Sunday, November 27, 2011
Well chosen children's literature is an effective way to counter deeply held stereotypes and teach cultural respect.
"There are plenty of "good" books -- well-written, exciting, from respected authors, much-loved by their readers, with well-developed characters -- that are inaccurate, stereotypical, fanciful, or just plain dehumanizing in their depiction of the Native characters," write Naomi Caldwell, Gabriella Kaye and Lisa Mitten in I is for Inclusion. Yet curriculum writers Guy Jones and Sally Moomaw say, "... with the possible exception of classroom visits by American Indian people, excellent children's literature is the most effective way to counter deeply held stereotypes and help children focus on similarities among peoples as well as cultural differences." How can parents, teachers and caregivers know which books to choose? In honor of Native …
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Scary stories for Halloween and beyond.
It's the time of year for ghosts, goblins and scary stories. Many times scary stories are based on fact, just taken beyond. As author Stephen King said at Fall for the Book, when he's writing a book he thinks of the worst that can happen. Virginia Outdoors shared a scary story based on truth. In Medieval Europe death from lead poisoning was common. But the symptoms of lead poisoning -- a deep coma with very shallow breathing and a nearly undetectable heartbeat -- were sometimes mistaken as death. To prevent someone from being buried alive, at times the mourners would bury put a string in the hand, leading out of the coffin and attached to a bell above ground. If the bell rang after burial, that person was "saved by the bell." Vicki …
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Two librarians offer these suggestions for toddlers.
With Halloween around the corner, Kings Park and Burke Centre youth service librarians shared their favorite scary books for little ones. Melanie Parsons, youth services manager at Kings Park Library, suggests I'm the Scariest Thing in the Castle by Kevin Sherry. "Kevin Sherry (award-winning author of I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean) has created a toddler-friendly boardbook with his familiar theme. A big-eyed vampire bat encounters scary things in his castle and proudly announces to them he is the scariest thing in the castle until the lights go out and the little bat has a different reaction. Sherry's bold, colorful illustrations and simple text allow parents to share and enjoy a slightly-scary book specifically with younger pre-…
Sunday, October 9, 2011
National Fire Prevention Week October 9 - 15, 2011.
Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue hosts their annual open house on Saturday, October 15, beginning at 10 a.m., as part of National Fire Safety Week. In the meantime, kids might enjoy preparing for their visit with these books about fire trucks and firefighters, available in local libraries. Fire Truck by Caroline Bingham Bingham presents a detailed look at the equipment used by fire fighters for the variety of situations they face. Fire Engines by E. S. Budd The features of a fire truck are reviewed with simple text and photographs. Firefighters by Katie Daynes Fire fighters have many different responsibilities in thier jobs. Fire Station Number 4: The Daily Life of Firefighters by Mary T. Fortney Readers follow fire fighters Gary, Jimmy and…
Sunday, September 4, 2011
A fun book that makes learning interesting.
Many of us have had those special teachers who make learning interesting and fun. The right book can do the same. And that's why I like Adrian Dingle's The Periodic Table: Elements with Style. In 1869 Dimitri Mendeleev, a chemist from Siberia, arranged the elements into groups (columns) and periods (rows). The Periodic Table was born. Amazingly, Mendeleev left gaps in the table for future discoveries. Today there are 111 known elements. These are substances, like calcium, iron and oxygen, which cannot be broken down into anything else. Looking at the Periodic Table can be daunting or boring for many students. Dingle changes that. Since each element actually has a personality -- a unique way of being and acting -- Dingle "allows" each …
Sunday, August 14, 2011
A first grader is vexed by a librarian's enthusiasm.
With clever humor, Barbara Bottner introduces Miss Brooks and the first grader who is rather bothered by the school librarian's book fervor. "I think Miss Brooks gets a little too excited," she says in Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't). The librarian's enthusiasm is so "vexing" to this precocious girl, "I ask my mother if we can move to a new town. My mother says there's a librarian in every town." Horrors! In the end, this stubborn student learns that there are books for even the most discriminating reader. The illustrations by Michael Emberley add to the fun of the story. It's a great picture book to share.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
A rhyming adventure of home repair gone wrong.
What a fun book this is. Creaky Old House: A Topsy-Turvey Tale of a Real Fixer-Upper by Linda Ashman is a rhyming adventure of a simple home-repair taking on bigger and bigger proportions. "Our house is kind of old and creaky. Porch is sloping, roof is leaky. Windows drafty, shutters peeling. There's a crack across the ceiling. Paint's a little chipped and faded. Might say it's dilapidated. Still, each one of us -- all nine -- thinks the house is fine, just fine." The family of nine thinks their house is just fine until a doorknob falls to the floor. They look in the shed for one screw, and that begins a chain of events gone wild. Michael Chesworth's ink, watercolor and pencil pictures, reminiscent of Richard Scarry's style, provide a …
Sunday, July 31, 2011
New biography for children, interesting for adults, too.
Amelia Earhart has long been a legend. Candace Fleming's 2011 biography presents the aviator as a real person; one who followed her heart. The book's details make Earhart's disappearance less of a mystery and more of a tragedy of poor judgment. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart tells in alternating chapters the story of Earhart's life and what happened in the hours, days and weeks following her disappearance. The biography is written for kids age 8 - 12, but it's so well done that adults will appreciate the book. At 10 a.m. on July 2, 1937, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae, New Guinea, heading for Howland Island, a minuscule piece of land in the Pacific Ocean. It was the most difficult leg of …
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Ten picture book recommendations about the beach.
Picture books are great for reading aloud to the children in your life, or as short reads for older kids. Whether or not you're vacationing at the beach this summer, you can travel there in these books. Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies Night is perfect for beach fun ... if you're a bat! Beachcombing: Exploring the Seashore by Jim Arnosky Learn to recognize the wonders of the beach with Arnosky's beach guide. Beach Day! by Patricia Lakin Four crocodile friends set off for the beach. Beach Day by Karen Roosa Family fun at the beach is captured in rhyme. Beach Feet by Lynn Reiser Ever notice all the different feet you see at the beach? A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams A boy leaves a trail to his beach drawing. Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion…