Thursday, January 24, 2008

Louder, Lili

Choldenko, Gennifer. 2007. LOUDER, LILI. Ill. by S. D. Schindler. New York: Putnam. ISBN 9780399242526 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]

Lili is the quietest child in the class. She is so shy the teacher marks her absent because she does not speak up during roll call. Her more outgoing classmates do her talking for her. Alone and excluded, Lili spends her recess in the classroom enjoying the class guinea pig, Lois’ company. It’s only when bossy Cassidy threatens Lois’ safety that Lili finds her LOUD voice and speaks out to save the helpless animal. Choldenko gives the characters realistic snappy dialogue in a situation with which young children may readily identify without getting heavy handed or maudlin. Schindler’s bright stylized illustration lend just the right light touch for this classroom drama. Handled with humor and grace, this story of a child’s courage to speak out is Newbery Honor winner Cholkenko’s first picture book.

This book provides a springboard for discussion about when to speak up and when to go along with the group. Young children often have difficulty in distinguishing between informing an adult and “tattling.” What are the advantages of “going along” or “doing your own thing?” While not the main theme of the book, children may want to explore pet care and responsible pet ownership after experiencing the story.

Other books about shy characters:
Bottner, Barbara. BOOTSIE BARKER BITES. ISBN 9780689114272
Rathman, Peggy. RUBY THE COPYCAT. ISBN 9780545005838
Wells, Rosemary. SHY CHARLES. ISBN 9780140568431

By Jane H. Claes

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