Pop’s Bridge

I do love all things Eve Bunting and there are lots of books to love.  I also know that my tastes in picture books lean more to the intermediate/middle school side of the equation because I like to think about the weightier sides of issues in Life.  I tried to do Fly Away Home with my 1st and 5th graders during Buddy Day and it fell very flat, in my estimation.  So when using Eve Bunting books with primary students I need to be level-headed.  Smokey Nights is a controversial book with some because of the setting, the riots in LA.  I picked up her newest picture book, Ballywhinney Girl at the library, and I just know if I presented this book to the first or second graders we may have a few disturbed and disgruntled families because the topic is about a young girl and her grandfather finding a corpse in a bog in Ireland.  It is wonderfully written, but it definitely has the wow factor that would please an older audience.

But Pop’s Bridge, I comfortably say would work for both audiences.  In this era of CCSS Eve is an author that we need to have available in our libraries.  She wrote about this historic event through the eyes of a child whose  father worked on the Golden Gate Bridge.  I love the story.  I love the ‘Note from the Author’ at the end.  I love the ‘text to world connections’ that should be considered.  I love that you can compare and contrast this book to other books with a similar theme.

I also love that she wrote a letter back to this little girl.

Talk about how you would use this book, or what are your favorite parts in this story.  How can you use it as a writing mentor text?  You may also discuss a book that has worked with your own class this week. TGIF xo


11 thoughts on “Pop’s Bridge

  1. I really enjoyed reading all four books this week. I thought the illustrations in Pop’s Bridge were outstanding and really added to the story. I loved the part that described how the boy and his father had their very own “scarlet signal” that helped him find his father each day. I felt that part of the story really captured their bond together. My second favorite part is when the boy realizes that the bridge belongs to everyone and he cuts the puzzle piece apart as a symbolic gesture of that. On a different note, I managed to read The One and Only Ivan. I am torn between loving it and being sadden by it. I love it for the humor and hearing the story from the perspective of a silverback. On the other hand, I was sad knowing that this story is a reality for other animals like Ivan and Ruby.

  2. I felt this book would be a perfect mentor text when teaching narrative writing. It is told from the little boy’s perspective and is very descriptive. He focuses on the process of the Golden Gate Bridge being built which could help show students to narrow in on one specific event. I liked that is over time but he picked certain days to point out for a reason and went into greater detail. You could even read just a little part of the story when teaching it.

    The other thing I noticed when reading this story is that a lot of feeling and use of senses was shown throughout. We have been working on adding this into our narrative writing this year. For example, when he is laying in bed thinking about that terrible day, he says, “I see the bridge shake. I hear the crash. One of those men in the water could have been Pop. Or Charlie’s dad. I finally understand, and I feel ashamed.” Just this page alone could lend itself to a great example from another author for my students to see.

    A book I used recently when teaching writing was Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is a pattern/seesaw book where on yes day a little boy gets everything he asks for. For example, he asks for pizza for breakfast and on the next page you see an illustration of him eating the pizza. He also asks if he can clean his room tomorrow and then on the next page you see a picture of him walking away from his room saying “later mess.” After noticing some of these repeating ideas they created their own yes day book. Some turned out really cute!

  3. While I was reading Pop’s Bridge, I was imagining exactly how I would use this as a mentor text. I agree with Julie that this would be a perfect mentor text for narrative writing. This is an ideal text to demonstrate how to write from a territory and develop a specific topic. An inverted triangle would be a beneficial strategy to show students how the Eve Bunting narrowed the territory about a father to a specific topic regarding an event between a boy and his father.

    The transition of time through this text also makes it a great mentor text. My students tend to write “bed-to-bed” stories where they are relaying every little detail, even if it does not add to their story. Pop’s Bridge magnifies specific events over a large time span. I would focus on the transition of time, focusing students’ attention on the important details the author chose to write about.

  4. I love Pop’s Bridge for all the places in the book that are perfect to use with inferring. Prof. nanc hit on some of those questions with her presentation on Eve Bunting, but there are so many more places where it would be perfect for the kids to turn and have a conversation about the meaning behind the words. Some examples: when Robert says his dad is just saying the bridge wouldn’t rust just to be nice; when Pop is talking about the bridge being a giant harp; about the scaffolding: the use and importance of it; when Pop talks about the remembering on the bridge.

    I also think it would be beneficial for the kids to do some perspective writing. We hear the story from Robert’s perspective, but I think it would be great for the kids to do perspective writing from Pop, Charlie, or Charlie’s dad. It’s so powerful for them to think about a story from another character’s perspective; not just the character that’s telling the story. It would be interesting to see if the AHA moment would be the same for all the characters in the book.

  5. I would have to agree with you about Eve’s ability to tell a story. She speaks to very difficult and weighty issues. Yet she does it a way that children can understand. A few months ago, I read Smokey Night with fourth graders in an after school program. They did some amazing synthesizing while reading that text!

    I loved Pop’s Bridge! I was on the edge of my seat when the accident occurred and the boys were frantically looking for their fathers.

    I have several ideas for classroom use. You could research the building of the bridge. I think Robert and Charlie’s friendship crossing racial lines is interesting. It would be interesting to find out about the lives of Chinese people living in America at that time. As far as writing, students could write a newspaper article from some point in the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. Which could lead into using the newspaper, a non-fiction text. Ooooo…the CCSS ideas are endless!

  6. Shelly I really liked the ideas you came up with on how to use this book! I like how you focused on using it as a starting point for other research projects and I also LOVE your writing idea and having the students create newspapers 🙂 Have you ever used RAFTS? I use this strategy quite often after read alouds and you idea for a newspaper would be a great RAFT extension activity for this book!

    As I was reading this book I couldn’t help but think what a great Historical Fiction book this was. This is a genre in my class that I am always struggling to find great read alouds for and I think Pop’s Bridge will become a welcomed addition to this genre. Thinking along the lines of writing and Common Core I can’t help but think what a great Mentor text this is for teaching students how to include research into their narrative writing. This year in my class we have been focusing on how to include factual information and evidence in their personal narratives and I think Eve Bunting has done a flawless job at modeling for students how they could use this in their own writing. I would love to focus on the areas in her writing where she includes historical information that is factual but is still written from the perspective of the boy.

    The illustrations in this book were Awesome! I don’t know if it’s just me but after reading the chapter in Literature in the Child I can’t help but now focus on how much thought and consideration has gone into creating the illustrations for a book like this. I specifically noticed on how some pages the author included the words over the pictures, and on some pages the words were on a separate page. Knowing that these are meticulous details the author and illustrator has carefully planned out I can help but wonder why?? I think so many great CCSS questions about why the author or illustrator chose to include these pictures would spark great discussion among students. Go Eve Bunting!

  7. I am having a hard time choosing a favorite between Pop’s Bridge and The One and Only Ivan. I agree with Meghan that The One and Only Ivan is very sad, although I enjoyed the book and I couldn’t put it down! I made some personal connections with Pop’s Bridge. In 1999, I had the opportunity to walk across the William Preston Lane Memorial Bridge, better known as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, during the Bay Bridge Walk. This is an event in which the west bound span of the bridge is closed so pedestrians can walk the entire 4.2 miles across the bridge. It was an amazing, unforgettable experience!

    I think it would be interesting to have my group compare and contrast Pop’s Bridge with Abuela by Arthur Dorros. We could talk about the differences between fantasy, realistic, and historical fiction. Another option would be to read Pop’s Bridge as a tool to teach about cooperation, before introducing cooperative grouping activities. It could also be used when introducing literature circles, stressing the importance of each role in the literature circle.

    I can’t wait to see the new books we will be getting tomorrow!

  8. I loved The One and Only Ivan. I read it aloud to my daughter as we got ready for bed this week. We talked about the connection to animals in circuses that are in our area. We discussed how our animals feel, which is actually a topic of conversation she has about circuses and some zoos because of her passion for animals. I loved that is was from the eye of the gorilla, which made the heavy topic more digestable for younger students. I talked with the three students in my classroom who read it and had a conversation about what they felt during the time they read it. Two of my students were right on track, only one seemed to miss some important concepts of the book.

    I also loved Pop’s Bridge. I would use it as a close read with my students to talk about inferencing. I love how this book shows the reader way more than it tells. I would use it as a mentor text for the same purpose. I would use it to have my students practice showing in their writing instead of telling. I find that my second graders are good detectives in reading, but struggle to make that connection in their writing. This would be a great text to help them see how one author has done this.

    We got so many great books this week I had a hard time keeping up, because I wanted to read them all.

    • I enjoyed The One and Only Ivan so much! I usually do not like stories that involve animals, but this story was wonderful! It made me want to look up real gorilla videos on youtube, and information about the real Ivan. I fell in love with all the characters. Every page I read made me think how it could be a movie. Bob, the dog, would be the comical character that always cracks everyone up! I want to read it aloud to my second graders, but I wasn’t sure about the part where Stella dies? It might be a little weird for second graders, but still a good text to use as a read aloud. Really impressed with this book!

      Pop’s Bridge is a great story too! I read it aloud to my class this week. They loved it, and made many connections to it since many of their parents work in our community. I did not know much about Eve Bunting, but now I am on a research roll with her! I want to read more of her books and see what she is all about. I especially enjoyed learning about her thought the author study. It is so refreshing to just sit and talk about authors. When do we really ever have time for that!? I like how she incorporates the immigration theme into many of her books. Many of my students are immigrants or have immediate family members who are immigrants, so the texts lend themselves for connections and high interest levels. Can’t wait to see what we get this week! Looking forward to more books, authors, and ideas to bring back with me.


  9. I realized I posted on the wrong thread last time so here’s my post from before! 🙂

    I’ll be honest, I was not as excited to read Seed by Seed because I thought it would be just another book about Johnny Appleseed, but boy was I wrong! The book is amazing and has such a different take on the traditional Johnny Appleseed story. It also talks about whether or not Johnny was real and this quote from the story really took me in, “The tales of Johnny Appleseed are three parts legend, one part fact, stories we’re not sure are true. But the man, John Chapman, was real.” I love this and it takes away all of the myths and theories and puts it in a way children can understand. Reading it also made me think about the book, The Lorax and how these two books are very similar and could be used for Earth Day. I am already circulating ideas on how to incorporate Seed by Seed into my classroom before the end of the year! ☺

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