Thursday, February 26, 2015

27th February Birds

Hard to believe we've been back at school already for over a month. The time has flown. There seems to be so much to do at the beginning of a school year. Over the last six months or so I seem to have bought so many picture books that feature birds and so many of them have simply outstanding illustrations. It got me thinking about how many books we already had in the library about birds so we decided to turn the library into an aviary to start the year's displays. It has been amazing. The teachers at school think it odd because they know I don't like birds, that is real birds. I'm quite scared of them since I had a magpie in the library and he couldn't get out. However I really like pictures of birds. They make for great illustrations, greeting cards, posters, sculptures etc so it was easy to decorate the library. I used some old books as my initial focus to sort out the wording to accompany the display -

Have You Seen Birds?  by Joanne Oppenheim and Barbara Reid. Like all of Reid's books this uses wonderful plasticine collage for the illustrations but my children do not engage with the text.
Birds, Birds and More Birds by
Birds  by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek. My preschool teachers love this book.
Birdsongs by Betsy Franco and Steve Jenkins. Perfect for having fun with the noises birds make.

I put out all the old favourites such as Edward the Emu; Edwina the Emu; Olga the Brolga; Enoch the Emu; Samantha Seagull's Sandal; Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus; Leonardo Pigeon of Siena; Pidge; Jeremy; Waddle Giggle Gargle; How the Birds Got their Colours; The Birdwatchers; Vuture's View; Condor's Egg; Owl Moon; Owl Babies; The Owl Who was afraid of the dark; Feathers for Phoebe; The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay; Puffling; Little Owl Lost; Mozzie and Midgie and King of the Birds.

The library also has two beautiful biographies about two prominent bird lovers which we featured:
The Boy Who Drew Birds  by Jacqueline Davies and Melissa Sweet. This is the story of John James Audubon
For the Birds by Peggy Thomas and Laura Jacques. This is the the story of Roger Tory Peterson

And then all the new ones. I have put All I Said Was by Michael Morpurgo first because it is a great book to start a discussion about birds and their characteristics because in this story a boy wishes he was a bird, becomes a pigeon and then experiences the consequences of the change.

Monday, February 16, 2015

16th - 22nd February Chip Week

Only in Britain could they celebrate chips, but I'm sure Australians probably eat just as many chips, so we too, could celebrate Chip Week. We have more books with 'chip' in the title than I thought we would too. We have two picture books:

The Best Chip by Kate Leake
Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! by Caryl Hart & Leigh Hodgkinson

And two chapter books, both from popular series:

Super Cat and the Chip Thief by Jeanne Willis
Monster and Chips by David O'Connell

So tomorrow in one part of the library there will be pancake stories for Pancake Day and elsewhere chip books for Chip Week.

Let it Rip Potato Chip!
 





Friday, February 13, 2015

14th February International Book Giving Day: Library Lovers Day; Valentines Day



Too many things to celebrate today! I gave a book to a family in Bristol taking part in a book swap organised by Zoe Toft. My book from Bristol arrived today so I felt very special, even if I would have liked to know more about the selection criteria for the book they chose. I agonised over what to send them, choosing something recent and quintessentially Australian which I thought they would not have or have seen. I was surprised to see so much Australian art work on the website for Book Giving Day, bookplates from Gus Gordon and bookmarks by Anna Walker because it doesn't seem to get as much promotion here as Library Lovers Day.

It is Library Lovers Day in Australia, a day organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) when it asks library lovers to celebrate with their library. As I wasn't at school in my library today, I visited the NSW State Library with a teacher friend. There were three special exhibits to browse, one on pulp fiction from the past, one the photos from an interesting photo essay book on shopkeepers in Newtown and another on New Zealand's children's author/illustrator, Lynley Dodd which I found endeared me even more to Hairy Maclary and made me wish that I had a three year old with me. A little girl who was there was extremely upset when her mother told her they were leaving to have some lunch...'Don't need lunch!' she was telling everyone within earshot.

We too had lunch in the library where it has wonderful awnings with book quotes written in large print for all to read and then a potter in the shop revealed a card with yet another fantastic quote about books, this time from Napoleon Bonaparte.

         “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”

 I need to remember this one for the library newsletter.

Then lastly Valentines Day. Not much happening at my place but I've had a very successful display of books in the library, nearly all of which were borrowed. My pinterest page shows some of the titles that  saturated the display. I chose to read Samuel's Kisses by Karen Collum and Serena Geddes to my preschool classes and we had lots of fun talking about who they love, who they want to change and who they were going to blow kisses to.




Sunday, February 8, 2015

10th February Safer Internet Day



So what is Safer Internet Day?  Well, the day, which has been organised by Insafe since 2005 is held on 10 February.  The purpose of this awareness day is to promote safe and responsible use of the internet. It aims to teach young people about how to keep themselves safe online.  And, of course, the use of the internet in a safe and responsible way is paramount! These days, most young people have access to the internet with their mobile phone, tablets or laptops.  So the day aims to raise awareness of online safety for young people.

Online safety is even of concern for parents of very young children, and I am often asked whether  there is  anything they can read with their child to start a discussion. I can think of many book titles where the theme is limiting the use of technology, but not so many about safety. I usually  recommend these two story books, but there must be others.

Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross is a humorous story about a chicken who just keeps clicking on the farm's computer, managing to shop for all and sundry.

The Internet is Like a Puddle by Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs is less of a story, but it does discuss some of the pitfalls associated with electronic communication.  Shona Innes is an Australian psychologist who has written four books marketed under the series name The Big Hug Books.


And if parents just want to read to inform themselves I suggest Internet Safety by Nick Hunter, keeping in mind that anything written about the internet is out of date by the time it is published because nothing to do with technology stands still.




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

6th February Doodle Day

There are so many activity books which encourage children to doodle, draw, use their imagination and explore where a pencil line could take you but this a story book by Ross Collins has the perfect title for celebrating Doodle Day.

Celebrating Doodle Day became a worldwide event in 2004 to raise awareness of and funds for epilepsy research and support.

For a small donation participants can submit their doodle for judging. There is a fun way to do this here on the online doodle pad.

Get doodling or take a line for a walk, Harold of the Purple Crayon style! You could even set aside some time to read a short chapter book such as The Doodles of Sam Dibble by Judy Press while the children do doodles of their own for judging in the classroom.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

29th January Curmudgeon's Day

It is Curmudgeon Day? Why do we need a day for curmudgeons? You may well ask what is a curmudgeon anyway? Well a curmudgeon is someone who is bad-tempered, difficult or cantankerous.

To celebrate this day you don't need to be grumpy or make others grumpy, just read this clever story, C.R. Mudgeon and have a good discussion about what can be done to help any curmudgeonly people the children know, and hope that the word 'curmudgeon' is added to their rich vocabulary.


Here is a synopsis of the story:
"A set-in-his-ways hedgehog gets a new worldview--and a new friend along the way. C.R. Mudgeon, a sensible hedgehog, likes knowing just what to expect. Always. No surprises, no excitement. So when a noisy new neighbour, Paprika the squirrel, arrives, C.R. Mudgeon is even less cheerful than normal. The sights! The sounds! The peppery, fiery smells! Everything about Paprika is just too much to handle, and C.R. is aching, sneezing, and seeing spots. But everyone needs quiet "sometimes," and when that time comes, C.R. Mudgeon will have just the thing for a new friend in need. And as for himself, he may even discover that a little spice is just what the doctor ordered! Nuanced, joyful humour permeates the pages of this heartwarming picture book that will make even the littlest, grumpiest curmudgeons want to jump up and dance!"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

27th January Chocolate Cake Day

There are a large number of picture books that feature cake and I have written about it before, but today I want to talk about a book that is very popular with my preschoolers. It is the first book in a wonderful series about Betty Bunny written by Michael Kaplan. It is called Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake. Betty Bunny is the youngest in her family and she is beginning to assert herself and make proclamations. She is hard to resist and preschoolers certainly align themselves to her. The story also has depth and touches on healthy eating and the importance of restraint and patience.

"But Betty Bunny doesn't want patience, she wants chocolate cake! In this funny tribute to chocolate lovers (and picky eaters), Betty Bunny's charming perspective on patience will be recognisable to anyone with a preschooler in their life."

Another book for preschoolers about chocolate cake is Tiberius and the Chocolate Cake by Keith Harvey and while this is not great literature when compared to something like Helen Oxenbury's cake making in It's My Birthday, it depicts a situation all to common to cake making with lots of helpers and the children laugh when they finally work out why the cake is so small.

I'm off to a birthday party today. Wonder if there'll be chocolate cake!