.g., describing the red envelopes, establishing the idea of "lucky money", etc.) and the vibrant illustrations of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. The dynamic colors throughout the illustrations truly portray a neighborhood (Chinatown) and event (Chinese New Year) that may seem foreign to me but still offer the opportunity for selfless actions (giving the lucky money to the homeless man) that transcend cultures and bind us together as humans. Overall, the execution of this message between the interplay of text and illustrations was really effective and impacting to me, leaving me feeling hopeful about humanity, at least when it comes to children, at the end of this read.
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