Friday, May 24, 2013

29th May Pink Flamingo Day

Pink Flamingo Day is celebrated on this day according to a book I have just purchased. It is written by the poet laureate,  J. Patrick Lewis and called World Rat Day: Poems About Holidays You've Never Heard Of. It is perfect for planning library displays because it is quirky and celebrates days you literally will never have heard of. There is Worm Day and Cephalopod Day among others. Lewis claims the holidays are real, but to me it doesn't really matter. It gives me an excuse to keep the displays changing and the books in my library going out the door and the readers get to see their planet as a home for wonderful living creatures that warrant some thought occasionally.

In honour of flamingos Lewis wrote a wonderful concrete poem:
   'A flamingo is a long cooooooooool drink of something pink.'
And Anna Raff illustrates it amusingly and irresistibly.

There's obviously not an abundance of books on flamingos in the library, but there was enough to make  a benchtop look enticing with a copy of the poem and the six books. Included were:
• the wonderful new textless treat - Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
Sylvie  by Jennifer Sattler which gives a whole new stance on you are what you eat.
• the three Miss Mingo books by Jamie Harper
• the beautiful poetry anthology Flamingo Bendalingo by Paula Green, and
• the token non-fiction information book, Flamingos by Jean M. Malone

Did you know a group of flamingos is a flamboyance! What a great word to share with children. I learned this and some other amazing facts about flamingos here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

23rd May World Turtle Day

For more than a hundred million years, sea turtles have been swimming in the world's oceans. I find that amazing. I even have trouble imagining that length of time. Turtles obviously are designed well if they have been around for that long. They look so graceful and hardy in the water, yet seem to really struggle as hatchlings to get from the sand to the water. Why the two extremes?  Well celebrating Turtle Day encourages us to think about the world of turtles and tortoises and to learn about how to help them to thrive.

Yesterday I collected all the library turtle resources, to put together a display and was surprised to see how much we had. We also have some beautiful soft toy turtles and a Galapagos tortoise which helps attract the children to the books. I like putting together these 'day' displays because it ensures the resources are looked at, at least annually and given the chance to be borrowed. I also took the opportunity to do some weeding, discarding some of the older non-fiction titles as we had plenty of newer books with quality photographs. As I purchase some of the wonderful titles that are coming from National Geographic and that are perfect my young audience it is easy to see why the older books aren't borrowed.

By the end of the day most of the fiction had been borrowed and I was left with only a few of the older non-fiction titles. Overall a successful display and several families will certainly get to think about turtles! Wish they were all this easy. On the other side of the library there is a display for Library Week. Those books aren't going out the door at the same rate!

For the books on display see my pinterest page.

Monday, May 20, 2013

20th May Dan Yaccarino (1965)

It is American author illustrator, Dan Yaccarino's birthday. To be honest I hadn't really noticed his work until I bought his book The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau for the library. I loved it so much I then went looking for more of his work. And then lately two new books that are just so special and popular with my young audience who love 'robot books' arrived. They are Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman and Dan and Doug Unplugged  by Dan Yaccarino alone. The illustrations in these two make robots seem so endearing, yet expressive and fun. He has been quoted as saying:

“The images in a picture book are the driving forces that tell the story. The words tell only what the pictures can’t.”  

And this is so true in his books. Look at the final almost textless pages of Boy and Bot to see the power of his pictures at work. Happy birthday Dan Yaccarino and may there be many more picture books for us to enjoy!

PS What a coincidence? Today someone asked to borrow Would I Ever Lie to You? which we don't have so I looked up the author and learned that it was Caralyn Buehner, and now I have just read on Anita Silvey's almanac that today is her birthday too. She was born in 1963. So now I need to research her books some more.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

19th May Circus Day

Some sites say 19th May, others, the third Saturday in April. No matter, today is my son's birthday and there was so much coming and going together with hilarity and noise that the house felt like a circus tent and I thought of circuses and went to see if such a day existed and amazingly it could be celebrated today. Very fitting I think!

Next I thought of books and was surprised that only two sprang readily to mind, Peter Spier's classic, Circus! and Lois Ehlert's geometric Circus. Then searching the library catalogue I learned that nearly all the other circus titles belonged to well-known series. There is a circus book for Spot, Clifford, Paddington, Olivia, Curious George, Miss Bindergarten, Cam Jansen, Harold (of Purple Crayon fame), Alison Lester's Bonnie and Sam, Nutmeg and Tumtum and even Spy Pups. And Dr Seuss even has If I Ran the Circus. Does this mean that the circus is something children like to read about and have experienced?

And the only new book I could find in the library was 10 Little Circus Mice by Caroline Stills and Judith Rossell. I guess if you are looking for something that makes you think more deeply about circuses and their role read Oregon's Journey by Rascal and Louis Joos. I find that this story of a bear and a clown who escape from the routine of the circus never fails to get my Year 2 students talking and asking questions. It is perfect for an Aidan Chamber's Booktalk and it works on so many levels, depending on the age of the students.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

13th - 19th May National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is Australia's largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism. There are over 6 million people volunteering in Australia, which represents 36% of the adult population. Volunteering Australia values the contribution that each individual makes by offering their time, skills and passion. They feel that Australia has a proud culture of giving.

Unfortunately sometimes at school I feel my clientele have a tendency towards ego-centricism and self absorption so I take every opportunity to talk about the importance of community and helping each other and I find it easy to do this through books and book discussion.  Luckily this is the theme of many early childhood picture books and here's five that do it very well. Each has an adult helping a child or children helping an adult to see the power of communication and thus community in a neighbourhood setting. These books were the first to come to mind and I think it fitting that they are all Australian titles.
If I thought for longer I'm sure there would be more titles, but  here's these books with authors:
Nobody's Granny  by Tess Brady tells of a lonely old lady who has her garden tidied and a fence built by scouts.
 Amelia Ellicott's Garden by Liliana Stafford & Stephen Michael King shares the story of how the neighbours help Amelia after her garden and chicken coop have been damaged in a storm.
Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten by Bob Graham tells of how when Rose's family move to a new house they make an effort to meet their neighbour and to involve him anew in the life of the neighbourhood.
That's Not a Daffodil by Elizabeth Honey tells the story of neighbours Tom, a small boy and Mr Yilmaz the wonderful gardener who lives nearby and is constantly giving of his time and produce.
Leaves For Mr Walter by Janeen Brian & David Cox which shows how young Emilia helps grumpy Mr Walter rake up his leaves and in doing so brings about a change in his disposition.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

12th May Cucumber Day

It is Cucumber Day in Britain. Why on earth would they have a day to celebrate cucumbers? Well this is what the website says:

Initially it might seem like an odd idea for a National Cucumber Day, but when you think about it the role of cucumber makes a lot of sense in our aim to become a healthier nation!

Did you know that a cucumber is 95% water?   And that it's a fruit?!   It comes from the same family as squash, watermelon and courgette/zuchinni.

Cucumber also has many health benefits.  It's a great source of potassium and essential vitamins and restores water to the body. 

So now you know! So celebrate by reading British author, Michael Morpurgo's Cool as a Cucumber!
If you have younger children and you are looking for a picture book Sally Smallwood has a photographic book with the same name.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

7th May World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day is coming up on Tuesday 7th May; this year's theme is "It's time to take control of your asthma". When I went looking I realised we have very little in our library on asthma, two non-fiction books and a story. They are:
When I started teaching I had quite a few children in my class with asthma that I had to keep my eye on especially at sport and when the weather got cool and damp, but now I rarely have to deal with an asthmatic child. Does this mean that asthma is managed that much better now? I hope so. I am now more aware of children who have epipens than puffers!