Copyright © 2017 by Thyra Heder. Images reproduced with permission of the publisher, Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS, New York, NY

All December Picks

For Elementary Readers

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared)

Nia is excited to bring home her new turtle named Alfie on her 6th birthday, but eventually loses interest as Alfie doesn’t seem to notice all the effort she makes to include him in her life. Alfie has noticed, though, and sets off to do something special for Nia for her 7th birthday.

Apply in the Classroom

Nia didn’t perceive how much Alfie appreciated her, but when the story shifts to Alfie’s point of view, it’s clear how much Nia means to Alfie. Give students a chance to appreciate one another and show how even small gestures can make a difference. Share the things you notice and appreciate students doing to model the idea of appreciating others. Then ask students to write positive messages, notes of thanks, or messages of appreciation or encouragement to fellow students as they notice the things their classmates say and do to support each other every day. Have a special box available to collect their writing and make time to regularly read them aloud at the end of the school day.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

How can you learn about the perspective of someone else?

How can you learn about the perspective of an animal?

What can help you better understand different points of view?

What happens when you step into someone else’s shoes?

Was there ever a time where you saw something one way and someone in your family or a friend saw it differently?

What makes you feel appreciated by your friends and your family?

How do you like to show appreciation and gratitude to others?

Related Teaching Resources

Explore LiveCams

Turtle Time text set from Newsela

Librarian’s Quest: A Conversation with Thyra Heder

Project Wild from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Imagine Walking in Our Paws: A Collection of Poems by Animals at Storybird

Reading Is Fundamental support materials

More Titles to Try

Mossy by Jan Brett

Emma’s Turtle by Eve Bunting

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk

I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni

Giving Thanks by Jake Swamp

Best Friends (Owen And Mzee) by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff

Margaret and Margarita / Margarita y Margaret by Lynn Reiser