We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller

We Are Growing!  by Laurie Keller (2016, Hyperion) is one of my new favorites! This 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Winner is also a Mo Willems Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! selection. 

Elephant and Piggie fans will LOVE this story that is just about as interesting as watching grass grow! You’ll see what I mean when you read it! 

Told in the perspective of eight blades of grass, We Are Growing! offers hilarious insight into what it means to find what is awesome about oneself. Whereas one blade of grass is the silliest, yet another realizes it is the curliest. All the blades are just growing along until one blade realizes it has no unique characteristic. Just as panic begins to ensue, along comes the lawnmower…. But fear not. This blade is resilient and realizes finally his awesome quality. 

What I LOVE about this book is that beneath the ridiculousness of talking blades of grass is an important message about finding what makes us all unique. I was so happy reading this book to my little guy the other night. I just smiled. Because one day I hope he realizes (with my help, of course) what makes him stand out from all the other blades of grass kids. 

I have just started my children’s literature syllabus for the fall, and this book will definitely be a read-aloud selection. We Are Growing! exists on different levels and can be understood differently by students at the variety of grade levels my students will be teaching. 

We Are Growing! is a great text to help students (of all ages) think about perspective, character, and voice. Sure, the story would have had just as important of a message had it been written from the perspective of a little boy learning about what makes him unique. But the story is so much more unique AND FUNNY when you have blades of grass thinking about what makes them unique. Students can also discuss perspective not just by analyzing the words but also analyzing the way Keller plays around with the sizes of the shapes and objects in the text. You can find out more about Keller’s process in creating We Are Growing! by listening to the audio file found here. One aspect that I heard Keller speak about was about how she had to think about word choice because of her audience of early readers. 

My students will have to create an original children’s book. Those who want to teach younger grades can try their skills at writing for early writers. And those looking to write from a unique perspective will find this text quite inspiring! What if, say, one of my students turned this story around and wrote the story from the perspective of the kid pushing the lawnmower? 

A great book for the classroom or home library, We Are Growing! should be on your bookshelf! It’s certainly on mine! 

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