Belonging is another wordless picture story book and a Jeannie Baker masterpiece! We love this book so much we even use it in one of our Brilliant Box activities for Level 6.
In typical Jeannie Baker style, the pictures in Belonging are created through collage. Every page of the book is a picture, as seen through the same window, looking out over a yard and a suburban streetscape. The window ledge, surrounding walls and the yard tell the story of a girl, from her birth, through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, to the birth of her own baby. Belonging is truly beautiful in so many ways.
Why I love it:
There are so many things to love about this book; like Journey (reviewed several weeks ago) I love that with a wordless book, it is up to the reader to seek out and tell the story as they see it. I love:
- that every time I look at the pages I notice a little something more
- the bitter-sweet passage of time and relating that to the way-too-fast growing up of my own children
- the changes that take place in the neighbourhood in the background of each page, and, as someone with indisputable levels of OCD
- the symmetry of the story, the bookends of births.
Themes to discuss with your child:
- Development (land and people)
- Growing up
- Stages of life
- The circle of life
Questions to ask your child:
- What do you think this book might be about?
- Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
- Look closely at the cover, what do you notice about the way the picture is made?
- How many people can you see in the picture on the cover? (Hint: if you open the book up, the cover actually goes onto the back, too)
- How many animals can you see?
- There’s someone on one of the rooftops; what are they doing?
- Why do you think this book is called ‘Belonging’?
- Is this a book you are interested in reading? Why/Why not?
- Did you enjoy this book? Why/Why not?
- What did this book not have that most books do have?
- Did you like the pictures? How do you think they were made?
- Now that we’ve read it, why do you think the book is called ‘Belonging’?
- Where do you feel as though you belong?
- Which is your favourite page in the book? Why?
- How does the street and the surrounding neighbourhood change from the start of the book to the end?
- Which is better, do you think? The way the neighbourhood is in the beginning, or the end? Why?
- What is the girl’s name?
- How old is she when she likes fairies?
- How old is she when she gets married?
- What are you looking forward to about growing older?
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