Monday, September 27, 2010

The Hello, Goodbye Window

The Hello, Goodbye Window
By Norton Juster and Chris Raschka

I found this book randomly at the library, and loved it.  The pictures are wonderful, that is probably what stuck out to me the most.  They look like watercolors or crayon drawings, and are so colorful and animated.   The book is a nice story about a child who spends the days with their grandparents while the parents are at work.  The story goes through different activities they all do together, how much fun they have, and most importantly, what the Hello, Goodbye Window is and how important it is to them.  It is a large window, and the child talks about all of the different times of day they look through it, and what they see when they look through it. 

I think students could really relate to this book, visiting grandparents or other family members and doing fun things together.  The child obviously really loves and admires the grandparents, so it could be a fun way for kids to write about someone who is very important to them.  It also could be a way to talk about traditions and routines; the child does lots of the same activities every day with the grandparents, and they always stop at the window and blow kisses goodbye when they are leaving.  Lots of kids probably have similar traditions or routines they could relate to this book. 

Another thing I thought was interesting about this book, was the title and then at the end how the child said “you can be happy and sad at the same time, you know”.   The child is saying that a person can be feeling to completely different emotions at the same time, just like the title is saying that the window can be both a Hello AND Goodbye window at the very same time.  I’m not sure what you could do exactly with this, but I think it would be something interesting to talk about with the students.  One last thing I really liked about the book, is the discrete mention of race and racial equality.  The grandma is a black woman while the grandpa is a white man.  The child is biracial, and the mom is black and the dad is white.  It never says anything about this in the book, but this is how the illustrator chose to draw the characters, and I think it makes the story even more relatable for more people.  It shows a common reality that is traditionally not commonly shown in children’s books.

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