By Phyllis Howard and Mariann Cigrand
First, read aloud Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. Then invite children to write and illustrate their own page for an adorable literature-based collaborative book.
Faith Ringgold writes about her childhood memories of visiting Tar Beach, the rooftop escape during the summer in the city. Discuss why she called the roof “tar beach.” Looking out at the lights of the city, she dreams of flying through the sky and seeing the city from a bird’s-eye view. Explain that the illustrations in this story are part of a story quilt. Point out the quilted border on the cover and interior pages.
Writing & Art
Ask children if they think this is a realistic story. What parts of the story could be real and what parts are purely fantasy? Tell children that they will write a fantasy book together, with each student contributing one page. Distribute student pages and invite students to think of a place that they would like to fly over. Then have them draw a picture of themselves flying over this place. Next, ask children to write about their drawings. If desired, write the following prompt on the board: “I would fly to ______________.” Encourage children to add any details they would like, such as why they chose this place, how it feels to fly, and what everything looks like from way up high. Finally, have children color the squares on the border or glue squares cut from wrapping paper.