In the Classroom: A Mural of When You Reach Me

Last year I enjoyed reading When You Reach Me on my own, but it was when I read it aloud to my class that I fell headlong in love with it.  For this year’s class I began reading it aloud shortly before the ALA awards announcements. When I returned to school and told the kids that it had won the Newbery Medal they were momentarily pleased, but then urged me to continue reading.

Remembering how much fun last year’s class had creating a mural of the 2009 Newbery winner,  after finishing the book I suggested we do one for this year’s winner.  The enthusiasm was 100%.  I mean, talk about a great shared book experience!  The energy during our mural work times was wonderful — one group organized the border, another child worked on the background, and still others did individual scenes.  We decided to focus on the different buildings in Miranda’s neighborhood— Annemarie’s is the pink one, Miranda’s and Sal’s is the black one, the garage is gray, Belle’s is red, Jimmy’s is brown, and the school is yellow.  Within and in front of the buildings are various scenes and the border is full of repeated significant objects: $2 bills, black shoes, Fred Flintstone banks, keys, A Wrinkle in Time, and roses.  To see a larger version just click on the image.

Here are a few close-ups:

Miranda’s Apartment Building

Marcus slugging Sal

The Laughing Man by the mailbox

Miranda telling Belle about her book.

The Dentist


The kids also wrote heartfelt blog posts after I finished the book. Here are the ones that are finished (and I’ll add links to the others when they are ready). (ETA: in 2012 these blogs went private so I’m sad to say these links no longer work.)

Every Sentence Counts

Things that Make This Book a Newbery Award Winner

Things that are Confusing But then Unfold

Things that Make Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me Great

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me….

Things that Confuse You

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me



Filed under In the Classroom, Newbery

12 responses to “In the Classroom: A Mural of When You Reach Me

  1. They packed so much about the book into their mural! Fabulous!


  2. Oh, I especially love the Batman-style sound effects in the scene where Sal gets punched. What great kids you have, Monica!


  3. Hey, I really like #4, asking directions is a great opener that doesn’t really require too much effort and is relatively low risk!


  4. Very interesting. Who was in charge of this? VERY well planned I see…….


  5. btw on my link something went wrong its http//


  6. Lara

    Fascinating! I love Miranda’s apartment building


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