Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

My Two Blankets

Kobald, Irena (Author)
Blackwood, Freya (Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015. 32 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780544432284 (hardcover)
9780544764859 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language

Award

USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 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:

At first, young Cartwheel is happy living in her African village home. But when she must move to a new country—and the big city—everything feels strange. She feels quite overwhelmed by this new environment. Her inability to communicate with others only adds to her loneliness. When a girl at the park befriends her, despite the language barrier, Cartwheel learns new words and starts to feel more at ease.

Simple language and surprising similes illustrate the complexity of her feelings: “When I went out, it was like standing under a waterfall of strange sounds. The waterfall was cold.”

Soft oil and watercolour illustrations reveal Cartwheel’s initial timidity, sadness and confusion. Her comfort blanket, a recurrent image, is at first a symbol of her home and later of her integration, as images of the new words she learns appear on it.

The first person narrative helps readers put themselves in Cartwheel’s shoes as her new friendship provides a true sense of belonging. Readers may consider how they might offer their own welcome and friendship to class or community newcomers.

  •  Think of a time when you made a new friend. Draw a comic strip showing how your friendship developed.
  •  

    On a picture walk, notice the use of colour and discuss the possible significance.

  •  

    Find examples of metaphor and simile. What effect does figurative language have on your understanding of the story?

  •  

    Sketch the old and the new blankets (use textual details plus your own ideas). In addition to language, what other cultural elements would be different in a new country?

  •  

    Work with a partner or group. Create an advertisement (print, radio or video) promoting the value of friendship.

  •  

    Think of the time when you first heard a language that was different from your own. Share your feelings. Add them to a class list.

  •  

    On a picture walk, notice the use of colour and discuss the possible significance. After the read-aloud, compare your ideas with the author's storyline.

  •  

    With a partner, list some basic words you think would be useful to the girls in order to communicate with each other. Would the list be the same for Auntie?

  •  

    Draw a blanket for the girl in her new country. Discuss how it is a metaphor.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Drama
  • Ethics and Religious Culture