Friday, June 23, 2017

29th June International Mud Day

The creators of International Mud Day wanted to find a way to help all of the children of the Earth feel closer to each other…and what a better way to do it than through the Earth itself? International Mud Day began in 2009 at a World Forum event, when Gillian McAuliffe from Australia and Bishnu Bhatta from Nepal got together to talk about ways to encourage feelings of community and appreciation for the world around us. It has since become a day where children, adults, and organizations across the globe get muddy to raise awareness about the importance of nature for children. 

Mud has always been an important element of childhood. Today most outdoor play occurs at schools/preschools and therefore it is important that schools begin, or continue their discussions and exploration into mud play (and other nature play concepts).

The school I teach at does value outdoor play. Kindergarten go to Bush School once a week for all of second term and then to Beach School once a week for all of fourth term. Here they get to revel in mud, sand, play with stones, sticks, in trees and immerse themselves in nature. Of course what they do here is supplemented by the more formal curriculum in the classroom, which in turn allows for much sharing of literature. If you are looking to 'celebrate mud' try these.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

20th June World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day, an international observance observed June 20th each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.

From the 18th to the 24th June is Refugee Week, a week that seems to grow in significance every year as the world deals with more and more refugees. I have written about books to use during this week before, here, here, here and here, but this year I want to share two new books which are ideal to share with very young children. Books such as Barroux's Welcome looks at what we need to do, but for students to have empathy for refugees, 'walking in their shoes' using books such as these two may be beneficial.

My Name is  Not Refugee by Kate Milner
Here a young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. It is a powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make. This is Kate Milner's first book. Here is some of the background to its publication.

• My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Here we see the story of a Syrian boy, Sami. Behind Sami, the Syrian skyline is full of smoke. The boy follows his family and all his neighbours in a long line, as they trudge through the sands and hills to escape the bombs that have destroyed their homes. But all Sami can think of is his pet pigeons--will they escape too? When they reach a refugee camp and are safe at last, everyone settles into the tent city. But though the children start to play and go to school again, Sami can't join in. When he is given paper and paint, all he can do is smear his painting with black. He can't forget his birds and what his family has left behind. One day a canary, a dove, and a rose finch fly into the camp. They flutter around Sami and settle on his outstretched arms. For Sami it is one step in a long healing process at last. A gentle yet moving story of refugees of the Syrian civil war, My Beautiful Birds illuminates the ongoing crisis as it affects its children. The artwork is beautiful, Sami has the same concerns as all children and can still think of others besides himself.

"This story of one frightened little boy who finds strength in caring for animals and uses that strength to comfort other kids is an excellent means of explaining a difficult subject to young children. "(Kirkus)

This story could be paired with Lost and Found Cat  by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes which also looks at a young child having to leave a pet behind.

In fact, there are beginning to be a lot of children's books that have the plight of refugees as a theme. On this pinterest page there are picture books worth looking for in your library.

17th June Eat Your Vegetables Day

Our school is a Sip and Crunch School so I see children eat vegetables everyday, mainly carrots, celery, cucumbers and tomatoes. And in the last month I have bought five new books which feature vegetables so Eat Your Vegetables Day turns out to be a good day to celebrate in the library. Last week the preschool classes and I had fun reading There's Broccoli in My Ice-cream and when I asked them what their favourite vegetable was there was an amazing variety listed. It was fairly unanimous though that no one liked zucchini. I've ordered Zora's Zucchini. We'll see if it can change perceptions. Look here for all the library's vegetable books.

Friday, June 9, 2017

9th June Don't ...

Earlier in the year we had a display in the library of books with 'No' as the title. We did it as a joke initially because one of us said, "I wish someone would just say 'no' to these kids!"But, it was a big success. We'd hear the children, even preschoolers reading the titles with all sorts of different intonation. Then this past week we put out all the books in the library that say 'Don't Open this Book'. It was so sweet watching the children go up to the book read the title and prevaricate. Some came to ask if they could. Others tried to peep. Some said I'll borrow this and open it at home. Having only under eight year olds is so nice sometimes!

It was such a success that we then went looking for other titles that gave an instruction starting with 'don't' or 'do not'. Here's what we found and all but three were out of the library by yesterday!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

14th June International Bath Day

It is International Bath Day. So many children's books feature bathing, either as the story, a good way to finish a story or 'for shock value' with very young children, so on this day for celebrating baths I have put together a fun display in the library. I know most of the books will leave the library.
Remember even Harry the Dirty Dog and Paddington Bear have baths!

Probably the most well known bath story would be Pamela Allen's Mr Archimede's Bath. This book is still in demand both with children and teachers who are using it for a science lesson. Time to Get Out of the Bath, Shirley  by John Burningham is perfect for a visual literacy lesson as it tells two conflicting stories through the pictures and words. My preschoolers love Emma Quay's Rudie Nudie 'because they have no clothes on!'. One of my Year 2 teachers serialises Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks and the children giggle at the thought of a centipede coming up the drain in the bath. The picture books about bath monsters, sharks and giraffes in the bath and  have a similar effect on younger reader.

When my son was young he was mad on fishing and we had a Keith Faulkner book, A Fisherman's Tale about a boy who caught a fish that he kept in the bathtub because it kept growing until it was obviously a whale. I think it was his ultimate fantasy. Maybe There's a Dinosaur in the Bathtub will do that for a young reader today. Whale in the Bath by Kylie Westaway would be one of the most borrowed picture books this year so far. I'm sure the Premier's Reading Challenge sticker helps but given the number of books in the library with stickers it must have something else going for it. And if it is a while since you've read Glenda Millard's Unplugged!  dig it out and at least you'll feel warm.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

5th June Hot Air Balloon Day

I have written about Hot Air Balloon Day before here, but recently I have added three new books to the library which are well worth searching out for this topic or just as good reads.

 Lighter Than Air  by Matthew Clark Smith and Matt Tevares tells the story of Sophie Blanchard, the first woman pilot. A must read for all girls who need convincing they are capable of anything.

 A Voyage in the Clouds by Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall is another         story loosely based on a true event in history.

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea  by Kate Hosford and Gabi Swiatkowska is a fun story about a hot air balloon trip that the queen takes.

2nd June Danny Parker

I know it's a bit late, but I have just learned that Perth author Danny Parker celebrated his birthday on 2nd June and he is not in my blog's birthday list. I will celebrate his birthday in the library next year. He has certainly come to the forefront of Australian picture books recently with so many prize nominations. I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the depths of Molly and Mae which is a notable book nominated for the CBCA  Shortlists for 2017. His stories have certainly benefited from the high profile illustrators Matt Ottley and Freya Blackwood who have illustrated many of his stories. His chapter book series Lola's Toybox  has a steady following of Year 2 girls in my library too.