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Ish is a story about a boy named Ramon who loves to draw. One day his brother catches a glimpse of one of his sketches and mocks his work. This causes Ramon to feel a sort of dread, which eventually causes him to give up on artistry! But, all of his self-doubt comes to an end when he notices that his little sister has created a gallery of all his crumpled up art papers. He realizes that his work is a unique representation of the world around him. Ramon creates drawings that are “vase-ish”, “boat-ish” and more. He begins to enjoy art again and takes pride in his work. Readers are able to see his character transform and become inspired by his new found confidence and acceptance.
Peter Reynolds has penned some truly inspiring children’s books, and Ish is no exception. It sends an important message that it’s OK to be unique and individual. This is a great book to read before having students display any of their work, because it encourages students to take pride in their version of things. It also prompts a discussion about how not everyone will appreciate what we do. Some will truly discourage us, while others will praise us. This is a mature topic, but it’s important for kids to understand this in order to truly embrace self-acceptance. Here are some activity ideas to try out with your kids or class, which are inspired by the story. Any of the ideas below can be adapted to be about the book.
Character Development in Writing
This story presents a great writing model for students. It presents a character with strong feelings, which are represented with descriptive words and colors on the page. Here are some lesson ideas to try out.
The illustrations in Ish really allows the story to pop and come to life. The colors on the page change with Ramon’s moods. Also, Ramon’s own art work demonstrates a unique sense of lines and interpretation. Here are some art activities inspired by the book:
Character Development for Students
Ish presents some wonderful character traits for our students to internalize, which include: confidence & self acceptance. Here are some ways to encourage the development of these character traits even further:
Inference – Difficult Words
Ish is a powerful story, and it comes with some equally powerful words, some if which may be unknown to your students. Some of these words include “sneered”, “savored” and “gallery”. This is a great opportunity to have your students practice inferring as a reading strategy.
For more book recommendations with lesson ideas click here.