Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Honor of Veterans Day - The Impossible Patriotism Project by Linda Skeers

This wonderful picture book mentions Presidents’ Day, but I believe it is better suited to Veterans or Memorial Day.  The Impossible Patriotism Project is about Caleb who is struggling with the idea of patriotism.  His class has been given the assignment to “make something patriotic” for Parents Night. Caleb is feeling down because his father will not be able to attend Parents Night.  Not sure what he should make, Caleb asks his classmates what they will be making. The answers vary: a paper-mache liberty Bell, a multi-colored U.S. map – and one student is dressing up as the Statue of Liberty.  Caleb is confused. He knows that patriotism is much more than a statue or map, but he doesn’t know how to show that. Thinking of his absent father, Caleb gets an idea.  He creates a poster-board display of his father, a soldier in desert fatigues. 
One reviewer commented that the set up for this story feels artificial, but I disagree.  Skeers has a message to present and she creates a story that delivers it well.  It is hard to communicate the struggles of a military child in a short picture book, but Skeers manages to do so well.  Seasoned military families (and educators who have students from military families) will guess early one that Caleb’s dad is a soldier – even though this is not revealed until the end.  This book is an excellent resource as a discussion starter on patriotism with special relevance for children affected by deployment.  It is also an excellent gift for a military child.

Recommended for Kindergarten – 3rd Grade.

Mrs. Archer’s rating:  5 of 5

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