Discussing Determination with a Picture Book

Do you use picture books for character education in your classroom? My students love reading new books and they really love books they can relate to. I have been a huge fan of Maria Dismondy and have all of her books. She recently co-authored a book about determination with Stephen Tulloch. Keep on reading to find out how I used this book in my classroom and grab some free printables to go with it!
(This post contains affiliate links.)

Let's face it. There is not enough time in the school year to teach our students all the content standards and character education separately, so why not teach it together?! Maria Dismondy has amazing books about diversity, kindness, and courage. Her latest book is all about determination, something many kids have a hard time with. Let's take a closer look at the authors and illustrator really quick...

Stephen Tulloch played in the NFL for 11 years. He played for both the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans. In 2009, Stephen launched the Stephen Tulloch Foundation which has helped thousands of people in his community.

Q: What message are you trying to share in your first children's book, The Little Linebacker?

A: If you put your mid to anything, no matter what people tell you, you can always achieve your goals and dreams.

Maria Dismondy is an award-winning author, who specializes in books about challenges children face. The Little Linebacker is Maria's seventh book. It drives home the important message that hard work and dedication can pay off. Dreams really do come true!

Q: Since your first book, we've been introduced to many admirable characters. What do people love the most about your stories?

A: Readers like the strong moral messages, the diversity found in the books and the likable characters.

Heather Heyworth lives in a sleepy market town in the UK. Her introduction into the world of children's books started with illustrating, designing and co-publishing her own licensed character activity books. From an early age she has had a passion for illustration and can't imagine doing anything else.

Q: How long have you been illustrating children's books?

A: I have been illustrating children's books for about 10 years now combined with greeting card and gift-wrap designing.

Now that you know the people involved, let's talk about this amazing book! The Little Linebacker is about Stephen, a little kid with big dreams of playing football. The odds are against him when he is tested and faced with challenges. This is a story of a boy who worked really hard to defy the odds and become a leader. Here is the trailer for the book!!

It is an amazing book and my boys (and girls too) really connected to Stephen and his story. I teach in a very low-income school district and my students are constantly being told "they can't" or "they are not good enough" by people around them. It has been a struggle to find the drive in all of them this year to keep working towards their dreams. I truly believe that this book helped ignite a little spark in some of my students.

Of course, we can't just read the book to read the book... there has to be some activities to go with it! We did a few different graphic organizers. My favorite one is where my students described what Stephen's dream was and what he had to do achieve it. Then, they followed that up with what their dream is and how they are going to work towards their goal. Wow. I cried while I was reading some of my student's responses.

Want the activities we did with the book? They are a freebie for you! Click here to download. 

This book is now one of my favorites because of the message that it is sharing in a relatable way to my students. Hard work does pay off, even if it doesn't feel like it at first. Have you read any of Maria Dismondy's books? If not, check them out and trust me you will not regret it! They are all amazing. With the collaboration between Maria and Stephen, this book turned out to be completely fabulous. 

Here are a few of my favorite pages in the book. 


Stephen really goes through trial after trial to see if he can persevere and he shows his determination again and again in the story (of course with some help and advice from the adults and friends in his life). You can buy this book on Amazon (affiliate link below).
So what do you think? Could you use this book in your classroom? Do you have any other favorites for teaching determination or character education? I would love to check them out so be sure to leave a comment below! 

This post is part of a fun virtual book tour that lasts for 10 more days! Tons of great ideas and uses for this great book. 

No comments