Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mittens and Community Service

When I settled on the Mitten Theme, I knew I had to fit this book in somewhere! And since it seems to stand out so much in my mind as far as the use of mittens, I felt it needed a post of its own! I only hope I can convey to you how wonderful this book really is!

Christiansen, Candace.
The Mitten Tree.
June 1997.
Fulcrum Publishing.

Review copy borrowed from local library.

Grandmother figure Sarah remembers the cold, wintry days when she walked her own children to the bus stop. However, they've long since grown up and moved out on their own, leaving Sarah to watch other children make their way to the bus stop. Despite her taking notice of the children, they don't seem to notice her... until Sarah notices one little boy who has no mittens. That afternoon, she sits down and shuffles through her basket of years-old yarn and sets to work sewing a pair of blue mittens to match his winter coat - mittens that she leaves on the old blue spruce tree near the bus stop. Each day, Sarah knits more mittens, a pair to match each child's winter coat. Then on the last day of school before their winter vacation, Sarah hangs all of the new mittens on what has been deemed "The Mitten Tree." Even though the children have apparently not taken notice of Sarah, she's content with the feeling in her heart, having knitted new mittens for children in need. The biggest surprise comes for Sarah as she heads home from the bus stop that morning and finds a big basket full of brand new balls of colorful yarn!

Hopefully I've managed to sell you all on this title from my description! It truly is a wonderful book that inspired me to create a community "Mitten Tree" right here in my village. I worked with the kids in my reading group at the local library - we read The Mitten Tree. I had asked each child to bring in a pair of mittens when they came with them to reading group that night. We then collected the mittens and they were delivered to elementary school nurse so she could deliver them as she saw fit to local children in need. As you can probably imagine, this book provides the foundation for an amazing community service project for you to undertake with your child(ren).

Learning/Reading Activity:
  • After sharing this story with your child(ren), plan a mitten drive of your own - collect mittens (children and adult sizes, as adults need mittens, too). If you really feel like being creative with this, find an artificial Christmas tree somewhere and literally create a "Mitten Tree." Otherwise, donate the mittens to a local organization who helps those in need and will be able to properly distribute the mittens!

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 I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!


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Anonymous said...

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.............................................

style='clear: both;' The Book Chook said...

That is such a lovely story, it brought tears to my eyes, honestly. I think it is wonderful for children not only to make connections between literature and their own lives in this way, but also have a focus for their own compassion. Love it!