Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Love a Parade!!

I'm linking up with Speech is Sweet for her weekly "Wild About Books Wednesday Linky Party!" Naturally, I'm a day late, but why not keep it going a little longer? I came upon this book by chance when I was purchasing a Thanksgiving book. You know how Amazon makes recommendations based on your purchases in the hopes of suckering you into buying more! I'm an easy sell! The book is titled "Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade." This year marks the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and it is truly fascinating to read about how it all came to be. The creative genius behind the parade balloons is Tony Sarg, an immigrant marionette maker with remarkable vision.  The story chronicles how he transformed the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade into the beloved annual extravaganza it has become.
Available here
I love this book! It has a lexile of 1000 which is appropriate for grade 6 and beyond. The plot is extremely engaging and the illustrations are amazing. The author/illustrator creates mixed media collage illustrations that are interesting and captivating!

This is how I am using "Balloons Over Broadway" in our speech room:
  1. The tier 2 vocabulary is rich and robust.  You'll find words like jostle, articulate, marionette, shimmy, sallied, flounce, rigged.
  2. Making predictions: as the subject of the story tinkers with how to offer a parade for the generations my students offered their suggestions.
  3. Problem solving: creative geniuses often run into problems or potential problems.  Balloons Over Broadway allowed my students to help Mr. Sarg solve his problems.
  4. Executive functions: After reading the book together, I asked students to work together to design and create their own rod puppets.  They aren't finished yet, but I will post a picture on Instagram when they are complete!
  5. Balloons Over Broadway fits nicely with Social Studies as the impetus for the parade was to help Macy's employees, many of whom were immigrants, feel more at home in America, as they were longing for their traditions.
  6. Comparisons:  We watched a video on YouTube of the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and compared with the original parade from 1924.
  7. Science:  I never thought about where helium comes from and recently learned in a science class that it is found in underground rock formations. Helium is also a by-product of drilling and processing natural gas. The United States even has a Federal Helium Reserve! Who knew?
  8. Writing: Using the Expanding Expression Tool by Sara L. Smith, students can summarize the book.  I have a poster with descriptions of the beads on Teacher Pay Teachers.  You can grab it for free by clicking HERE
I hope you check this book out and let me know if you love it as much as I do!


  1. Yay!! Thank you for linking up! I'm so glad you joined the party this week :)

    The illustrations look absolutely beautiful! I'm also a huge fan of picture book biographies! I need to check this book out and your ideas are awesome!

    1. Thanks Scarlett! I think you will love this book. It has become one of my favorites and I wish I'd had it when my children were younger. They would have liked it!

  2. I need this book! Awesome ideas. Too bad Amazon didn't suggest it for me...I would also have purchased it!

  3. So cool! I was the Guard Instructor for a band that was in the Parade. You can see "my girls" here:

    1. Mary, that was AWESOME!! Were you in the color guard in high school? I was in the marching band but we never made it to the Macy's parade!