Saturday, March 10, 2012

18th March Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 80

The Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 80. Living so close to this icon it is hard to ignore. It is both majestic and annoying at the same time. It gets so congested. It costs so much to cross it in a car. It is always being worked on, but nevertheless when you get to stand back from it and look at it in its entirety you cannot fail to be inspired by its engineering and you are awestruck, even when it isn't sunset or festooned with fireworks. Time to dig out John Nicholson's wonderful book Building the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It will add to that feeling of awe when you read about the workers, the materials and the stories surrounding its construction. Here's what the publisher says about the book:
The inside story of a national icon.
'The giant coat-hanger' took 1300 men eight years to build. They used six million rivets and 53 000 tonnes of steel. John Nicholson tells the story step by step, in fascinating detail: the vision, the problems, the solutions, the suspense (would the two halves actually meet?), the risks, the celebrations.
Once you've read this book, you'll never see that soaring arch, that vast maze of steel, the same way again.

Friday, March 9, 2012

17th March Submarine Day

My library has many young boys visit it who are fascinated by submarines. Generally they want books about military submarines and I do not have that many, but these books that we do have on submarines are certainly borrowed. Submarines Up Close is the most popular, but that could just be its size. It is too big for the library bag! And for some reason some boys think the bigger the book, the better it is!

16th March Crazy Hair Day

Whether you celebrate Crazy Hair Day or not, it is always fun to look at these five books that 'celebrate' hair.
* Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
* Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg
* Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush her Hair by Lee Fox and Cathy Wilcox. This Australian book about feisty redhead Ella Kazoo is also written in verse. The American version has different illustrations. Why do they do this?
* The Girl With the Bird's-Nest Hair by Sarah Dyer also features a redhead who has ides of her own for her hair and
* Murgatroyd's Garden by Judy Davos and Drahos Zak, also Australian, tells the story of a boy who refuses to wash his hair and ends up with things growing in it , similiar to the beard in Margaret Wild's Creatures in the Beard.

13th March Multiple Birth Week starts

Multiple Birth Awareness Week is a national event held annually to celebrate the joy of parenting multiples, but also to educate communities and professionals about the challenges and joys of parenting twins, triplets and more. In the library I couldn't find any books about triplets or more, but I put together a display using quite a few books about twins that I found. There are three sets of twins at school at the moment, one of each of the possible combinations so it is good to show them, if not everyone that there are books written about twins. There seemed to be more novels than picture books, but the newest title, Take Two! is a lovely poetry book by J.Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen and it certainly made a lovely centrepiece. It is illustrated by the Australian, but US-based illustrator Sophie Blackall. Look also for these picture books
Hello Twins by Charlotte Voake
The Holy Twins the historical story of Scholastica and Benedict, twins who both became saints and played a large part in Catholic education. It is written by Kathleen Norris and beautifully illustrated by Tomie dePaola.
Meet the Barkers and other titles in the series about twins Morgan and Moffatt. These are written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola.
Double Trouble by Deborah Niland and
Twinnies by Eve Bunting
Then there are these novels:
Twin Trouble and Connie and the Waterbabies by Jacqueline Wilson. These two come in one book under the title Twin Tales.
• Double Act another novel by Jacqueline Wilson also has twins, but they are older than Connie's siblings. They are ten and dealing with bigger family issues than Connie.

Monday, March 5, 2012

6th March Michelangelo (1475 -1564) Chris Raschka (1959) Dentist Day

Lots to celebrate. Firstly the great Michaelangelo, painter of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. There are not a lot of books about him that are suitable for very young children. Diane Stanley's is worth a look though.

Secondly, today is the birthday of American author/illustrator, Chris Raschka, this year's Caldecott Medal winner. He won this time for his book A Ball for Daisy. Chris is the master of the powerful story with minimum text. Here he explores the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring. It will be good to share when children are dealing with the loss of a special possession.

And thirdly, Dentist Day. Is it coincidence that it comes so soon after Tooth Fairy Day? Nearly every favourite character that has a series of books has a dentist story. See Dora, Berenstain Bears, Maisy, Curious George and Peppa Pig! But, there are stories with much more to marvel at and ponder on. Look for:
• Margaret Mahy's The Dentist's Promise
Robert Munsch's Andrew's Loose Tooth
• Judi Barrett's Never Take a Shark to the Dentist and there is always
• Shel Silverstein's poem The Crocodile's Toothache

Saturday, March 3, 2012

4th March Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)

Italian composer, Vivaldi was born on this day centuries ago. While children may struggle with the length of time they do not struggle with the wonderful music that he wrote. The best place to explore his life and works with them is at the website Classics for Kids. There are also books suitable for sharing with very young children. Try I, Vivaldi which is a picture book biography of his life and the newly published Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra which tells the story of how Vivaldi had his masterpieces transcribed by orphan girls that he had trained to be an Invisible Orchestra. Vivaldi had vivid red hair and his parents wanted him to be a priest so there is plenty in his life to interest children besides his musical talent.