Omu’s Thick, Red Stew

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to include music and movement in my lessons – especially for my primary grades.   This year’s JumpStart Read for the Record picture book selection, Thank  you, Omu! written and illustrated by Oge Mora had a wonderful music and movement circle time activity for my prekindergarten and kindergarten students. 

I printed and laminated enough of the veggies for a whole class, and brought in a plastic pot and spoon for them to drop the veggies in as we sang and I stirred (and they pantomimed) Stir, Stir, Stir the Stew. Singing and moving to If You’re Thankful and You Know It brought out lots of smiles and laughter among the kids (and adults) in the library.

My first graders explored adjectives that described Omu, drew a picture of her, and wrote a sentence using lots of adjectives. With my second graders, they also explored adjectives to describe her stew, and wrote a sentence about it in addition to drawing and writing about Omu.

As I always do when there is one, I shared the author’s note, as well as a few (there are many!) of the awards the author has received because of her beautiful work. 

I was first introduced to this book when Matthew Winner interviewed Oge Mora on his Children’s Book Podcast in 2018.   This debut picture book was written in homage to Oge’s grandmother’s generous spirit (and her tasty stew).  The beautiful illustrations help the reader to see how the scent of Omu’s thick, red stew pulls her neighbors together as a community.  Omu’s giving spirit is returned to her in a special way at the end of the story.

I sent home a copy of the Thank You, Omu! Activity Guide for Families, in both English and Spanish and encouraged my students to ask their families to cook a big pot of their favorite family recipe and share it with their neighbors.    I hope they did!

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