Dynamic duos: fiction and non-fiction pairings

I enjoy pairing fiction with non-fiction for many of my read-alouds.  I like to think that these combinations help students to better distinguish between the two, and it’s an opportunity for me to highlight features or characteristics of each.  If there isn’t time to read both, I make sure to do at least a “picture walk” through the companion book.  And of course I always end with an invitation that sounds something like, “If you’re curious about _____, this would be a great choice for you.”   This week  I’ll be sharing these two books with my first graders:

Duck for Turkey Day is a fictional account of one Vietnamese family’s tradition of eating duck for Thanksgiving.  This poses a bit of a problem for Tuyet because all she hears at school is turkey-this and turkey-that.  It’s only after the holiday is over and the sharing time takes place that she finds out that a number of other children didn’t have turkey, either.

Deborah Heiligman’s Celebrate Thanksgiving is an excellent book to pair with this one.  While Heiligman explains a bit of the history around this holiday and the more traditional ways it is celebrated, she also chooses to focus on the common themes of gathering, having a special meal, etc.  and shows what that looks like in different parts of the country and with different families.  The photographs clearly drive the message home and provide opportunities for discussion and for making connections.


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