Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Whose Hands Are These?

There are a few things I know to be true about working with primary classes. Especially primary classes with more fidget than focus. When wiggles and squirms abound, students need us to deliver energy, excitement and a little bit of drama. Sometimes that’s easy to do. Good sleeps and strong coffee help. Some days it’s harder. By afternoon, it’s harder. With some lessons, it sure helps if the material itself can leap in and lend a hand (come on, how could I resist?)

When it is afternoon after a lunchtime of “not so good” out on the play ground and gathering everyone together feels extra hard, I need to lean on my read aloud to help out.

This book jumped right in! It delivered what I like to call the “squish closer, oh! oh! oh!” noisy read aloud experience. When everyone is leaning in, sitting close, oohing to be called on, joining in with the text, rising up off their bottoms and generally trying to basically climb into the book, well, teachers, we have a winner!

What a pleasure it is to share this book today.

Whose Hands Are These? A Community Helper Guessing Book written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell (Millbrook Press January 2016)

Whose Hands are these?

Some of the many reasons why this book works so beautifully in the primary classroom:

  • First, there is the obvious. It supports our primary curriculum (community helpers, career options, helpers in the community). New engaging material to use in our lessons on these units? Always so very appreciated!
  • This is a guessing book! Kids love to guess. They love to be right. They don’t want it to be too easy but it has to be accessible so that most of them are getting most of it right most of the time, New learning happens surrounded by confidence. It’s an ideal balance. This book has that.
  • The clues are revealed through both bright, interesting pictures and the text – our visual learners and our auditory learners are all supported
  • The rhythm of the language and the rhymes make things predictable and successful for each little listener.
  • The illustrations embrace diversity and don’t reinforce stereotypes. Hurrah! We have a male teacher, female doctors, male and female mechanics, scientists and farmers of all ages, characters with different skin tones, adults and children depicted in the pictures

Lots of kid appeal in this book. Instant feedback from my class?

“I like guessing! And we mostly got it right!”

“It rhymes! The words are interesting.”

“I Think I could read it by myself. Mostly. Can I Ms. Gelson?”

“The pictures are so colourful.”

“I like all the people.”

“How did they make those hands on the back cover?”

How did I share the book? Beyond letting it do its noisy read aloud, fully engaged magic?

We started with the end pages and looked at all of the tools we saw. I asked, “What do you see that you can name?” And then: “Who would use this in their job? What do you think?” All of this predicting and building shared knowledge was a wonderful warm up for the story.

When we read the book, we talked about all of the details we noticed in both the text and illustrations, we focussed on the word that was our clue – the one that would rhyme with the profession being named.

Quest and test, these hands are turning.

Test again- these hands are learning!

Weigh and count, their work persists

These hands belong to . . .

Repeat persists – stretch out the word, repeat it again, look at the clues in the pictures, watch for nodding, signs of confirmation of the guesses . . .

Get ready to tell me!”



So much fun.

The final pages contain more information about each job and is provided in child friendly descriptions.

A perfect book to talk about people in our community or to inspire brainstorming and writing about future job possibilities and choices.

Highly recommended for the primary classroom.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!


16 thoughts on “Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Whose Hands Are These?

  1. Did you get a preview copy of this book? Amazon says it is not “out” until March! I’m so excited for this book! Miranda’s other books are also awesome. I did a great project with her One Plastic Bag book last spring and I’m going to use the Water is Water book with our weather and water unit. Yeah Miranda! Can’t wait to see what is next . . .

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