Thursday, April 2, 2009

National Kite Month

April is National Kite Month! This is a month-long celebration of what else but kites?! The goal of National Kite Month is to promote the fun of kiteflying, the history of kites, the artistry of kitemaking, and the ways that kites can be considered educational tools. Loads of information can be found at the National Kite Month website, which can be found here.

Lin, Grace.
Kite Flying.
Dell Dragonfly Books.

This book is perfect for children aged 3-7! The wind is blowing and it's a great day for flying kites, so the family takes a trip to local craft store, picking up all the supplies they'll need to start making kites of their own - glue, paper and paint! Each family member has a specific job to do in order to build the kite and then set off to launch their dragon into the sky.

The last two pages of the book also provide a great deal of information about the history of the kite that would make for wonderful discussion.
Lesson Plans/Book Activities:
Murphy, Stuart.
Let's Fly a Kite.
HarperCollins Publishers.
Guided Reading Level: K

Stuart J. Murphy, with his MathStart series, introduces very basically, the concept of symmetry in this funny story about two young children who are arguing about everything. Their babysitter, desperate to end the arguing, splits the last peanut butter and banana sandwich in half, so that both pieces are exactly the same. She draws an imaginary line down the back seat of her car, hoping to put an end to the bickering of who's got more room. She even divides a kite in half perfectly, so that each side is the same and the children will each have half to decorate.

While the term symmetry is not used at any point throughout the book, the concept is clearly presented and this will open the door to a discussion and introduction to symmetry and possibly even fractions!

Lesson Plans/Reading Activities:
Hall, Bruce Edward.
Henry and the Kite Dragon.
Philomel Books.
Guided Reading Level: R

Set in New York City and based on true events that occurred in the 1920's, Henry and the Kite Dragon depicts the troubled relationship and rivalry between Chinese American and Italian American children that truly existed.

Grandfather Chin, the "grandfather" of everyone in Henry's apartment building works with the Chinese-American children to help build kites and fly them over the Chinatown and Little Italy sections of the city. However, each time that Grandfather Chin and Henry fly the kites, the Italian Americans, who are playing in a park, throw rocks at the kites, ultimately destroying them. One day Henry's had enough of those bullies destroying Grandfather Chin's precious made kites and sets off to the park with a bunch of friends from the apartment. They soon discover the real reason that the kites are being destroyed and with a bit of cooperation and planning, the two differing cultures are able to blend together and work as a team, Henry and the other Chinese Americans having an opportunity to fly their kites in the morning, and Tony and his friends from Little Italy flying their pigeons in the afternoon.

The important lesson to be learned from this story is cooperation and teamwork... that working together to come up with a plan is better than using bullying methods to accomplish something! This is a wonderful story and would be a great addition to a home library or any classroom, as a read aloud for pleasure, or to incorporate into character education programs.

Lesson Plans/Book Activities:
Other Kite-Themed Miscellaneous Lesson Plans:
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to