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Hands : Stories and Activities

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

Young patrons will become aware of the people who help them in different ways.

Pre-Story Activity

Materials--Pictures of people doing something with their hands that will benefit others. These can include doctors, farmers, artists, factory workers, police officers, teachers, and mail carriers.

Tell the children that people use their hands to help make our world a better place. They use their hands to help others. Have the children select a picture and tell how the person in it is using his or her hands to help others.

Invite the children to shake hands with one another as a sign that they are thankful for any help they have received and as a promise to offer help in times of need.


Just for You, by Mercer Mayer

This genuinely funny picture book is a classic -- one of the first that starred Mercer Mayer's popular Little Critter. In this title, young readers see Little Critter trying very hard to be a good helper. Unfortunately, something always seems to get in his way. When he tries to dry dishes for his mother, the dishes grow slippery. When he makes an effort not to splash water out of the tub, a storm comes up. On and on it goes, with Little Critter and his good intentions making readers laugh with him from start to finish.

Post-Story Activity

Materials--White paper, crayons or markers, scissors

Have children fold their paper in half and place their hand next to the fold so that it touches it. Tell them to spread their fingers slightly apart and trace around their hand.

Have them cut out the hand, cutting double. Be sure they do not cut the hands apart on the fold.

Have the children decorate their hand cards for someone. They can write simple thank you messages. You can have the students make their cards for a specific community group. Take them to the police station, veteran's home, etc. You can also send them to sister schools, soldiers overseas, or a local women's shelter.

Alternate Story for Older Children

Sister Anne's Hands, by Marybeth Lorbiecki and Wendy Popp (Illustrator)

I was standing in a Barnes and Noble when I first read this book. When I realized it was their last copy I ran, with tears streaming down my face, to the check-out stand. When I shared it with my multi-cultural literature class there wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was then selected as on of the "hot reads" for the state of Alabama in 1998.

From the first day of second grade, Sister Anne lights up Anna's classroom. But it's the early 60s and not everyone in Anna's small town is ready to accept Sister. How she deals with this and the profound impact she has on her students is at the heart of a touching, timeless tale about the virtue of tolerance and how a teacher can change a child's life. Marybeth Lorbiecki's universal story -- based on a childhood experience -- is both funny and poignant. Her spare, accessible text, alongside Wendy Popp's sun-drenched pastels, is a moving journey for those who remember the 60s and those who don't.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.


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