Saturday, April 12, 2014

It Takes a Village

Here is the final book review for my graduate class...

Set in the African village Benin, Jane Cowen-Fletcher's It Takes a Village, tells the story of a young girl named Yemi and the strong community that helps her. Yemi is asked by her mother to take care of her brother Kokou during market day. When Yemi and Kokou go for a walk, Kokou quickly wanders off. While Yemi is searching for her brother and worried he might be hungry, thirsty, warm, tired, etc., he is being taken care of by various villagers at the market. When Yemi finally finds her brother, she learns that it truly takes a village to raise a child.

This story offers an accurate depiction of the Benin culture and a reviewer on Amazon even stated that she had lived in Benin for 2 years and found the illustrations, culture and values to be extremely accurate.

Reading Level:
DRA 20
Guided Reading: L
Interest Level:

Themes: family, community, African culture, responsibility

Teachers... here are some resources to help you to use this book in your classroom.

Web Resources:
  • Scholastic Extensions:  This Scholastic page offers some discussion questions as well as ideas for connecting this story to and teaching about writing thank you notes.
  • Lesson: This link will bring you to a word document that offers a lesson plan to go along with the story.
  • SlideShare: This link will take you to a slideshare presentation for a lesson using this story. The lesson focuses on responsibility and good citizens and therefore offers a nice Social Studies connection.
Vocabulary: market, compound, mangos, wandered, vendor, searching, responsible, support, restless

Before Reading:
  • Ask students what they think the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" means.
  • Take a picture walk and ask students to share what they see that seems different or the same from their town.
During Reading:
  • Read the story a first time without showing the pictures. As you read have students tell about the movie in their head or draw a picture showing what they are visualizing. Then read the story showing the pictures.
  • At the beginning of the story, show students Benin via Google Earth or use this link for students to learn facts about Benin. This could also be done before/after reading.
  • Right after Yumi's brother wanders off, ask students to make a prediction about what Yumi might do and what might happen to her brother.
After Reading:
  • Discussion Questions
    • How is the setting different from your community?
    • How would you feel if you lost your sibling in public?
    • How do you think Yumi was feeling when she lost her brother? How do you know?
    • Do you think Yumi made the right choice when she went searching on her own for her brother? Why or why not?
  • Create a Venn Diagram comparing your town and Benin
Across the Curriculum: Social Studies
Use the slideshare link to help you create a lesson about community, responsibility and good citizens.

Read Run photo ScreenShot2013-07-29at31808PM_zps68eb8a00.png

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