The school holidays have begun, but my planning for next term has begun too. Next term we will celebrate Book Week in Australia and I am programming for lessons and planning the library displays. The theme is Books Light Up Our World. Initially I thought this was a hard theme to get across to under 8s, but the more I mind mapped and explored 'light' the more tangents I went off on. There were all the picture books that featured moonlight and the sun. There were folktales that featured the sun. There were fairytales such as Aladdin that had lamps. There were all the stories associated with festivals such as Divali, New Year, Hannukah, Easter and the Pascal candle. There were wonderful biographies about people such as Florence Nightingale and her lamp, Farnsworth and the invention of television, Edison and Franklin. There are hundreds of nonfiction possibilities to do with sources of light - 'light', 'fire', 'sun', 'stars' etc.
Our school's motto is 'Let Your Light Shine', so then I went off on all the possibilities to do with this and how students could read books that allowed them to follow up with actual practical acts of kindness, helpfulness or a display of their own talents.
Just where to go and how to keep it contained? While doing the bulk loans for classrooms I removed anything that remotely fitted the theme and ended up with piles and piles of books, some of which hadn't left the library for quite a while. I couldn't believe how many picture books had a 'torch' on the cover and even more with one inside! (see my Pinterest page) Add to that all the First Discoveries Torchlight books and the new series of Shine-a-Light books by Carron Brown and I was really excited about the possibilities.
One of the picture books that I found was Wonderful Life by Helen Ward. It had been borrowed only once so I sat and read it to find out why it hadn't been more popular. After all, the illustrations were glorious. This is the story of Snutt, a creature who is desperate to explore all worlds, see new things and travel more than any of his kind. It really is a story that epitomises the theme! It is about creativity, friendship, the environment and following your dreams. I will certainly be promoting it. The vocabulary is worth discussing. What are 'euphoric florifors', tufters' and 'flewimols'? Illustrations such as this one would make a fantastic See Think Wonder discussion.