Thursday, April 24, 2014

25th April ANZAC Day

I have written about Anzac Day before here, but so many new picture books have been published since then that will help teachers and families share the significance of this day that I felt I should update my list. The new books probably have been initiated by publishers in readiness for next year, the 100th Anzac Day, but never the less many of them are memorable. A few weeks ago at a CBC event a publisher had the dummy for another book that is about to come out. I can't remember the title, author or illustrator, but the story made me cry. A young man goes off to war and is killed. His injured mate brings his coat home to his wife and as you can imagine she is shattered. I will find sharing this one very hard, but I have just read Lightning and another one about a horse that was in the battlefields and the two about dogs and I can see the students reading them and being moved by the love between the soldiers and their animals. See the list here on Pinterest and if you want an annotated list look here at Momo's list.

Monday, April 14, 2014

16th April World Voice Day

World Voice Day celebrates the importance of the human voice. Imagine having no voice. The only time I wish for that is on some wet days at school  when the class is stuck inside at lunchtime and are using outside voices. Getting the right voice for the right occasion can be so important. Every teacher has some management gimmick to ensure that her students know what is appropriate. Reading stories which promote discussion of the 'right' voice may also help. Here are some suggestions:

• Willow's Whispers by Lana Button and Tania Howells tells the story of a a shy and softly spoken girl called Willow and
how she resourcefully overcomes her school troubles.
Too Loud Lily by Sofie Laguna and Kerry Argent tells the story of Lily who is too loud at home and school, but she finally discovers she needs to be loud in the school play.
Loudmouth Louis by Anne Fine. This is a short novel suitable for serialising to young children. It is about Louis, a boy who never stops talking. He announces that he is going to be silent if people sponsor him in order to raise money for a new school library. Louis surprises himself, discovering that he actually likes listening to others.
My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook. This too is about a boy named Louis who never stops talking. He interrupts all the time and says exactly what he is thinking.
Giraffe's Big Night by Carrie and David Grant. Giraffe is an opera singer about to embark on a performance. When she wakes that morning she finds that she is hoarse. How will she sing? This story shows children how precious and precarious a voice can be.

At school we often use the word 'voice' also in the context of writing. I love to use Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne to show students how the same events can appear to be very different when described by different witnesses. Here four characters all have the same experience in the park but you certainly get different points of view.