Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Classroom Connections with Stephanie Parsley Ledyard


Home Is a Window

Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, Author
Chris Sasaki, Illustrator

Neal Porter Books (April 23, 2019)
ISBN: 978-0823441563

For ages 4-8

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This simple text explores the meaning of home at its most basic level and follows a young girl and her family as they leave their apartment in the city and move to a different home.


Text copyright © 2019 by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Chris Sasaki.
From HOME IS A WINDOW (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House).


Stephanie Parsley Ledyard’s first picture book, Pie Is for Sharing, illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Jason Chin (Grand Canyon) and published by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, received four starred reviews and was named among the best of 2018 by Kirkus and The Horn Book. Stephanie writes picture books, poetry, and middle grade fiction, and she works during the school year as a library assistant. She grew up in Wichita Falls and has taught fourth-grade writing, filled in as a church accompanist, and helped start a hospice program for grieving children and teens. Stephanie has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Dallas with her family and pets.


Why is bringing poetry into the classroom important?

Poetry belongs in the classroom, and not just literature and reading classrooms. Aside from the obvious reasons—that it’s a compact, versatile, and memorable form of expression—poetry offers a way for the quieter or less noticeable students to shine. I used to be one of those students: not in the higher reading group, not stellar at math, possibly a little ADHD. Then in fifth and sixth grades, my social studies teacher, Mrs. Bevil, allowed students to relate in any form (poetry, art, a presentation, an essay) the unit that we had just finished. Each time, I wrote a poem. Each time, I got to be a star student to her. I was good at something in school! That was life changing, and the experience followed me—I became a better student for the rest of my life. Poetry is a great way to turn the tables in a classroom; it allows students to surprise themselves, their classmates, and their teachers.

Can you suggest a specific classroom exercise related to your book?

See pages 12 and 13 of the attached educator guide created by the fabulous Deb Gonzales.

How might your book be incorporated into an educational curriculum?

I’ll focus on social studies, since literacy and math are well covered in the attached teacher guide. When I wrote this text, I was moved by the images of the Syrian refugees and the homes they left, and the new places where they’d be settling and starting over with very little. I was thinking of the basic elements of a home—a roof (shelter), a blanket, a table or space for eating together, something decent to eat, a plant to tend (or a tree out the window), someone to play with you and talk to you, and the feeling of being loved and cared for. I was also inspired by the vastly different types of homes portrayed in the 2010 documentary, Babies. I hope that Home Is a Window will be used with discussions about homes in various cultures, and homes in different socioeconomic levels of our own society. What makes a home? Can you have a great home if you’re poor? Does being rich mean that your home is the best? Can you live in a huge house but still not have a good home? I’d love for students to think about and discuss these issues.

What is a simple, practical tip for teachers when it comes to incorporating poetry in the classroom?

During poetry writing, ask students to use at least one or two poetic devices (alliteration, metaphor, personification, etc.) to use in their poems, then to identify which devices they used. As students share their poems with the class or a partner, see if their classmates can identify which devices were used and possibly even discuss how this made the poem stronger, fresher, or more memorable.

Can you recount a specific instance of when poetry impacted a student or group of students in a positive way?

Decades after I sat in Mrs. Bevil’s classroom, I taught fourth-grade language arts for a year at that same school, Crockett Elementary in Wichita Falls, and I noticed that the most powerful or beautiful poems were written by the students for whom English was not their first language, or by those who really struggled with reading and writing. A few of the boys who had behavior issues were the first to memorize poems and want to recite them to me. (I still remember a tough boy, MJ, reciting “Something Told the Wild Geese,” by Rachel Field, at my desk in his soft and tentative voice.) Those students have graduated from high school now, and I hope they remember some of the poems they wrote or memorized. I certainly do. Reading and writing poetry together allowed me to appreciate, understand, and remember my students in a different way.  


Website: stephanieledyard.com
Twitter: stephledyard1
Facebook: stephanie.parsley2
Instagram: stephledyard

Many thanks to Stephanie for participating in our Classroom Connections series for National Poetry Month, and for offering a copy of Home Is a Window to one randomly selected TLD reader!

To enter, leave a comment below or send an email with the subject "Home Is a Window Giveaway" to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com by Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 2nd, so be sure to check back to see if you've won!

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Check out the other Classroom Connections posts and giveaways on offer this month by clicking the names below!

Digital art © 2018 by Miranda Barnes,
based on a line from "Ghazal" by Tracy K. Smith.


The best way to keep up with the Classroom Connections series is by subscribing to Today's Little Ditty via email, which you can do in the sidebar. I will also be announcing the posts on social media. Like me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter (also in the sidebar) to stay informed that way. Catch up with Classroom Connections posts you may have missed by clicking on the "It's time to INSPIRE" icon in the sidebar, or by visiting my "Poetry in the Classroom" board on Pinterest.


  1. Good Morning Stephanie and Michelle. I love, love, love how you show poetry speaking to students that aren't always the "stars". I'm always amazed when we do blackout poetry as an activity to identify figurative language and literary devices in my library. The kids that do the best are the kids that are out of the star-shine. The pride on these kids faces for success felt with a poetry experience is so awesome. I'm glad you get that and share that with me and so many. Awesome visit today. Thanks!

  2. I can’t wait to check this one out! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I loved giving Pie is for Sharing as gifts last year & can't wait to read Stephanie's newest.

  4. Loved hearing the backstory of how this book came to be, and I look forward to reading it. Thanks, Michelle and Stephanie!

  5. I loved Pie Is for Sharing, know this will be a book that will be wonderful, too. Thanks, Michelle and Stephanie.

  6. This looks like a cozy book. I will have to check it out. I like the pyramid poem exercise. It will really get kids thinking. Thanks for the post.

  7. I look forward to reading this book. Loved the story of the fourth graders sharing poems they memorized. Thanks!

  8. I think Stephanie's book will add a layer of interest to kids I teach poetry to or sub for. I love her 4th grade teacher and she really had me at reciting, especially the story of the boy and "Something Told the Wild Geese". Love this new introduction!