This blog began because a friend of mine and fellow homeschool mom said, “Hey, where are the urban homeschool blogs?” She was right. The story of urban homeschooling can be hard to find on the big internet. The same can be true in children’s books. Many stories written for children depict the quaint county side, the lively farmyard, or an odyssey through the wilderness. Of course, the world of busy streets and brick row houses isn’t completely absent from children’s lit, but it seems more difficult to find than horses, log cabins, and woodland creatures. I get excited when I find a great depiction of city life.
This week we are reading Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (illustrated by Christian Robinson.) This Newberry Winner depicts a tender relationship between a boy and his grandmother, a woman who “always found beautiful where he never even thought to look.” The book takes a gentle look at poverty and gains its real meat from the themes of gratitude and perspective. Along the way, messages of appreciation, beauty, and selflessness come through.
The illustrations are charming and meaningful in their own right, and the writing borders on poetry, making Last Stop on Market Street a delightful read-aloud selection.
In our homeschool, we used the story as a place to jump into some city artwork. I love that my kids ignored the restrictions of paper size (notice the pages taped together) and of time limits; at 3pm I quit teaching, but the kids were at the table much longer. I call that a successful activity! ~*~Erica