This week’s Perfect Picture Book selection provides a fun project to start off your summer reading program…
Title: Dream Something Big, the Story of the Watts Towers
Written by: Dianna Hutts Aston.
Illustrated by: Susan Roth.
Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers, 2011
Suitable for ages: 5-8
Themes/topics: Art, U.S. National Landmarks, determination, creativity
One chip of tile.
Uncle Sam held it in his hand, studying it, his imagination turning like a kaleidoscope. He put it in his pocket.
“I’m gonna do something big,” I heard him say.
Brief synopsis: (from worldcat.org)
In Watts, California, over a period of many years, a man known to all as Uncle Sam spends his free time collecting broken bits of pottery, glass, and other scraps and turning them into a work of art.
Activities and Resources:
See the back matter for the project: “Create your own Watts Towers.”
Make a collage.
Why I like this book:
One seemingly insignificant person with vision and unrecognized potential sees beauty and possibility where others do not. This “neighbor,” “dreamer,” and “foolish and crazy” immigrant expresses gratitude to his new country by creating a treasure from trash. The narrator grows from child to adult throughout this heartwarming and inspiring story.
The collages illustrating the story are a reflection of the story itself, using scraps to create art. These illustrations, as well as the towers themselves, draw the curious eye of the reader to examine the art more closely.
This is a book I keep going back to as a mentor text, a story that does everything right.
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.