Monday, March 30, 2015

30th March Take-a-Walk-in-the-Park Day

It is the last week of term before Easter holidays and it is frantic at school, so the thought of just walking out the door to the park for a little time out really does appeal at the moment. Perhaps I'll get to do it next week. I have several favourite park books, but am only going to mention a few.

1. Off to the Park!  by Stephen Cheetham because it is new, tactile and perfect for preschoolers.

2.  Not Like That, Like This!  by Tony Bradman because it always makes me smile when I read it with classes and see their reaction to what the father has done while visiting the park with his son.

3. A Walk in the Park  and Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne because they are perfect for discussions about point of view and how each participant can have been in the same place and yet have a very different story to tell.

So sometime in the holidays savour a walk in the park, breathe in the fresh air and take sometime time to reflect on the good things in life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

26th March Spinach Day

Spinach Day! Do we need a day to celebrate spinach? I don't think there would be too many children who thought so, and Popeye is no longer a cult hero with the children I teach. Yes, I know it is good for you!

There was only one book in the library with 'spinach' in the title -  Sylvia's Spinach. Here is the blurb from Book Depository, and I can't say it better. I'll put it on display and see if it is borrowed and if so by a child or a parent? Perhaps the teacher in charge of the school garden will be interested.

Sylvia Spivens hates spinach. "No spinach in my egg! No spinach in my soup! No spinach! Ever!" But one day Sylvia's teacher gives her a packet of spinach seeds to plant for a school garden. What to do? Overcoming her reluctance and enduring a long wait, Sylvia discovers the joy of growing food from the ground up and finds the pleasure of tasting something new. Parents will identify with the challenge of feeding healthy food to a picky eater, and educators will understand the magic and rewards of school gardens. Best of all, young readers will celebrate Sylvia's strong will, curiosity, and, maybe, her love of spinach.

Friday, March 20, 2015

21st March World Poetry Day

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.
Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. 
In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

These are the first three paragraphs on the World Poetry Day website and these in themselves make it such a worthwhile day to commemorate. Unfortunately this is on a Saturday this year and we are not at school. We have had some great school celebrations on Poetry Day in the past. This year we have had a poetry book display in the library and I have encouraged the children in class time to borrow a poetry book by sharing a poem with each class. 

There are so many beautiful single poem poetry books. In fact it always surprises me how many books SCIS wants us to put in the poetry section of the library rather than in fiction, not that we always comply. There are also more and more very child friendly illustrated anthologies available. Below are some recent acquisitions, all anthologies that I love:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

15th March Worm Day

I missed celebrating Worm Day in the library, but I might get to celebrate it next year so I am including it here. All the worm books from the library are in Year 1 classrooms because they are exploring their schoolyard and minibeasts. We have quite a number of books and some such as Elise Gravel's Worm and Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Worm are popular. Surprisingly there's even beginning chapter books featuring worms.

When I read what Worm Day is celebrating and why it was instigated, I'm not sure I would share any of that with students. Instead it is just a good excuse to read about worms, check out the school worm farm, play with the library's Lowly Worm toy,  and wonder why 'worms' go with 'book' to become 'bookworms'.

When you have read all these, check out this new book about twins Violet and Victor by  Alice Kuipers :

Saturday, March 14, 2015

14th March Beds, Sheep and Sleep.

I had been meaning to write more about beds and sleep because I have found it fascinating what is being borrowed from the library display. I thought of three topics and each is really a blog on its own, but this week I ran out of time to write each night. So here is an amalgamation.

Topic 1 Magic Beds
Probably the most famous book for this category is Bed Knob and Broomsticks by Mary Norton. Every child who had had this story read to them yearns for a bed like this. Another short novel that my children love is Ten in a Bed by Allan Ahlberg. Here a girl named Dinah Price is visited by a number of fairytale characters while she is in bed. But there are picture books too where the bed is capable of magic journeys and occurrences. Try:
The Magic Bed by John Burningham
Big Bouncy Bed by Julia Jarman and Adrian Reynolds
Luke and his Amazing Space Bed by Luke Sheridan and Jen McCartney
Outer Space Bedtime Race by Robert Sanders and Brian Won

Topic 2 Counting Sheep
How can there be so many stories about counting sheep when trying to sleep? My favourite is The 108th Sheep by Ayano Imai, but there are lots of others:
One More Sheep by Mij Kelly and Russell Ayto
When Sheep Cannot Sleep by Satoshi Kitamura
The Sleep  Sheep  by Anna McQinn and Hannah Shaw
Counting Sheep  by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell

Topic 3  What's Under the Bed?
Starting with books that have that as the title:
What's Under the Bed? by Joe Fenton
What's Under the Bed by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom
There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
Under the Bed by Paul Bright and Ben Cort
The Crocodile Under the Bed by Judith Kerr
Emus Under the Bed by Leann J. Edwards

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

12th March More Sleep

Today, coincidently I covered and catalogued a wonderful book that fit so well with the sleeping fairytale discussion. I could have written about it last night, but I didn't know about it then. It is called Princess Sleepyhead and the Night- Night Bear by Peter Bently. It is written in verse which I don't usually like, but this book reads really well. It has all the sleep vocabulary, the royal castle setting and the bear tells the princess the stories of Sleeping Beauty and The Princess and the Pea. Just perfect and what a way to tie all the sleeping fairytales together!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10th March Sleeping Fairytales

Continuing on with the topic of beds and sleep... Today I had a very interesting conversation with a Year 1 student about fairy tales which feature 'sleep'. This started because she picked up Snoring Beauty  from the display we put together for the preschoolers yesterday. Realising it was connected to Sleeping Beauty she asked about borrowing a copy of the traditional tale. While we were in the 398.2s she said 'oh The Princess and the Pea  also has a sleeping princess',  and then we were off looking for others. Together we decided that Snow White  was 'asleep' when she was under the wicked stepmother's spell and that the princess in The Frog Prince was supposed to sleep with the frog on her pillow. We could probably add The Twelve Dancing Princesses  too because the princesses make sure that their suitors 'sleep' while they go dancing.

The student then suggested that we should add some fairytales to our display of bed and sleep books so we did! I love it when the children make display decisions and tell us library staff what would be a good idea.

Monday, March 9, 2015

9th March Napping Day

In America today it is Napping Day and in Britain for the whole month of March it is Bed Month. What fun celebrating these two occasions is with children's books! There are so many books to choose from. Today I had such fun with my preschool classes. We read The Napping House by Audrey Wood. We listed all the words she had used for 'sleep' ... doze, slumber, nap, snooze...we sequenced pictures to show who was on the bed and what order they hopped on. We talked about why the bed broke and the children had lots of good ideas. And then we used Penny Dale's Ten in the Bed  to sing and act out the song. (Of course there are other picture books of the song that you could use instead.)  The children were then keen to borrow another 'bed' book from our large display of bed and sleep books. I love it when something I plan works well!

Monday, March 2, 2015

1st March Pig Day

In the USA today it is National Pig Day. Dick King Smith would be pleased, because as a pig farmer he thought all pigs were beautiful and wrote a book saying so. Even if you don't think they are beautiful  you do have to wonder why they are so endearing in so many children's books. Take the phenomena of Peppa Pig.  The three and four year olds just cannot get enough of her. The box that houses her books is always empty. Wibbly Pig  is another favourite with the preschoolers and we have a box full of them as well. Then the preschoolers start school and the boxes of Elephant and Piggie  become the new favourites.  By Year 2 , a new series about pigs becomes a favourite - Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo. See, pigs everywhere! Year 2 also love Wilbur  from Charlotte's Web  and Babe or The Sheep Pig, as Dick King Smith's book was called long before the movie popularised it.

Walking through Big W yesterday I saw a large print,  hardback Charlotte's Web with Garth William's illustrations coloured in. Such a bargain at $18.00.

Added to these books are other series such as Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Pig ..., Colin McNaughton's Preston Pig, Kristi Yamaguchi's ice-skating Poppy  and the numerous versions of The Three Little Pigs  and the myriad of spoofs or fractured versions of it. And how many children's books are called Pigs Can't Fly? Obviously we should be celebrating Pigs!