Theme: Friendship

The Sandwich Swap by Kelly DiPucchio

Summary: Saima and Lily are best friends who like jumping rope, drawing pictures, and playing on the swings together. They also eat lunch together every day, but Saima always eats hummus and Lily eats peanut butter and jelly. One day, Lily tells Saima her sandwich looks yucky, and before they know it, the girls have started a school-wide food fight. Feeling ashamed, Saima and Lily try each other's sandwiches and find them delicious! Then, they help organize a picnic so everyone at school can try each other's food and learn about each other's culture.

Reference Notations:

  • Author: Kelly DiPucchio
  • Illustrator: Tricia Tusa
  • Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide
  • Copyright Date: September 23, 2010
  • Type of book: Easy Picture Book
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Insights: One of the reasons I chose this book to share is because of how well the pictures in this text complement the information in the text, which makes it accessible for a variety of reading levels. In the scene where there is a food fight, the author depicts both cute and hilarious photos to capture the entire scene. Another reason I chose this book is because of how well it addresses cultural differences and how to appreciate diversity and the uniqueness of other cultures. It is never too early for kids to start learning about cultures and to start appreciating the differences we all have amongst ourselves.

Ideas for the Classroom:


Students will be asked to make a list of all the things they like to do with their friends. From this, they will be asked to choose one word from the list they created and write about it while illustrating their story. Each student will be asked to share aloud their story and the teacher is able to take each student's story and create a book for their own classroom library.


When working with graphs, students will be asked to create a class graph based upon their favorite things to do with their friends. After the chart is complete, the teacher is able to hang this around the room for students to look at throughout the year. This will give students a good perspective of things in common that everyone in the class likes to do when they are with their friends.


Students will be asked to make finger puppets. They will need to color and cut out the pictures of Saima and Lily. After this, they should attach a strip of paper onto the back of each picture to make it a finger puppet. To elaborate more on this, students could be asked to complete a puppet show demonstrating their understanding of the text they read.


I honestly do not have any concerns when reading this book. It sometimes is hard to address multicultural studies within an elementary classroom; however, it can be done through picture books. Students of all ages are able to comprehend what the story is about and not only that, but it allows children to realize that something they think they may not like ends up being awesome! This is one of the main lessons this story tells, which I believe is a great lesson for all students to learn.

Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostoecki-Shaw

Summary: Elliot and Kailash are new pen pals. As they share letters, they share the differences and similarities of their lives in Elliot's America and Kailash's India. Both boys like to climb trees. Ther families are very different with Elliot living with his mother, father, and baby sister and Kailash living with an extended family of 23. They both have pets, but the pets are different. Both boys take a bus to school, but the communities are very different except for the traffic. The boys discover that they can be friends despite their obvious differences by looking to see how much they are actually the same.
Reference Notations:

  • Author & Illustrator: Jenny Sue Kostoecki-Shaw
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • Copyright Date: September 13, 2011
  • Types of book: Easy Picture Book

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Insights: The reason why I chose this book is because it captures the difference in two cultures, but it relates everything back together and shows how two different places and people and lifestyles can be so similar. The way the illustrations are portrayed along the pages also shows the differences in these boys world and tells a story about culture and society and how different life can be in two places.
Ideas for the Classroom:

Elliot's Mask:

Make a mask like Elliot's peacock mask! Cut a paper plate in half and cut two holes for the eyes. Students are able to decorate their masks with markers if they choose to do so. Attach feathers or colored paper to the top of the mask. Finally, attach two strings to the back of the mask so that the children can tie it on.

Palling Around:

Have children send cards or letters to United States troops around the world. Make cards with children's first names and your organization's names and send them all in one large envelope.

Secret Sender:

Have children decorate a paper bag to make a "mailbox". Then, have each child write a pen pal letter with a few facts about themselves, their world, and their family. While the students are out of the room, put a letter into each mailbox. After the kids read their letter, let them guess who sent it to them.

Concerns: The only concern I have for this book is that it may be a little stereotypical. The little American boy lives with a perfect family in this perfect little townhouse in the city, when in reality, a lot of marriages end in divorce. I believe that stereotypes are used in a positive manner that does not affect the reader, as they actually complete the story and are not harsh enough to do any more harm than good.

Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth

Summary: Seema has grown up in India her entire life, but now her family is moving to Iowa for at least two years for her father's job. It is hard to learn everything she's ever known to try and adapt to a foreign country. Will she ever find friends? Will she learn to speak English well enough to succeed? What will happen if she does, then they move back to India?
Reference Notations:
  • Author: Kashmira Sheth
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Copyright Date: June 10, 2004
  • Type of Book: Easy Chapter Book
Insights: The reasons why I chose this book is because it tells such a wonderful story of coming from India to the United States, learning friendship with Mukta, and trying to find a way to fit in. These are the top three reasons why I chose to share this book, as each of these reasons is able to impact an individual one way or another. It captures the journey Seema went through and all of the hardships she had to overcome with great detail, which I love. The details add so much to the story and really make you visualize exactly what they story should look like.
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Ideas for the Classroom:


Make at least ten prints of a variety of flora and fauna in your neighborhood. Use plant guides or the internet to identify their species. Students will put their work in a folder to collect as the seasons change.


Make a list of at lease twenty slang words (all appropriate for school) or idioms that a person learning English as a second language might have difficulty understanding like Seema did with "you left the barn door wide open on that one!"


Research the passive resistance movement that the Gandhiji's promoted during their lifetime. Make a timeline of their lives and work and important milestones in their personal and public lives.

Concerns: The only concern I have with this book is what age level it is presented to. There is mild swear words and concepts that primary aged-level students would not understand. This book would be best appropriate for the middle school-aged children, as they are able to comprehend what is going on throughout the story and apply to what they may be learning throughout other classes as well.