Saturday, February 8, 2014

Back to Front and Upside Down!

Schneider Family Book Award MedalBack to Front and Upside Down! was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award.  This award " honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. "

Right away I wanted to read this book.  The cover is so colorful and the animals are so cute.  Stan, the main character is on the cover, sticking his tongue out to show he is intently concentrating on his writing.  He
struggles with his writing, but learns that he can get help.
Author:  Claire Alexander
Illustrator:  Claire Alexander
Published:  2012

I took pictures of the endpapers so I could compare them.  Both pictures look very similar, they are colorful and include the happy animals that are running to school in the first picture and leaving for the day in the second picture.  There is a difference though.  In the first picture, Stan, the little dog, is behind the group.  He is running to catch up and his friend, the little pig, is waiting for him.  In the second picture, Stan is right in the middle of the pack, he is surrounded by his friends. 

Stan's class is visited by the principal, Mr. Slippers, who announces that he will be celebrating his birthday that afternoon.  Miss Catnip, the teacher, then decides that they should all make birthday cards for Mr. Slippers.  Stan has great ideas for pictures to draw on his card, but Miss Catnip tells the students that they must include words.  All of the students quickly get to work and start writing with the exception of poor Stan.  He feels alone and dark.  Everyone else is working independently and the time is just ticking for Stan, he's worried that everyone will notice that the words do not look right to him.

Each student is in his or her own colorful frame, showing that they are independently working.  Stan, on the other hand, is in his own black frame and he's looking over at his classmates in defeat. 

At recess, Jack, the pig, notices that Stan is sad and tells Stan that he should speak up and let Miss Catnip know that he is struggling.  As it turns out, Stan was feeling alone, but he shouldn't have.  He had the support of Jack, his teacher, and Mimi, the cat, speaks up that she is struggling too.  At the end of the day, Stan realizes that he can ask for help, that he can learn to read, and that he has the support of his friends.  He is right in the middle of the pack, surrounded by Jack and Mimi as he runs home for the day.

This story would give children who are struggling hope and hopefully the confidence to realize that they can ask for help if they need it.  I have a small family member who is struggling to read and she is upset that her older sister and her younger sister can read, but she cannot translate the letters.  I will definitely be sharing this book as well as Patricia Polacco's book, Thank You, Mr. Falker with her.  I hope she is inspired and realizes that we can help her in her struggle.

Check this book out from the library!
Watch the trailer for this book! ****WOW****

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