Our Shadow Garden (M. D. Anderson Children’s Art Project)
March 3, 2011 in Art activities, Books with Science Content, Colburn Cherie Foster, Elementary Educators, Helping Girls and Women Around the World, Making Personal Connections, Picture Book, Writing Skills Tags: picture books about grandparents, science picture books, Writing Skills
*Picture book, realistic fiction, for preschoolers through third graders
*Young girl as main character
*Rating: Our Shadow Garden is a beautiful book for a beautiful cause. You don’t want to miss sharing it with children.
Short, short summary: When Nana gets sick and can’t garden in the sun anymore, her granddaughter gets a marvelous idea. With the help of her Poppa, they create a shadow garden–plants that grow and bloom with the moonlight. They keep it a surprise until it’s already, and then they take Nana out to the garden. Of course, she loves it so much she tears up, and adults reading the book probably will, too. Besides this beautiful and touching story, the illustrations in this book are created by children who are in the Children’s Cancer Hospital at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Proceeds from the sales of the book help to fund activities at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Besides this, the book also has an extensive non-fiction section about shadow gardening–on the sidebars and at the back of the book. Love this book!
So what do I do with this book?
1. Children can draw their own illustrations to go with the words in the book like the children in the Children’s Art Project did. Compare and contrast the different artistic styles in the book. Talk to kids about why children drew the illustrations for this book and how buying a copy of the book helps them and other cancer patients. It is important for children to know about these type of issues in a positive light.
2. Try making a small class shadow garden by using information in the book or going to www.shadowgardenbook.com.
3. Poppa and his granddaughter are making this special surprise for Nana. Students could write about a variety of topics based on this: they could write about something they did for their grandparents, about a surprise they planned for someone, or about things they like to do with their grandparents. Any of these would be great topics and could turn into a descriptive or narrative paper.