Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Great Kapok Tree

Title and Author: The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

Link to where you can buy this book:

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is a story about a man who falls asleep in the Amazon Rain Forest after trying in vain to chop down a great big Kapok tree before succumbing to fatigue and the rain forest's hot climate. While asleep, the man is visited by many of the different animals in the rain forest that rely on the tree for either food or shelter. The animals implore the man not to cut down the tree and inform him of just how important it is to everyone's, including his own, survival.

Reflection: I really liked this book. I thought it was very informative about many issues that people tend to overlook. The impact that humans can have on the rest of the world is a very important concept that children should be taught about early on. This book is a nonthreatening way to introduce the destruction and exploitation of many of the world's natural resources and the sooner children learn about it, the earlier they can start taking measures to stop it. The illustrations are beautiful and do an excellent job of capturing the beauty of the rain forest.

Book Use/Activities/Curricular Units: This book could be used for several different units. It could be used for learning about the various rain forests, habitats, ecosystems, exploitation of natural resources, etc. This book could jumpstart a discussion about what people can do to save the rain forests or other ecosystems that may be in danger of being completely destroyed. It can jumpstart a research project where students research and investigate just how living things in different ecosystems are being affected by forces of consumption and production. Students could then write their own stories or plays about other creatures telling their story and seeking to save their own. They could role play or act out their own stories in front of other classes. Afterwards, they could write letters to the companies that are causing the destruction of these ecosystems telling them of the negative impact they are having and start petitions stating that they will no longer use their products.


Domains of Social Justice:

Respect for Others
& Social Movements and Social Change: This book has underlying themes of respect for all living things, not just people. It highlights just how interconnected we all are and how the actions that we might take for granted, can cause someone or something else to lose everything. It stressed the pitfalls of ignorance and encourages being informed and finding out what you can do to protect the rain forest and by extension, the earth.

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