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The Cot in the Living Room

I could not love this book more.

Absolutely perfect mentor text for character change. As the story begins, our main character is very jealous of the children who get to spend the night on the cot in her living room. The illustrations by Gaby D’Alessandro assist the readers as we imagine what our main character in thinking. We watch the story turn as the young girl spends the night herself on the special cot only to realize that the experience does not live up to her active imagination. Beautiful ending as the reader watches this special child empathize with the children spending the night away from their own families.

I shared this story with a small group of 4th and 5th graders. One student commented that the main character reminded him of his younger sister who throws a fit when she is mad. All of the students reflected on how the main character changed her mind about the cot when she realized it was scary to be alone. One student shared that the main character, “realized she had feelings for others and opened her room” as a result.

The students picked up on Hilda Eunice Burgos’ repeated use of the words, “It’s Not Fair.” They also noted that the words changed meaning at the end of the story. “It’s not fair changes meaning at the end, meaning the other way around.”

I am looking forward to sharing this book with the same small group again next week and talking about empathy and how our perspective and choices change when we see a situation through another’s eyes.

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