About the Holiday
World Teacher’s Day, sponsored by the United Nations, was established to celebrate the role teachers play in providing quality education from preschool through college and beyond. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948, where education is recognized as a key fundamental right—a right that cannot be fulfilled without qualified teachers. To commemorate this event, today’s holiday is being celebrated under the theme “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.” According to UNESCO, in order to reach the goal of universal primary and secondary education by 2030, worldwide nearly sixty-nine million new teachers will need to be hired. “This ‘teacher gap’ is more pronounced among vulnerable populations—girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, and poor children living in rural or remote areas.” Today, thank a teacher for everything they do to further quality education.
Because You Are My Teacher
Written by Sherry North | Illustrated by Marcellus Hall
The child narrator in Because You Are My Teacher is excited to learn all about the world and its wonders. They have an unbounded imagination for all the things the class could do “if only….” The child is excited to share their ideas. “If we had a schooner, we would have our class at sea / And study the Atlantic, where the great blue whales roam free.”
Other enticing rhymes follow the intrepid class as the kids try out different modes of transportation. They could study from camelback, traversing deserts and exploring the pyramids; peer from a whirling helicopter as it hovers over an erupting volcano; and ski past baby penguins gobbling down their first fish. From their river raft on the Amazon, the children could listen to howler monkeys “growl their spooky song.”
A submarine would be the perfect place to learn about the ocean depths and its unique creatures, while from an off-road truck the class “would ride savanna trails, / Where Africa’s young elephants hold on to mothers’ tails.” These adventurous kids would love paddling in a kayak on a Grand Canyon river, soaring with hang gliders over the Australian outback, gliding on an airboat throug the Everglades, polling through Venice on a gondola, and zooming in a rocket ship for an out-of-this-world experience.
But the narrator and the class are happy right where they are. Why? Because: “Our classroom is our vessel, / always headed someplace new. / Because you are our teacher, / We’ll explore the world with you.
Sherry North’s exuberant ride of discovery honors all teachers and their students who daily adventure into new worlds together. North’s clever rhymes and superb turns of phrase combine with uncommon experiences to entice readers to join these exciting field trips. The last pages are a nice reminder that teachers bring the universe into their classrooms no matter where they are.
Marcellus Hall brings readers up close to the world of the sea, the vast sands of the desert, a slippery ice floe, the lush rainforest, and more exotic environments with his bold, vibrant artwork. The denizens of these world landmarks nearly walk off the page into a child’s reading area, and kids will love searching for the little mouse that is the class’s constant companion on their journey.
Because I Had a Teacher would make a much-appreciated gift for a teacher or future teacher as well as an inspiring book for classroom, public, and home libraries.
Ages 5 – 8
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012 | ISBN 978-0545768887
Discover more about Sherry North and her art on her website.
To learn more about Marcellus Hall, his books, and his art, visit his website.
World Teacher’s Day Activity
Thank You, Teacher! Certificate
If you have a favorite teacher, here’s a printable Thank You, Teacher Certificate for you to color, fill out, and give to them today or any day.
You can find Because You Are My Teacher at these booksellers
Picture Book Review