Monster storms closed the school for three days. “Carpets bubbled with mud. Green slime swallowed books.” And when the children returned, the new bookshelves in the classroom were empty. “What will we do for story circle?” they ask.
With the kids sitting around her on the new rug, the teacher tells a story about a boy who loved to fly. Afterwards, she asks them what pictures they imagined. Each one sees something different: wings like yellow sunbeams, a pond that looks like a green button and cloud horses running in the blue sky. Soon, all the children are excitedly raising their hands to tell their own stories.
Acclaimed children’s book author Diane Gonzales Bertrand returns with another charming book about the joys of telling stories and using one’s imagination. The short text combined with fanciful illustrations will spark conversations with children and spur them to write and illustrate their own stories.
Click here to listen to the English read-along by Diane Gonzales Bertrand.
Click here to listen to an interview with Diane Gonzales Bertrand about The Story Circle/ El círculo de cuentos.
“After a storm floods their school, a group of racially diverse children is left with no books. Rather than stressing about the empty bookshelves, the teacher, a brown-skinned Latina, invites her students to use their imaginations as she tells rather than reads a story. The children become inspired to share and then write down their own flights of fancy.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This important bilingual text begins in the wake of a school flood that has destroyed the books in a primary grade classroom, leaving the teachers to clean up the mess. When the school reopens, the children immediately notice their empty bookshelves, and call out, “What will we do for story circle?” [They] go on to share personal narratives that they later write down and illustrate. The images cross most spreads, depicting a diverse classroom and students demonstrating caring behaviors toward their peers. In addition, the children are each set across from a detailed, sometimes fantastical image of their narratives. Young U.S. children will be able to make meaning from the Spanish text given the familiar school practice of storytime on the carpet, while all readers can connect in some way with its themes of resiliency and cooperation following a difficult event such as a natural disaster.”—School Library Journal
“Innovative illustrations of the images of each child’s story idea prance through the pages in delight and play. Each child is represented as a completely unique entity, with different ideas, family, background, and culture, yet sharing the joy of being students in the drowned classroom together. The Story Circle is a beautiful example of a story for children ages 4-7 that celebrates diversity and teaches kids how to make lemonade out of lemons.”—Midwest Book Review
“The story is appealing to a young audience and also gives the reader insight into endless imagination. A great book for a young audience to get their creative juices flowing.”—TheLatinoAuthor.com
“The Story Circle shows the importance of imagination, creativity, and courage in the face of adversity. …In this day and age when computers and mass media are so prevalent, it is wonderful to see a book that encourages children to invent their own entertainment.”—Catholic Library World
DIANE GONZALES BERTRAND is the author of numerous books for children and young adults. Her picture books for children include Cecilia and Miguel Are Best Friends / Cecilia y Miguel son mejores amigos, A Bean and Cheese Taco Birthday / Un cumpleaños con tacos de frijoles con queso and The Empanadas that Abuela Made / Las empanadas que hacía la abuela. A native of San Antonio, Texas, she teaches writing at St. Mary’s University where she is Writer in Residence.
A transplanted New Yorker now living in Missouri, WENDY MARTIN has worked as an illustrator for more than 25 years. She has written and illustrated several picture books for children, including An Ordinary Girl, A Magical Child, which was a finalist for the 2009 COVR Visionary Awards. She earned a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and then continued her art education at the School of Visual Arts, earning a B.F.A. in Graphic Design.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book
ATOS English: 2.5
ATOS Spanish: 2.7
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 182184