Tuesday, July 29, 2014

29th July Kathleen Krull (1952)

Kathleen Krull's name appears in my library quite a lot at this time of the year because it is when Year 2 and I are completing a wide-reading contract using picture book biographies and Kathleen Krull seems to specialise in writing biographies so I was pleased to learn that today was her birthday.
Two of her biographies are included in the contract.  We have others of her biographies but I especially like these two because they are very relevant to my students' lives.

They are:
The Boy on Fairfield Street (the story of a young Ted Geisel aka Dr Seuss)
The Boy Who Invented TV (the story of Philo Farnsworth)

Some quotes I would share with my students from Kathleen's own biography would be ...
"When I was fifteen, I was fired from my part-time job at the library. The reason? Reading too much--while I was supposed to be working." 

"As a child I thought books were the most important thing in the world, and that perception is actually more intense now. I’m grateful, for so many reasons, to be able to work in a vital and exhilarating field: preserving literacy. One of the benefits of the writing life is that I can't be fired. Especially for reading too much."

Monday, June 23, 2014

22nd June Michael Hall

I have just found a new birthday to celebrate courtesy of Eric at Happy Birthday Author. Today is the birthday of  Michael Hall, the author/illustrator responsible for  Perfect Square and Cat Tale, two wonderful and popular picture books in our library. I have also just found out he has a new book, It's an Orange Aardvark! which I will need to order!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11th June Eric Hill (1927 - 2014)

At lunch time today I had a quick glance at the new's headlines, only to be met with the sad news of Eric Hill's passing. For my library's clientele that was very sad news because every child in a Prep School library knows Spot and has a definite view about him. Currently there is a poster of him right in the entrance, put there to celebrate Library Week a couple of week's ago. The toy Spots are never in the library and the box of books would be visited every day despite his age!

The obituary published in the Guardian gives a good overview of Eric Hill's remarkable life.

This is a photo of  the wonderful poster in the doorway of the library. Kindergarten children line up there and point to each word as they read them.

Friday, June 6, 2014

7th June Butterfly Day

In the UK today is designated Butterfly Education and Awareness Day, a day to make people aware of the role of butterflies in pollination and what they can do to ensure there are butterfly habitats close to them. Butterflies are certainly fascinating creatures because of their beauty and delicacy.

Many children's books focus on butterflies, but the ones here, I have included because of their illustrations and/or stories rather than their factual information. They will certainly cover a wide range of uses.

1. Butterfly by Petr Horacek.
2. A Butterfly is Patient  by Dianna Hutts Acton and Sylvia Long.
3. Caterpillar Butterfly by Vivian French and Charlotte Voake.
4.  Caterpillar and Butterfly by Ambelin Kwaymullina.
5.  Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jnr and Lois Ehlert.
6.  I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe and Ed Young.
7. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison and Kevin Hawkes.
8.  Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle and Julie Paschkis

For more butterfly titles including expository texts see Pinterest here.

6th June Doughnut Day

In the United States the first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day and in England there was a whole week from 10th to 17th May designated as National Doughnut Week, yet here in Australia we haven't gone to those lengths to celebrate doughnuts. Children here certainly like them and eat them, but should we celebrate  a very sugary, deep-fried, doughy 'ring' ? I don't know. I did go looking in the library for doughnut books though, and found just as many with the 'donut' spelling. I wondered why there were two spellings and found an explanation here.

We only had five books that feature doughnuts/donuts:
Daisy the Donut Fairy by Tim Bugbird. This is by far the most popular and you can see why when you look at the cover. The 'fairy/pink-loving' girls make sure it is always borrowed.
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff is part of the popular 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' series.
The Donut Chef by Bob Staarke.
The Doughnut Ring a short chapter book by Alexander McCall Smith
Doughnut Danger by Anthony Masters, a reader from the I Am Reading series.
And a picture book where the word 'doughnut' is used as a name
Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase  by Bruce Whatley.

After a bit of research I think that probably the ones I should have are:
Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller
The Case of the Missing Donut  by Alison McGhee

Oh well, maybe by next year I will have enough titles to put together a display!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

28th May Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014)

Maya Angelou ' a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace'. The African-American author, poet and human rights activist has died. I heard about this sad event on the news tonight and then thought how strange, yet serendipitous, that today I had shared her children's book My Painted House My Friendly Chicken and Me with students at school. She is not known particularly for her children's books, but this beautiful photo journal tells the story of a young Ndebele girl who lives in South Africa. It is very colourful and designed in a way that invites close perusal.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

23rd May Walk Safely to School Day

Walk Safely to School Day (WSTSD) is an annual, national event when all Primary School children are encouraged to walk and commute safely to school. It is a Community Event seeking to promote Road Safety, Health, Public Transport and the Environment.
As I teach at an independent school, not a local school many of the children I teach come quite long distances to school and would never walk to school. However, yesterday we encouraged parents to park a walkable distance from school so they could join in this national initiative that many of their neighbours experience each day as they walk to their local school.
Well it certainly had novelty value for many of the children who did it. They liked the sticker they received if they did walk. They talked about doing it with friends and how that had been good. The comments reminded me so much of Gillian Bradshaw and David Cox's picture book Shock Monday where the children are initially angry with their mother about having to walk to school, but find themselves enjoying themselves as they undertake what turns out to be quite an adventure. This book is just perfect to share and discuss on such a day. We had fun deciding what Tom and his friend could be saying to each other in the illustration on the cover.
I feel somewhat sorry for children who live in cities and busy towns today. The news today was full of statistics about how sedentary children are and how few were undertaking even an hour of activity per day.
I look back on my idyllic childhood in Bowral, a town in the Southern Highlands, where I walked to school or rode my bike alone or with friends right from Kindergarten to Year 6. On the way home I stopped at the Children's Library and bothered the librarians or at Bradman Oval and played with the neighbourhood children...just as long as I was home before dark. How things have changed!