Saturday, February 6, 2016

7th February Ballet Day

One website says that today is Ballet Day and whether it is a worldwide celebration or not it is a good excuse to think about ballet and all the wonderful picture books that celebrate this form of dance. The relatively new biography Swan  by Laurel Snyder and Julie Morstad is a stunning example of just how special a picture book can be. This book tells the story of Anna Palova's childhood and her journey to prima ballerina.

"As graceful in both visual and written line as the dancer it portrays, it is unrelenting in its depiction of work, inspiration and generosity."--Esme Codell, The Planet Esme Plan

For more ballet picture books to match to your readers see this pinterest collection.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

1st February National Serpent Day

It is National Serpent Day. What is a serpent? A snake, so it is Snake Day! Some websites say it is Snake Day on the 16th July so you can celebrate again then. There are lots of words for 'snake' that children recognise, like adder, asp, python, cobra and boa constrictor. What ever name they have many of the boys I teach are fascinated by them and snake books are well borrowed. In fact, at the moment the display shelves of the library are saturated with reptile books in three sections: snakes and lizards, crocodiles and alligators and turtles and tortoises. The library has only been open for two days and already quite a few snake and crocodile books have gone.

Some of my favourite snake books are:
• Crictor by Tomi Ungerer. This is old but still in print and very humorous.
Snake Supper  by Alan Durant and Ant Parker really makes my preschoolers laugh.
Python by Christopher Cheng and Mark Jackson is one of those wonderful Walker books that has a story alongside factual information in a different font.
I (Don't) Like Snakes by Nicola Davies and Luciano Lozano is also part of that Nature Storybook series.
Akimbo and the Snakes by Alexander McCall Smith is a short novel in the Akimbo series set in the game reserves of Africa.
There's more titles on my pinterest page here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

24th January Peanut Butter Day

It's Peanut Butter Day. Peanut butter isn't as popular now as it was when I was a child and every child had a peanut butter or vegemite sandwich for lunch. In fact at the school I teach at you cannot have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch as we have so many children who are allergic to peanut products. So today you may not be able to eat peanut butter, but you can read and enjoy this book, Peanut Butter and Cupcake! by Terry Border. Here Peanut Butter goes in search of a friend...

"But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soulmate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.
In a story that pairs silliness with poignancy, and friendship with anthropomorphic food, Terry Border, the photography mastermind behind the Bent Objects project, makes a triumphant entrance into the children's book world. Complete with a rhyming refrain, this is sure to be a favorite family read-aloud--and laugh-aloud."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

21st January Hugging Day

Everyone needs a hug sometimes! We shouldn't need a day to get a hug, but it is good too, to have an excuse, so make sure today you give someone a hug. Want to have a hugging reading fest? All the books about Douglas starting with  Hugless Douglas are a good place to start. My library has a big plush Douglas sitting in a reading corner for my students to hug and to read to. Look at the end papers in the first book and have fun acting out all those hugs. Then read Hug Me by Simona Ciraola and talk about how it would feel to be Felipe (a cactus) and not be hugged. Or read The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland and talk about passing on your hug.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

19th January Popcorn Day

It's Popcorn Day. Get out the popcorn machine and eat popcorn while you read any of the books below. Compare the procedure you undertook to get popcorn with the ones in the two expository texts or share a story. The Popcorn Dragon by Jane Thayer is an oldie but a goodie and Frank Asch's title has been reissued in a new cover. Look in the library as there's bound to be other titles as well!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

18th January Winnie-the-Pooh Day

  • January 18th has become known as Winnie the Pooh Day because author A.A. Milne was born on this day in 1882, and it was he and his son Christopher who created this loveable and wise character and introduced him to generations of readers.
  • Interestingly, just this week though, a book about the history behind the bear that inspired the fiction was named as the Caldecott Medal winner. This book, Finding Winnie is written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Australian-born Sophie Blackall. (See Sophie's blog for a four part discussion of the illustrating of this book)
  • Lindsay Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, a vet who rescued a baby bear in Canada in 1914. He named the bear Winnie after his hometown, Winnipeg. He took the bear to Europe when he went off to war. Eventually, Winnie ends up in the London Zoo and there he makes a new friend, Christopher Robin, the son of author Alan Alexander Milne. Lindsay's website tells you Harry's story in more detail and has a wealth of information about the making of this book and her family history.
  • Last year American author Sally M. Walker also published a book about the real bear that inspired the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh. Putting these two books and the film A Bear Named Winnie together as a precursor to or a follow up to some fun reading the original stories would make an enjoyable unit of work.

  • I need no excuse whatsoever to revel in the wonderful language, humour and languidness of Pooh.
  •  "If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart… I'll always be with you."
  • And as school rolls around next week I know this will be me...
  •  "When late morning rolls around and you're feeling a bit out of sorts, don't worry; you're probably just a little eleven o'clockish."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

15th January Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968)

When I first started collecting biographies for the library I steered clear of those that were specifically related to American history because I didn't think my eight year olds would relate to these prominent people or be particularly interested in them. I did however buy one about Rosa Parks and not only were my readers interested in her but they were outraged at how she was treated. Two students wanted to read more about 'black people in America' so I went in search of other bibliographies. It was easy to find musicians and sportsmen, but I also bought one about Martin Luther King, Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier. This highly awarded book, is a portrait of strong man whose dream changed America and the world and it does seem that Australian eight year olds can see that and wonder at its ramifications. It would make the perfect read for today, Martin Luther King's birthdate.