Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

In a Cloud of Dust

Fullerton, Alma (Author)
Deines, Brian (Illustrator)
Pajama Press 2015. 32 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781927485620 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Awards

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award – Finalist – 2016
The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2016

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This story about scarcity and resourcefulness conveys a heart-warming message. Doing her homework over lunch (because by the time she walks home it will be dark), Anna misses the “BICYCLE LIBRARY” truck. All her friends borrow a bike except her.

Brief, effective language distills an enormous amount of information into poetic form: “In a cloud of dust, a pickup screeches to a stop, interrupting a football match … and Joseph, from the bicycle repair shop, unloads bikes.”

Atmospheric illustrations in ochre-based colours realistically depict the children and minimal landscapes. In a flower-patterned skirt, Anna kicks up dirt as she teaches Leyla to balance on a newly borrowed bike. In another image, white smudges create a dusty halo as she rides on the back of Mohammad’s bike.

This is a tremendously useful story, especially for children accustomed to the consumer-glut of developed nations. Anna’s ability to rejoice in her friends’ luck, and their cooperative use of limited resources, is an example for us all. Readers will appreciate Mohammad’s good sense when he passes his bike on: “You have farther to go,” and Anna’s automatic reciprocation: “I’ll pick you up tomorrow!”

  •  

    Locate Tanzania on a world map. Research the climate. Browse through the pictures. Discuss how the setting is the same as or different from where you live.

  •  

    List the ways children get to and from your school. What would happen if there were no cars or buses? Brainstorm alternate ways to travel.

  •  

    Discuss the ways that Anna and her classmates are good friends. What acts of kindness prove this? Write and draw about a time when you were kind to someone, or when someone was kind to you.

  •  Read the author’s note and explore the suggested resources. As a class, think of a project you could do to support a bicycle library in Africa, such as holding a fundraiser or collecting used bicycles for donation.
  •  

    Discuss when and why you ride your bike. How do children get to school in other countries?

  •  

    Locate Tanzania on a world map. Research the climate. Browse through the pictures. Discuss how the setting is the same as or different from where you live.

  •  

    Compare and contrast your school day with that of a Tanzanian student.

  •  

    Collect and organize the words that refer to riding a bike. Make an anchor chart about bikes and cycling.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship