Rebecca Kai Dotlich was not just our August featured 12 x 12 author — she’s also a friend. I had the good fortune of meeting and working with her at the Highlights Foundation Poetry for All workshop last May. I love that I can see and hear her in my choice for this week’s PPBF – Bella & Bean.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, February, 2009
Suitable for: Ages 4+
Themes/Topics: Friendship, Poetry, Compromise, Nature
Opening/Synopsis: From Publisher’s Weekly: “Bella is a moody, obsessed poet: Bonnets, daisies, windows, toes—/ Secrets hide in sky, in rose, she writes. Her best friend (and fellow mouse), Bean, is an impulsive bundle of energy, eager to show off her new striped stocking cap embellished with two daisies, and annoying Bella with her interruptions. What starts off looking like a tale of mismatched friends turns out to be, instead, a splendidly accessible exploration of the poetic process as Bella finds Bean’s words seeping into her work.“
Activities: My first choice would be to have children write poems of course. Have kids think of words, like Bella does, and then write a poem using those words. Or one child could provide words (like Bean does unintentionally) and the other could write the poem. Then have them change roles. Here, too, is an excellent Poetry Guide for teachers and librarians that includes activities for Bella & Bean. Writers should also read this Cynsations interview with Rebecca about writing the book.
Why I Like This Book: I have two children – one is a Bella and the other is a Bean. I’m not sure my kids recognize themselves when I read them this book, but they both love it, so I have to think they do on some level. In addition to the poetry theme, which I love, the book also has a great message about compromise, and how differences between people can make them both stronger and happier. Bella and Bean respect each other for their differences and those differences end up bringing them closer together.12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Poetry, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Julie Hedlund, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Poetry, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Writer, Writing