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:
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.)