Lift by Minh Lê and Dan Santat is my favorite kind of book to read to students. First of all, it is both large and gorgeous, which means kids will look at it even if there is no document camera to show the page. (Don’t get me started on my love/hate relationship with document cameras.) Part of the time, the illustrations carry the story all by themselves, but there are enough necessary words that students hear them. This gives several opportunities to turn and talk to a partner about what is happening, or what might happen next.

I like to use this book with young students when we are learning about the design process. What was Iris’s problem? What inspired her plan to solve it? How did she plan for her solution? What did she do to solve it? How did she improve her plan? We use her example to identify a problem in our school or at home and draw or write the “Ask, Imagine, Plan” steps and sometimes, if practical, we try our solution. Clearly, we won’t be making working time machines or spacecraft in an elementary school library, but who knows where these ideas may end up one day. The sky is the limit.

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