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Arts and Culture

The Children's Bookshelf: My Favorite Book in the Whole World

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This is the Children’s Bookshelf and I’m Sue Ann Martin

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World written by Malcolm Mitchell and illustrated by Michael Robertson offers a colorful story about young Henley as he tries to find what he can call his favorite book in the whole wide world ---just as his teacher has requested of all of his classmates. This homework assignment frightens him as he has never done much reading. He doesn’t like big words, long sentences or any books that make his brain hurt!

Henley decides to go to the library on his way home from school to find his favorite book in the whole wide world and although his classmates are there reading many different books and although the librarian tries to help him, he leaves without a book. Then he visits the neighborhood bookstore for help and again he does not find a book.

He is very worried as he tells his mother his predicament. She kisses the top of his head and says, “Henley, sometimes the best stories can be found inside ourselves.” The illustration of this scene is wonderfully tender.

Henley hears what his mother says and makes a giant leap forward and decides to write his own favorite story. He proudly tells his classmates when it is his turn to read his book during reading circle that he wrote this book about his struggle to find a book that showed himself to himself. And after he reads it aloud, they all clap because now they know Henley better.

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World written with great insight by author and literacy activist Malcolm Mitchell and illustrated   with charm by artist Michael Robertson is designed for young readers 4-8 years of age (Orchard Books/ Scholastic, 2021).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the activity questions, ideal for home use, can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

Do you have a favorite book in the whole wide world? Why is it your favorite? Think about it. Is it your favorite because it makes you laugh, tells you about new and interesting things, gives you a good scare or, as in Henley’s case, gives you a picture of yourself? Write a description of your very favorite book in the whole wide world.

Henley did not have much luck finding a book at the library even though the Librarian tried to help him. Hopefully he will go back to the library again to find his next very favorite book. Give him some help here by designing a library card just for him. HAVE FUN with the design. Be sure to include a library name, a symbol that relates to books and a place where he can sign his name.

Ask your parents to be part of a homemade reading circle that meets every other weekend or within a timeline that is just right for your family. You and your parents and brothers and sisters will now have a way of sharing stories. Oops! Don’t forget to invite grandparents if they are close by.ow have a way of sharing stories. Oops! Don’t forget to invite grandparents if they are close by.