Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Invisible Boy

Ludwig, Trudy (Author)
Barton, Patrice (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781582464503 (hardcover)
9780449818206 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view

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:

Even the teacher “has trouble noticing” Brian, the lonely, quiet boy in her classroom. He isn’t invited to birthday parties or included in recess kickball games. But when a new kid arrives, Brian is the first to reach out with kindness. Then they team up for a class project, and Brian gets an opportunity to shine.

Digitally coloured pencil sketches have a soft chalk feel, keeping the story lighthearted and sensitive, despite its difficult subject matter. For most of the story, Brian is the only grey-shade figure among a cast of pastel-hued children, but as his friendship with Justin solidifies toward the end of the story, he becomes as colourful as the rest.

The narrative’s portrayal of the sometimes thoughtless schoolyard behaviours of children produces a balanced, sensitive text that refuses to vilify. Focusing instead on how small acts of kindness can make children feel included, the book comes with a selection of questions for discussion and resources for further reading.

  •  

    Discuss the big ideas in the book: being left out or ignored, having no friends, being chosen last (or not at all) for a team, etc. (See other discussion starters at the end of the book.)

  •  

    In small groups, identify and list ways to make sure people are not left out; post these in the classroom. Refer to them when new students arrive and when teams or partners are required.

  •  

    Write in a journal: Is there someone in your class who is often left out? Why is this so? Have you ever felt left out? Explain whether this is a form of bullying.

  •  

    Analyze how the illustrator depicts Brian. How would the book be different if it were a short story without any illustrations? Would it be as effective? Write down your ideas and compare them with a partner’s.

  •  

    Discuss the big ideas in the book: being left out or ignored, having no friends, being chosen last (or not at all) for a team, etc. (See other discussion starters at the end of the book.)

  •  

    In small groups, identify and list ways to make sure people are not left out; post these in the classroom. Refer to them when new students arrive and when teams or partners are required.

  •  

    Analyze how the illustrator depicts Brian. How would the book be different if it were a short story without any illustrations? Would it be as effective? Write down your ideas and compare them with a partner’s.

  •  

    In the book, find expressions for talking with friends and expressions for feeling left out. Practise using them in small groups.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Drama
  • Physical Education and Health