Sunday, November 1, 2015

3rd November Sandwich Day

Sandwich Day is celebrated on this date because it is also the birth date of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich for whom the food is named. This 18th century earl 'invented' the sandwich because he wanted to be able to eat using only one hand while he was involved in a 24hour gambling event. He instructed his servants to put his meat between two slices of bread. Now it is a favourite food has a myriad of fillings in many places, especially at lunchtime, in schoolyards and on picnics. One might even argue that a hamburger is a form of sandwich.

At school our library display will include the books below. The Giant Jam Sandwich  has become a classic, The Disgusting Sandwich is among the list of most borrowed books in our library and Daddy's Sandwich is a new acquisition.

Monday, October 26, 2015

26th October National Pumpkin Day

National Pumpkin Day is celebrated in the USA today. It is not so relevant here in Australia as it is Spring, not Autumn, but given it falls in the same week as Halloween and Australian children do seem to have embraced this celebration and there are soft American pumpkins available in our shops so that we too can carve Jack-o-Lanterns it is good to highlight just how many picture books celebrate pumpkins. See my pinterest page for what is in our school library and if you are looking for a good picture book to buy that lends itself to good classroom activities purchase How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara and Brian Karas.


Friday, October 23, 2015

25th October World Pasta Day

World Pasta Day, another good excuse to pull out lots of books in the library and make a display. Nearly all the bird books went this week for Bird Week so I have an empty space. It was Noodle Day on the 6th October and National Pasta Day  on the 17th October and I did nothing for these so I'm going to combine pasta and noodles this week. I was a bit perplexed as to what the difference between noodles and pasta actually was so I went looking. Here tells me that basically pasta is of Italian origin and noodles are of Chinese origin although they are made similarly, but another website summarises it in this way 
1. Egg noodles are typically long flat strips of dough, while pasta comes in a variety of shapes
2. Egg noodles originated in China, while the origin of pasta is not certain.  There is also lots of mention about inclusion of eggs and the type of wheat used in the noodle.

Oh well differences aside, the library has plenty of books to display, without even resorting to cookbooks. Among them these below. and if you don't have many why not revisit all the Strega Nona books and enjoy some Tomie dePaola.

Monday, October 19, 2015

20th October International Sloth Day

October 20th, 2015 is International Sloth Day, so says this website. Other sites say that it is the third Saturday in October which means that it was last Saturday, 17th October. Whenever it is doesn't matter because there is so much fun to be had with young children and reading about sloths. There are so many picture books to explore, film clips to watch and toy sloths to hug. See the amazing sloths made by Andrea Vida among other more commercial ones. The books below are in our library. If these are not enough see pinterest page here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

18th October Dyslexia Empowerment Week

This week from the 18th to the 24th is Dyslexia Empowerment Week, a very important week in my household as both of my children  have struggled with school because of dyslexia. My daughter is driven and ploughed on regardless, not letting negative and unhelpful teachers destroy her self esteem because she got kudos through sport, music and art. My son just gave up and saw the academic battle as insurmountable and most of his teachers gave up on him too. He is bright, an extremely visual learner with an amazing memory and he can fix just about anything electrical or mechanical that is broken. He deserved a much better deal at school. Both love books and are avid listeners. They are more literary than many students I have taught who can read. Thank goodness for talking books. They are expensive but they have been well worth the money. Please watch the clip on the Dyslexia website and think about what you can do to empower people with dyslexia.

From the 19th till the 25th October it is National Bird Week here in Australia and people are being asked to take part in the first  Aussie Backyard Bird Count. What a good excuse to sit in your backyard, local park or favourite spot and identify and count birds. I have noticed lots of kookaburras in my backyard over the last few weeks so I hope they are still around this week. The Steve Parish books about Australian birds help the children at school identify the birds they see at home and in the school playground. These books range from simple to detailed field guides so every child is catered for.

And lastly this week in America it is National Wolf Awareness Week from the 12th to 19th October. The young children I teach are fascinated by wolves even though they are unlikely to see one in Australia. Because of one little girl who was besotted with wolves and devoured every factual book I could find my library now has quite a collection of 'wolf' books and when we put them out on display this week more than half were borrowed. See my pinterest page for what the library has about wolves be they real or storybook wolves.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

4th October Jo Witek (4/9/68)

It isn't Jo Witek's birthday today, but I have just learned that it was her birthday a month ago and she isn't already on my birthday list, so I am adding her now. Also I have just bought her new book ready to use in the library with my preschoolers this coming term. It is called Brave As Can Be.

Jo Witek is an author, journalist and screenwriter who lives in France. Her three picture books available in English are illustrated by Christine Roussey, a French illustrator who also lives in Paris. The three stories, Hello in There; In My Heart  and Brave as Can Be feature the same small girl.

In each book she 'tackles' big issues for preschoolers, getting a new sibling, feelings and being brave. The sibling title doesn't work as well with a large audience, but is better one on one with a child who is awaiting the birth of a sibling. The feelings title is very popular in my library. It includes multilayered die-cut pages featuring decreasing rainbow coloured hearts, big white expanses, and a cute girl who explores her emotions stated as similes... "My heart is like a house, with all these feelings living inside." My heart "is as heavy as an elephant", "like a plant reaching toward the sky".  It has wonderful vocabulary for empowering young children when talking about emotions.

Jo's new book on bravery empowers young children to confront  scary situations head on, but in a playful manner. No doubt there will be more winning titles to come!

Monday, September 28, 2015

28th September Good Neighbour Day

There are not a lot of picture books with 'neighbour' in their title, but nevertheless it is easy to define what a neighbour is and does using stories in picture books, and what better way to celebrate Good Neighbour Day than by reading with your neighbours, even if they are school 'neighbours'. Many of the books I like to share are now old, but that doesn't mean they aren't still good and worth sharing. These will probably be in your school library too, and they are perfect for giving that sense of neighbourliness and community.


    • Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten by Bob Graham. Here Rose and her                                                      family move into the house next door to a recluse whose yard has become overgrown. Rose is determined to befriend him.

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham. Here a young girl called Stella creates a haven for her neighbourhood in a dumped bus.

Amelia Ellicott's Garden by Liliana Stafford and Stephen Michael King. Here a storm damages Amelia's garden and chicken coop and the neighbours rally to help her recoup her belongings and restore them.

That's Not a Daffodil by Elizabeth Honey. Here Tom's elderly neighbour gives him a bulb that they plant and watch grow.

Nobody's Granny by Tessa Brady. Here the children in an elderly lady's neighbourhood collaborate to build her a fence in exchange for playing in her garden.

Leaves for Mr Walter by Janeen Brian and David Cox. Here Emilia befriends grumpy Mr Walter who lives next door and together they create a treehouse.

And if you do want a book with 'neighbours' in the title, dig out  Mum, Midge and the Neighbours by Phil Cummings and Ritva Vitoula.