Perfect Picture Book Friday

Today is my first entry of Perfect Picture Book Friday when I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing group of authors and children’s literature bloggers and bring you a book too good to miss!

My choice this week: What You Know First, by Patricia MacLachlan


Illustrated By:  Barry Moser

Publisher:  Johanna Cotler Books and Imprint of Harper Collins, 1995. (Don’t let the copyright scare you!)

Ages:  5-8

Themes/Topics:  Moving, New beginnings, Family



Opening Lines:

I could

If I wanted

Tell Mama and Papa that I won’t go.

I won’t go, I’ll say,

To a new house,

To the new place,

To a land I’ve never seen.

Brief Synopsis: A young girl doesn’t know why her family must move from their farm if everyone is so sad. As she reflects on the people and land that is so dear to her, she comes to terms with moving and knows it will be important to help her baby brother, in time, remember what he first knew.

Why I Like This Book:I love this book because of its universal message, beautifully written verse and stunning engravings. Its serious, heartfelt tone captures the struggle of separation from what is familiar to what is unknown and leaves the reader to ponder what they knew first in their lives. It will open up conversations about home, relocating, and the people in our lives that shape us. This 500-word picture book by master author Patricia MacLachlan will be on library and bookstore shelves for generations to come!

Links To Resources: 

Some practical tips to help children when moving.

More books on moving for kids.

Teachers: This picture book is a great springboard for kids writing a personal narrative.

Here are a few ways to prime the pump before writing:

After reading, students share memories of home, the people, their longing to return if they are presently in a different location. What makes a “first” place so special? What would be the hardest thing about moving? For those that have moved, what was moving like? Scary? Happy? 

Children draw (or bring in) something from their home that they would never want to forget should they have to move. What makes it so special? What does it say about your life? (Patricia MacLachlan has been known to carry around a pouch of prairie dirt from her life on the prairie!)

Patricia MacLachlan would be a great author study for all elementary grade levels. Find a list of her books along with reading levels here.

For more perfect picture books and accompanying resources, check out children’s author, Susanna Leonard Hill—the brainchild of this awesome idea! Teachers, parents, gift-givers, grandparents, writers and anyone else that finds a picture book good company will be delighted to find books listed alphabetically and sorted by theme for easy reference. Thanks, Susanna!