Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January Braille Literacy Awareness Month

January is Braille Literacy Awareness Month. It is designated as such in honour of  Louis Braille who originally developed the Braille code that enables blind people to read.  Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809. 

Literacy plays such a big role in both my private and working life that I would be devastated to lose the ability to read or write. To be born blind and not be able to read is something I only get to contemplate through reading. It has fascinated me though as a topic for picture books and I have shared many wonderful books with the young children I teach.  My Year 2 students are fascinated by the story of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller and these two books, Helen's Big World  by Doreen Rappaport and Annie and Helen  by Deborah Hopkinson are borrowed often. Because of this I purchased Six Dots, the picture book about Braille by Jen Bryant and it too has been popular. Up until this beautiful book was published anything my students gleaned about Braille came from some crusty old readers or from the internet. We do however have a couple of books which feature Braille.
Look for:
The Black Book of Colours  by Menena Cottin
This book has remarkable illustrations done with raised lines. Braille letters accompany the illustrations and a full Braille alphabet offers sighted readers help reading along with their fingers.

Private and Confidential by Marion Ripley
Here Laura learns Braille so that she can send her blind penpal a letter.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

31st December Michael Morpurgo Queen's Honour

How nice to hear that another stalwart of the children's book world has been honoured with a knighthood. Not sure I think they should exist, but it does worry me that so many entertainers and sports people get them and so few children's writers and illustrators. So, congratulations to Sir Michael Morpurgo. I love his books, especially the ones that deal with animals 'at risk'. Wonderful to see that his work with Farms for City Children is highlighted in a picture book illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

15th October Worm Day

Last week Australia made a momentous decision to allow same-sex marriage and we were talking in the library about what books we could put out on display to celebrate this. We thought of Worm Loves Worm and the lovely conversation in it about who will be the bride and who will be the groom. Then we went off on a tangent and started chatting about how many picture books had worms as main characters or as the topic. I then thought surely there is a 'worm day' and looked it up. It was on the 15th October and we missed it! So here I am writing it up so that next year we will be well prepared to celebrate it.

These books are in our library and they are perfect for celebrating worms. Firstly picture books:
Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and  Harry Bliss
The Worm Who Knew Karate by Jill Lever and Terry Denton
Worm  by Nicki Greenberg
Worm Weather by Jean Taft and Matt Hunt
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt
Noodle and Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon and Arthur Howard
•  I Won't Eat That by Christopher Silas Neal
Superworm by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Rooting For You by Susan Hood and Matthew Cordell
Yucky Worms by Vivian French and Jessica Ahlberg
•  The Worm by Elise Gravel

Then there's all the chapter books:
Snail and Worm by Tina Kugler (series)
Boobela and Worm by Joe Friedman and Sam Childs (series)
Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner and Brian Floca
Dirty Bertie Worms by Alan MacDonald and David Roberts
Yuck's Pet Worm by Matt and Dave
They Didn't Teach Me This in Worm School  by Simone Lia
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Now add some great non-fiction with amazing worm photographs, a book with instructions for making a worm farm, some books on compost and you'll have a great display.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

11th November Origami Day

Origami Day was first observed in Japan. It honours the ancient art of creating objects from square pieces of paper.

The origami crane is one of the most recognized origami models around the world.

Amazing objects have been made that are indeed works of art, but at school we will be celebrating by making much simpler animals and having the children who are adept at origami teach their peers. When they have made a recognisable animal there is such a sense of achievement. 

We have a large number of books in the craft section of the library which give students ideas about what is possible, but we also have books where origami is central to the story or poetry in the book. Of course we have Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes  in picture book format but there are other picture books as well. See these:
Origami Heart by Binny
Wild Weather  by Thomas Kingsley Troupe (this is one book in a series called Origami Science Adventures)
Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O'Connell George and Lauren Stringer
• The Paper Crane by Molly Bang
Yoko's Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells 
Little Oh by Laura Krauss Melmed
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say (just perfect for the run-up to Christmas)
• Peace Crane by Sheila Hamanaka
More-igami by Dori Kieber
Butterflies for Kiri by Cathryn Falwell
Float  by Daniel Miyares
The Fog by Kyo Maclear and Kennard Pak
Mole and the Newspaper by Laurence Bourguignon

Origami, Poems and Pictures  by The British Museum would make a wonderful present as it comes with the paper and it becomes a family reading, viewing and doing activity.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

4th November World Numbat Day

What is a numbat? It is a small marsupial that is now only native to Western Australia. It was once found across most of Southern Australia, but now it is in threat of extinction. So on World Numbat Day we celebrate Western Australia's unique mammal emblem and are encouraged to conserve the species. Like many of Australia's smaller marsupials it is threatened by foxes, feral cats and loss of habitat. Project Numbat works tirelessly to promote community awareness. Tomorrow in the library I will put these books out on display to remind the students about this interesting marsupial and its place in our unique fauna.

Friday, November 3, 2017

3rd November Jellyfish Day

Jellyfish Day is  not  a day many people will be celebrating, I'm sure, but at school the Kindergarten classes spend the term exploring things that live in the sea and one of the Kindergarten teachers really has 'a thing' about jellyfish and wanted her class to do some 'jellyfish art'. There is so much on pinterest and the web suggesting art projects for young students and she had decided what she wanted to do, but we had very few books in the library that she could use to research jellyfish with her class. So three years ago I was on a quest to find some. Now the library has these four and all are worth having. The photos in Jellies: The Life of Jellyfish by Twig C. George are superb. Jellyfish  by Mari Schuh has just the right amount of reading for Kindergarten and the the other two Jellyfish by Louise Spilsbury and Jellyfish by Valerie Boden are good examples of information texts for young children.

While looking for jellyfish books though I was surprised to find the library already had five books where a main character was actually a jellyfish. Who would have thought to choose a jellyfish as a character? Not me!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

28th October Hug a Sheep Day

What a wonderful creature a sheep is...certainly huggable. We need to thank them for wool, cheese and lanolin among other things. The last Saturday in October is Hug a Sheep Day so head off to a farm or petting zoo to thank a sheep. In Australia we won't have a wooly jumper on, but we may have a fine merino singlet top or t-shirt.

There's some very endearing sheep in children's picture books, besides Shaun and the Green Sheep and a few dictatorial ones too!
Look for:

Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
Baa Baa Smart Sheep  by Mark & Rowan Sommerset
• The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg by Gemma Merino 

Louis 1 King of the Sheep by Olivier Tallec

Elfrida by Klara Fall & Heide Stollinger  
• Bea Rocks the Flock  by Victoria Jamieson   

Prince Charming and Baabarella by Angela Glitz  
Funny Machines for George the Sheep by Geraldine Elschner & Remi Saillard