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Can I Give You A Squish?

It’s a tremendous honor to join the TBR blog this school year. I am beginning my twentieth year as an educator, and my sixth year working with third graders. I’m looking forward to sharing books, building my library, and creating a passionate reading community in my classroom.

I recently found out that my school district will be starting the first two months of the year with online comprehensive teaching and learning. For me, and so many of my colleagues, this is a world away from the way we’ve been trained to instruct and connect with kids. But like so many of you, I’m committed to giving it my best for as long as it’s needed. Regardless of the teaching model for any of our classrooms, one thing is certain for all teachers and students this fall—personal space and communication will look significantly different. Can I Give You A Squish? (released last month) will be one of my first #classroombookaday selections. Squish is a playful, sweet picture book by debut author and illustrator Emily Neilson. Set under the sea, little Kai loves giving hugs (squishes) to his friends but learns that not all the sea creatures like receiving them. He discovers that there is more than one way to greet a friend and that when it comes to hugs, all you have to do is ask.

Not only is this book a possible springboard for the important topic of consent, but it could also be used to begin brainstorming new ways to greet classmates and teachers from a six-foot distance or on a computer monitor. Handshakes, high-fives, and fist bumps will have to be replaced with waves, salutes, or even dance moves.

What greeting ideas do you have for your students this fall?

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