A True Honor – LeUyen Pham Asked for My Help

Pham

A few weeks ago I received an email from LeUyen Pham with the subject line “book suggestions from some of my favorite book people.”  Before I even opened the email, I was honored.  She’s presenting a lecture in Chicago this winter and  wanted ideas of newer books to include on a reading list.  The lecture is titled “Wandering Wonderland: An Immigrant’s Story Told Through Books.”  A week later, LeUyen asked if I would write about why I liked three of the books I recommended.  I’ve always wanted to visit Chicago.  Wish I could make it there on March 5th to attend the Butler Lecture at Dominican University.

ElephantPiggie

Elephant and Piggy Series by Mo Willems – Most easy reader books are boring.  It’s difficult to write a fun book with a limited vocabulary using words which are pronounced utilizing conventional phonics .  (It’s one reason Dr. Seuss and Amelia Bedelia books are still popular today.)  In 2007, the first of twenty-one Elephant & Piggie books was published.  Each one is as funny as the one before.  These easy readers build confidence and vocabulary in even the most reluctant of readers.  Each book is a conversation between Elephant and Piggie.  A perfect parent/child read-aloud where one can read Piggie’s lines. . . the other Elephant’s dialogue.

 

Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water:  Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park – This book should be required reading for fifth and sixth graders.  Told from two perspectives. . . a Sudanese boy in 1985 and an eleven-year-old girl during 2008.  Use this book as a springboard for important conversations about war, poverty, lack of clean water and other issues eleven-year-old children in other countries experience daily.

Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai  – A novel in verse based on the author’s personal experience fleeing Vietnam and eventually landing in Alabama.   The short free verse poems perfectly evoke the struggles acclimating to a new language, food, clothing and customs.

We Almost Went to the Beach – Instead We Read Beach Related Books

Ben and ZipShark KissHope For WinterBears Sea Escape
Thinking ML and I might take a trip to the coast for Labor Day, I checked out some ocean related books. Luckily, I never told her about my idea. With the start of school, we needed a low-key weekend. However, I knew with three days off from school, ML would be begging to have friends over. So I decided a sleepover on Friday night would be the ticket.

Last night I showed ML and Louise a stack of ten books. Allowing them to each pick two. I laughed when I saw they chose all the ocean related books.

Ben & Zip:  Two Short Friends by Joanne Linden and illustrated by Tom Goldsmith – Ben’s friend is missing.  He searches the boardwalk and stands on a bench to get a better view.  It doesn’t help.  So he climbs a picnic bench.  Then, a lifeguard stand where he is able to see his friend.  There’s a surprise to this book I’m not sharing.  The illustrations in this book are a relief from the airbrushed media our children are exposed to daily.  It shows what real people look like at the beach.  “Round bellies, flat bellies, bellies white and brown.  Hairy bellies, jelly bellies, bellies hanging down.”

Shark Kiss, Octopus Hug by Lynn Rowe Reed and illustrated by Kevin Cornell – A rollicking story about a shark wanting a hug and an octopus wanting a kiss. No matter what these sea animals try, the people on the beach aren’t interested in hugging and kissing them. The book ends with Octopus receiving a kiss and Shark being hugged.  Eight arms wrap themselves around Shark to comfort him resulting in a kiss for Octopus.  I got a hug and kiss at the end of the book too.

Hope for Winter: The True Story of a Remarkable Dolphin Friendship
by David Yates, Craig Hatkoff, Juliana Hatkoff and Isabelle Hatkoff – This photographic tale of two dolphins’ friendship entranced these animal-loving, science minded girls. They recognized the story of Winter and knew there was a movie too. Guess what I just added to my Netflix queue? We’ll have to invite Louise over for a movie night when it arrives.

The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud – We didn’t read this choice. The girls were getting restless… acting like snakes inside their sleeping bags,  Near lights out, I showed the girls how they could find the baby bear in each picture. Thought it would be a way to calm them. Not so much. Instead they were giggling about the boat with the swimming pool, bedrooms, exercise room, and more. Safe to say they’ve never been on a cruise.

I picked one too… Who Sleeps, Cat the Cat? I couldn’t resist reading this new Mo Willems book knowing the girls would howl at page nine. Cat let’s Horse the Horse know it’s time to sleep. His response is “I’m on it!” And he is. He’s on the potty. There was howling. Then, ML noticed Cat the Cat’s head was turned and she was hiding her eyes. So they laughed even more.

Who Sleeps

PS:  Don’t tell ML, but Louise’s mom and I are planning a picnic and swimming for Sunday afternoon.  Watermelon and the pool.  A perfect way to end summer… if you aren’t at the beach.

Future Librarian in Training and A Secret

0-545-27329-3PigeonBath

I am a member of the Friends of the Library at ML’s school.  In previous years, the school librarian presented a story time for incoming kindergartners near the end of the school year.  Between End of Grade Tests and other responsibilities the media specialist wasn’t able to work one in her schedule.  So I volunteered to do it.

At 8:30 a.m. this morning, ML and I shared books, songs, a flannelboard game and puppets with these rising kindergartners.  Some of her friends’ siblings were in the crowd so it was extra fun.  ML is an excellent story time presenter.  She read The Pigeon Needs a Bath, played the flannel game with the kids and performed in the puppet show.  Below is what we did.

Book Eddie Gets Ready for School by David Milgrim (I read it to get the kids in the mindset of going to school.  And so the parents won’t feel bad if their mornings are crazy.  Eddie’s parents mornings are even crazier.)

Flannel Rhyme –  A is for Alligator

A is for alligator,
Chomp, chomp, chomp
B is for bunny,
Hop, hop, hop
C is for circle
That goes around and around
And D is for down.
Let’s all sit down.

Flannel – What’s Inside My Little Book? (A guessing game where various flannel items are hidden behind flannel cut in the shape of different color books.  We repeated a rhyme together and they tried to guess what was behind each book… ice cream cone, blue car, purple hippo and green monster.)

BookThe Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems (ML read it to remind them to bathe before the first day of school.)

Puppet Show – Using the tune “The Wheels on the Bus” we performed a show with animal puppets and appropriate props for various people found at school.

The teachers at the school  say, “Welcome to School.”
The art teacher at the school says, “Paint, Paint, Paint!”
The music teacher at the school says, “La, La, La!”
The coach at the school  says, “Run, Run, Run”
The librarian at the school says “Read, Read, Read!”
The students at the school  say, “We’re Glad You’re Here.”

ML doesn’t know I’ll be sharing this story time tomorrow with her class.  Then, I’ll tell the students all about being a librarian.  Shhhh!  It’s a secret.

ML Finally Likes Elephant & Piggie Books

ElephantPiggie

I’ve checked out Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems for years.  ML emphatically refused for us to read them stating, “You know I don’t like comic books.”  Recently she said, “Mommy, I don’t like the Pigeon books anymore.  I like the Elephant & Piggie books.”  The Pigeon books are by Mo Willems too.

The library received a new pigeon book days before this conversation.  I responded, “OK, I won’t bring home the new Pigeon book, The Pigeon Needs a Bath.  ML changed her tune requesting, “Please bring home the Pigeon book, but also bring home some Elephant & Piggie books.”  Excitedly, I seized the opportunity and requested every Elephant & Piggie book published.

The night I brought home The Pigeon Needs a Bath  bedtime snuck up on us.  I wanted to multitask the bedtime routine by reading to ML while she ate her bedtime snack.  Sitting on the floor in the kitchen, I was ready to begin reading.   ML said, “Wait! I want to read The Pigeon Needs a Bath to you.”  On our dusty wooden floor, I realized something.  The only people who read picture books out loud with more feeling than a children’s librarian are the children of these librarians.

I’m glad I didn’t force the Elephant & Piggie books on ML.  The dramatic opportunities in these books are beyond measure.  Of course, I didn’t realize this until ML showed me.  She decided I should be Elephant and she would be Piggie.  We’ve been reading them out loud together.

Recently, her friend came for dinner.  They acted out seven different Elephant & Piggie books.  I sat on the sofa and held the books open so they could read the words.  It was fun watching them taking turns being Elephant & Piggie.  There were even costumes made from blue painter’s tape.  A long strip taped to Elephant’s nose and a short curly tail for Piggie allowing for quick costume changes after each book.

My wonderful friend from library school who lives in California posted Elephant & Piggie Do Reader’s Theater last week on her blog.  Looks like children from coast to coast are performing dramatic readings of Elephant & Piggie books.

When you read the Elephant & Piggie books (because you must no matter your age or access to children) make sure to check out the back inside covers of the books.  The Pigeon makes an appearance.  I’m not buying ML’s comment, ” I don’t like the Pigeon books anymore.”   She loves finding that silly bird hiding out in the Elephant & Piggie books.

PigeonBath

 

Mock Caldecott 2014 List

Below are the books, I am hoping ML and her friend, Calvin will look at this weekend for their Mock Caldecott Award.  I’m still waiting on a few to come from other library branches.  So they may not have a chance to win.

One really cool aspect of our multimedia world is many illustrators have videos showing them creating their work.  This post includes links to these.  And a quick note if I know the mediums used to create the illustrations.

Ruby

Hello, My Name is Ruby by  Philip Stead – Mixed media… chalk pastel, colored pencils, and colored ink  us.macmillan.com/hellomynameisruby/PhilipStead

SeeWhale

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead – Pencil and linoleum prints erinstead.com/about/

Journey

Journey by Aaron Becker – Watercolor www.storybreathing.com/the-making-of-journey/

LittleRedWriting

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet – Watercolor, pencil and collage

Locomotive

Locomotive by Brian Floca – Pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic, and gouache.  Scroll to the bottom of the following like to watch 3 short videos on the process and a view of a book dummy www.fcps.edu/fairfaxnetwork/mta/floca.html

MrTiger

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown –   still trying to determine mediums http://vimeo.com/80293481#at=60

MrWuffles

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner – Water color and ink line www.hmhbooks.com/wiesner/wuffles-process.html

MechanicalFish

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov – mixed media

Stardines

Stardines by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Carin Berger – shadow boxes, diorama and cut-paper  www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuRxHvNb7Xg

NotGoodIdea

That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems – pencil and watercolor with additional digital color and compositing

Tortoise

Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney – Watercolor www.jerrypinkneystudio.com/frameset.html

Looking forward to seeing if one of the Stead books are chosen or a book with Mr. in it’s title.  I feel more confident in predicting which books I think the Caldecott committee will pick for the award and honors; than I do guessing what ML and Calvin will choose.  It’s going to be fun hearing two first-graders opinion.

Christmas Parade – Goldilocks and the Three Bears

ThreeBears

ML, her friend, my coworkers and myself marched in the Christmas Parade to represent the library.  I was certain ML’s choice would be dressing as Goldilocks.  It wasn’t.  When I told her about the costumes she screamed, “I want to be Baby Bear.”  Her friend agreed to be Goldilocks.  ML’s friend has long, golden hair so it worked out great.  Smart choice by ML.  It was freezing and the bear costume was toasty.

There are many variations on the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Above is a picture of a classic, simple edition by Byron Barton.  Below are some of the more unusual ones.  Long day marching in the cold;  all the descriptions are straight from the library catalog

OneBear

Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson – “Little Bear, all grown up, finds himself lost in a noisy, busy city where he happens to bump into someone with golden hair who remembers exactly how he likes his porridge.”  ML has visited NYC two times.  One more than I.  She enjoyed this version with a city twist.

ThreeDinosaurs

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems – “When three hungry dinosaurs lay a trap hoping to catch something to eat, Goldilocks who never listens to warnings, walks into their house and springs the trap.” Mo Willems and Dinosaurs… need I say more.  We haven’t read it but ML just read the title over my shoulder.  I asked, “What do you think.”  Her response, “Sounds funny.”  I’ll bring it home next week.

ChickenPox

Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox by Erin Dealey and illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama – “When Goldie Locks comes down with chicken pox, she is teased by her brother and is unable to visit with Bo Peep, Little Red, and other friends.”  We own this one.  ML thinks it’s hilarious.  Luckily, she shouldn’t experience the itchiness of chicken pox.  I still remember. However, the disappointment about missing my kindergarten field trip to Mayfield Dairy due to chicken pox was more traumatic than red, itchy bumps.

Bears Christmas

The Three Bears’ Christmas by Kathy Duval and Paul Meisel – We haven’t read this one yet.  My coworker told me about it during the parade.   “After taking a walk on Christmas Eve while their freshly baked gingerbread cools, Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear arrive home to encounter another “trespasser,” who does not have golden hair but wears a red suit and leaves present.”  ML loves funny stories. It’s certain to be a hit.

No post tomorrow… We’re decorating the tree or as ML says WE’RE DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!!

Books for Boys – Beginning Readers

0-545-11028-9ElephantPiggieHenryMudgeMrPutter

Beginning reading books, often called easy readers, can be boring.  With a controlled vocabulary, repetition and built for increasing fluency it’s a challenge to write a truly fascinating story.  Below are some series boys learning to read like.

Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Sucie Stevenson

Mr Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Arthur Howard

In the past few years, publishers have stepped up publication of non-fiction easy readers.  I’ll do a post about those soon.  But wanted you to know that is an option for those boys you know who are mostly interested in stories about real things.

Would love input on more ideas of easy readers that boys enjoy.  Any suggestions?