Today, I found myself covering in a fifth grade classroom. It’s that time of year when the teacher absentee list on a Friday gets pretty long. Luckily, I had a copy of Someone Builds the Dream, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Loren Long, with me. When the kids got kind of antsy, I called them over for a read aloud break.
I began by showing them the cover of the book. “What do you think it will be about?” Some of the kids noticed the female on the cover and said, “Anyone can do anything.” Another student said, “I think it will be about building up and working hard for the things you want in life.” They talked about metaphors and gender. They even wondered if the book would have anything to do about race. I knew we would have rich discussions.
As we began to read, the students quickly picked up on the rhythm and playful rhyming in the story. “All across this great big world jobs are getting done by many hands in many lands. It takes much more than one.”
The story first introduces an architect, working on a plan.
The words and gorgeous illustrations then go onto showing that dream of a plan coming to fruition through the hard work of many.
The story continues in a similar pattern showing the dreams of engineers, artists, scientists, park designers, and finally authors and illustrators and the realization of those dreams thanks to the work of construction workers, welders, machine operators, plumbers, electricians, and many more.
As I read aloud the book with the fifth graders, I stopped a few times along the way for them to turn and talk. At one point I posed the question, “Do you think one job is more important than others?” One student quickly responded by saying that he thought the dreamers, like the architect, were more important. Another student quickly jumped in and said, “they all rely on each other. Without each other, they would all be nothing.”
We ultimately decided that a good theme statement for this book would be, a good team makes the dream.