As a teacher and lover of books, I am always on the lookout for books that are both enjoyable and teach some kind of important lesson for children. I have a book on my shelf that is called, “The Girl Who Hated Books” by Manjusha Pawagi and Illustrator Leanne Franson. Today I share what exactly happens in the story, my review and what others say about the book, and finally a task that could be done after reading the book.
What Happens In The Story?
This is a story about a young girl named Meena who lived in a home full of books; and I mean books everywhere! Her parents loved reading and tried to read out loud to Meena but she just says that she hates books!
One day she tries to rescue her cat who is stuck way up high on a stack of books. She falls and all the books that were once covered in dust all come falling down with the pages opening and a whole lot of people and animals fall out of the pages. Characters like Humpty Dumpty, the 3 Little Pigs, Mother Goose, and plenty others were all over the house making a lot of noise and wreaking the house. Meena wants them to go back in the books but doesn’t know what character belongs to what book to put them back and neither did the characters. Meena had no choice but to read the books to find out. All the people and animals gather around to listen to her to read and find out where they belong. She ended up reading all her books and the creatures found out where they belonged.
Meena ended up sad when all the characters were back in the books, feeling like she was all alone and would never see them again. She soon realizes by looking around her with all the books she had, she could always be the characters whenever she wanted. In the end, mom and dad come home to discover Meena reading and enjoying a book.
This story is a really cute imaginative way to bring books and the love of reading alive. While many kids like to read there are also many others that don`t like reading. “The Girl Who Hated Books” serves as a great bedtime story for kids or better yet a good book to read before the kids go off to reading their own books as a way to get them excited about reading whatever book they are going to read.
I think this book should be on every parent’s bookshelf at home. Although children are essentially imaginative in themselves, with books this often poses a challenge. Manjusha finds a way to beautifully bridge imagination and books, making this story inspirational and a pleasure to read.
Here is what Stef, who also reviewed the book at amazon.com giving it a 5 star rating had to say:
“This is a delightful book about a girl who thought she didn’t like books. My students think they can relate, but as we near the end, they realize that just like the little girl, they too would miss the amazing journeys they take when reading”.
How You Can Teach With This Story
This story is a great read for kids between kindergarten and Grade 6. For kids in kindergarten to Grade 3, you could read the story out loud and stimulate the children`s ability to make predictions while they read. Making predictions while reading is an important reading strategy for children to develop and guide them in their understanding. While reading, pause at certain points in the book such as when Meena finds Max stacked high on a pile of books. Ask, “what do you think will happen next?”
For older children such as kids in Grades 3-6 you can use this story as a prelude to their own reading. After reading the story out loud, have the kids read their own book of choice (just right for their level) and have them read for 15-30 minutes. Once they have stopped, have them write a reading response to answer the question, “If you could be any character in the story ( or chapter just read), who would you be and why? Answering the “why” is more important then answering the “who” since it allows the child to think more critically to justify their choice. This exercise is great because they are both practicing critical thinking skills in reading along with their writing skills.
If you have children or work with children, I highly suggest you get your hands on this fun story to help stimulate reading. Far too many children are ignoring the books and taking on the video games and other electronic devices. Books are a wonderful way to feed the imagination and allow for opportunities to think critically, an essential component we need as people to live and thrive in society.
You can find the book on amazon here.