Text copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Torres. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Renato Alarcão. Images reproduced with permission of the publisher, Lee & Low Books, Inc.

All October Picks

For Elementary Readers

Finding the Music / En pos de la música

When Reyna accidentally breaks her grandfather’s vihuela, she seeks help in her neighborhood to repair it and discovers his legacy in the community as a mariachi player.

Apply in the Classroom

Reyna accidentally damaging the vihuela leads her to learn more about her grandfather and her community. Inspire students to explore and appreciate how their own families are connected to their neighborhoods. Ask students to brainstorm what makes a community and think about what sights, sounds, and smells make their community special. How do their families contribute to the essence of their neighborhood?

Have students interview a family member about what makes the community special and share their findings with the class to compile a chart or illustrated poster about the great things in your community.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

What does it mean to be a neighbor?

What communities do you belong to?

What sounds, tastes, and smells can you find in your community?

What does your community look like?

What do neighbors have in common?

Why is diversity (of appearance, values, interests, jobs, etc.) important in a community?

Related Teaching Resources

Mariachi Youth Program: Music from PBS LearningMedia

Lee & Low’s Teacher’s Guide

Unity in the Community lessons from Learning to Give

Community lesson plan from the Peace Corps

This Is My Neighborhood lesson plan from Scholastic

Reading Is Fundamental support materials

More Titles to Try

Quinito’s Neighborhood/El Vecindario de Quinito by Ina Cumpiano

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell

Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine

Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie Taylor

City Green by Diane DiSalvo-Ryan

Music, Music for Everyone by Vera B. Williams

Rum-a-Tum-Tum by Angela Shelf Medearis

In My Family/En mi familia by Carmen Lomas Garza

Can We Help? Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities by George Ancona