Teaching

Big Picture 9: Cycles

Visit author Shelley Moore Thomas’ website here and illustrator Melissa Castrillón’s site here.

Hello and Happy New Year! The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on beginnings and endings and this post features a book about both. Beginning is written by Shelley Thomas Moore, illustrated by Melissa Castrillón, and was released in 2022 by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. This book does not have a plot in the traditional sense, but you can glean the storyline from the illustrations. Castrillón gifts the readers with a sweet story about a young boy who experiences different types of endings and beginnings alongside his loving father. There is not one word about these characters in the text, but readers will find that they want to know more about the boy, his father, and the friends they make along the way.

As for the text, the word choice and repeated sentence structures make this a great book for young readers and linguistically diverse learners. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t big-picture themes to be found. Besides the explicit message at the end of the book that endings are a part of life, and can serve as the impetus for new adventures, I found this book to be filled with joy. Many feelings can accompany an ending–some difficult emotions like sadness, fear (as Moore states), regret, and guilt, but also uplifting emotions like hope, joy, excitement, and anticipation. Readers follow the journey of a young boy who finds joy in the beginnings and endings he experiences.

I hope you get a chance to read Beginning and explore some of the other titles written by Shelley Thomas Moore. Also, pop on over to illustrator, Melissa Castrillón’s site to shop for fun items like prints, notebooks, cards, washi tape and more.

Essential Questions

  • What is a cycle?
  • What cycles occur in nature?
  • What cycles occur in our lives?
  • How do beginnings come from endings?

Standards

  • CCSS RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • CCSS RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
  • CCSS.RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
  • CCSS.RL.1.10 With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
  • CCSS.W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
  • CCSS.W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • WIDA ELD-2 English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of language arts.

Vocabulary

  • chick
  • caterpillar
  • sunrise
  • sunset
  • fear

Here is your FREE worksheet for Beginning.

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