In my seventh grade art class, I’ve used this beautiful picture book, Looking Like Me, by Walter Dean Myers. It is a colorful picture book telling the story of a young boy, and who he thinks he is, as seen through the eyes of the people around him. It is appropriate for k-6, but the themes are so universal, it may be used across grade levels. I use it with seventh graders to analyze the poetry and expressive graphic elements.
The images are by Christopher Myers, Walter’s son, and they are in collage and paint. The images are bright and energetic, as is the poetry. The book is told from the perspective of a boy, who is defining who he thinks he is through images and words. He uses descriptions from his sister, mother, grandmother, postman, etc. The results I have gotten in class are wonderful- the children express who they are through poetry and images.
Brief overview of the process:
5. Lastly, we use a graphic organizer to take raw information from the Culture Sheet and transform that into poetry. This may be done however you like, but I stress the memories, feelings and emotions that are associated with their answers. For example, a student answered that sewing was her favorite hobby. I then asked her what memories does she have of it, and what adjectives and verbs she would use to describe how she felt about sewing. (See image)
When art and words collide beautifully as they do in this lesson, students have the opportunity to truly express who they are. Check out Looking Like Me and let me know what you think. Feel free to share you ideas below.