Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Title:  Elsie
Author:  Cybille St. Aude
Illustrator:  Marie Cecile Charlier
Publisher:  One More Book, ©2013
ISBN:  9780615706313
Grade Level:  PreK-2

Book Review:  Elsie lives in Haiti with her family in a small house near the water.  Elsie tells her story in this first person narrative.  The story is that of a typical day in the life of an optimistic young girl, who is a keen observer of her surroundings and who communicates her gratitude and optimism for the future.  While there is mention of the earthquake and need for rebuilding in parts of the country, the emphasis in this book is on the normalcy, beauty and joy experienced by people living in this island country.  The author liberally peppers the book with Haitian words, clearly explained in a glossary at the end.

Systems Thinking Connections:
Habits: Changes perspectives to increase understanding.  Told in first person from Elsie's perspective, the narrative clearly articulates how her personal experience is impacted by those around her. Elsie is a keen observer who naturally practices this habit through her interactions with others.
Makes meaningful connections within and between systems.  While clearly set in Haiti and richly infused with the culture of that island, the experiences of Elsie are very typical of a young girl.  Exploring her perspective will no doubt provide multiple opportunities for children to make text to self connections while reading and discussing this story.

Systems Thinking Tools: Each page is a different event in Elsie's day.  This could serve as a scaffold for students learning to create Behavior Over Time Graphs independently.  They could graph Elsie's level of enjoyment or enthusiasm for each experience.  In explaining what level they choose, there would certainly be lots of rich language and opportunities for students to connect to their own personal experiences.

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