Southwest Children's  Literature

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Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico! America's Sproutings

On Wednesday, October 22, I visited Kate Lindberg's 3rd-grade class at Los Niños Elementary School. I read Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!, and also took with me the 14 foods from the book (blueberries, chiles, chocolate, corn, cranberries, papaya, peanuts, pecans, pineapple, potatoes, prickly pear, pumpkin, tomatoes, and vanilla) so the children could taste and see the foods described. Before reading, I held up each food, or passed the "taste-able" ones around, and asked the kids to tell me what they were. Vanilla in the bean form was the hardest to identify. They tried smelling it first and then guessing.

Jordan's tomato drawing


I talked about the organization of the book, information on one side, haiku on the other. I explained that I would read the book and then we'd break up into three center groups: a book review group, a drawing group, and a haiku group. I asked the kids to think what group they would like to be in.

Blueberries are blue
Blueberries are like jelly.
Blueberries are sweet.

Pumkins are dark orange.
All of the pumkins are round
I like pumkin pie!

We also briefly explained the structure of haiku and we practiced counting out syllables with each of the children's names. After reading the book and showing and talking about the illustrations, I talked to the review group, Kate Lindberg worked with the haiku group, and the drawing group was loosely supervised by myself, Kate, and her classroom aide.


Dalia's pumpkin

Dalia's Pumpkin

Q. T.'s pumpkin

Q. T.'s Pumpkin

M. R.'s pumpkin

M.R.'s Pumpkin


Pumkins are dark orange.
All of the pumkins are round.
I like pumkin pie!


There was a lot of discussion about pumpkins, probably the result of this reading taking place the day before Halloween.

I asked the review group first what they noticed about the book, and then what they liked about the book. Finally, I asked what they would like to tell other children about the book. We had a nice lively discussion, but it finished pretty quickly when those group members moved on to one of the other centers.

Aaron's tomato

A Sweet and Juicy Tomato by Aaron

Who likes tomatoes?
Tomatoes are red and sweet.
Tomatoes are good.



I then helped a bit with the haiku group, counting out syllables and asking questions as ways to help them write haiku: "What do you know about blueberries?" "What do you like about pumpkins?"

Ms. Lindberg has erasable boards that they practice on. Once they were pleased with their work, they transferred the haikus to paper.

Chiles are fiery
Fiery hot as the sun.
Hotter than the stove.

I tried to think what would be fun for the class and what would be helpful to Ms. Lindberg in her work. (She's just beginning a unit on similes, and I think some of the haiku, comparing a pumpkin to the moon, or chiles to the sun, for example, will be helpful in that unit.)

It was a successful project. One of the children gave me a ribbon "for being a good teacher!" I got hugs, and they asked if I was coming back tomorrow. ¡Qué bueno!

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