Loving Me by Debby Slier.
Starbright Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2013.
Board book, 10 pages.
Baby learns about four generations of family through photographs of Native families.
I first learned about this book through Debbie Reese’s review. This book is also on her list of recommended board books. Since I decided to put my purchase dollars towards Julie Flett‘s books instead, this was gifted to us from our wish list! I’m so glad, because this slim board book will have a variety of uses.
Little kids love pictures of other little kids, and this book delivers, with real pictures of families living their everyday lives on every page. As noted in the review above, one thing to love about this book is how it shows Native families wearing modern as well as traditional clothes.
One awesome aspect I didn’t anticipate is that this is also a level A reader. (If you’re not familiar with leveled readers, I discuss it more in my review of We Can.) Basically, A readers include a short, formulaic text with high picture contextual support. In this book, each page has the sentence “My ______ loves me.” with the blank filled by a different family member. Once the basic sentence is supplied, the very beginning reader can then read independently, using the initial consonant sound and picture support to figure out the changing text.
If the title were “My Family Loves Me” instead of “Loving Me,” this would be a perfect level A reader! Level A readers in general are in short supply, but diverse level A readers are rare indeed. Some students will skip right over Level A, but for those that need them, they are a crucial form of practice that improves confident and fluency.
This book includes 4 generations. The only family member not shown is a cousin, but I loved that great-grandma was included. Some children might find it confusing that the pictures are from different families, however ours had no problem.
There are ten different photographs, including the cover. Five show Shoshone Bannock families, two are Navajo, and for Lakota Sioux, Iroquois, and Potawatomi there is one photograph each. The final page identifies each photo.
The text is superimposed over the photographs, which makes sense given the small size of the page. It was still readable on each page.
I would definitely highly recommend this to any family that has an infant or pre-reader. I’m even debating if I could add this to the pre-reader collection at one of my schools. My only concerns are the small size (will it get lost amid the bigger books) and whether the K and 1st graders who need level A would be willing to read a board book. This would also make a lovely gift.