The front cover of John's Turn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kate Berube will draw readers in right at the moment they view the front cover. I had several questions and imagine my students asking similar ones. Why is John standing in a dancer's pose? What is he wearing? Why do we see only the back of the heads other people? Right away I knew this was a book I wanted to share with my students because it was going to stretch our thinking.
Each Friday in John's school the day starts with an assembly and "Sharing Gifts" is an opportunity for one student to share. Sometimes student's share musical talent, they tell jokes, or share magic tricks. Today is John's turn and he's nervous. Readers watch John prepare and wait for his turn. As you can imagine as the the curtain opens on the stage there is laughter from the audience. The orchestra music being played is unfamiliar to the audience.
The next five double spread pages show John dancing. Readers will want to look carefully at the ink and watercolor illustrations to see how John changes while he is dancing. The dance is carefully illustrative to make you feel you are right there in the moment cheering John on.
Another beautiful illustrative move is the ending of the book shows the faces of the audience and their reaction to John's performance. This book is a mentor text for showing student's it's possible to feel more than one emotion at once. It's a mentor text to follow your interests and passions. It's a mentor text for watching and learning something you may not typically do and enjoy it.
Thank you Candlewick Press for this sneak peak. Publication date is March 8, 2022.
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