Tag Archives: Grit

#365PictureBooks Day 24 – The girl and the bicycle

“A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity.

Wordless, timeless, and classic, The Girl and the Bicycle carries a message of selflessness and sweet surprises and makes an ideal gift for graduations and other special occasions.” Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Like the Farmer and the clown that I wrote about a week ago, this is a wordless picture book that reads very much like an old black and white movie. The drawings in this are really interesting, they are drawn in varying shades of brown and grey – the only colour being the dark green bicycle. The book is overlaid with a real feeling of sadness. It is unusual in that most of the characters are drawn without mouths – so it is impossible to see their facial expressions. The absence of any smiles makes it really sad. The kindly neighbour is the only smiling adult we see and it is lovely to se the bond that develops between the girl and the neighbour as they work together through the seasons. Readers will really feel for the girl when after she has worked so hard, and all the money is saved, she discovers the bike has been sold. The ending is very satisfying and says a lot about giving and gratitude.

Another great book to use as a writing prompt.

Bibliographic details:

The girl and the bicycle / by Mark Pett

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014.

40 pages

ISBN:9781442483194

Available to borrow from Auckland Libraries.

#365PictureBooks Day 4 – The most magnificent thing by Ashley Spires

 

Another favourite from 2014 – a hit with both kids and teachers. Not only does this fit with several units of inquiry that look at inventions, innovation and creativity, it provides a wonderful glimpse into the attitudes of perseverance and *grit, it can also serve as an antidote to perfectionism showing kids that sometimes ‘just right’ or ‘good enough’ (when you have tried and failed and tweaked and tried some more) is in fact the best outcome to a problem.

“The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.” [Back cover  & publisher]

“For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just “make” her magnificent thing — she “tinkers and hammers and measures,” she “smoothes and wrenches and fiddles,” she “twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math”. [Publisher website].

Highly recommended!

Grit:

“The character traits of determination, adaptability and reflection add up to a critical 21st century skill”. Edutopia

Courage and resolve; strength of character.
synonyms: courage, courageousness, bravery, pluck, mettle, mettlesomeness, backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will, moral fibre,
steel, nerve, gameness, valour, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, determination, resolution; stamina, doggedness, tenacity, perseverance, endurance;
informal: gumption, guts, spunk; bottle; vulgar slang: balls
[Source: Google Definitions]

 

“The character traits of determination, adaptability and reflection add up to a critical 21st century skill”. Read the series of blog posts on grit (and how to teach it) at Edutopia here.

 

“For me GRIT conjures up images of ‘kids getting DOWN & DIRTY with ‘intent’ ‘joy’, ‘sparkle’ and ‘passion’, in amongst it all with ‘authentic intent’, ‘creating’ chaos while ‘believing’ and daring’, ‘overcoming’ ‘uncertainty’ with ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘risk-taking’, ‘believing’ they are ‘awesome’ which ‘empowers’ them to continue to ‘learn’ and ‘grow’”.  @kerriattamatea on her blog: Learning my way

Bibliographic details:

The most magnificent thing  /  written and illustrated by Ashley Spires.

Published by Kids Can Press, 2014.

32 pages

ISBN:9781554537044

NZ RRP: $33.50

Hardcopy available for purchase via Wheelers or borrow from Auckland Libraries. I am also considering purchasing the single user ebook from OverDrive in the “fixed layout with embedded audio” version.

Ashley Spires is the author of the Binky the space cat graphic novels which are really popular in our library – I don’t think they ever sit on the shelves for more than 1/2 day before being checked out again!