[Monday Reading] Female Characters in Picturebooks Who Are True To Themselves

IMWAYR

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Fats here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts


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Portrait by Iphigene

I’m delighted to share with you three award-winning picturebooks that feature female characters who are proud to be who they are. They remain true to themselves no matter what situation they found themselves in. We can all learn from them one way or another.

mr0314nStand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Written by: Patty Lovell
Illustrated by: David Catrow
Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (2001)
Award(s) received: Georgia Children’s Book Award, Beehive Children’s Picture Book Award
ISBN-10: 0399234160
ISBN-13: 978-0399234163
Book borrowed from Wayne County Public Library. Book photos by me.

Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bull-frog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. [But Molly Lou Melon] doesn’t mind.

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Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is a recent picture book discovery of mine. I’m glad a copy landed in my hands even though it was 15 years too late! As readers flip through the first few pages, they learn about the things that set Molly Lou Melon apart from other kids.

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Molly Lou Melon was just a tad taller than her dog but she was the shortest in all of first grade. She could stack pennies on her buck teeth because they stuck out so far. She also loves to sing but her voice is nowhere near angelic.

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While kids can sometimes be awkward and uncoordinated, no one is clumsier than Molly Lou Melon. That is just how she is. Despite all these, Molly Lou Melon has always carried herself well, thanks to the wisdom of her grandmother.

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Molly Lou Melon’s grandmother has always told her to to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud.

Molly Lou Melon took her grandmother’s words to heart, even after she and family move to a different town. Her grandmother’s encouraging words and her belief in herself help her face the challenges of being in a new school and meeting new people.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is an important book. Molly Lou Melon is beyond adorable. She embodies an image that younger children can look up to. She can be a source of encouragement for children who may feel discouraged for being different. This book is great both in the classroom and home settings.

mr0314oWillow

Written by: Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan
Illustrated by: Cyd Moore
Published by: Sleeping Bear Press (2008)
Award(s) received: Mom’s Choice Gold Award Distinctive Illustration, Mom’s Choice Gold Award Inspirational/Motivational Category, Mom’s Choice Gold Award Most Outstanding Children’s Book, Children’s Choice Book Award Finalist
ISBN-10: 1585363421
ISBN-13: 978-1585363421
Book borrowed from Wayne County Public Library. Book photos by me.

Miss Hawthorn’s art room is unnaturally neat. Not a pencil or paintbrush or a hair on Miss Hawthorn’s head is out of place… And that’s how Miss Hawthorn likes it.

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All the students in art class sat quietly in their seats like eggs in a carton. All except for a young girl named Willow. Willow likes to sit sideways so she can look out the window. Miss Hawthorn does not like it when students in her class are not facing forward.

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As an art teacher, Miss Hawthorn is ironically rigid. She likes to hang examples on the board that students can follow. Nobody wants to get struck by Miss Hawthorn’s icy glare so everyone does as they were told. Everyone except Willow.

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Willow is not a stickler for art rules. She likes to draw pink-colored trees, blue apples, and polka-dotted pigs. Miss Hawthorn does not like it one bit. Willow tells Miss Hawthorn,

“That’s what I saw when I closed my eyes.”

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The day before winter break, Willow gives Miss Hawthorn a present. Willow is the only one nice enough to do so. Miss Hawthorn opens the gift and finds Willow’s precious art book that she likes to carry around in school. This simple act of kindness rekindles Miss Hawthorn’s love for art and changes her life and her students’ lives forever.

Willow is a book written for older children but it is a book for everyone. Like Molly Lou Melon, Willow is an inspiration, especially to children. Willow follows her own path. She reminds us to loosen up and let our ideas run wild. This is a book that boosts creativity and imagination. It teaches readers to create things from the heart.

mr0314mMiss Rumphius

Written and illustrated by: Barbara Cooney
Published by: The Viking Press (1982)
Award(s) received: National Book Award for Children’s Books
ISBN-10: 0670479586
ISBN-13: 978-0670479580
Book borrowed from Wayne County Public Library. Book photos by me.

Once long ago, Miss Rumphius was a little girl named Alice who lived in a city by the sea.

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When Alice’s grandfather came to America, he worked in a shop at the bottom of the house where Alice and her family lived. When he’s not carving wood, Alice’s grandfather painted pictures of ships and places across the sea. Alice helped him by painting clouds and skies.

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Alice told her grandfather that when she grew up, she would also travel and see faraway places. After doing enough traveling, Alice would like to live by the sea just as her grandfather had. But there was one more thing Alice had to do.

“What’s that?” Alice asked her grandfather.
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” he told her.

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Alice grew up and set out to do the things that she had told her grandfather she was going to do. Alice worked in a library where people called her Miss Rumphius. Eventually, Miss Rumphius traveled to a tropical island where she met the king of a fishing village known to his people as the Bapa Raja.

Miss Rumphius then visited different places and did different things. She climbed snowy mountains, went through jungles, and traveled across deserts. She saw different animals and formed new friendships everywhere she went.

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Miss Rumphius also kept her word about settling in a home by the sea. As she grew older, she realized there was one more thing she had to do. Miss Rumphius did a little something to make the world more beautiful and it is up to you, readers, to find out. She passed on the legacy to her great-niece just as her grandfather had done to her.

Miss Rumphius is a beautiful children’s book that everyone must read. I’m a late bloomer, I must admit, but I’m really glad I finally got the chance to read this classic. This book reminds us to be bold and step out of our comfort zones. We live in a big world with lots of interesting places to see and wonderful people to meet. Although it was Miss Rumphius’s personal decision to live by the sea, I think this book touches lightly on going back to the roots and giving back something to the world. Children grow up and eventually do things on their own but this book is a reminder to teach them the importance of doing something to make this world a better place.


Currently Reading…

I’m hoping to finish reading these books this month. Keeping my fingers crossed!

 

What about you?
It’s Monday. What are you reading?

 

  1. Oh, my daughter and I ADORE Molly Lou Melon! I ordered on a whim from the scholastic flyer and it has become one of our favorites!

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  2. More gorgeous illustrations. Thanks for sharing.

    ENJOY your books…they look wonderful.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

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  3. Wonderful books! So important to encourage children to embrace their unique talents and quirks and feel comfortable in their own skin.

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  4. I just read Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon for the first time this year and loved it. I am so glad to see it featured here!

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  5. I super love Molly Lou Melon!

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