Finding Comfort

Every year two big events raise attention to mental well-being: In February we have the Mental Children’s Health week and in May, the Mental Health Awareness week takes place. In these times ensuring mental well being, inner strength and balance might not always be easy. We decided therefore that our theme of the month for May 2020 would be ‘Finding Comfort’ and we would celebrate the Power of a Hug – a real one or a virtual one. Our book of the month is Hug Me, written and illustrated by Simona Ciraolo and published by Flying Eye Books. You can find our videos here.

Sandie: Peritextual Features

Front and back covers: Identify the main character. Is the cactus male or female? How does he/she feel? Who could / would want to hug a cactus? Open up front and back – they show one image. Read the blurb and discover the cactus’ name.
Endpapers: Different front and back endpapers showing a passing of time. Front endpapers show a cactus family tree, with some really interesting names. Well worth looking at after the first read aloud. And maybe use as a prompt to create own family trees or creative family trees based around different plant life / animals Back endpapers are an album page of Filipe and his friend Camila the rock. This can prompt children to talk about what they do with their best friends.
Dedication : Share this after you’ve read the picturebook, as the illustration shows Filipe and his new friend the rock, Camilla. 
Title page: Presents Filipe with name tag (just in case you didn’t read the backcover blurb). Presents main character and his happy disposition.

Tatia: Teacher Education

Identifying a language focus, developing a writing task 
Thinking of combinations of items / people / animals which find hugging difficult 
Developing a craft-based task – looking at language for instructions

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Gail: Multiliteracies

Emotional:  empathising with the main character who seeks comfort in the form of a hug;understanding the difference between being alone and being lonely;valuing and accepting people for who they are;valuing friendship.
Visual:  reading facial expressions and body language to understand feelings and emotions;noticing details in the illustrations.
Nature:  finding out about cactus plants.

Annete: Notes from the Classroom

Understanding life in a desert – brainstorming and discussion.
Cacti in pots in my house – cactus and succulent care.
Types of hugs – vocabulary building.
Let’s Hug – a poem for Mum.
Making a comic – Camilla and Felipe.
Comparing and contrasting two characters Felipe and Hank.