I often laugh when I tell people how my best friend and I met–we were arch enemies who later discovered we were destined for friendship all along. Friendships can be difficult, especially if one has been hurt or rejected at some point in their life. Friendships require revealing one’s self beyond outward appearances, which can be difficult for students, especially if they already suffer from past judgments.
That’s why I was excited to find Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins, which is perfect for classroom introduction. Illustrated in bright colors are Maurice and Lotta. We meet them individually and learn that they love to ride their bikes–one selling lemonade and one sticks. Each has a separate agenda to fulfill every day, each one interacting with the world within the same circle as the other one, but never encountering each other until one fateful day when their bikes, and worlds, collide.
The book is perfect for my classroom because it perfectly describes my classroom: a room full of Maurices and Lottas, each living their own life without knowing the other exists. Every semester there is a new group of students for my rotation in the classroom and we all stare at each other with our own apprehensions and mysteries. Each student brings a story to my room and each student believes their story to be the most important. It isn’t until we start doing group work and discussion where they have to divulge what lies in their soul. Often times it is much more prodding than they want to occur.
In the classroom:
I’m excited to bring Bikes for Sale in to my classroom for various reasons. It will allow an easy conversation to occur about our individual lives and what we bring to the classroom. Maurice and Lotta will allow me to discuss their clothing choices, how they have named their bikes and the city in which they live. Maurice and Lotta are also cute animals, and who can resist a story about cute animals? I can group those with similar interests and hope they will find friends. I can do all of these without doing much more than wandering around the classroom and eavesdropping on the conversations. As a teacher it is imperative to work on social skills in the classroom regardless of the age of students. Highlighting these individual desires and collaborating with peers helps form friendships and a sense of self within them. I’m excited to see how the class emerges from this cute story of friendship.
Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Chronicle Books | 9781452159324 | April 2, 2019)