Second Grade - Literature - Overview - March

The literature lessons are sequenced to follow the order of the World Civilization lessons. Folktales from India are presented first, followed by China, and finally Japan. The Visual Arts lessons relate to the study of these countries as well.

The country of Japan is studied in May so you may wish to save the two Japanese folktales The Tongue-cut Sparrow and The Crane Wife until then. The Crane Wife makes reference to the weaving of silk and it is in May that silkworms and the production of silk are covered in science.

Included below are additional resources that may be used in conjunction with the study of India, China and Japan. There are not specifically connected with lessons but provide related activities. The books listed below will also add to this study.


Copycat Magazine MAR/APR 1997 "Team up with Tangrams" pp. 9-14

Copycat Magazine MAR/APR 1994 " Multicultural Crafts" pp. 7-13

Cassedy, Sylvia and Kunihiro Suetake, trans. Red Dragonfly on My Shoulder. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Thirteen haiku translated with marvelous artwork by Molly Bang. Take the time to share this with your students!

Lee, Huy Voun. At the Beach. New York: Henry Holt, 1994.

A mother teaches Chinese characters to her son during a day at the beach. Wonderful story and artwork.

Tombert, Ann. Grandfather Tang's Story. New York: Crown Publishers, 1990.

Grandfather Tang uses tangrams to tell the story of the fox fairies. Great book for student interaction with tangrams.


Second Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - March

Back to the drawing board.

Ask the students if they recall the saying Back to the drawing board that they learned in September. Ask someone to explain what the saying means. Remind the students that it was discussed in conjunction with the Constitution and the beginnings of the United States. Ask if anyone remembers the word that means to make an adjustment to something based on the ideas or opinions of several people (compromise). Remind the students that it is because of compromises that an idea sometimes goes back to the drawing board.

Ask the students to think about other reasons why things or ideas go back to the drawing board. Suggest that sometimes people who are doing or making something don't think about all the people who might do or use it. Remind the students that the Constitution had several amendments added to it because groups of people had been left out of the original plans. Women and slaves were not considered and not even allowed to participate.

Tell the students that changes or modifications sometimes happen because things need to be modernized or made more safe. For instance, over the years the automobile has gone back to the drawing board many times. The wheels and engine have changed as have the body and the safety features. These changes meant a whole new blueprint or plan had to be designed. Remind the students that when we go back to the drawing board we improve whatever it is that we're working on.

Finally, tell the students that an idea goes back to the drawing board simply because it does not work out. Tell them that before the airplane we use today was designed, people tried many other ideas that failed. Some people tried strapping wings onto their arms and trying to fly, or they tried machines that would make the wings move up and down. Each time they were unsuccessful they went back to the drawing board with their ideas. Sometimes people have to take an idea back to the drawing board so many times that they give up. We are very lucky that there are people who just won't give up. When we think of all the wonderful inventions that there are, we can be very thankful for the people who kept going back to the drawing board.


Second Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - March

Practice what you preach.

Display the saying and read Practice what you preach. Tell the students that while we think of ministers as preachers, we are all preachers, too. Say: When people preach they tell other people how to live. They may say be kind to your neighbor, always tell the truth, give to the poor, or any kind of advice like that. We sometimes tell other people to share or let everyone join the game. Say: To practice what you preach means that you are living your life the same way that you are telling others to live theirs.

Tell the children that it's easy to tell someone else what to do, but it isn't always so easy to do the same thing yourself. We need to be careful about what we preach, because we need to be a good example as well as a good preacher. If we tell someone else that they must share, we have to make sure that we always share; not just when we want.

Remind the students that last month they learned about some very important Americans who helped to make our country a better place to live. Ask the students to think about the example set by Martin Luther King, Jr. Remind them of the important contribution that he made by preaching and living nonviolence. Ask the students to tell what they think would have happened if Dr. King said it was wrong to physically fight and then hit someone who was mistreating him.

You may wish to talk about the significance of this saying for all people. Sometimes children accuse adults (justifiably) of having a separate set of rules that govern them. Adults tell children what they should or should not do, while the adults do otherwise. Reinforce that this is not what the saying is about; it really means that everyone should act the way they tell others to act, without exception.


Second Grade - Literature - India - The Blind Men and the Elephant


Explain why each man had a different idea of the elephant.

Match the descriptions and parts of the elephant.

Make and decorate a paper elephant.


Construction paper, scissors, crayons, glue

Elephant pattern (included)

Copy of the story

Copy of Seven Blind Mice (optional)

Suggested Books

Blackstein, Karen, retold by. The Blind Men and the Elephant. New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Great artwork, simple text. This Hello Reader!--Level 3 can easily be read by the students.

Quigley, Lillian, retold by. The Blind Men and the Elephant. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959.

Beautiful delicate artwork enhances this tale.

Saxe, John Godfrey, retold by. The Blind Men and the Elephant. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963.

Fable is told in rhyme, Galdone's illustrations are pen and ink, little color is added.

Additional Book

Young, Ed. Seven Blind Mice. New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Cut-paper figures illustrate this variation of the fable "The Blind Men and the Elephant."

Teacher Background

The Hindu god Ganesha (Ganesh) has an elephant-head. Ganesha is the god who solves difficulties. The Hindu people worship him and pray to him whenever they start a new project (a new home, the beginning of a school year). An interesting aside is that Ganesha rides on a mouse or rat. Ed Young addresses this animal quite neatly in his tale Seven Blind Mice.


Tell the students that the story you are going to read is called The Blind Men and the Elephant. It is a fable from India. Review that a fable gives a message or moral. Tell the students that elephants live in India as well as in Africa. Have them locate India on a map and name the continent on which it is found. Tell the students that the Indian elephant has smaller ears than the African elephant and it has only one "finger" at the tip of its trunk. Explain that this "finger" helps the elephant to pick up things.

Say: In India, the elephant is considered to be wise. One of the gods of the Hindu people is Ganesha. Ganesha has an elephant head and the people pray to him for help when facing a new project. They believe Ganesha will help them solve their difficulties.

Repeat the title of the story and remind the students that if someone is blind, that person cannot see. Tell the students that even if a person is blind, that person can still learn about things BCP DRAFT LIT 111

Second Grade - Literature - India - The Blind Men and the Elephant

by using other senses. To demonstrate this ask several children to volunteer to use their sense of touch without using their sense of sight.

One at a time, have the volunteers stand in front of the class blindfolded. Place a familiar object in the child's hands and encourage the child to describe the object and not simply to

identify it. Ask: What shape is it? How does it feel? Is it heavy or light? Remind the children that

their ability to identify an object is based on their prior knowledge, or information that they knew before. Discuss how difficult it would be to identify something you had never seen before

imply by touching a part of it. Show the entire class how similar a paintbrush and a pencil are if you are only touching the body and not the bristles of the brush or the point of the pencil.

Tell the students that the story you are going to read deals with the kind of problem that can happen when people only have one part of a body of information. Tell them to listen carefully for a problem that occurs in the story and to raise their hands when they hear the problem happening.

Read the story. When you reach the point where the blind men disagree, stop reading and see how many of the students recognize that a problem is happening. Ask the students to tell why there is a problem. Ask: Have the men seen an elephant before? Did each man feel the same part of the elephant as the others? What would you tell them in order to solve their problem? Finish reading the story.

Take a few minutes to review the misunderstandings that the men had. Ask: Which part of the elephant felt like a wall? (side) Which part of the elephant felt like a snake? (trunk) Which part of the elephant felt as sharp as a spear? (tusk) Which part of the elephant felt like a tree? (leg) Which part of the elephant felt like a fan? (ear) Which part of the elephant felt like a rope? (tail)

Ask the children if the story reminds them of anything else. Ask: Have you ever gotten into trouble for fighting with your sister or brother when it was really their fault? Did you ever say to your parents, "You don't know what really happened. You don't know what he (or she) did before!" You are really saying that your parents only know part of what happened; they don't know the whole thing. Say: The same thing happened to the blind men. Each one only knew a part of the elephant; they disagreed because each one didn't know what the others knew.

Tell the children that there is an important lesson in this story. Ask them to tell in their own words what they think the lesson is. Be sure that however they choose to say it, they recognize that there is danger in only knowing part of something and not bothering to learn the whole.

If there is time and you were able to secure it, share the book Seven Blind Mice. Ask how the story is similar to, or different from The Blind Men and the Elephant. Ask: Who recognized and solved the mice's problem (the seventh mouse). How did he settle the disagreement? (He ran from one end of the elephant to the other.)

Take a few moments to admire Ed Young's cut-paper artwork. The very simple figures are very powerful because of the bright colors and the contrasting sizes.

Journal Prompt

Describe an elephant (or any other animal) for a person who has never seen one before.



Second Grade - Literature - India - The Blind Men and the Elephant

Art project - Constructing a free-standing paper elephant (Be sure that you have constructed a finished model to show to the students)

1. Provide each child with a piece of construction paper with the pattern duplicated on it, or a piece of construction paper and a pattern to trace. (See Figure 1)

2. Have the children cut out the elephant, saving the pieces from between the legs to use as ears, and the piece between the trunk and legs for use as the tusks and tail. (Fig.2)

3. Have the children decorate the elephant, reminding them to duplicate the same design on both sides of the body. You may wish to show the illustrations from the story again. (Fig. 3)

4. Have the children attach the ears, tusks and tail, adding any additional designs desired. (Fig. 4)

tusk and tail ears

Figure 1 Figure 2

Figure 3 Figure 4


Second Grade - Literature - India - The Blind Men and the Elephant


Second Grade - Literature - India

Other Tales from India

Baumgartner, Barbara. Crocodile! Crocodile! Stories Told Around the World. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.

Marvelous cut-paper illustrations by Judith Moffatt; contains "Crocodile! Crocodile!" and "Crocodile Hunts for the Monkey."

Brown, Marcia. Once a Mouse. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961.

Wood-cuts provide the art for this tale of an ungrateful mouse.

Demi. The Hallowed Horse. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1987.

A colorful border trims each page of this tale of a search for a Divine horse to protect the kingdom.

DeSpain, Pleasant. Thirty-three Multicultural Tales to Tell. Little Rock: August House, Inc., 1993.

A collection of tales perfect for storytelling. Includes "The Bosung Pohoo."

Duff, Maggie, retold by. Rum Pum Pum. New York: Macmillan, 1978.

Wonderful! Colorful illustrations by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey brighten this tale of a clever blackbird on a mission to save his wife.

Jaffrey, Madhur. Seasons of Splendor-Tales, Myths & Legends of India. New York: Atheneum, 1985.

A collection of many stories, some too sophisticated for this age.

Newton, Pam. The Stonecutter. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1990.

A stonecutter is unhappy with each wish he is granted until he has a wonderful realization. Wonderful art.

Shepard, Aaron. The Gifts of the Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan. New York: Atheneum, 1995.

A gift from an old grass cutter causes an interesting string of events. Great story with wonderful illustrations by Daniel San Souci.


Second Grade - Literature - China - The Magic Paintbrush


Write about and/or draw something with the magic brush.

Identify and label behaviors exhibited by the main character.



Character trait worksheet (included)

Paints, brushes, paper (optional)

Suggested Books

Bang, Molly Garrett. Tye May and the Magic Brush. New York: Mulberry Books, 1981.

Variation of original story, main character is a girl.

Wyndham, Robert. Tales the People Tell in China. New York: Julian Messner, 1971.

Pen and ink illustrations; includes "Ma Liang and His Magic Brush."

In Addition

Levine, Arthur, retold by. The Boy Who Drew Cats. New York: Dial, 1993.

Stunning illustrations by Frederic Clement; a story of artwork that comes alive (Japan). May be too sophisticated for some students.

Teacher Background

Several activities are included that develop different aspects of this story. Use those activities that you think will be useful to your students. Do read other stories from Chinese folk lore (suggested books included) to familiarize your students with repetitive themes such as the triumph of good over evil, virtue rewarded, and the value of wisdom.


Begin this lesson by showing the students a paintbrush and telling them the story you are going to read is about a magic paintbrush. Ask the students to think about the ways a paintbrush could be magic. If they have difficulty, you might suggest that the paintbrush could paint any color the artist wished, or it could paint any thing the artist wished, or it could fix broken things that it was brushed over, or bring to life the things that were painted with it.

Take a few minutes to discuss whether any (or all) of these features of a paintbrush would be desirable. What might happen to a person who suddenly could have anything that person wished? Remind the students that a person could choose to help others, or choose to be selfish.

Before you begin the version of the magic paintbrush that you have selected, remind the students to listen to find out how the paintbrush is magic and how its owner chooses to use it. Then read the story.

Tell the students that you are going to name some character traits of Tye May (or Ma Liang). Tell the students that working together in pairs, they are to recall situations in the story. They should match the character trait to the behavior of Tye May (or Ma Liang). List the following character traits on the board in a column. Take a moment to be sure that the students understand each, and if necessary, explain or write a brief explanation for each.


Second Grade - Literature - China - The Magic Paintbrush

determined - not willing to give up

kind - treating others in a pleasant way

thoughtful - doing things for others without being asked

stubborn - not giving in to another's wishes

clever - smart, thinking ahead

cautious - very careful

Divide the class into pairs and distribute worksheets. Tell the students that one partner will write the pair's responses and the other will share those responses with the class. If you think it would be helpful, read the story again, allowing the students to write down ideas and notes. If you think the students will still have difficulty, as a group discuss possible answers.

After the students have had several minutes to work together on the exercise, have students report their findings. Did several pairs identify the same actions? Could more than one action explain the same character trait? Could the students think of other characters, in other stories who had the same character traits? If there is time discuss a few of their suggestions.

Remind the students that the magic paintbrush was very powerful and the person who used it had a lot of responsibility. Ask the students to imagine that they have been given the paintbrush. What would they draw with it?

Have the students use paints and brushes and make a simple picture. They should be able to see that making a life-like picture this way is not easy for everyone. If you wish to let them make a more involved picture you may wish to let them use crayons. The students may enjoy seeing the book A Young Painter by Zheng Zhensun which shows the art of Wang Yani who started painting at the age of three.

You may also wish to read the book The Boy Who Drew Cats. The illustrations are stunning and the students may be interested to see a similar tale from Japan.


Journal Prompt

Folktales include many magic items; pretend that you have found a magic glove. Tell what happens when you put your hand inside. What can you do when you are wearing the magic glove?


Second Grade - Literature - Japan - The Tongue-Cut Sparrow


Compare the old man and woman's trips to the tongue-cut sparrow.

Identify examples of onomatopoeia in the story.

Write sentences or cinquains using onomatopoeic words (optional).

Make a paper chest with a scene from the story inside (optional).


Crayons, scissors

Construction, writing and drawing paper

Classroom world map


Suggested Book

Ishi, Momoko, retold by. The Tongue-Cut Sparrow. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987.

Japanese tale beautifully translated by Katherine Patterson, illustrations are pen and ink.

Teacher Background

In this tale kindness is rewarded and greediness is punished. It is a theme that is repeated in many stories and many cultures. As you read this and other folk tales, encourage the students to draw parallels to other stories they have read. Remind the students that like fables, there are important messages to learn in folk tales.

Pay particular attention to the onomatopoeic words. Exaggerate the words when you read the story to draw the students' attention. You will notice that the onomatopoeic words are written in italics in the story which is helpful for quick recognition when reading the story aloud.


Tell the students that The Tongue-cut Sparrow is a folk tale from Japan. Have a student locate Japan on the map; or if you are studying Japan at this time, have a child recall facts about Japan (country made up of islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, part of the continent of Asia).

Remind the students that the story was originally told in the Japanese language, and that Japanese is a language that has a lot of words that were formed when someone was trying to imitate a sound, like the words boom or bong would be in the English language. Tell the students that those words are called onomatopoeic words. Say: When I read the story and you hear words that are used to make a sound in the story, raise your hands.

Read the story to the students. When you reach the first onomatopoeic word (chokin) exaggerate the pronunciation and pause to see if the students identify it. If they are able, congratulate them and continue with the story. If they are not able, point out the word and repeat the procedure with the next such word. It may take the students awhile to discern the kind of words you mean.

When you have completed the story take a few moments to discuss the old man's reward and the old woman's punishment. Have the students tell why the man was treated so well while his wife was not. Go through the sequence of events that occurred on the journey to see the tongue-cut sparrow and compare the man and woman's actions. Ask the students to tell if they think the outcome could have been different for the woman. Ask: What do you think could have happened if she had done a good job when she helped the men washing the ox and the horse? What do you think could have happened if she had taken the smaller chest? What do you think BCP DRAFT LIT 123

Second Grade - Literature - Japan - The Tongue-Cut Sparrow

could have happened if the woman had apologized to the tongue-cut sparrow? What could have happened if the woman had been kind to the other sparrows?

Ask the students if they can think of another story that had a greedy wife (The Fisherman and His Wife). What happened to the greedy wife in that story? Remind the students that these two stories (The Fisherman... and The Tongue-cut...) come from two different continents. Ask if the students think that is a coincidence or does it say something about the importance of the message we get from the stories.

Have the students consider the onomatopoeic words again. Reread the story (or selections from it) and have the students substitute English words for the Japanese. Possible words are:

chokin - chop, snip, clip

chun chun - chirp chirp

binga binga - scrub scrub

kocho kocho - splash splash

gosho gosho - slosh slosh

suru suru - slither slither

yota yota - bump bump

futt - puff, fizz,

hi-yaaaa - aaaaaaah

Allow the students to experiment with words and enjoy the fun a storyteller can have inserting words whose sounds add to telling the story. You may also wish to allow the students to mime the sound by snipping with scissor-like fingers, or scrubbing with imaginary brushes in their hands.

Challenge the students to think of other onomatopoeic words. You may wish to suggest a category in order to help them focus; water sounds or thunder sounds are good choices. Make lists on the board or on chart paper under such headings.

Water sounds Thunder sounds

splish crash

splash boom

gurgle rumble

drip bang

sprinkle roar

Depending on the ability of your students and the time that you can spend, you may wish to have the students write sentences using onomatopoeic words or attempt cinquains. Directions for both are included.


Have the students write simple sentences that incorporate several onomatopoeic words. Suggest that they think of a type of sound and its source in order to decide what to write. Give them many examples like the ones below.

Splish, splash, the raindrops trickled from tree limbs.

Crack, splat, sizzle, the egg cooked on the griddle.

The giant dropped the rock and crash, bang, pop; it exploded.

You may need to help with punctuation and spelling, but have the students copy the BCP DRAFT LIT 124

Second Grade - Literature - Japan - The Tongue-Cut Sparrow

sentence onto lined paper in their best handwriting. Attach the sentences to manila paper that the students have illustrated accordingly.


Cinquains are five-line poems that follow this format:

line 1 noun

line 2 two adjectives*

line 3 three sounds

line 4 four-word phrase

line 5 noun


* Words that tell how something looks, tastes, feels, smells, or sounds.

Using the water words you listed before, show that students that you could write:


cold, clear

drip, splish, splash

falling on my porch



If necessary, make a chart for each of the lines of the cinquain. Have the students brainstorm possibilities for each one of the lines and write them on five charts representing them. The words on charts one and five may be the same.

Have the students neatly copy the cinquains and mount them on construction paper along with an illustration.


If you wish to do an art activity to accompany this story have the students make a chest by folding construction paper (see diagram). Insert a piece of manila paper cut to fit inside of the chest, and have the students either illustrate a scene from the story, or draw what they would hope to find in a magic chest. Decorate the outside of the construction paper to resemble a chest.

Journal Entry

Tell about your favorite sound. Explain what happens to cause that sound and/or what happens when you hear that sound.


Second Grade - Literature - Japan - The Crane Wife


Identify onomatopoeic words.

Compare and contrast the story with others read.


Pictures of a crane, Japanese paper screens or doors

Piece of silk fabric or silk scarf

Suggested Book

Yagawa, Sumiko, retold by. The Crane Wife. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1981.

Translation by Katherine Paterson; beautiful illustrations by Suekichi Akaba.


Show the students pictures of cranes. Explain that in Japan the crane is used as a symbol. If necessary, briefly review what the term symbol means. Say: The crane symbolizes peace, long life and good health. Cranes are mentioned or used as illustrations in many stories from Japan.

Show the cover of the book The Crane Wife. Lead the students in a discussion of the title and cover picture. Ask the students: What do you think the title means? Do you know what the woman on the cover is doing? (weaving on a loom) Show the students silk fabric or a silk scarf. Explain that silk fabric is woven from very slender threads that come from a silkworm. The silk thread can be woven into cloth that is very delicate and translucent (explain, if necessary). Continue with questions, asking: Do you see anything unusual in the illustration? (feathers floating) You may wish to ask the students to predict what will happen in the story.

Read the story, taking time to allow the students to look carefully at the illustrations. Students may be surprised to see snow in the pictures. You may want to point out the absence of background on many pages.

When you reach the point in the story when the woman begins to weave, be sure that the students understand that the sliding paper doors closing off the room where she worked, were made of a heavy opaque paper that allowed only shadows to be seen from outside (show pictures).

When you have finished reading, ask the students if there are any elements of the story that remind them of other stories. Did they recognize the greediness of Yohei to be like the wife in The Fisherman and His Wife or The Tongue-cut Sparrow? Did they hear the onomatopoeic words? (basabasa, hotohoto, tonkara tonkara)

Ask the students to tell how Yohei's life changed in the story. What has Yohei gained by the end of the story? What has he lost? Which do you think is more important to Yohei, the money or his wife? Do you think that there is a lesson in this story? What do you think the lesson is?

Remind the students that the crane symbolizes peace, long life and good health, then read the final words that the voice spoke, "I pray that your life will be long and that you will always be happy." Is there a wish for lots of money? Why not?

Ask the students to predict what would have happened if Yohei had not looked in the room where his wife was weaving. How might the story have ended? Would Yohei have been happy with the agreement that his wife would not weave the cloth again? Would the same thing have happened at a later time?


Second Grade - Literature - Japan - The Crane Wife

You may wish to have the students brainstorm all the character traits for Yohei. Remind them that he was a very different kind of man at the beginning of the story than he was at the end. Ask: What did he do at the beginning of the story? (saved the crane, bandaged the wound) What words would you use to describe him? (kind, caring, gentle, thoughtful, considerate, helpful) How would you describe Yohei when the woman first came to live with him? (happy, content, pleased) How would you describe him after the cloth was woven and sold two times? (happy, content, joyful, pleased) How would you describe Yohei after his neighbor convinces him to have his wife weave the cloth a third time? (greedy, anxious, eager) How would you describe him when his wife begins weaving the third time? (concerned, anxious, eager, curious, worried)

Finally, ask the students to consider the wife's behavior. Did she change the way she acted toward her husband? Did she continue to be kind and generous? Did she bring peace to her husband's home?

A list of suggested folktales from Japan is included. If possible, read several other stories to the students. Discuss any similarities in the stories that the students identify. The Crane Maiden by Miyoko Matsutani (Parent's Press, 1968) is nearly identical, except that the crane/woman comes to lives with an elderly couple.


Journal Prompt

In the stories we have just read, a sparrow and a crane have rewarded people who were kind to them. Think of the name of another bird, or animal that might be in a Japanese folk tale. Name the bird, or animal and tell what reward it would give to someone who showed kindness.


Second Grade - Literature - Japan

Additional Japanese Folktales

DeSpain, Pleasant. Thirty-three Multicultural Tales to Tell. Little Rock: August House, Inc., 1993.

A collection of tales perfect for storytelling. Includes "The Listening Cap" from Japan.

Hughes, Monica. Little Fingerling. Nashville: Ideals Children's Books, 1992.

Japanese folktale about a finger-sized boy who proves himself to be a hero. Beautiful illustrations, challenging vocabulary make for a good read aloud.

Johnston, Tony. The Badger and the Magic Fan. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1990.

Great illustrations by Tomie dePaola; a magic fan leads to disaster!

Levine, Arthur, retold by. The Boy Who Drew Cats. New York: Dial, 1993.

Stunning illustrations by Frederic Clement; a story of artwork that comes alive. May be too sophisticated for some students.

Long, Jan Freeman. The Bee and the Dream. New York: Dutton, 1996.

Great illustrations by Kaoru Ono; good fortune comes from a dream.

Mosel, Arlene. The Funny Little Woman. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1972.

The story of a little Japanese woman who likes to make rice dumplings and her adventures on a strange road under the earth. Laughs make this a good read aloud.

Paterson, Katherine. The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks. New York: Scholastic, 1990.

Lengthy read aloud with some difficult vocabulary tells the story of kindness repaid. Beautiful illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Say, Allen, retold by. Once Under the Cherry Blossom Tree: An Old Japanese Tale. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

Amusing story about the problems that befall a mean old landlord who swallows a cherry pit. Say's illustrations are wonderful.

Schroeder, Alan, adapted by. Lily and the Wooden Bowl. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

A wooden bowl, a paper crane and a rice paddle change Lily's life forever in this beautifully illustrated read aloud.

Stamm, Claus. Three Strong Women. New York: Viking, 1962.

Forever Mountain, the wrestler, meets his match. Illustrations by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng add to the humor of the story.

Tejima, Keizaburo. Ho-limlim - A Rabbit Tale from Japan. New York: Philomel Books, 1990.

Beautiful tale told by an aging rabbit whose eyes have begun to play tricks on him. Wonderful repetition and onomatopoeia. Great read aloud with unique woodcut illustrations.

Uchido, Yoshiko. The Wise Old Woman. New York: McElderry Books, 1994.

Tale of impossible tasks solved by an old woman thought to be useless.

_________. The Magic Purse. New York: McElderry Books, 1993.

Good fortune comes to a man who shows kindness and courage.

Wells, Ruth, retold by. The Farmer and the Poor God: A Folktale from Japan. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

A poor god, living with a farmer and his family, teaches them how to change their lives. The illustrations by Yoshi are color dyes on silk.

Williams, Laura E., The Long Silk Strand. Honesdale: Caroline House, 1995.

A silk strand leads to Yasuyo's grandmother in heaven in this contemporary folktale. Grace Bochak uses cut paper for the wonderful illustrations.


Second Grade - Literature - China - The Magic Paintbrush

Character traits of_____________________________________

determined -_________________________________________


kind - ______________________________________________


thoughtful - _________________________________________


stubborn - ___________________________________________



clever - _____________________________________________



cautious - _________________________________________________________________



Second Grade - Literature - China

Additional Folk Tales from China

Baumgartner, Barbara. Crocodile! Crocodile! Stories Told Around the World. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.

Marvelous cut-paper illustrations by Judith Moffatt; contains "The Grateful Snake," a wonderful story.

Clarke, Nora. A Treasury of Bedtime Stories. New York: Kingfisher Books, 1993.

Collection of stories from around the world, includes "Po-Wan and Kuan-Yin."

Demi. The Empty Pot. New York: Henry Holt, 1990.

A wonderful tale that rewards perseverance and bravery; delicate illustrations.

________. The Stonecutter. New York: Crown, 1995.

DeSpain, Pleasant. Thirty-three Multicultural Tales to Tell. Little Rock: August House, Inc., 1993.

A collection of tales perfect for storytelling. Includes "Ah Shung Catches a Ghost" and "The Magic Pot."

Louie, Ai-Ling. Yeh-Shen-A Cinderella Story from China. New York: Sandcastle, 1982.

Ed Young's illustrations are beautiful.

Mahy, Margaret. The Seven Chinese Brothers. New York: Scholastic, 1990.

Beautiful illustrations by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng highlight this book about the superhuman powers of seven brothers. Wonderful for making predictions.

Medlicott, Mary, selected by. Tales for Telling: From Around the World. New York: Kingfisher, 1991.

Collection of stories, includes "Loawnu Mends the Sky" that tells the story of the origin of stars; beautiful illustrations by Sue Williams,

Morris, Winifred. The Future of Yen-Tsu. New York: Atheneum, 1992.

Tells the possibilities of the future in a tale with many twists; colorful illustrations by Friso Henstra.

Mosel, Arlene. Tikki Tikki Tembo. New York: Henry Holt, 1992.

Wonderful story that explains why the Chinese give their children short names; students can join in the telling.

Torre, Betty L., retold by. The Luminous Pearl: A Chinese Folktale. New York: Orchard Books, 1990.

Honesty and bravery are rewarded in this wonderful tale; colorful illustrations by Carol Inouye .

Wang, Rosalind C., retold by. The Treasure Chest: A Chinese Tale. New York: Holiday House, 1995.

Lengthy read aloud tells how a magic rainbow-colored fish helps save a couple from their evil ruler. Beautiful illustrations by Will Hillenbrand.

Yacowitz, Caryn, adapted by. The Jade Stone. New York: Holiday House, 1992.

Wonderful! Each character is introduced at the beginning through a beautiful illustration; courage and bravery are the central theme.

Yep, Laurence. The Junior Thunder Lord. New York: Bridgewater Books, 1994.

Colorful illustrations brighten this tale that shows "Those at the top should help those at the bottom."

_________. The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes. New York: Scholastic, 1994.

Good triumphs over evil; beautiful watercolor illustrations by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng


Second Grade - Literature - China

Young, Ed. Lon Po Po. New York: Philomel, 1988.

Chinese tale of Granny Wolf (Red-Riding Hood); marvelous illustrations by the author.

_________. Night Visitors. New York: Philomel, 1995.

In this Chinese folk tale a young man learns the value of all forms of life. Excellent!

Folk Poem

Lee, Jeanne M. The Song of Mu Lan. Arden, NC: Front Street, 1995.

Wonderful translation of a Chinese folk poem that tells of a girl named Mu-lan who dresses as a man and takes her father's place as a soldier in the war. (remniscent of Deborah Sampson)

Chinese Legend

Greaves, Margaret. Once There Were No Pandas. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1985.

Story of the friendship between Chien-min and a family of white bears; explains the origin of pandas.

Neither Folk Tale nor Legend

Bang, Molly. The Paper Crane. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1985.

A magical paper crane comes to life in this beautiful book illustrated with cut paper.