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I had a blast at the SLV Fiber Festival this past weekend in Monte Vista, Colorado. I had storytimes with kids, demo’ed cat’s cradle string games, and sold the best and most fun kid’s books related to sheep, llamas, yarn–)and one chicken book ’cause it’s my favorite).
If you’re in the San Luis Valley and are interested in purchasing some books before I ship them back, shoot me an email at babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail.com. You know you’ve got birthdays, holidays, baby showers, and other special occasions coming up! And there’s nothing better than a book!
- Feeding the Sheep–a little girl follows her mother’s activities through the year, learning along the way where her warm and lovingly made sweater came from.
- Sheep in a Jeep (book & CD)–silly sheep try to drive a jeep, great rhymes and pictures, good for reading aloud or for beginning readers.
- Where is Green Sheep–a Mem Fox classic with more silly sheep doing silly things (skiing down a sliding board?!), available in board book bilingual version.
- Extra Yarn–brand new story about a magical yarn box and a girl who transforms her grey world with it, I think we’ve got a classic in the making with this one.
- Tillie Lays an Egg–I am ga-ga over this book, Tillie lays her eggs all over and kids get to hunt for it in the photos created with retro farmhouse collectibles.
- The Shepherd’s Trail–a cultural treasure, fabulous photos and just enough text to capture the dying art of the shepherd with the sheep in the back country, a real treasure. Only one copy left!
- The Surprise–gives me giggles to even think about it and elicits an “awwww” every time at the ending, and don’t you want to see a sheep on a bathroom scale, with a blow dryer, and on a motor scooter?
- The Dogs of Bedlam Farm–I generally despise children’s books written by adult authors (because they are usually just dreadful) but Jon Katz pulls this one off with just the right combo of photos and text to introduce children to Katz’ four farm dogs and their individual personalities and jobs.
- The Littlest Llama–an overlooked gem, the littlest llama in an Andean herd can find no one to play with, wanders off, escapes trouble only to hurry home and discover she’s not the littlest any longer, bonus points for being told in well-structured rhyme.
- Llama Llama Red Pajama–first in the series of Llama Llama books, if you don’t have this one yet for your little one, you need it (especially for bedtime “llama dramas” at your house).
If your budget necessitates getting these at the “big A,” I understand. Getting books to your kids is the most important factor.
But for now, you can get them from me with no shipping and only a dollar or two more. (And you’ll be supporting a local business with this mission).
Thus begins each chapter in the Juvi novel, Anna Hibiscus, one of the most delightful books I’ve read over the last year. Four chapters tell four stories of Anna Hibiscus’ life with her very large family in a very large city in Africa. By the end of the book, I was ready to move to Africa and into that big, happy family.
Everything is not perfect but everything is manageable. A trip to the beach becomes overwhelming until the whole family arrives; “‘It is not good to be alone,’ Anna heard them whisper…’A husband and three children is too much for one woman alone.'” Anna learns compassion and hard work when she sells oranges instead of the street children. The family frets over a daughter returning from Canada for a visit; will she have forgotten the African ways? And Anna shows initiative and gets to visit Canada–and see snow!
Great elements in Anna Hisbiscus?
- Family is the central focus and what a great family they all are!
- Each story is written from a child’s point of view, expressing a child’s feelings and showing how children can grow and learn when supported by family.
- Each story shows a realistic view of modern Africa with a blend of the traditional and the modern.
- Each story just feels so natural even though the setting and culture will be so different for many children here in the US.
I can’t wait to add more in the series to my collection!
Hope you enjoy too!
Here’s a bit of what I’ve been reading the past few weeks:
Kids who have trouble with speaking and listening as preschoolers have trouble later with reading, from BBC News.
How many places can you take early literacy into? from the Columbus News. (I’ve been wanting to get into the laundromats for years now. If only more hours in the week!)
So many things I like about this–the focus on talking with babies, the videotaping, the one on one time with parents, the new and horrifying statistics! from NPR.
I know they most likely knew what they were doing; people who are great at what they do make it look so simple and easy.
Yet I am still blown away by the book Maggie’s Ball by Lindsay Barrett George for the seamless way it puts together a good story with several early literacy skills.
Maggie is a dog with a yellow ball who is looking for someone to play with. The ball gets away from her, though, and rolls into town. Here’s where the fun begins.
The double page spread of the town has four shops around a circle. Lots of people are in town, doing and carrying a variety of “things”–hoops, scooters, dumbbells, wheelchairs. There are poodles, balloons, drums, easels, lollipops, monkeys. These illustrations provide lots and lots of “things” to talk about, encouraging conversation and building vocabulary.
What makes the picture different, though, is that virtually every image involves circles.
What’s special about circles? A circle is a shape and letters are made of shapes. As a child plays with, talks about, and recognizes shapes, he or she lays the foundation for recognizing letters years down the road.
Maggie goes to town to look for her ball and visits each shop. At each one there are many more circular “things” to talk about and name. There’s cakes, cookies, clocks, pizzas, pets, balloons. There’s also practice with discrimination skills. Is the lemon her ball? It’s yellow, and it’s mostly round. How do we know a lemon is not a ball?
Print on these pages is very succinct and very clear, building print awareness on each page, until finally a girl finds the ball and asks Maggie to play.
Remember how I mentioned that shapes build the skill of letter knowledge? Here it’s masterful: The girl has the round yellow ball in her hand. She says “Go fetch” across four pages. The “O’s” in “Go” are stretched out though, each letter “O” set clearly and distinctly across the four pages, even bouncing like a ball until the last “O” turns into Maggie’s “O” shaped, yellow ball.
The girl and dog play ball, become friends, and end the story by sitting together reading a book, an ending tying it all up with a dash of print motivation. I mean, if I could play and read with a dog as darling and expressive as Maggie (pages where where she is sad about losing her ball and then the ones where she is happy finding her ball just tug at you), I’d certainly want to read!
So there you have it: five of the six early literacy skills effortlessly wrapped up in one fun book. (Recap of the skills included: print motivation, vocabulary, print awareness, narrative skills, and letter knowledge).
Maggie’s Ball works on so many levels. I hope you’re kids will enjoy too!
from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Preschool is Good Investment: 18% return on investment; that’s better than the stock market!
for fun, the Bookulating Suggest-O-Meter: The Bookulator did not work well for me but the intro is well worth a watch!
from Miller-McCune, Advantages of Home Libraries: Another reason to make sure all kids have access to and own their own books!
from NY Times, Pervasiveness of Choking Hazards: Even if you’re a “good parent” and think you know about little ones and choking, read this.
from NYT, Dnt Txt N Drv: I have something of an aversion to reading anything that has the word “Oprah” in it, but this is well written and vitally important.
And while I have your attention about cell phones, read this one, too.
That’s all for now. It’s end of semester and I’ve been just a wee bit behind on my reading.
from Cincinnati.Com, Reading Gap Can Be Closed: lots of good, mostly research based, ideas and tips for parents, librarians, and teachers.
from OregonLive.Com, How to Prepare Your Toddler for Reading: summary of early literacy tenets.
from The Globe and Mail, Letting Students Choose Books: to require classics or not?, best of the article is found midway.
from Science Daily, Words Influence Infants’ Cognition: the power of words in the first three months of life.
I’m going to try something new here. I read, and sometimes watch, a number of good pieces during the course of most weeks. But I don’t have the time to write about each as a post. Most I’ll tweet but I know you are not all twitter-ers.
So each week I’ll post a list with just the headline or brief summary of what I’ve read that I thought was especially good. Good might mean funny, clever, thought provoking, inspiring, important, useful–or who knows what else. That’s my call but I will always try to keep them to items worth your time.
So let’s start the ball rolling.
From David Elkind, Playtime is Over.
From Forbes, Young Learners Need Librarians, Not Just Google.
From Science Daily, Video Game Ownership May Interfere with Academic Functioning. (Want to learn more about research in this important topic? Read Boys Adrift by Lawrence Sax.
From Nicholas Kristof, The Boys Have Fallen Behind.
From AJC, Boys and School, None of It Good.