In Lucia's Neighborhood
This beautiful, thought-provoking picture book about a little girl's observations of her community has been adapted by the award-winning author/illustrator team of Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek from their animated short film, Montrose Avenue. Inspired by the work of urban studies writer and activist Jane Jacobs, seven-year-old Lucia takes readers on a daylong tour of her own bustling city neighborhood, commenting on all the people and their activities that she encounters along the way. Intergenerational and multicultural, her busy neighbors are seen going to school, tending their gardens, opening their shops, practicing Tai Chi and visiting with each other on their porches. Lucia also shares her excitement about celebrating the Portuguese cultural festival of Senhor Da Pedra, which involves decorating the street and hosting a parade.
The book's bright, gorgeous illustrations provide a detail-filled urban backdrop to Lucia's explanations and bring them fully to life for small children. This book can serve a dual purpose in the classroom as both a terrific read-aloud and a resource for information. The content aligns perfectly with the elementary social studies curriculum and would invite all kinds of classroom discussions about who and what make up a community. It also provides terrific, potential assignment ideas for students to pay attention to what surrounds them where they live, play and go to school --- they would likely notice many things for the first time! The inclusion of the Senhor Da Pedra festival offers a terrific tie-in to a unit on celebrations of all kinds.