Imagine if you had a long neck like a giraffe. Do you think that you would like your long neck? Or would you wish you had something different? Giraffe Problems by Jory John is a about a giraffe named Edward. Edward is not a big fan of his long neck, but he soon meets a friend who helps him see the good in his neck.
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Edward the giraffe has a lot of complaints about his neck. It’s too long, too bendy, too high and so much more. He just can’t see the good in his neck, but can see the good in everybody else’s neck.
One day Edward meets a turtle named Cyrus. Cyrus had always wanted to try a banana, but could never reach them. Edward helped him achieve this dream of eating a banana and soon learned that a long neck can come in handy sometimes.
Giraffe Problems is a story that many students can probably relate to in some way. It is a great story for teaching about compare and contrast, and what it means when people say “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
While reading this story, we stopped part way through and took out sticky notes to jot down any text-to-self connections. As a primary teacher, I encourage students who may struggle to write to draw their thinking. I want them to feel comfortable responding without the pressure of writing. Students were invited to share their connections, which led to great conversations.
After finishing the story, we did an analysis of character change in the story. We came up with a list of character traits Edward demonstrated in the beginning, and how he changed by the end.
As students named a trait, we went through the book to find evidence of that trait. We wrote them onto sticky notes and added them to our chart.
If you are looking for a book that many of your students can probably relate to, be sure to check out Giraffe Problems. Many of these story resources are available from the Giraffe Problems Interactive Read-Aloud Kit, which you can find below. Or, you can find it my TPT store.