Monday, September 14, 2009

Jess's Favorite Children's Book

After taking X460 this previous semester I was reminded of how entertaining and fun children's books were, and still can be. As a child reading was always something I enjoyed doing. I read books from the Box Car Children to the Goosebumps series. As a twenty one year old I still enjoyed every minute of flipping through and reading children's literature. Through all the fun and interesting books I read as a child one specific one sticks out in my mind, Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolan.

Harvey Potter was a farmer in a rural southern town during the years of racial tensions who owned a U.S. Inspected Balloon Farm. He grew balloons of all colors, shapes and sizes just like one would corn right out of the dirt. The government as well as a particularly curious young African American girl were very suspicious of his methods. The book is narrated by this young girl who spends hours up in a tree near Harvey's farm to try and take a look at just how he grows these balloons. She soon realizes and experiences the magic of the farmer and is inspired to create a little magic of her own. Through this, the white older farmer, and the young African American girl formed an unlikely friendship. Although this book is pure fantasy it delivers an underlining message I don't even think I was aware of as a child. Not only does it inspire children, but also gives the message of acceptance of people whom may be different from you by the way they look, even by the way they speak.

I believe this book is an entertaining book for children to read and should be included in a classroom library. As a future special education teacher I have had experiences working with children with special needs who verbally are not able to read. This book provides fun and exciting pictures that children can look at without having to read the pages. The book however is written in a type of slang language. So this book would not be useful for children to read alone especially while working with grammar and punctuation. However I loved this book as a child and I loved it even more when it was read to me. The characters come alive and as a read aloud in class would be very interactive and fun for students.

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