Thursday, February 16, 2017

Too hot February!

We have sweltered at school since the term began. The heat and humidity seem interminable. It doesn't make for productive teaching when everyone just wants to get cool. Why aren't schools air-conditioned? I tried the 'power of suggestion' by putting together library displays about swimming and ice cream.

Many of the preschool classes have been to the library for the first time and it is a long walk (not really but they think it is) so we pretended to eat ice cream, acted out an ice cream poem and read Sam Lloyd's Two Little Aliens . In this story two aliens find ice cream and don't know what to do with it. It always makes the children feel so knowledgeable and they laugh at the aliens.

The displays worked. All the ice cream books left the library very promptly.They went before I even had the chance to share Bob Graham's Vanilla Ice Cream or Peter Sis' Ice Cream Summer. I always  enjoy sharing Mr Plunkett's Pool too, as there are so many scenarios that arise and can then be  discussed by the children, especially with my students who think that everyone has a pool or lives near the beach.

Below are some of the books we put out on display.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

14th February Library Lovers Day

I had fun at school today! I wrapped a book up in a parcel for each class and left it on the teacher's chair in the classroom for the class to find at the start of the day. I pasted the Library Lovers Day heart and International Book Giving Day logo on the parcel with a heart-shaped  note suggesting that they enjoy sharing the contents. All of the books I chose were about reading for pleasure and they were given out at random to my twelve K - 2 classes. Four of the teachers gave me very positive feedback and several children came to the library to thank me for their book. They guessed they were library books because of the spine labels and covering! Yes, it was a bit of an effort, but well worth it, if the students respond positively to the library, books and reading.

Friday, February 10, 2017

12th February Darwin Day

While he was in Australia, Charles Darwin saw animals that lead him to think about how animals came to be and natural selection and thus began his thinking and work that lead to his Theory of Evolution.

Talking about this anniversary on Charles Darwin's birthday with students always elicits much discussion and there are always requests for books so they can read more. 

These three books are a good start but there are many picture books on evolution that are easy enough for eight year olds to begin an interest. Also see here for two other other books.

Friday, February 3, 2017

3rd February Bubblegum Day

The first Friday in February is Bubblegum Day. It began in 2006 when children's author Ruth Spiro decided that there needed to be a day to celebrate education, philanthropy and bubblegum! She has written a book called Lester Fizz, Bubble-Gum Artist, but I have not seen it. If I was looking for a book about bubblegum in my library I would resurrect my favourite B is For Bubbles  by Pamela Shrapnel and Noela Young. It is long out of print, but I have kept my library's very tatty copy on my shelf of 'specials'. It is perfect for Year 1 children who have lost teeth and just cannot blow bubbles with gum.

If you haven't got this book then the much more recent  Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler  is lots of fun to share with children and Chavela and the Magic Bubble  allows for a much deeper discussion about diversity and ecology.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

31st January Bryan Collier (1967)

Bryan Collier is an American children's picture book illustrator whose work is not well known in Australia, but those that I have seen are particularly memorable. His better-known books are biographies of very famous black Americans such as Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Rosa Parks and Mohammed Ali.

I like telling my students about how Collier became interested in art at a very early age and  was inspired by the picture books of Ezra Jack Keats such as  The Snowy Day  and Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Look for these in the library:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

23rd January Georgia O'Keeffe (15/11/1887 - 6/3/1986)

Georgia O'Keeffe is a most amazing American artist and there is an exhibition of some of her work visiting Australia at the moment. Last week I was fortunate to see it and I was not disappointed. It is part of an exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne. Her works are displayed with well known Australian woman artists Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith whose body of work are much easier to see if you live in Sydney.

Georgia made up her mind to be an artist at ten years old  and there are some wonderful picture book biographies about her so it is easy to share her work with young children. They are fascinated that she was so young when she decided on her vocation. They like the bones and the sheer size of her flower paintings. We have three biographies:
My Name is Georgia  by Jeanette Winter
Georgia's Bones by Jen Bryant and Bethanne Anderson
Through Georgia's Eyes by Rachel Rodriguez and Julie Paschkis
and a new one has just been published by Tate Publishing
Meet Georgia by Marina Muun

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way – things I had no words for. (Georgia O'Keeffe)

22nd January Brian Wildsmith (1930 - 2016)

Brian Wildsmith was born on the 22nd January 1930 and unfortunately died last year on 31st August. He has always been a favourite of mine and as school begins for yet another year I have promised myself to do more with his wonderful picture books this year. It is always easy to share his Easter and Christmas titles, but I thought I would make a bigger effort to use his fables and fairytales. This started when I pulled off The Bremen Town Musicians while I was looking for rooster books. I am also particularly fond of Professor Noah's Spaceship and what it says about air pollution. It is just as relevant or even more relevant than when he wrote it. I also like Hunter and His Dog and as the library year is starting with a display of books about sticks and stones this one will be included there because of how the dog always brings the hunter sticks instead of the wounded birds. Plenty to discuss with Year 2.  Cat on the Mat is the best beginning reader there is! Perfect layout, perfect picture clues and sight words with a worthwhile predictable story.  Publishers please bring back many of Brian's out of print titles, starting with Jack and the Meanstalk and The Rich Man and the Shoemaker.