Using Caldecott Award Winning Books: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

I’ve posted recently about our readings and studies of horses. We’ve enjoyed several unit studies and books related to horses recently. So when I knew this month’s Poppins Book Nook theme was Caldecott Award books, I picked up The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses– a book that had been in our book basket throughout the horse studies.

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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble is a Native American legend of sorts. Paul Goble has a number of beautifully illustrated books focused on Native Americans. In The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, a Native American girl who loves and cares for the horses is caught in a violent storm with some of them. Running away, she is lost from her camp and meets up with a magnificent wild stallion and a herd of wild horses. She lives with the horses until over a year later, when some of her people find her. But when she returns to the people, her heart is broken, and she is allowed to return- with great ceremony to her wild horses.

There are many ways that this story can be used as a teaching tool. I found the following websites with lesson plans and resources. From these I drew some of the activities we used with the book.

With all of these great resources, don’t get too caught up in making everything a learning activity. Take time to read and enjoy the beauty of this book.

After I read the book out loud to my girls, we took a look at this website. It’s an author site for Paul Goble and has some pictures of his great artwork for many books with Native American themes.

At the end of the book are some Native American songs written about the horses. I wanted to girls to write a poem/song addressed to or about a horse. They had a little trouble with creativity, so we turned to one of the poem structures we’ve been studying in our poetry unit study- an acrostic. This type of poem is good because it stimulates ideas to be given the first letter of the word or phrase.

After we finished our poems, I had the girls decorate a piece of construction paper that we were going to use as “fabric” to make tipis like the ones in the story. The tipis all have geometric designs or animal shapes or patterns. So the girls decorated.

The tipis were supposed to use sticks or pencils bundled in a group with the legs spread out. Then the paper wrapped around the sticks and fastened. We had a little difficulty getting ours to turn out great, but we ended up with a few tipi specimans.

The Caldecott Award goes to beautiful picture books. Don’t get so excited about all of the learning opportunities that you don’t stop to enjoy the simple beauty of some of these books.

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