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Paul Fleischman   [lesson plan-culture] [lesson plan - create a civilization]

by Paul Fleischman
Kevin Hawkes, Illustrator

Excellent book for Bullying, Harassment, and Conflict Resolution

Wesley overhears his parents' conversation that he doesn't fit in. He knows that is true.

Wesley is teased because he is a nonconformist. He doesn't like pizza and coke; thinks professional football stupid and refused his father's five-dollar bribe to shave half his head [hairstyle worn by all the other boys].

He is an independent thinker, unafraid of new possibilities and open to change.

He learns in school "that seeds are carried great distances by the wind" and "that each civilization has it's own staple crop."

A seemingly sarcastic comment from his father sparked an idea for a summer project--"he would grow his own staple food and found his own civilization!"

He turns over a plot of ground and opens his land to chance. Courtesy of the wind, Wesley's garden is planted. An unknown species of plant shoots up and bears a multi colored fruit that tastes of "peach, strawberry, pumpkin pie, and flavors for which he had no name." He names this "swist from the sounds of its leaves rustling in the breeze."

Weslandia is born--a land where there is no shortage of imagination, inspiration, innovation, engineering, science and entrepreneurial genius. It is a beautiful metaphor--"in this type of garden there are no weeds."

When summer vacation is over, Wesley leaves his kingdom of Weslandia and returns to school with no shortage of friends.

Children will embrace Weslandia's message by Newbery author Paul Fleischman and brilliant illustrations by Kevin Hawkes.

Highly recommend.