Last year, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins was one of my students’ favorite beginning of the year read alouds. Kindergarten, first, and second grade kids giggled with delight and fell in love with Penelope the dinosaur and her struggle to not eat the delicious children in her class. This year, Ryan T. Higgins is back with We Will Rock Our Classmates and the latest adventure of Penelope doesn’t disappoint.
Penelope has now adjusted to school and made many new friends. She is excited for her class talent show because she loves to rock and roll. But when the rehearsal for the talent show arrives, Penelope sees the look of disbelief on her classmates’ faces and gets stage fright. She worries they only see her as a dinosaur and nothing else. After a pep talk from her father, and encouragement from her classmates, she gets on stage and rocks the talent show.
Higgins peppers this sweet story with funny little quips in speech bubbles and poignant life lessons that will be perfect for young readers learning about the message of a story. His illustrations are filled with fun details and characters with hilarious expressions on their faces.
Here in Massachusetts, we finally have our first day of school with students this week. It’s been six months since we were last in classrooms and the world is so different than it was on March 12th when we went into quarantine. There are many important books to read and conversations to be had about the challenges our world faces. We will have to heal our students’ hearts as we sanitize their hands and keep our distance. But it’s also true that we need to laugh together. Moments of silliness and fun are going to be as essential as our safety protocols. So be sure to add some silly and fun read alouds to your stack this year, like We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins.
You can see Ryan T. Higgins read We Will Rock Our Classmates on YouTube, and get a bonus drawing lesson at the end!