The Boo-Boos That Changed the World

Earle Dickson’s wife Josephine has many kitchen injuries – cuts, burns, and scrapes. To help her Earle creates a cover to protect the injury that eventually becomes Band-Aid by Johnson and Johnson. Johnson and Johnson develops a market by providing them free to the Boy Scouts.

Barry Wittenstein, ©2018, Charlesbridge, 978-1-58089-745-7

Writing: Playing with the Structure
The most fun of this book is the series of endings—six times in the course of the book when a logical pause in the plot occurs, the author says “The End.” But when the page is turned over the plot continues! Phrases that restart the plot are “Actually, that was just the beginning,” “But WAIT,” “Oops, not yet,” “Sorry, not really.”

Students could start by writing a story, following the basic story plot of a problem, with three attempts to solve it, before succeeding. When the draft is finished, they could enlarge and expand it, by adding details of conversation, and including “The End” at each of the attempts to solve it then continuing on the next page with why that solution does not work.

Because of COVID-19
We have discovered during the pandemic, many adults don’t seem understand what a vaccination is and does. We attribute it often to the fact that in their lifetime and even their parent’s lifetime, they did not experience or see anyone who caught the many diseases that vaccination prevents. They have not experienced polio, measles, mumps, rubella, small pox, etc. and don’t know anyone who did. There’s a meme going around saying:

“Remember when you caught polio?”
“Of course you don’t. Your parents vaccinated you.”

So, if you did a small presentation about how vaccines work first, you could then assign pairs of students to study the 15 diseases for which we have vaccines—all developed since about 1920. If each pair took one disease, they could present on the following topics:

  • What is the disease and its effects?
  • How many people used to catch it?
  • How many people suffer long term effects from it or die?
  • Who developed the vaccine and when, and how?

Students could prepare a collective report—each pair preparing a two-page presentation with images. That project could be bound and catalogued for the library. Then students could prepare an oral presentation for their disease to help developing speaking skills.

Possibilities include:

  1. Insulin
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Diphtheria
  4. Tetanus (lock jaw)
  5. Pertussis – whooping cough
  6. Penicillin (great antibiotic, not a vaccine)
  7. Yellow Fever
  8. Smallpox
  9. Shingles
  10. Measles
  11. Mumps
  12. Hepatitis A and B
  13. Polio
  14. Chicken Pox
  15. (You could include the COVID-19 vaccines if you like)

My Personal Timeline: Writing
The back of the book has a timeline for the major events of Earle Dickson’s life with a focus on his career with Johnson and Johnson. It might be an interesting project for students to write their own timeline, starting from their birth, kindergarten, grade one, etc. and also including any major events in each year.

For more creative writing ideas, click The Boo-Boos that Changed the World to download.

Souperchicken

souperchickenHenrietta loves to read and has hardly any time to lay eggs. The farmer says he is sending all the rest of the hens on a vacation as a reward for their hard work. As they leave, Henrietta reads the words on their truck which say, “ Souper Soup Company” and realizes her friends are headed for the soup. Along the road to rescue them she hitchhikes pigs and cows. At the factory she reads the signs in the hallways to find the chickens, reads the code to find the address, and, after the rescue, finally discovers in a magazine a vegetarian farm where they can live.

Mary Jane and Herm Auch, Holiday House, © 2003, ISBN 0-8234-1704-20

Literacy Can Save You

Read the story aloud to the students first. Then, to develop listening and note-taking skills, read it again. During the second reading, have students make note of the ways in which being able to read is important in solving the problems that Henrietta faces:

  • She reads the sign about the soup company on the truck.
  • She finds the address for the factory on the label of a can.
  • She reads the sign on the pigs’ truck.
  • She reads the sign on the cows’ truck.
  • She reads the signs in the hallways to find where the chickens are.
  • She reads the code to get in the door.
  • She reads the magazine covers in the mailboxes to find a good place to live, with a vegetarian.

Literacy Tales

Ask students to make up their own story in which literacy helps to solve the problems of the character. Remind them that the structure of a typical story is to present a problem, make 2-3 attempts to solve it, and then have the last one work.

In Souperchicken, the structure is:

  • Present the character, Henrietta, as a reader.
  • Present a problem for the chickens (this is not a vacation).
  • Reading makes the problem clear.
  • Attempts: chasing the truck, hitch-hiking on trucks, finding them at the factory, breaking them loose, finding them a suitable home.

When student shave finished, you could present some other picture books in which literacy is essential to solving the literacy problems.

For 5 creative writing ideas, click Souperchicken to download.