ALFIE RUNS AWAY- Kenneth Cadow

Alfie does not like to take baths, make his bed, eat potatoes, or set the table. When his mother tries to throw away his favorite red shoes, Alfie decides things have gone too far, and makes plans to run away. He packs a water bottle, a box of crackers, a flashlight, three books, and his teddy bear and heads out to find a place where people don't make kids throw away their favorite, albeit too-small red shoes. The bag is a little heavy, however, so he settles down on a blanket in the yard…

I read ALFIE to a first grade class on the last day of school. It was 90 degrees outside, and almost that warm in our hundred year old, non air-conditioned building. The kids were excited and/or worried about getting out of school for the summer. Even so, this book brought forth lots of rich conversations. Everyone, of course, had a running away story to tell. There were also several favorite shoe stories. The kids had lots of great wonderings and comments about the book. J thought the mom was not really doing her job- she wanted the mom to lock the door and tell Alfie he couldn't go anywhere. K thought the mom should just tell Alfie they could go get new shoes, exactly like the old ones if he wanted them. M thought the mom should sneak into Alfie's room while he was asleep and replace the old shoes with new ones. P said, "I bet his mom is just trying to outsmart him. She probably knows he isn't going anywhere very far. Or if he does, she will follow him and bring him back when he gets tired."

Books as a way of helping kids explore big issues like the love of a parent or growing up… Could there be anything better?