January: Being Brave
Always a favorite with Starla audiences, “Thundercake” by Patricia Polacco has been a literary gem for children for decades. Children resonate with the author’s personal childhood account of her fear of thunder, but are delighted by her Babushka’s response – make cake! Of course, making the cake means journeying outside in the thunder to gather all of special ingredients before the storm arrives if they are to make true thundercake in time. In addition to the mesmerizing story itself, the illustrations creatively represent Ms. Polacco’s memories, and it is this uniqueness that makes them so captivating.
I recommend this book because: It beautifully illustrates the moral of True Bravery. Children (and maybe one or two adults) tend to believe that being brave means being unafraid. But everyone gets afraid. Even firefighters and superheroes get afraid. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid, but doing what is right or what you know you must even when you ARE afraid. I have yet to find another children’s book that shows this principal better than Patricia Polacco’s “Thundercake.” For this reason, “Thundercake” is my recommendation for teaching bravery for the month of January 2016, the perfect lesson when facing new beginnings in a new year. Ideas for Interaction: The author includes the recipe to make your own thundercake in the back of the book! You can make the cake with your little reader on a stormy day -- or maybe after you finish the book if you can’t wait that long! While you’re making cake, you can discuss ideas on how to be brave even when you’re scared.