Thursday, May 19, 2016

20th - 30th May International Pickle Week

Apparently Pickle Week is celebrated for ten days, not seven during May and it has been since 1948. In Australia children look at you strangely when you talk about 'pickles'. We have gherkins, cucumbers, mustard pickles and dill pickles, but the actual act of 'pickling' is not something many children would have thought about, even though it has been around since the 1300s. I asked a class what it meant to be 'in a pickle' though and surprisingly a couple knew that if you were in a pickle you were in difficulty. They will be ready when they finally read Shakespeare's The Tempest and see this reference!

There are books to read now though...some which actually have the edible 'pickles' as a subject, some where it is used as a character's name and others where someone finds themselves 'in a pickle'. Have fun reading, pickling vegetables and eating pickles for these ten days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

18th May International Museum Day

Today at school we put together a wonderful display for International Museum Day. We have celebrated this before in a much smaller way, but when we started looking we could not believe just how many books we had on the topic. See list of books on Pinterest here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

13th May Frog Jumping Day

Frog Jumping Day is a good day to celebrate frogs and their amazing ability.

'Frogs have great jumping capabilities and are the best jumpers among all vertebrates given their size.'

Collect all the frog books you can find, both stories and expository texts and set aside time to read and learn, read and laugh and read and share. The most borrowed frog book in the library is Juliette MacIver's The Frog Who Lost His UnderwearThere are so many favourite 'frog' series in my library.

* Frog by Max Velthuijs. There is a dozen or so books in this series and they have recently been reissued in a larger format with covers that no longer have a bordered illustration.

* A Boy, a Dog and a Frog by Mercer Mayer. These little books are textless and small hands love them and tell the stories to each other without any trouble. There are six of them.

* Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. This series has been around for a long time, but so many generations of children have learned to read using these beginning chapter books. They are always in print.

* Lester and Clyde by James Reese. These three books are very old now, out of print and hard to find, but I know teachers who share these stories with their class and then the children are keen to borrow them.

While these aren't a series, there are several versions of the dreamtime story of Tiddalick , a frog who caused a flood in my library, complete with puppets so that the children can make a play. It would be good also to introduce the fairytale  The Frog Prince  because it is one of the Grimm stories that not as many children know. Read a traditional version with fairytale language, not a 'reader' and then compare it with a spoof like Jackie Urbanovic's Prince of a Frog. Have fun revisiting lots of old favourites and jumping around like a frog. Below is a collection of stories about frogs. There are a large number of nonfiction books too listed here.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

May National Bike Month

It is the beginning of Spring in America and therefore a good time to get your bike out and start riding again, so they designate May as Bike Month. Here in NSW we have a Bike Week in our Spring in September, but the weather here has been ideal bike riding weather right now. We just had two weeks school break with weather that was perfect for picnics, biking, walking and playing outside. Queensland celebrates Bike Week from the 15th to 22nd May.

There are so many wonderful picture books about bike riding so pull them out and display them if you are a librarian or go to the library and borrow some to read with your children. America and Canada have a Ride to School Week at the end of May. Quite a few children I teach ride their bike or scooter to school, but unlike when I rode my bike to school, albeit in a country town , our school does not have anywhere to store them during the day and I see mums struggling to carry these vehicles as they walk home.  This year we are having a Ride Safe to School Week from 31st October to 4th November. We need one of them too, as I know that some of the children I teach do not know how to ride a bike and perhaps it isn't high priority.   Recently, a mother asked me when her kindergarten child would learn to ride a bike and she seemed quite shocked when I suggested that that was her job, not the school's.

Biking is a great outdoor activity and it doesn't have to be on the road. Take your bike to the park, the bike track or if you are under eleven you are allowed to ride on the footpath.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

23rd April Shakespeare Day

23rd April marks the 400th anniversary of the death of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Isn't it amazing that he is still so revered? There are anniversary events everywhere, even here in Australia. Australian musician Paul Kelly has even chosen this day to release a new album Seven Sonnets and a Song where he has set Shakespeare's words to music.

Although my library only caters to children under eight, their parents and teachers we will still celebrate Shakespeare with a display of books. Many parents like to share the little Andrew Matthews and Tony Ross and Usborne versions of the stories. In this way young children know the stories well before they meet the Old English language versions. Other parents are avid borrowers of biographies, so they will be borrowed from any display and some of my Year 2 boys who love Marcia Williams' 'comic' format books will borrow her Shakespeare stories, so as you can see it is well worth making the effort. My own favourite Shakespeare books are the poetry illustrated by James Mayhew in To Sleep, Perchance to Dream and the exquisitely illustrated version of Romeo and Juliet by Margaret Early, both of which will be hard to buy now but may well be in your library, as they are in mine. What is in my school library is on my pinterest page.

If you are short of books, find the witches poem from Macbeth and have fun reciting it, acting it out and just playing with the magic of the words. There is a version here already done as a readers theatre script. I would use a more abridged version with my Year 2 students such as this, where language is the key element, not the gore or frightening aspects that many of the film clips of it emphasise.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

27th March Ame Dyckman

I am always happy to add a new birthday celebration to the library calendar. Thank you Eric from Happy Birthday Author. I can now add Ame Dyckman. We have three of her books and each of them is very special in its own way and nothing like each other. Each has a different illustrator which makes them appear very different too. If you don't know them borrow them and enjoy what the very best picture books have to offer.

Friday, March 25, 2016

30th March Manatee Appreciation Day

We have a toy walrus in the library and we only have one book on walruses to loan out with it. We have more books on manatees, but no toy. We even have books on dugongs. This dilemma started me on a search and I found out about Manatee Appreciation Day. Manatees and dugongs are sirena and both need appreciation so as to be protected from becoming extinct. On Tuesday I will make sure these books are put out on display in the library. And I need to continue my search for a toy manatee or dugong and some more books about walruses!