Monday, January 30, 2012

27th January Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the son of a violinist who was considered a wonderchild because of his piano playing and ability as a composer. While there are plenty of expository texts about his life, there are also many picture books about him or his music. Some that we have are:
Play, Mozart, Play! by Peter Sis
Mozart Finds a Melody by Stephen Constanza
Young Mozart by Rachel Isadora
The Magic Flute by Kyra Teis
and this story that focuses on his sister who was also a clever musician
For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart by Elizabeth Rusch

Friday, January 20, 2012

20th January Penguin Appreciation Day

Penguins are an especially popular choice of character in children's books! They are endearing, different from other birds because they can't fly, live on ice and can dive and swim in a way that humans envy.Why then do we need to have an Appreciation or Awareness Day for penguins? It really is just a time to celebrate penguins, but it is also a good time to reflect on the fact that some of the 17 species of penguins are being threatened by climate change.

What to read? Here's some fiction and non-fiction that is enjoyed in my library:

Cuddly Dudley by Jez Alborough
The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out by Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howard
Solo by Paul Geraghty
Nanu, Penguin Chick by Theresa Radcliffe and John Butler
Emily and Alfie by Meredith Hooper and Emma Quay
Little Penguin by Patrick Benson
The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins and Jane Chapman
The Emperor's Kingdom; Living on the Ice by Roger Kirkwood
Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra and Ariane Dewey
The Penguin Book: Birds in Suits by Dr Mark Norman
and of course there's always the Atwater's Mr Popper's Penguins and the myriad of movie
s and DVDs about penguins and Jeanne Willis' new book Penguin Pandemonium.

20th January Buzz Aldrin (1930)

It is the birthday of Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, arguably the most famous of the astronauts who have walked on the moon. He has made a business from this success. He also has used what he knows about space to write children's books. These two are popular in my library.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

8th January Stephen Hawking (1942)

Stephen Hawking the famous physicist turns 70 today. He has led a very public life much for his view of science, but also because he has achieved so much while suffering the physical ravages of motor neurone disease. There are children's biographies about him (see the two pictured here), but this list of seventeen things you need to know about him is a good place to start, even with children.

Together with his journalist daughter, Lucy, he has written a set of three funny adventure stories that also give facts and explanations about the universe. In these three books the characters, George, Annie and a computer named Cosmos explore space learning about marvels such as black holes along the way.

While I think the reading demands of these books are beyond most of my eight year olds many have shared them as parent-read serials and have had plenty to tell me afterwards.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

6th January

I am not a grandma and I am not a particularly good cook either, but I love this book. To me it combines worthwhile, achievable recipes with the best kind of illustrated picture book. It is such a quality production! My Grandma's Kitchen is written by Louise Fulton Keats. She is the granddaughter of the legendary Australian cook, Margaret Fulton. All Australians my age and younger would have sat down to a meal inspired by a Margaret Fulton recipe or cookbook. This is a beautiful book, with exquisite endpapers and 'scrapbook-like' artwork by illustrator Michelle Mackintosh. When I bought a copy for the library it was a long time before it made it to the shelves for borrowing. Various members of staff took it home to ponder over and cook from and then when it finally went home with mothers or children, the mothers brought it back saying that they had been to buy their own because they wanted it for longer or they still wanted to try...and didn't want to photocopy too much.

I have been thinking about this book again today because I read the blog, Playing by the Book as I do regularly, and the author, Zoe had been cooking with her girls. She asked about good cookbooks for children and I wanted to tell her about this one.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

4th January Katie Davis 5th January Lynne Cherry

I am really enjoying being on school holidays at home because it means I have had some time to do lots of blog reading, browse online bookshops and just generally ponder, read and contemplate teaching ideas. While catching up with Happy Birthday Author and Children's Book Almanac I read about some authors whose birthdays I have missed while putting together my own calendar for library displays and lessons.
1. 4th January Katie Davis
This American author/illustrator certainly has presence. Just look at her website and interviews. She has lots to say about children's books and is very supportive of what teachers do with books. She has started a podcast Brain Burps About Books. I did not know anything about her but after a bit of quick research see that we have books of hers in our library. I love Little Chicken's Big Day and I use Kindergarten Rocks! with my preschool classes before they go off to their Kindergarten orientation sessions.

2. 4th January Robert Burleigh
He too, is an American author with an amazing website. He has written so many wonderful picture books it is hard to single one out. I like his biographies and I have taken a new look at many of these lately because we have decided to put together a special display/area in our library for biographies. Many parents commented last year on how much they have enjoyed reading them with their children because they feel they are also learning along with their child. Other books of his that teachers and children find fascinating are The Earth From the Air For Children and The Future of the Earth with Yann Arthus-Bertrand's amazing photographs which he adapted for children.

3. 5th January Lynne Cherry (1952)
She too is an author who teaches children to respect their environment and the planet they live on. She is well known for The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild, but at the end of last year Year 2 teachers and children had the chance to explore her new book How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming. Her website has information and videos to add to this.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

25th December RIP Taback Simms ( 1932 - 2011)

Today I read that Taback Simms died on Christmas Day. It is sad to know that there will not be any more of his very brightly coloured illustrations. Sad too, that we are on school holidays, otherwise we could sing There Was an Old lady Who Swallowed a Fly at the top of our lungs to remember him by. Not a good way to start a new year of Children's books, but I'm sure there will be good things ahead.