RDG 6319 Foundations of Reading, Summer 2017 discussion

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Smoky Night by Eve Bunting

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 14 comments Mod
Do you know what actual events this book is based upon? Look closely at the details in the illustrations.


message 2: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments Where do I even start? There are so many emotions swirling around in my head as I read this book. It reminds me of a book I read recently, called Exit West. This book was about a couple who were escaping from their country (presumably in the Middle East), and they slept in churches and tent villages for years before they finally made it to California. This connects to Smoky Night because Daniel and his mother were essentially refugees, where they had to flee their home due to terribly frightening experiences.

The riots that raided Mrs. Kim’s store in Smoky Night are similar to an NPR story I heard recently about the same thing happening to a Korean family during the LA Riots. It was different, however, in that the people in Smoky Night raided Mrs. Kim’s store and stole things, but the people of the neighborhood from the NPR story tried to help protect the Korean family’s store, since they knew them and had become friends.

Somewhat thankfully, I don’t have memories of fleeing my house due to a fire, but I did have friends that had to when I was a young girl. I remembered fondly my fear that was like Daniel’s, when I moved and couldn’t find my cat, Aglaia. She hid on the top shelf in my closet because she was afraid to leave.

Something I thought was interesting about this book was when Daniel said they don’t buy from Mrs. Kim’s store, because his mom thinks they should buy from their “own” people. I think this is a dilemma that still faces us today. In our culture, many people are fearful of those who are unlike them, and because of that, they just avoid any interaction whatsoever. However, when Daniel came to the realization that maybe the cats are friends now because before they just didn’t know each other and now they do, it made everyone in the story stop and think. His mom finally overcame her fear of being with people who are not her “own kind” and reached out to make friends with Mrs. Kim.

I could see myself using this book in my classroom for a multitude of reasons. First of which would be to encourage and accept the diversity that students bring. Each of them have an individual story to tell and opinion to bring to the discussion. As a teacher, it is not just my job to educate them in reading, but also to educate their minds to being citizens of a diverse society. Secondly, like the cats, when we go through something traumatic (or even just difficult) with others, especially those who are unlike us, we have a common ground to connect with them. Learning to read in a grade level where you and most of your peers are already behind is a difficult experience. There are times of joy and excitement, but also of trial and frustration. Together, we can come through to the other side.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the illustrations! There were several levels of detail that many books don’t take the time to address. Take the page where Daniel describes the man “staggering under a pile of clothes he’s taken from the dry cleaners,” for example. While the illustration shows Daniel’s face with Jasmine (the cat), the background of the book has actual photographs of clothes inside the plastic bags as if they were in a pile from the dry cleaners. For students who have a lower level of background knowledge, or for those who simply learn visually, this detail is really helpful. By being able to point out these details in the book itself, it makes for a visually stimulating and, quite frankly, helpful book to someone who wants to teach it.


message 3: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Lerma | 41 comments I have never read this book before, but after reading it, I felt somewhat sad because most of the story seemed chaotic in a way (riots). I felt that the ending was the only positive aspect about the book. Furthermore, I don't know if this would be a good book for kindergarten students. Maybe I just feel that there is too much fighting or problems in this book.


message 4: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Ram Gosnell | 42 comments I love Eve Bunting. Everything I have read from her is real, thought provoking, and inspirational. Might save this for 3rd-5th graders due to content. However, this story illustrates topics that are still prevalent in our society that some younger students already understand.

I like the idea of using it as an introductory picture book class read-aloud for 5th graders; it could integrate into reading more about historical instances in a unit for social justice. I would narrow down the choices for some chaotic instances. Research would be involved utilizing other literature/resource/Internet.

Or, I would love to do use as an ice-breaker at beginning of year where I would split the kids into random groups. Then I would facilitate discussions by providing a handout question-game that helps them find something that they mutually care about. Since I have a cat, I would also use this time to introduce her to the class!


message 5: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Peaks | 14 comments This book isn't normally a book I would pick up, but the picture on the cover is really nice. Honestly this is not a book that would normally interest me. This book made me sad because it was based on the Los Angeles riots. But when daniels apartment building went up it flames, you start to see the neighbors coming together to get along and solve their issues with each other. An activity that is really good for this book is having the children talk with someone who is different from them. The children could discuss how they like different things, family traditions and beliefs and could find things they have in common. You see a lot of racism still going on and this book could be used as a bridge to get people to work together.


message 6: by Erica (new)

Erica Morales | 25 comments This is my first time reading this book and I really enjoyed it. The cover of the book is quite different and the title itself does not give much away. I would have never thought this book was about riots. I like that it gives Daniel's, a young boy, perspective on what is going on around him. Through it all, his mother tried her best to keep things as calm as possible. Through all the negative that was going on, it brought people who normally would not associate with each other together. The cats were a great example of this.


message 7: by Marcus (new)

Marcus VanBuren | 21 comments I am not a big fan of reading books. Being in this class I see that I have to get used to that but after reading this book it has opened my eyes on reading more books by Bunting and expanding my reading. I like how things started out really rough and it got even rougher when the apartment caught fire. Daniel knew all he had was his mother and his cat Jasmine whom he that was lost in the fire or has ran away. This book shows that someone is always willing to help make tough situations better and that you can get alone with neighbors and everyone be happy together.


message 8: by Tien (new)

Tien Dinh | 14 comments I love how this book is so relevant by depicting the riots and chaos through vibrant water colors and few words. This book conveys many difficult issues in the world like violence, racism, and lost. It was quite depressing getting through this book; however, it had a happy ending so that's the bright side. I would not recommend this book to be read for students in kindergarten or 1st grade. The content was too heavy for students so young; nevertheless, students in 3rd grade or older should be exposed and read this book because they need to be informed about the chaotic world we are living in and there should be lesson on how they would improve their own community to prevent this kind of chaos from continuing.


message 9: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Skiles | 14 comments This story is about a young boy and his mom witnessing a riot. Their home catches on fire as due to the aftermath of the riot itself. The boy and his mom hurry out to safety and go to a shelter until the fire is put out and their home is safe to go back to. This book has a great moral to it: the importance of getting along with other despite differences, especially in times of need. I thought this was a touching story but was not too impressed the illustrations. They seemed to not really match the story and were a bit unclear for my liking, but nonetheless, this was still a very powerful picture book. It had a serious tone to it and would be a good book to use to teach kids about diversity.


message 10: by Tanner (new)

Tanner Pruitt | 11 comments This isn't a book that I would use with really little kids but I do think it has an important moral of working with people who are different from you. This is something that students (and people in general) have a hard time with this.


message 11: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Ram Gosnell | 42 comments Marcus wrote: "I am not a big fan of reading books. Being in this class I see that I have to get used to that but after reading this book it has opened my eyes on reading more books by Bunting and expanding my re..."

Eve Bunting creates beautiful, heartbreaking stories that are, unfortunately, true for many children/people. They are great to combat insensitivity or a negative behavior with younger children, but I would recommend her books whenever applicable. I hope you get to read more of her works!


message 12: by Marcus (new)

Marcus VanBuren | 21 comments Ariel wrote: "This book isn't normally a book I would pick up, but the picture on the cover is really nice. Honestly this is not a book that would normally interest me. This book made me sad because it was based..."

I agree with you I do not think I would read this book on a normal bases because who would be a great audience to read this book.


message 13: by Marcus (new)

Marcus VanBuren | 21 comments Tanner wrote: "This isn't a book that I would use with really little kids but I do think it has an important moral of working with people who are different from you. This is something that students (and people in..."


With the way that things are going on in the world today you will have to pick the right group of students to read this book to. Some students will take this book as a bad way of understanding how people can live and get along in life no matter what is going on in the world.


message 14: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Ram Gosnell | 42 comments Katherine wrote: "Where do I even start? There are so many emotions swirling around in my head as I read this book. It reminds me of a book I read recently, called Exit West. This book was about a couple who were es..."

I agree, the use of actual photos is incredible. I also like your text-to-text connection. People get displaced for varied reasons; unfortunately, there will probably students who can relate for some reason. I really enjoy books that remind me to be grateful.


message 15: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments Erica wrote: "This is my first time reading this book and I really enjoyed it. The cover of the book is quite different and the title itself does not give much away. I would have never thought this book was abou..."

I never thought about the connection with his mom and her calmness. But now that I think about it, my mom is very similar...and I think most moms probably are! This would be a good book to get students to connect character traits to people they know in real life.


message 16: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments Stephanie wrote: "This story is about a young boy and his mom witnessing a riot. Their home catches on fire as due to the aftermath of the riot itself. The boy and his mom hurry out to safety and go to a shelter unt..."

Agreed. I think that students sometimes feel like they need permission to talk about their differences, but also to have those conversations in a safe place.


message 17: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Lerma | 41 comments Ariel wrote: "This book isn't normally a book I would pick up, but the picture on the cover is really nice. Honestly this is not a book that would normally interest me. This book made me sad because it was based..."
I felt the same way about this book. I just feel like the book did not make an effort to interest the audience. This book just didn't make me feel excited to read :(


message 18: by Ixtchel (new)

Ixtchel Olalde | 24 comments I was surprised to see a story, a children's book at that, where the riots were explored. As soon as the story begins you are thrown into what it happening. I think this story could actually be shared with students in different grade levels. You could share this in 3rd grade definitely, but I was also thinking higher grades like 4th and 5th grade. They might be able to make a connection with all that has gone on in the past couple of years. Also, this book would be a great introduction in a history class. I was thinking that this book could even be used in an art class, as a reference point so that students could present their own representation of the riots in history or of now. I think overall that would have been a very scary event for any child to experience, but there are so many points in the book that can lead to analytical thinking, and journal writing that could be added to it.


message 19: by Ixtchel (new)

Ixtchel Olalde | 24 comments Erica wrote: "This is my first time reading this book and I really enjoyed it. The cover of the book is quite different and the title itself does not give much away. I would have never thought this book was abou..."

The first time I read this I was very surprised. I think the art work is interesting because it looks so broken and geometrical. It is interesting to try and interpret what the artist was trying to share with the artwork. However, it adds a lot to the book and shares the emotions that can be felt as you read the story.


message 20: by Ixtchel (new)

Ixtchel Olalde | 24 comments Tien wrote: "I love how this book is so relevant by depicting the riots and chaos through vibrant water colors and few words. This book conveys many difficult issues in the world like violence, racism, and lost..."

I was thinking as well that this was a book for older students. It would be hard to explain what is going on in this book as well as trying to share the history of that time in order to introduce or extend the story.


message 21: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Lerma | 41 comments Tanner wrote: "This isn't a book that I would use with really little kids but I do think it has an important moral of working with people who are different from you. This is something that students (and people in..."

I agree with you Tanner. I also think that this book would be perfect for older students.


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