This week we are launching a unit on communities and being a good citizen. One area of focus is on the importance of people helping other people to meet their needs. As part of learning about goods and services, we spend some time learning about different ways people make our communities a better place.
Last week, our Harcourt Trophies story was Good-Bye Curtis by Kevin Henkes. In this story, Curtis has faithfully delivered the mail to his community for 42 years. During that time he has befriended many families. He has watched the children grow up and have families of their own. On his last day as a mail carrier, the community plans a special party to honor him. This story reminds me of my childhood mailman named Tony. He delivered mail to our front door for years. He was so special to us that when Neil Armstrong was about to land on the moon, we invited him inside to watch that historical moment with us. As I write this I realize I am dating myself and recollecting an era gone by. Last week, I asked my students if they knew their mail carrier’s name. They acknowledged that they had no idea. It makes me wonder how much longer until this community helper vanishes from being a part of everyday life.
I like to connect Good-Bye Curtis with another story about mail: The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. In this creative interactive book, there are envelopes addressed to and from fairytale characters. There are invitations, letters, postcards, and sales ads written from different points of view. This makes a fun mentor text for writing. I have my students create their own fairytale mail and use their imagination to consider what the character might write. We also focus on the proper way to address and envelope and letter writing formatting. The kids enjoy this departure from more traditional writing assignments.
Check out these and other books on the list for helping children learn more about different vocations and careers in their community.