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Our Children’s Book of the Month selections for November include a story about friendship, Stick and Stone, and another about a courageous rescue of whales based on a true story, called A Symphony of Whales. Join us live on Facebook on November 20, 2018 to find out new ways for introducing these books into your classroom.

Early Elementary

Stick and Stone

By Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Item #866499, $16.99, Hardcover

Stick and Stone is a sweet book with a message about supporting each other through the good and the bad.  Stick rescues Stone from a bully (a pinecone), and they become good friends. Then, the bad weather blows Stick away (he’s a literal stick)! Stone searches high and low until he finds him and gets to repay the rescuing.  Good friends “stick” together!


Ideas for Your Classroom

In the music class, this could be used as a sound story by assigning different instruments, or motions to the characters Stick and Stone.  Every time one of their names is said, the instrument plays, or the movement performed.  Additionally, the book can also be a launching pad for a unit on friendship songs and dances.

The publisher has put together a nice activity guide for teachers to use with the book, and they’ve also put together this trailer video to give you a preview.

Late Elementary

A Symphony of Whales

by Steve Schuch
Illustrated by Peter Sylvada
Item #867718, $7.99 (softcover)

Our later elementary selection this month is A Symphony of Whales, based on a true story!  A Russian icebreaker ship created a 15-mile path through thick ice in the Arctic Ocean. The rescue effort allows an enormous gathering of beluga whales to swim to freedom.  They had gotten trapped when the ice froze around them. Beluga whales need to rise to the surface to breathe!

In A Symphony of Whales, a young Eskimo girl named Glashka heard the moans and cries of whales. She discovers a massive gathering of beluga whales trapped in the bay as the ice froze around them. They called a Russian ship in the area to come and break through the ice. However, it would take it weeks to arrive! The villagers kept bringing fish to the bay to feed the whales and kept breaking the ice to allow them to breathe.

When the ship arrived, the whales were afraid and wouldn’t follow it out into the ocean. However, as beluga whales use sound for navigation, the ship played music over its speakers to make them follow it. They tried all sorts of music and found that only classical music attracted the whales to follow. Finally, the whales swam to freedom.

Ideas for Your Classroom

A Symphony of Whales is a fascinating cross-curricular study of the music of whales – both the music they make and how they use music/sound to find their way.  Students could listen to the music of whales and create a movement to imitate it.  Additionally, they could use non-pitched percussion to try and build their whale sounds (try singing bowls, ratchets, etc…).  And of course, you could discuss why the word “symphony” is used in the title – all of the whales singing formed a musical group that generated a beautiful sound together (and “symphony” is probably also a nod to the classical music that led the whales out of danger).

You could also do a combination study with the science teacher and learn about whales and their habitats, and how beluga whales differ from other whales.  A Symphony of Whales is a fascinating story that kids will love to learn more about.

Here are some additional resources:

Join us on Facebook! 

Join us for another Facebook Live discussion on November 20, 2018 at 4:00 pm CST about these two books and how you could use them in your classroom.  We want to hear your ideas!  If you are not able to make the live discussion, check our Facebook page for the recording.

Thanks again for being a part of our West Music community!