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Monday, July 22, 2019

Summer is for Reading! Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock

Teachers, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock (2018) is one of those books that will make teaching easier! Quadruple duty: theme/central message, analysis of two or more texts, stories from diverse cultures & global goals, and author's craft.


Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock by Dallas Hunt, illustrated by Amanda Strong, is an #OwnVoices picture book. It's also recommended by Debbie Reese on her blog American Indians in Children's Literature. The main character, Awâsis, gets help from some animal friends after accidentally dropping her grandmother's bannock. 

Short reads, especially picture books, are great to model think-alouds for K-12. Since they are short, they get across the teaching point through example quickly, and illustrations make them memorable for students all the way through high school (and beyond). Additionally, if you use the same text to help teach multiple standards, students will become more deeply familiar with that text and thus more familiar with how to think deeply about a text.

This short read would be great to model theme and central message (RL.2), especially for 2nd through 8th grades, and even more so if your grade level standard mentions 'diverse cultures' (2nd and 3rd grades here in North Carolina). Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock also has a guide to included words in the Cree language in the back, and you can also watch this video with your students to learn the words together!

Is your school a global school? If your grade level learns about North America, this would be a perfect text to combine global goals with ELA standards.

Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock would also be fabulous to use to teach RL.9 - analyzing two or more texts. Below, these grade levels' RL.9 would be a great fit for this book:

RL.2.9 Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story by different authors or from different cultures.

RL.4.9 Compare and contrast the use of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
RL.5.9 Compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
RL.6.9 Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
RL.8.9 Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works, including describing how the material is rendered new.

There are a couple of texts that students could compare to Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock. Little Red Riding Hood would be a traditional story that students would find an interesting comparison (mother/grandma sends girl on a mission through the forest to help relatives in both stories, mission fails in both stories, girl meets animal in the forest, animals are helpful in one story, not in the other - lots of possibilities). 

The other great comparison text that springs to mind is Cynthia Leitich Smith's Jingle Dancer, in which the main character goes from relative to relative collecting jingles for her jingle dress to dance in the powwow for her relatives. (If you don't have Jingle Dancer, get it - it's phenomenal!)


Theme comparison would involve differences: listen to your parents, or do as you are told or bad things will happen vs helping others, interdependence, accepting help, working together - many possibilities.

And you know we need to insert Author's Craft whenever we can at every grade level, so check this out:



See what my pencil is pointing to? Yay! Why did the author decide to use a smaller/larger font for this part? What is the effect of the author's use of a smaller/larger font? What does the author want the reader to do when they get to the smaller/larger font? Why? 

Aaaand, the world-famous bannock recipe is in the back so you can actually make it! Science and math standards, anyone? Yum!











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