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Giving From Love Is Powerful Lesson for a Young Boy in Patricia C. McKissack's Final Picture Book

Updated on January 10, 2019
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Giving Out of Love Can Be a Powerful Lesson for Young Children

Beautiful picture book by the late Patricia C. McKissack.
Beautiful picture book by the late Patricia C. McKissack. | Source

Young Children Can Learn About Giving to Others in Need

Times are hard for many children in today's society. Some live in one-parent homes because of the death of one parent, or the fact that one parent is not living with them any longer because of divorce. Young children can struggle with trying to understand poverty. The late recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Newberry Honor for children's books, Patricia C. McKissack, writes in this charming new picture book What is Given From the Heart of the struggle of a mama and her young son to cope with their own poverty. They lose their farm and must live in a run-down house. James' dog disappears. Christmas comes and there are few gifts. One Sunday their pastor makes an announcement about a family who has lost everything in a fire. He makes a request to the congregation for anything that can help the family. The pastor reminds people that any gift that is given out of love from the heart will be useful to the family. Mama makes a sacrifice of of her good white tablecloth to sew an apron for the mom who lost everything in the fire. James Otis continues to try to think of something that he can give to the little girl in the family. The love boxes are to be delivered to the family on the Sunday before Valentine's Day. The family is extremely grateful for all of the things that are given. James Otis has a surprise gift for the little girl. Readers will want to want to discover the gift that James Otis has given from his heart. The surprise ending will warm the hearts of all readers.

April Harrison contributes her talent as an illustrator to this beautiful picture book with pastel illustrations. This is her first picture book that she has contributed to. What is Given From the Heart was published by Schwartz & Wade Books, a division of Random House Children's Books. It is recommended for ages 4-8 and has an ISBN of 978-0-375-83615-2.

Pastel Illustrations Help Tell This Heart-Warming Story of Love Gifts

James Otis and his mom live in poverty
James Otis and his mom live in poverty | Source
Few gifts at Christmas that year after losing Dad
Few gifts at Christmas that year after losing Dad | Source
The love boxes are delivered at church to the family who lost everything in a fire
The love boxes are delivered at church to the family who lost everything in a fire | Source
Mama and James Otis celebrate after helping the family
Mama and James Otis celebrate after helping the family | Source

Bring James Otis and His Love Gift Into The Classroom

Teachers who teach in early childhood and early elementary classrooms will want to add What is Given From the Heart to their classroom library . This beautiful picture book has a wealth of lessons for young children to learn. Sharing, creativity, and giving to others in need are all part of the story that will appeal to young children.

*Read What is Given From the Heart in a group story time session. Call attention to the beginning when James Otis's dad has passed away. You might take a class poll of children who have lost a parent through death or divorce. Some children may want to tell about their own experience with the loss of a parent for a variety of reasons.

*Call attention to the family who has lost everything in a fire. Have children brainstorm their thoughts about any experiences that they may know about friends or family members who have experienced this type of loss. Brainstorm to get children's ideas about what they would want to put into a love box to help a family who has experienced a loss from fire or other natural disaster. Take a class poll of children and their family who may have made donations to others or another charitable organization.

*What does James Otis decide to put into the love box?

*Prepare a learning center in your classroom to allow young children to create a book with drawings that they would like to give to someone. Drawing paper, crayons, markers, stapler to staple the pages together, and collage materials to use in the book can be placed in the writing center in your classroom.

*Have a class project for children to bring in items that they would like to donate and prepare your class love box to donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity. You might organize a field trip to the organization of your choice for your class to donate their own love box.

The Lesson of Giving for Young Children

Have you given your young child the opportunity to learn to give to someone in need?

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© 2019 Cindy Hewitt


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