Pay Attention, Emily Brown by Linda Burton; Illustrations by Carl Burton
January 5, 2012 in Books with Health Content, Burton Linda, Elementary Educators, Helping Girls and Women Around the World, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Shared Writing Tags: ADHD in children, Helping Children in the World, rhyming picture book
*Picture book, realistic fiction, for preschoolers through second graders
*Young girl as main character
*Rating: Pay Attention, Emily Brown is a picture book put out by educational publisher, Woodbine House. Its focus is for children with ADHD to let them know that they are loved just how they are. It’s a cute book with really nice illustrations by Linda Burton’s son, Carl. However, if you don’t know the purpose of the book, you may be a little confused. If you live in a house with a young child who has trouble paying attention, I recommend getting this book for him or her.
Short, short summary: In rhyme and few words, Linda Burton tells readers the story of Emily Brown with lines such as: Just think, Emmy Brown, for a moment or two…
Suppose that I told you my toes had turned blue?
Suppose that I started to fly overhead?
Or spread candy and presents all over your bed?
If I hung upside down by an arm and a knee
do you think, Emmy Brown, you would listen to me?
And that’s the question posed throughout the book, basically. Will you listen to me? Can you listen to me? Where are you when you look like you are here with me, but you are not? It’s clearly a parent/adult/teacher talking and in the end, the reader realizes it’s Emily’s mom.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This book can also celebrate imagination–especially with the wonderful illustrations. Discuss with children what Emily is imagining in each illustration, and then have them compare and contrast that with what they like to imagine. You can also discuss if they ever “accidentally” find themselves in the same place as Emily–in a room but no idea what is actually going on because they weren’t paying attention. What do they do?
2. You can also use this book to talk to students/children about good listening skills. How can you show a speaker you are paying attention? Make a list of good listening skills and ways to ask people questions if your mind did wander, and post the list on the classroom wall.
3. Become an illustrator! Allow students to draw their own picture of Emily Brown doing something (besides listening) and write some text to go with it. You can write the text first as a shared writing activity if you teach young children or have young children at home who cannot come up with their own words.