A Tribe of Kids: read and create

One of our first and most important goals in our kindergarten class is to become a community. A community that everyone belongs to. Equally. A community that celebrates both that which we have in common, and the things that make us different and unique. A community that is curious, and brave enough to explore new ideas and skills. A community that cares for each other, and cheers each other on. A group of kids that belong together.

We read a book about a child who kept looking for his "group of kids who belong together".

There is a Tribe of Kids
author and illustrator: Lane Smith
publisher: Pan Macmillan, 2016

At the beginning of the story, we meet the main character -a kid - with a tribe of kids (the goat variety).

Having been left behind, he realizes that he does not belong with these kids, and begins his adventures to find his tribe.

He swims with a smack of jellyfish,

connects with a family of stars,

blooms with a growth of plants,

attempts to join a flight of butterflies, 

 - but does not belong with any of them.

He keeps adventuring - until he finds his tribe of leaf clad kids and joins their play.

He tells them about his adventures,

and finds a family to belong with. Where he is loved!

As I read the book aloud to the kids, we enjoyed (and had fun with) Lane's choice of words in the story. The text is sparse, each word carefully chosen. The kids enjoyed the "clash" of rhinos, the "army" of caterpillars, and, most especially. the "unkindness" of ravens.

We loved both the simplicity and detail in all the illustrations.

Each animal, insect, plant, and even rock, was created with its own characteristics and personality.

The kids pored over the double spread of the kids doing their kid thing in the forest. There is so much to investigate - so many back stories to wonder about, so many future stories to tell.

There is Tribe of Kids just begs its readers to create their own tribe of kids.

The logical starting place is with leaves - collect some. We only collected maple leaves - other kinds of leaves would also work.  Purchased paper or fabric leaves would also work.

We painted our leaves and made leaf prints. (We only made red leaves since we were making a tribe of Canadian kids to celebrate Canada's birthday).

I cut out the leaves so that the children could transform them into kids.

The kids chose to use markers, pencil crayons and felt pens (markers) to create their tribe of children.

I love how this leaf-kid is wearing Canadian flags on her head just like the artist-kid is.

Each member of the tribe had character and personality.

There is a Tribe of Kids has generated some controversy because of the use of the word "tribe" in the title and text.

I read the book, read reviews outlining how the book can be perceived as racist, and chose to share it with my class (which includes First Nations students) based on the meaning of "tribe" as a group of people sharing the same customs and culture. We spent all year building community - building our tribe. Becoming a group of kids who belong together.

Read, and think.
School Library Journal
Reading While White 
Fairrosa Cyber Library


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