Well, this year I have certainly written far less than in previous years. This does not mean I am any less enthusiastic about picture books, children's literature or my role as a teacher librarian. I have done other things. I made a much bigger effort to promote books to students, teachers and parents in the National Year of Reading. We changed displays almost daily. I spoke in assembly. I got teachers involved in Pinterest as a way of remembering what they had read because they could see the covers. I had staff sharing sessions in the library and my Book Club students were invited more often to 'sell' books to their peers. It was indeed busy!
Probably the best part of my job is the shopping. The library has a good budget and I have a very narrow age range (3 to 8 year olds) to buy for. Granted many of these students are very good readers and they have parents who also love books and are happy to devote time to them, but nevertheless I can concentrate on broadening their tastes from the ever popular to the more obscure and less likely to be seen in the local bookshops. To this end this year I have concentrated on 'growing' the collections of textless picture books, picture book biographies and simple graphic novels. Why?
1. Beatrice Rodriguez's book The Chicken Thief was so popular with teachers, parents and students so I went looking for more, both in the library that we already had but weren't promoting and beyond in shops and on websites. We now have a very large collection. My favourite purchase The Surprise by Sylvia van Ommen. Read it and smile.
2. The picture book biographies started as a reading contract for my Year 2 Book Club. I collected together the ones we had in the library made a task card for each one which encouraged the reader to look closely at connections which in turn would encourage deeper thinking. The unit was a huge success, so much so I had parents coming to the library saying, can I read the book about Honda, Alexander Calder, Annette Kellerman or Pablo Naruda , a unknown-to-my-children Chilean poet. In the end I started a special bin of biographies and it had a large number of books in it by the end of the year. Marvellous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully proved to be very popular with the girls, probably because they do a unit of work on Leonardo da Vinci in Year 2 and here they saw a girl who invented things and became successful.
3. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems are very popular in the library and students often ask for other books like that. As well my Year 2 were devouring Geronimo Stilton's in graphic novel format so I felt the need to go looking for more. I purchased the Benny and Penny stories by Geoffrey Hayes. These are part of the Toon series. I have since purchased more. My favourite is a Trip to the Bottom of the World With Mouse by Frank Viva. The Year 2 also got to read Ben Hatke's Zita the Space Girl. Those who read these two books liked them but my sample was small. I'll try them again next year.
What else have I bought? I have looked closely at our collection of Asian resources, Aboriginal resources and books on sustainability in order to ensure we are ready to support the perspectives promoted in the new curriculum. Then of course books to keep up to date with authors and illustrators works, children's interests and teachers' interest. I am lucky to have a teacher who is an art enthusiast and who will use whatever art resources we have. I have another teacher who is keen to see any new textless books and another who loves poetry.