Tuesday, August 21, 2012

24th August Daffodil Day

This Friday, 24th August we celebrate Daffodil Day, a day that is held each year in Australia to heighten people's awareness of the number of people in our communities that are affected by cancer. It is also the end of Children's Book Week and this year one of the books on the Early Childhood shortlist, That's Not a Daffodil! by Elizabeth Honey is ideal for talking to children about daffodils and why their golden blooms are seen as symbols of hope and sunshine.

This book proved to be somewhat of a sleeper. When I first read it, I thought 'quite nice' but not earth shattering. However the more I shared it with classes and he

ard the children, especially the preschoolers cackle with laughter, the more I realised that this story worked on a deeper level. It elicited much discussion about growing things. Most children thought everything grew from seeds so we had the chance to explore bulbs and I bought some daffodil bulbs that flowered. It was ideal also for lengthy discussions relating to literature in context as the Australian English curriculum calls it. The children picked up on Mr Yilmaz's name and the mention of Turkey, they discussed neighbours and backyard gardens and they related closely to Tom and his creative play. This book certainly deserved to be an honour book.

The students' interest also made me realise that while we had a number of books about gardening and growing things, the library did not have anything specific on bulbs or daffodils, so I have bought two new books to be used in conjunction with this picture book. They are:
* From Bulb to Daffodil by Ellen Weiss
* What are Bulbs and Roots? by Molly Aloian

Monday, August 20, 2012

20th August World Mosquito Day

August 20th is World Mosquito Day. On August 20, 1897, Sir Ronald Ross discovered the link between malaria transmission and mosquitoes. Ross was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine in 1902, the second person to receive it.

Probably mosquitoes are not something to be revered, but Ronald Ross certainly is worth talking about, and given my penchant for biographies lately I went looking to see if there was anything about him in book form. I didn't find anything suitable for the age group I teach, so I will make do with the books I found which outline the lifecycle of the mosquito and discuss briefly how they cause disease and then I have a good excuse to read one of my all-time favourite books Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema and Diane and Leo Dillon.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Champions Read 6 - Sport

Another group of champions - this time sport champions. The Olympics are over and we can once again think of all sports and not just the ones that belong in the Olympic Games. Not as many biographies in this category for young children. In my library there were:
• Two on Pele, the great soccer player and these are popular with my good Year 2 readers.
Young Pele: Soccer's First Star by Lesa Cline-Ransome & James E. Ransome.
Pele: The King of Soccer by Monica Brown & Rudy Gutierrez

• Two on cricket. One on Sir Donald Bradman and another on Steve Waugh.
The Boy From Bowral by Robert Ingpen
Tugga: The Steve Waugh Story by Morris Booth & Jo Martin

One about the Australian swimmer, Annette Kellerman
Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey & Edwin Fotheringham

And one on Jesse Owens
A Picture Book of Jesse Owens by David A. Adler & Robert Casilla

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

15th August Cupcake Day

I know I wrote about Cupcake Day last year, but cupcakes are extremely popular at the moment in books for young readers and my young readers are keen to borrow cook books and anything pink or about cupcakes, so I have some extra titles to write about.
1. There is a new series of beginning chapter books by Yvette Poshoglian about Ella and Olivia and one of them Cupcake Catastrophe has the sisters cooking cupcakes.
2. Camilla the Cupcake Fairy by Tim Bugbird and Lara Ede has everything covered for the pink-fairy-cupcake-loving little girls! There's even a set of spin-off readers and other picture books with a food theme. See Daisy the Doughnut Fairy and Lola the Lollipop Fairy.
3. Tina Cocolina Queen of the Cupcakes by Pablo Cartaya also does but with a bit more 'meat' in the story and recipes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

13th August International Left-handed Day

Left-handers Day is held on this day worldwide. It is a day to think of everyone you know who is left-handed. Time to think of all the famous lefthanders. I was surprised to read how many of the champions I have been finding biographies for are left-handed.
Here is just some:
• Artists: Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, henri de Toulouse Lautrec,
Paul Klee and Escher
• Musicians: Mozart, Bach and Schumann
• Author: Lewis Carroll
• Scientist: Albert Einstein
• Saint: Joan of Arc
• Politician: Winston Churchill
• Astronaut: Buzz Aldrin
All of these have books that can be used for inspiration! This book The Cat and the Bird, a story inspired by the life of Klee is new this year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

7th August Lighthouse Day

It is Lighthouse Day in the USA. It is celebrated later, the third weekend in August in Australia and I have written about this occasion before here, but I have had so many requests from teachers for books with lighthouses in them since 2010, that the library now has quite a collection. Here they are. Some are part of a series of books about the same characters. (See The Lighthouse Keeper books by Ronda and David Armitage and the two in The Littlest Lighthouse Keeper series by Heidi and Daniel Howarth.)

Monday, August 6, 2012

6th August Picnic Day

It is Picnic Day in the Northern territory of Australia on the first Monday of August. But it could be picnic day at school any day you care to organise one. Start with Freda Plans a Picnic by Stuart J. Murphy and have the children look at how to organise a picnic. Make lists, allocate jobs and collect what is needed. Then read! Collect together all your old favourite picnic books and then include more recent ones such as the fabulous Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic by Eva Katzler & Jess Mikhail
I found these in my library:
The Bears' Picnic by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Lighthouse Keeper's Picnic by Ronda and David Armitage
Piglet's Picnic by Jessica Souhami
We're Going on a Picnic! by Pat Hutchins
The Bear's Water Picnic by John Yeoman & Quentin Blake
Ants at the Picnic by Michael Dahl
Polly's Picnic by Richard Hamilton & Sophy Williams
Lily's Picnic by Paul Rogers
Having a Picnic by Sarah Garland

4th August The Tjong-Khing(1933)

Not long ago I purchased a new textless book for the library. I have been building up quite a collection of textless books as the teaching of visual literacy has given them a new credibility. The book The Birthday Cake Mystery came from Gecko Press, the New Zealand publishing company that has been translating foreign language books and thus bringing us the best of European books. I noticed the book was by The Tjong-Khing and I had only seen one other of his books, Andrew's Angry Words which is written by Dorothea Lachner. I knew nothing about him, but really liked this new book so I set about learning more about him. I learned that his birthday was August 4th and I made a mental note to remember to write about him on the blog and then got busy and promptly forgot.

The Tjong-Khing was born in Java to a large Indonesian-Chinese family. He moved to the Netherlands in 1956 and has been based there since, illustrating, drawing comics and being involved in film. Currently there is an exhibition of his work in the Children's Book Museum in The Hague. I don't read any Dutch but enjoyed looking
at this clip. He has won many awards for illustration including the Max Velthuijs Award in 2010, which is awarded to a Dutch illustrator every three years. Now I am on the search for the prequel to this new book. It is called Where is the Cake?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

4th August Barack Obama (1961)

It is American president, Barack Obama's 51st birthday. Time to read something about him or something written by him. Try the biography by Nikki Grimes or his letter to his daughters which is a tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans, Of Thee I Sing.