The young girl connects the shades of skin to many familiar foods. "My mom's the color of french toast... Sonia is a light yellow brown, just like creamy peanut butter..." I challenged children to find foods in the kitchen that remind them of their own skin.
After the reading, I asked your third graders to think about the message the author wanted the reader to understand after reading the story. Here's what they said:
"Everyone has different skin tones because they're unique."
"Nobody is perfect. It doesn't matter if you have a different skin color. It matters what you are on the inside."
"Don't be racist."
I told the students that all four statements are important to remember. Then, I challenged them to reread the statements and think about the character and the plot of the text. I asked them to think about which statement most closely matches the text.
They unanimously agreed that Karen Katz was trying to say, "Everyone has different skin tones because they are unique." I was very impressed by the students' ability to determine theme. I was even more impressed with the three children who originally thought the answer was different. When they thought carefully about the evidence, they were thoughtful, flexible and willing to revise their answer. Impressive!
In the afternoon, 221 artists mixed paints to find their own, unique skin color. They painted the shade onto a plain piece of paper which they will use to cut out their face and create their self portrait in collage. They are amazingly realistic! We will notice and celebrate the difference of each one. Thanks so much to the mom's of Liam and Mae for all their help. I couldn't have done it without them!