What I am Reading This Week: Adventurers and Introverts

shhh... Don't tell my administrator, I don't always plan my lessons two weeks in advance. Sometimes I look for a book and that is what I read for the next week. So.....

I was looking at the Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. book display to determine what books I haven't read yet.  Inky the Octopus by Erin Guendelsberger caught my eye. I have shown my students videos of an octopus escaping a tank; this book is the perfect addition to that lesson.

Inky escaped from the National Aquarium in New Zealand. This book is a fictional account of what might have happened on his journey to the ocean.

I started with a third grade class. They were full of skepticism, commenting that the story cannot be real. Cue the YouTube videos. Fact: if you start watching animal videos with 8/9 year olds, they don't want to stop. 

Later that day, I needed to pull books for Kindergarten to choose from for check out. I let them choose from a book cart with about 50 books so it is less overwhelming. As I was looking for books, Octopus Alone, by Divya Srinivasan jumped into my hand.

My first thought was to read it as a companion book to Inky, but then I read it. WOW! This book needs its own lesson. 
    When the seahorses come to play with the octopus, she enjoys watching them, but she doesn't want
    to play with them. She escapes to the open ocean where she is able to play and sleep. Finally, she
    realizes she misses the seahorses and she returns home. 

The story of a shy octopus who needs time alone. I immediately identified with the character and knew the students would as well. It is perfect to show children that being shy and being alone is perfectly fine. Some people prefer to spend time alone, and that is okay. Some people are shy and will join a group when ready, and that is okay. 

The illustrations are delightful; which adds to the beauty of the story. During the read aloud I talked to the children about feelings. Is it okay to be alone? Is it okay not to play? I hope the book and discussion help the students feel more comfortable if they are the shy type and more understanding of their friends if they are not. 

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