photo by Vadim Lavrusik www.flickr.com
*Picture book for preschoolers through third graders, contemporary
*Young boy as main character
*Rating: Looking Like Me is a rhythmic self-esteem-builder journey for young children by father/son duo Walter Dean and Christopher Myers.
Short, short summary: Looking Like Me is basically a list of all the things that a boy/girl can be. For example, in the beginning of the book, Jeremy says: “I looked in the mirror and what did I see? A real handsome dude looking just like me. He put out his fist. I gave it a bam!” Then along comes, Jeremy’s sister and tells him he is a little brother. She puts out her fist and he says, “I gave it a bam! Jeremy and brother, That’s who I am.” Thus the book continues as Jeremy takes the reader through every title that makes up who he is from son to writer to runner. And of course, each time, he gives the person a BAM! Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers is a book to read aloud to children over and over again.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This is one of those books that would be a great activity for the beginning of the school year. Students could write at the top of a piece of paper, “I AM. . .” Then they could make a list of all the “titles” or “people” they are from family relationships to interests to everyday titles such as student or neighbor. You could also cut some letters out of magazines and build the words underneath the I AM with magazine letters instead of written letters to make the list more in the style of Christopher Myers’s illustrations.
2. Speaking of illustrations, the pictures in Looking Like Me are something to study. Each page has a photograph (at least one) under a multi-colored boy. Once you have read the book out loud to children, go back and study the pictures with them. Maybe even make a list of the photos and the words to see if there is any pattern. For example, on the page about being a runner, there’s a picture of an upside-down ketchup bottle and then a drawn illustration of a boy running. Students can even make their own illustrations in Christopher Myers’s style to go with their I AM lists.
3. Looking Like Me is an example of good word choice (one of the 6 traits of writing.) Discuss the specific words that jump out at students and why those are the perfect words to use in this story. Ask students if they think Walter Dean Myers just sat down and got these exact perfect words onto paper the first time he wrote the story. Did he have to play around with the word choice? Why does it make a better book?
Anybody who wants to share an I AM list here. . .feel free!
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