Making connections is how we comprehend what we are reading, helping us get a deeper understanding, scaffolding our learning.
One of the ways a reader makes connections is between the book they are reading currently, with one they may have read or hear read aloud earlier. There are a myriad ways children make connections to what they’ve read before and I always marvel at the tiniest things they pick on that may help them make meaning.
So starting from this week, I will share with you two books that I have made a connection between in different ways.
Welcome to my first 'TWOSDAY' pair.
This weeks share is a fiction-fiction pairing.
Last week was artist Mehli Gobhai’s birthday and I chose to celebrate it by reading his picture book LAKSHMI THE WATER BUFFALO WHO WOULDN’T.
We were still dipping in and out of the Indian artist theme that we had started last term and this book was a wonderful way to showcase his art.
Lakshmi, the water buffalo is true to her namesake, the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi. She gives the family milk from which they make ghee and cheese to sell and even her dung provides them with fuel. Hansa, Gokul’s mother, milks her every day. Lakshmi seems to take note of Hansa’s bangles and her red ‘odhni’ and stays calm while she is milked. But when Hansa is ill and is unable to get out of bed, Lakshmi is unhappy and refuses to be milked. A little bit of trickery and plenty of humour, solves the problem!
This is beautiful book, well written and filled with the stunning art of MEHLI GOBHAI.
Isn’t it just wonderful how children identify with books?
This was a mirror book for one of my young students who rarely ever shared, but had plenty to share about cattle, and his life back at his grandmothers house in the village, during the pandemic, with this book. He shared about dung used for flooring, mixed with water to purify an area and for cooking as well. Although this sharing drew a few ‘eewws’ from my mostly urban middle class children, another piped up to say how dried cow dung cakes were used for the 'pooja' at her brothers thread ceremony. Some who were familiar with milking a cow, at their native places or farms, shared their experiences and this little book turned out to be both a mirror and a window during my sessions.
I couldn’t help but think about another delightful book on my shelf, KISS THE COW by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand.
In contrast to the one above, this is in a very western, yet rural setting, featuring cow.
Mama May has so many children that she cannot count them. Annalisa was not the youngest, nor the oldest, but she was the most curious and stubborn.
Every day Annalisa would follow Mama May to watch her milk Luella. Their cow kept their huge family fed with milk and cheese. Annalisa wants to milk Luella, but Mama is wary. Mama has a special song and a kiss for Luella and warns Annalisa not to do anything to upset the cow. But Annalisa is sure she knows exactly what to do. So off she sneaks and sings the song, as she milks Luella. But stops short at kissing the cow….gross!!!
The next day Luella does not give any milk and the children are hungry. Mama is livid and insists Annalisa kisses and thanks the cow for her milk. When shoved out of the house and towards the cow, by her hungry siblings Annalisa needs to decide whether she will kiss the cow!
Both books are set in rural areas, although the scenery is so different. In one, we can see the buffalo as the provider and in the other, the cow.
Both families dependent on their cattle, value and respect their animals.
Such a wonderful way to make connections of similarities or differences…plain to see how universal our basic experiences are, despite out differences.
Simple exercises like venn diagrams or charts can help children reflect as they visually see the differences and similarities that they noticed.
Go on, pair a book to read to your children at home or school, today.