Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
How else can I describe my current physical state but tired? So tired that I allowed myself permission not to write last evening after a 13+ hour day at school and the book festival. So tired that the alarm clock actually woke me this morning! Still, my brain is exhilarated with thoughts and images of the past two evenings...like the smiles on Dave Geister's and Pat Bauer's faces along with a young reader who shopped ahead for his dad's Father's Day gift...like the proud children carrying rag dolls made from the direction of one of my colleagues...like the puppets from The Best Pet of All (performed last fall by the Paul Mesner Puppet Studio) and admired by many visitors, along with author David LaRochelle...like John Coy talking to children about his 4x4 books and signing copies for interested sports readers...like the beaming girls who taught origami folding to our principal and many of their peers...like Mike Wohnoutka explaining about the many boots worn by character Clementine Sweet to a second grader who has quite a boot collection of her own...like Lynne Jonell teaching me to draw faces when she was not signing copies of her books...like the many unique journals created by one of colleagues for visitors with various kinds of boxes (the tiny Jell-O pudding journal was my favorite)...like Margi Preus signing her first copy of Celebritrees for a 5th grader.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
- Books provide the wallpaper and window for the rest of children's lives - Gregory Maguire
- Drawing is the physical form of empathy - Mo Willems
- R.L. Stine only learned to type with his left pointer finger and has used it to type 300 books!
- Reading allows us to rehearse what we might decide to do in a circumstance - Lois Lowry
- "To children, a year is a long time ago." - Mary Downing Hahn
- Prolific is a bad word for Jane Yolen. She prefers versatile instead and wonders why others are not writing more different things.
- David Small's voicelessness (read Stitches for the full story) made him into an artist because tit was impossible to participate socially.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I have been lost in a book, specifically Candace Fleming's Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Written in alternating chapters about the search for Amelia, her Lockheed Electra, and navigator Frank Noonan in July of 1937 (on grey paper) and her life story (on white paper), the narrative re-taught me things about the famous aviatrix...and introduced me to things I did not know.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
- the first draft scrawled on unlined paper
- a bound later draft with rough sketches included (and a much different subtitle)
- correspondence between Debra and her editor
- definitions (from two sources) of all the words she chose to define in the text (like Forest and Sage)
- skin tone examples and notes for the book's characters (all Crayola markers - she wanted everything used in the book's creation to be things found in a 5th grader's desk)
- photographs of grocery store aisles and the produce section and then artwork of Sage and her mom at the grocery store
- versions of the extra credit sentences that appear along each page
- versions of Sage's Miss Alaineus costume and her Miss Sterious costume as well
- photos of Debra's daughter posing in the positions Debra would need to create the artwork for Sage
- information about the flap copy (which she say is the hardest thing to write - and which she always writes herself)
- a style guide she created for her editor and art director
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
More than 27 years ago my sweet grandmother taught me to knit. After that basic knit/purl scarf made by every beginner, I wanted to learn how to make mittens. She had two copies of the 1953 publication Gloves and Mittens To Knit and Crochet for the Entire Family, and she gave one to me. It is worth far more than the 30 cents she paid for it decades ago.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
They encourage visual literacy. Think of comparing fairy tale versions like Little Red Riding Hood retold by James Marshall, Jerry Pinkney, and Trina Schart Hyman.
They offer an introduction to topics and time periods. David LaRochelle's The Best Pet of All opens up a perfect writing topic. Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone takes readers to the early 1900s and offers a unique glimpse of young life.
They foster understanding of literary elements like character, plot, theme, setting, irony, conflict, and resolution. Sisters Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens-Crummel are masters of this. My favorite is Cook-a-Doodle-Doo.
They promote strong vocabulary. Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming, in addition to teaching about Holland in World War II, is filled with wonderful words: gritty, luxury, savored, gulped, dabbing, heartfelt, bitter, sparingly, whooped.
They provide examples of traits and characteristics valued by human beings: acceptance, compassion, empathy, honesty, sharing, and understanding. Derek Munson's Enemy Pie demonstrates all those qualities with tact and gentle humor.
They demonstrate the interdependence of text and illustrations. David Small does this so well in Imogene's Antlers!
They present a common reference point when trying to learn about something in greater depth. Karen Hesse's The Cats in Krasinski Square presents a view of Warsaw in World War II that is unknown to many readers.
They give readers and listeners the opportunity to laugh, ponder, and reflect. Mem Fox's Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge captivated me as a college student for this reason; it was the first picture book I received as an adult.
They spawn inquiry learning. Debra Frasier's The Incredible Water Show prompts readers to learn about our water cycle.
They show life's problems and challenges and ways to work through them. My boys loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. Thank goodness for Bread and Jam for Frances to nudge them along to other foods.
They draw readers and listeners together in a shared experience. So many ideas for the ultimate birthday cake have come from Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells, not to mention a curiosity about red-hot marshmallow squirters.
They link us with our past and grant windows to the future. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey takes me back to my hometown library and makes me think of sharing it - and picking blueberries - with children in my future.
They supply us with language that becomes part of our daily lives. "Wham! Bang! Thump!" from The Bear Under the Stairs comes to mind in our household.
They give us opportunities to meet characters who are a bit like us. For me, Julie Jersild Roth's Knitting Nell is one of those characters.
Most of all, picture books - or everybody books as we call them at school - bring pleasure.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Spring conferences for me have always meant the formation of summer reading lists. Since parents usually want to see the classroom teacher, not the librarian, I fill the hours with thoughts of children reading books during the summer break.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
A stack of books came home with me yesterday, some from the public library and some from that new book delivery. One has captivated me today: I Dreamed of Flying Like a Bird: My Adventures Photographing Wild Animals From a Helicopter by Robert B. Haas. The National Geographic photographer clearly explains his work, beginning with language used in photography, like "capture" and "shoot" as ways to describe taking photographs. He tells about the exhilaration of working as an aerial photographer and the unique equipment he must use for safety with the door of the aircraft open.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Giddiness presides when a shipment of new books arrives in the library. A message arrives from the book vendor, alerting us to the arrival. We upload the records from that message to our library catalog and know which books will be in the boxes. Still, there is excitement as the books are taken from the boxes and checked against the packing slip.