Multicultural Picture Book

Miss Johnson's Read-Aloud

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"ABIYOYO" by Pete Seeger and illustrated by Michael Hays. It was published in 1986 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

This read-aloud is planned for kindergartners. "ABIYOYO" is a picture book about a young boy and his father who get kicked out of the village for being annoying and mean. The boy and his father discover a way to save the village when a monster from folk tales, Abiyoyo, appears and starts eating everything.


Although this book has not won any awards, it has been used in several classrooms, television shows, and the Smithsonian folkways. It is based off of a South African Lullaby and folk story. The colorful pages and song should help appeal kindergartners and engage them in learning.

Pete Seeger Reads 'Abiyoyo' on Reading Rainbow
Abiyoyo (South Africa)

Key Strengths of "ABIYOYO"


  1. Have an appealing format and be of endearing quality - "ABIYOYO has an appealing format and endearing quality because the illustrations are very detailed and the story is interesting. It is also endearing because it helps students better understand what it means to be a member of a community and why collaboration is important.
  2. Invite reflection, critical analysis, and response - The story provides many opportunities for students to analysis what is happening and reflect on it. Such questions could be asked like: How do you think the father and his son felt when they were sent away from the village? or How did the father and son work together to make the monster disappear? The students can also make predictions, during the read-aloud, about what they think will happen next.
  3. Demonstrate unique learning or style - The learning style is unique because it helps students learn the importance of community and working together by listening to a folk tale and singing.
  4. Honor and celebrate diversity - This story is based off of a South African lullaby and folk story. All of the characters in the story are South African and the story is about a certain folk story coming true. The story even includes part of a South African song because it is that song that helps save the day.

Vocabulary Words

  1. Disappear - means to go away. The father made the person's glass disappear with his magic--it disappeared.
  2. Ukelele - a small wooden instrument with strings. The boy annoyed others with it but later used it to make the monster fall down.

Instructional Sequence

  1. Start with gathering the students on the carpet and asking questions to prepare for story. Ask questions such as: If you had a magic wand, which special power would you have? or Do you know anyone who plays the piano, guitar, saxophone, or any other musical instrument? Which one?
  2. Introduce vocabulary words. Will have words disappear and ukelele written with an example picture.
  3. Go over what each student needs to do every time they hear one of the vocabulary words read from the book. (example: every time they hear me say ukelele, they will need to quietly pretend to play a ukelele.)
  4. Introduce the book "ABIYOYO" and go over who the author and illustrator are. "Today I am going to read the story Abiyoyo to you. It is written by Pete Seeger and illustrated by Michael Hays. Friends, what does it mean if Pete Seeger wrote the story? What does it mean if Michael Hays illustrated the story?"
  5. Read the story and ask questions during the story. Be sure to point out when one of the vocabulary words appears. (students should have "signals" to do when they hear a word.)
  6. End the story and ask more questions to get the students to think critically and determine what information they retained from what I read. Can ask questions such as: Did you like the story? Why? or Why did the boy and his father play the music faster and faster to Abiyoyo? or How did the boy and his father work together to make the monster disappear? or What would you do if the monster came and your ukelele broke?

Questions to Ask.

Before the Reading:
  1. Do you know anyone who plays the piano, guitar, saxophone, or any other musical instrument? Which one?
  2. If you had a magic wand, which special power would you have?


During the Reading:

  1. What did the father do to annoy the village people?
  2. Would it bother you to have important things disappear?
  3. Why did the townspeople ask the boy and his father to leave?


After the Reading:

  1. Did you like this story, why?
  2. Why did the boy and his father play the music faster and faster to Abiyoyo?
  3. How did the boy and his father work together to make the monster disappear?
  4. What would you do if the monster came and your ukelele broke?

Reflection

  1. Why was this book selected? How did it match the funds of knowledge for this particular class? I chose this book because I felt it was entertaining and therefore keep my kindergartners attention. It had a good story and taught to always work together and help each other out. Kindergartners learn a lot of people skills in their classroom so I felt this book would help teach good skills. I also felt like children could relate to many parts of it because it was about a young boy and his father.
  2. What were the strengths of the read aloud presentation? The students were very engaged and liked acting out the words "ukelele" and "disappear." They answered many questions and made predictions as I read.
  3. What would I need to do differently next time? I need to practice holding a book so that it faces the children when I read. I did it, however, just need more practice. I would probably ask some of the students not raising their hands questions next time. Overall though, I felt like it went really well.
  4. Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has... been a pleasant and rewarding experience. The students enjoyed hearing a story told in South Africa.