Sunday 15 August 2021

My Favourite Teachers

My Favourite Teachers by Beck & Robin Feiner (HarperCollins Publishers) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9780733341625

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

Teachers aren’t always classroom teachers is what this unconventional picture book makes a point of telling its readers. There are other people in our lives – family, neighbours, and friends -- who teach us all kinds of interesting stuff. Unlike most picture books for young readers, the text in this book appears in paragraphs as it addresses all the different kinds of teachers. Here’s an example on one page: ‘I’m Lior. My favourite teacher is Mr Collins. He encourages me to love art even more than I already do. Whenever I create a painting, he calls it a masterpiece… even the little one of my sister that everyone else said looked like a wonky giraffe.’

Not all the teachers (and students) featured are white: quite a few are brown skinned (think Aboriginal and Indian). This includes Ms Rossi whose class joked ‘swallowed a calculator when she was a kid and it’s still working inside her.’ Grandpa is also teaching maths: he’s opened a savings account for his granddaughter who is making money from recycling bottles and cans. Vince, a neighbour, teaches Poppy how to organise a neighbourhood action group with a petition to get the council to improve the local park.

The Feiner authors have covered many bases when it comes to teachers. There’s even a community elder who teaches Jesse how to cook with fresh native ingredients.

The scattered illustrations appear against colourful backgrounds, and as well as people, they include items relevant to the story. Some of the text is in white font and could be larger to make reading more accessible. A classroom teacher might like to use My Favourite Teachers as a springboard for discussion about how students (including adults) learn about the world around them. The fly page at the front of the book even has a ‘certificate’ which allows the reader to fill in their favourite teacher to whom they’ve dedicated the book.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.