Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathleen Krull

by Dianne on November 23, 2014

Kathleen Krull cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathleen Krull
The first book I can ever remember reading was, of course, a picture book. After all–”What is the use of a book,” asked Alice, “without pictures?” Around our house we had lots of Little Golden Books and inexpensive editions of classics.(How many of us were inspired to do what we do because of Little Golden Books, those picture books we could afford to have right in our homes?)

The book I fell into was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, with illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen. I studied those illustrations for hours, riveted by what the Provensens could do with elegant, quirky lines, colors, and shapes. They’re still among my all-time favorite artists. And Stevenson’s poems were so full of marvels (and still marvelous 130 years after they were written).

I went on faraway journeys, learned new things, felt new emotions, found comfort, reveled in the wordplay–all the things picture books can do for us. As Stevenson wrote:

The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

How lucky for us that we–and young readers–live in an age of so many glorious picture books.

Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull

About Kathleen Krull
Kathleen Krull’s 60+ books have garnered starred reviews and awards. Music is a theme that runs throughout her career, from Lives of the Musicians to The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny). The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, honored her with its Nonfiction Award for her body of work that “has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children.” In October 2014, School Library Journal featured her as An Author to Study. She lives in San Diego with her husband and sometime writing partner, Paul Brewer, and can be visited at www.kathleenkrull.com and friended at http://facebook.com/kathleen.krull

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Music

Curriculum Connections
Music and inspiration can be found everywhere.

As a group, create the sounds of the city. The first spread of The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny) by Kathleen Krull can be used for inspiration. For example: Some children may smack their heels on the floor, flap like birds, make traffic noises, sing, play instruments, and so on.

Demonstrate how conductors use hand motions to set the tempo and noise level of an orchestra. Conduct the class in a musical symphony of city sounds.

What other soundscapes can be created for different illustrations in The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny)? Try adding more sound as the book is read aloud to enhance the audio experience.

For continued exploration, students can create “soundscapes” for illustrations of their favorite picture books. Look closely. What sounds can be found in the country, the zoo, a barnyard, the beach, etc? Soundscapes may be recorded and played back while the story is being read aloud.

Correlates to the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards: SL.2.2,5;SL.3.5; SL.4.5; SL.5.5

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Lupe Ruiz-Flores cover

Why Picture Books Are Important By Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Have you ever seen a child clutch a picture book to her/his chest like it’s a treasure? I have! Some of them beam, as they smell the freshness of a new book, perhaps the only book they’ve ever owned. I’ve participated in Reading Rock Stars at selected schools where after readings, my books are given free to the students. To see the eager, smiling faces of the students as I announce at the end of each reading that they will each be getting my book is indeed touching.

Picture books are all about storytelling with pictures, and who doesn’t like a good story, especially with visual images that make the story come alive. Picture books are important because they capture a young reader’s imagination and creativity. An engaging story in a picture book can make an emotional connection with a reader and this link to books might just make the reader a life-long lover of books.

With picture books, a young reader can discover how visual images and words interact to make a story and this might possibly lead to discussion. Provide a child the opportunity to read a picture book for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s a great way to get them starting in reading.

Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Lupe Ruiz-Flores

About Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Lupe Ruiz-Flores has always been a writer at heart. Born and raised in Southwest Texas, she’s also lived in Thailand and Japan. Her brothers and sisters in her large close-knit family are her best friends. She gets her love for storytelling from her grandmother and father. She’s had six bilingual picture books published. Four have been on the Tejas Star Book Award Reading List. Two have been on the Mamiverse blog list, “Latino Childrens’ Books You Should Know.” She’s been a featured author at the Texas Book Festival twice and has participated in Reading Rock Stars. Her website is www.luperuiz-flores.com.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Dance

Curriculum Connections
Books are treasure, so host a Book Treasure Hunt!

Any picture book that the children are not familiar with works best. For this example, we will use Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita by Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

Type out the text to Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita and cut the text so that it is on several slips of paper. Next, make some photocopies of a few illustrations from Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita on separate pieces of paper.

Hide the slips of paper containing the text and the illustrations around the room to be found during the Book Treasure Hunt.

Once all of the pieces are found, children should work to piece the story together. Through careful reading of the text and close viewing of the illustrations, see if they can find the correct story sequence. Then read Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita aloud to see if they were right.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.1,3,7; RL.1,3,7; RL.2.1,3,7; RL.3.1,3,7; RL.4.1,7

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Judy Schachner

by Dianne on November 21, 2014

Judy Schachner cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Judy Schachner
I don’t believe in miracles,
but I do believe in picture books.

A few years back a teacher wrote and told me about a student she had been working with for a while. The boy was nonverbal and unable to move but he had very expressive eyes. So for over two years they tried to teach him to communicate using something called eye gaze… but with no luck.

“We always have story time,” the teacher wrote “and he listens complacently. One day, when I was finished, he started making noises we had never heard before. We began to prepare for what we thought might be another seizure. Bracing ourselves for the worst, we noticed that his eyes kept darting over to the choice board then back to me. This continued until it became quite apparent that it was not a seizure, it was a request. When I held up the choice board he quieted, looked directly to the picture of your book, looked to me and attempted to laugh. Nearly in tears, realizing what had just happened, I praised him and read the story. He was laughing and smiling the entire time. That was the first time that he has EVER made an attempt at communication, let alone a request!”

No, I don’t believe in miracles,
but I do believe in picture books.

Judy Schachner

Judy Schachner

About Judy Schachner
Judy Schachner was born into an Irish Catholic working class family from New England. She can’t ever remember a time when she was not drawing and like most budding artists she doodled on everything, including her father’s bald head. She drew herself into stories where she was the smartest in her class and into a family where mothers lived to be a ripe old age.

Described by the New York Times as “…something like the James Joyce for the elementary school – set…”, Judy Schachner is the #1 New York Times Best Selling Author/Illustrator of over 24 books for children including Bits & Pieces, the Skippyjon Jones series, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman, and Willy and May. She has won many awards including the first E. B. White Read Aloud Award.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Cats & Dogs

Curriculum Connections
Snow White, Cinderella, The Three Pigs. These are all fairy tales that students can probably recite by heart.

In groups of 2-3, children will choose a fairy tale and retell the plot boiling it down to the following 8 steps:

Once upon a time _________________.
Along came trouble ________________.
First, __________________________________.
Then, _________________________________________.
Next, _________________________________________.
After that, _________________________________________.
Finally, _________________________________________.
They lived happily ever after.

Then, create a “live action illustration” or still picture of each of the 8 narration. The teacher should take a photograph of students in the image.

Using the iPad app “Explain Everything” or Voice Thread, students can add the 8 pieces of narration to the 8 digital images in order to create a slideshow of their retelling. Share the finished pieces with the rest of the group.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.2, RL.1.2,3; Writing standards: W.K.3, W.1.3, W.2.3; Speaking and Listening standards SL.K.2, 5, 6, SL.1.2, 5, SL.2.2, 4, 5

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Using the same 8 plot point prompts as above, retell a well-known fairy tale as a group. Encourage children to take turns acting out each plot point non-verbally.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Marla Frazee

by Dianne on November 20, 2014

Marla Frazee cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Marla Frazee
I’ve happily devoted my life to making picture books. But as the years go by and the books I’ve made pile up, I have a harder and harder time defining just what it is that makes them so intriguing to me. Picture books provide so much more than we could reasonably expect of them. The ingredients are simple: words and pictures and page turns. Stir in the magic of a story read aloud, a lap to sit on, a story circle to be part of, a nap time, a private space –– and a picture book can be a force that shapes us, changes us, and never quite releases its grip on our heart.

We remember the picture books we ourselves grew up with a fierce love and attachment. In my role as a teacher, I have listened to many grownups describe their favorite picture book from their own childhood. It becomes immediately apparent, as they share their personal experience with a particular book, that they are also sharing a very deep and true part of themselves.

Most importantly, when it comes to picture books, there is mutuality. They serve the one who is reading as much as the one who is being read to. I just visited my college-aged son up in Berkeley. We were eating ice cream and wandering around Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore on College Ave. I was carrying Inga Moore’s A HOUSE IN THE WOODS to the cashier when my son saw it and asked me to read it to him. “Here?” I said. “Yes.” So we sat in these wee little chairs in the children’s section and I read it aloud to him.

It was magical. The book. The shared moment. The seared memory. That’s why picture books are important.

Marla Frazee

Marla Frazee

About Marla Frazee
Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. She is the author-illustrator of The Farmer and the Clown, The Boss Baby, Roller Coaster, Walk On!, Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert, and Boot & Shoe, as well as the illustrator of The Seven Silly Eaters, Stars, God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant, and the NYT bestselling Clementine series and many others. Marla teaches at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, has three grown sons, and works in a small backyard cabin under an avocado tree.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Babies

Curriculum Connections
Marla Frazee says the ingredients of a picture book are simple: words and pictures and page turns. Look closely at The Farmer and The Clown. Although there are no words, there certainly are a lot of quality ingredients.

Pretend you have a large story pot. As a group, create a list ingredients that make The Farmer and The Clown such a great book. Children should put those ingredients into the large story pot.

Next, read The Farmer and The Clown aloud. What is added to the pot during the read aloud to make the book experience extra magical? Add those ingredients.

Wrap up by having children share one word about story time and add it to the pot for a future read aloud.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.1,3,7,10; RL.1.1,3,7; RL.2.1,3,7

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Ted Lewin

by Dianne on November 19, 2014

Ted Lewin book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Ted Lewin
We weren’t big readers in my house. There were very few picture books, but my father was a great storyteller. He would regale my kid brother and me with stories about characters he made up. Snippy the Snooper and Sad-eyed Sadie were two of my favorites. His words were making pictures in my mind. I can still see them clearly.

I didn’t read much, but I drew all the time. Making pictures was all I wanted to do. My first real experience with picture books was while I attended Pratt Institute. A wonderful professor there instilled in me a lifelong love of reading. Three of my classmates, Tomie DePaola, and Anita and Arnold Lobel, were already making picture books. I thought my work wasn’t suited for young readers. But, the longer I worked as an illustrator the “younger” my work got. I did YA jackets, children’s magazines and text book readers.

I did my first picture book in 1985 called Faithful Elephants, a story of innocents in war. It was a sad, tragic true story, and I wanted badly to make images that would support the text. I think they helped to show how senseless war is. From then on I was hooked on telling a story in a sequence of pictures and as someone once said, “the drama of turning the page.” To me it was like a slowed down motion picture.

I’m an avid bird watcher. When a child looks at one of my picture books I want them to experience the same thing I did when I looked through binoculars at a gorgeous blue jay for the first time. I had to know what that bird was called. The same thing happened when I put on a face mask and gazed at a coral reef teeming with life. Picture books do this. They expose a child to the visual wonders of the world and help them learn to express themselves through words.

I work in a representational style. I try to reproduce the world in all its diversity.
Whether I write and illustrate a story based on my own experiences or illustrate someone else’s story, for me and I hope for my readers it’s the same thing, a journey of a lifetime.

Ted Lewin

Ted Lewin

About Ted Lewin
Ted Lewin always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. He was influenced by the work of N.C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. Ted’s career began doing illustrations for adventure magazines but eventually devoted his full time to writing and illustrating picture books. Ted is an avid traveler and many of his books are inspired by trips to the world’s wild places. In 1994, Ted was awarded a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Peppe, The Lamplighter. In 2007, he won a silver medal in the Society of Illustrators annual Show, and the Hamilton King Award for the best illustration by a member.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Birds

Curriculum Connections

Ted Lewin’s Animals Work is a wonderful springboard for further study. Use the map in the back of the book (for example: India) combined with its corresponding spread (for example: “An elephant lifts”) to research more information.

After conducting a guided Internet or library search (for example: how elephants are used for work in India), children can write a short grade-appropriate report about what they found, adding drawings or photos when helpful.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing Text standards: W.K.2,6,7,8; W.1.2,6,7,8; W.2.2,6,7,8; W.3.2.6,7,8; W.4.2,6,7,8; W.5.2,6,7,8

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Before reading aloud Animals Work by Ted Lewin, focus only on the illustrations. Ask the children what the animal is doing in the picture. Then, look to the words on the page. Using phonetics can the children read the text? Practice “reading” the text and pictures together several times through allowing each to inform the other.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Jill Esbaum

by Dianne on November 18, 2014

Jill Esbaum book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Jill Esbaum
Picture books aid in a child’s emotional development.

I clearly remember my first literary crush. The more I learned about him, the more firmly he wedged himself into my soft little five-year-old heart. He was cute. He was helpful. He was… gray.

Horton the elephant helped me learn the meaning of faithful.

“I meant what I said
and I said what I meant…
An elephant’s faithful,
one hundred per cent!”

He also helped develop within me the concept of empathy. I was right there with him, perched atop that bendy branch, unprotected in thunderstorms, shivering through snow and ice, enduring nasty jeers from others, refusing to abandon that egg even when carted off to be humiliatingly displayed. (The only downside of my empathy toward Horton was that I never was able to warm up to one of my real-life kindergarten classmates, a girl eerily similar to Mayzie in personality and deportment.)

Picture books take kids to new places, expose them to other cultures, introduce them to new ideas and kindred spirits. They can expand a child’s love of nature, comfort those who feel alone, cheer them when they’re down, allow them to escape their own reality for a short time and live inside somebody else’s life. Empathize with – and crush on – a faithful elephant.

Still love you, buddy.

Jill Esbaum

About Jill Esbaum
Jill Esbaum is the award-winning author of many picture books, including her newest, I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! (Dial, illustrated by Gus Gordon), and I Hatched! (Dial, illustrated by Jen Corace). She also enjoys writing a variety of nonfiction books for National Geographic Kids, including the popular Angry Birds Playground series. Jill lives on a farm in Iowa. Learn more at www.jillesbaum.com and www.picturebookbuilders.com

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Cows

Curriculum Connections

Like Horton in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches an Egg, Nadine in Jill Esbaum’s I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! takes the readers on quite an adventure.

What are some moments that make Nadine’s story such a fun one to read? Is there anything we can learn from Nadine? Is there anything we would do differently from Nadine? What would you tell Nadine, if you could?

Children can create a “crush” card for Nadine celebrating what they like best about her and her story. Be sure to clearly write why they think Nadine is “crushable” and include artwork, as well.

Correlates to the Common Core Reading Literature standards: RL.K.1,2,3; RL.1.1,2,3; RL.2.1,3; Writing standards: W.K.3; W.1.3; W.3.3

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Throw a “My Literary Crush” party! Children can share their favorite books, dress like their favorite characters and celebrate other’s favorite characters.

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Sandra Markle

by Dianne on November 17, 2014

Sandra Markle book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Sandra Markle
Picture books are the perfect way for people to share time together. No other book is quite like it for reading aloud and for feeling like you’re in the story or real-life adventure. I remember sitting on my mother’s lap for a hug and a story as I turned the pages of a picture book and she read over my shoulder. You could say picture books are generational because I did that with my children too. I’ll never forget having the flu and my son Scott, bringing The Berenstain’s Bears in the Night to share and make me feel better. He was too young to really read but we’d poured over that book so many times he did a very good job reciting it to me, pointing out each picture. After my daughter Holly was born, we explored favorite picture books all over again. And now I’m getting to discover favorite picture books yet again reading with my grandchildren. It speaks volumes that lines from some picture books have become family sayings. For example, “For rabbits you see aren’t affected by fame, No matter what happens they’re always the same.” (Bill Peet’s Huge Harold). “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?” (Bill Martin Jr.’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?) And “You don’t need words or warm or anything but hope.” (Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon).

As an author, there’s something truly special about writing picture books. For me, it’s telling stories to children just the way I did with my own family only from my mind to the pages they read. And, as I write, I read the text over and over out loud to hear and shape the text until it’s just right—a word picture. I want adults who’ll share my book with children to be able to bring the picture book to life as they read aloud. I always tell children when I visit schools and libraries, “When you read my books, I’ll be there with you. We’ll share the story together.” Picture books are that unique kind of communication that makes this promise true.

Sandra Markle

About Sandra Markle
Sandra Markle is the author of more than 200 non-fiction books for children. Her work has won numerous awards, including the 2012 Prize for Excellence in Science Books by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2013 School Library Journal’s Best Children’s Books of the Year List, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices, NSTA Outstanding Science Tradebook, Green Earth Book Awards, Cybils Finalist, John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, Junior Library Guild Selection, Orbis Pictus Recommended Book, Charlotte Zolotow Award, and many more.

In addition to her books, Sandra Markle has developed science specials for CNN and PBS and Internet-based science education programs for Scholastic and the National Science Foundation. She was selected twice by NSF to travel to Antarctica with the Artists & Writers Program and provided some of the first live chats with schools from this remote location.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Forest

Curriculum Connections

After reading What if You Had Animal Hair!? guide children in their own exploration of “what if?”
To start, pass around pens and cards to everyone in the circle. Tell everyone to write a question that begins with “What if…” at the top of the card. For example, “What if people had platypus beaks instead of lips?”

These questions can be serious or silly. The goal is to be creative and have a sense of wonder.

Then collect all of the cards, shuffle them up, and deal them back out to everyone randomly. If someone gets their own card by chance, you can let them switch for another one.

Once everyone has a card with a question that they didn’t write, tell everyone to then write a narrative to answer the question, starting with the word “Then…” Lastly, the person who writes the answer must also illustrate it.

The goal here is for imaginative play, not necessarily fact-based information. Although older students could add research to give more scientific answers.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.3.3; W.4.3; W.5.3

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: As a group, come up with a list of funny “what if’s”. For example, “what if we had platypus beaks instead of lips?”, “what if we had sticky tongues like frogs and ate flies?”, and “what if we had horns on our heads like a rhino?” Once a list is created, have the children illustrate what a person with all of these crazy attributes would look like!

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Johnette Downing book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Johnette Downing
My earliest memory of childhood is of being rocked by my mother as she read and sang to me. The rhythmic creak of the rocking chair against the floor and the beating of her heart with mine echoed in the stillness of the night as we cuddled and she read a picture book while I listened for the descending cadence in her voice that told me it was time to turn the page. These are the bonding moments I have treasured throughout my life and are what made me want to be a writer and singer. It didn’t matter which book she read or which song she sang, it was those quiet moments of personal sharing of something of beauty and wonder that transported us from our living room to worlds of limitless potential, a springboard to a life I would create for myself beyond my wildest dreams.

My second memory of childhood is yet again centered upon the printed book. My father is an avid reader and had a library in our house. The shelves of books on all four walls went from the floor to the ceiling and I immersed myself in theology, philosophy, and the classics all the while visualizing that my own books would one day find themselves on those very same shelves.

Books were and are important to me because of the value my parents and I placed upon them. Printed books are not only the objects to behold and the meaning to be gleaned, but also the time we take to read and the moments we spend bonding that make us share a love of life-long learning. Books give us the gift to imagine and the foundation to leap into a life we conceive, believe and achieve for ourselves.

Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing

About Johnette Downing
Called the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions” by the media, Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning children’s musician and author. Dedicated to cultural sharing, fostering literacy and celebrating childhood through her music, books and programs, Johnette Downing has received twenty-two international awards and has performed in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Central America, North America and the Caribbean. Johnette is the author of fourteen picture books (Pelican Publishing) and ten music recordings for children, the cofounder of the New Orleans Haiku Society, and the recent recipient of the New Orleans Magazine Top Female Achievers Award and the CityBusiness Magazine Women of the Year Award.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Food

Curriculum Connections

Using the delicious illustrations in Macarooned on a Dessert Island as inspiration, children can write a haiku.

Example:
Cupcakes bend in breeze
As the gumdrops pitter pat.
Sugar scents the air.

Have students work with a partner or individually to create their own haiku based on their favorite tasty treats. Remind them of the pattern they will be using. (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables… remind them that it is syllables NOT WORDS!)

After the rough drafts are complete, students can work in peer editing groups, or conference with the teacher to edit their work. For an extra special touch, students can illustrate their haiku.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.2.3,5; W.3.3,5; Language Standards L.2.1, 2, 3; L.3,1,2,3

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: Read through Macarooned on a Dessert Island. Ask children to listen for the rhyming words. When they hear a rhyme they should stand up, spin around, and clap three times. Then ask them to repeat the two words that rhymed.

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Alexis O'Neill cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Alexis O’Neill
A picture book is a perfect pen line. A curve of crayon. A wash of pigment. Layers of color on color on color. A picture book is a simile that shivers. A metaphor that melts. A not-a-poem, yet Every. Word. Counts. Picture books excite the eye, the ear, the heart.

A picture book is a living thing. It talks to your eyes. It colors your ears. It holds your heart in thrall until the last slender page. Will the ducklings cross the street safely? What will happen if Ferdinand refuses to fight? What can I do to make the world more beautiful?

A picture book connects generations upon generations curled on couches, snuggled in beds, perched on chairs, swaying in rockers. And when a picture book hangs from its spine in threads, when it bears the smudge of jelly and mud, when the pages are dog-eared or torn, when the parent says to the child, Here’s a book I loved when I was your age, that’s how we know why picture books are important.

Alexis O'Neill

Alexis O’Neill

About Alexis O’Neill
Alexis O’Neill is the author of awarding-winning picture books including The Recess Queen, Loud Emily, and The Kite That Bridged Two Nations. She is an active member of Ventura County Reading Association, California Reading Association (VCRA / CRA), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and California School Library Association (CSLA). A family literacy advocate, Alexis was recently awarded the Dr. Marcus Foster Memorial Award from the California Reading Association for making significant and outstanding contributions to reading throughout California. One of her passions is connecting young readers with children’s authors and illustrators through school visits. She lives in Southern California. For more information, go to: www.alexisoneill.com

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: School

Curriculum Connections

Read Alexis O’Neill’s The Kite that Bridged Two Nations aloud as a class. Just like Homan Walsh’s kite in the story connects Canada to America, books act like kites connecting the readers together in a shared experience.

Have each child choose a book that they love. It can be any kind of book as long as it is a book that they want to share with other readers.

Then, assist the children in creating kites out of construction paper and yarn or string. On their kite, the child should write the title of the book that they would like to connect others to. Include a sentence or two about why they recommend this book.

Create a bulletin board display of the kites.

Encourage other children to check out the recommended books. When they do, they should add a clothespin which includes their name to the string of the book’s kite to show that a connection was made.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.K.1; W.1.1; W.2.1; W.3.1; W.4.1; W.5.1

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Anna Dewdney

by Dianne on November 14, 2014

Nelly_JK_final.indd

Why Picture Books Are Important by Anna Dewdney
What we need to remember is this: when we read a picture book with a child, we are doing so much than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language, or improving literacy. We are doing a much more powerful thing – we are sharing our voices, our imaginations, and our experiences with a child. With that, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

We learn empathy as children, through our interactions with the people in our lives and by experiencing the world around us. By reading picture books with children, we share other worlds, and even more importantly, we share ourselves. Reading with children makes an intimate, human connection that teaches that child what it means to be alive as one of many live beings on the planet. We are naming feelings, expressing experience, and demonstrating love and understanding… all in a safe environment. When we read a book with children, then children – no matter how stressed, no matter how challenged – are drawn out of themselves to bond with other human beings, and to see and feel the experiences of others. I believe that it is this moment that makes us human. In this sense, reading makes us human.

Anna Dewdney

Anna Dewdney

About Anna Dewdney
Anna Dewdney is the bestselling author and illustrator of over 15 award-winning children’s books, most notably the Llama Llama series. Her stories have been adapted into several theatre productions and have been translated into more than ten foreign languages. Anna grew up outside New York City and has lived in Vermont since the early 1980s. Before writing and illustrating her own work, she illustrated several books for other writers. She has worked as waitress, a rural mail-carrier, and has taught art, remedial language, history, and English in boarding schools. Anna is a strong advocate of literacy and in addition to speaking across the country on the importance of reading for children, she has published articles about this topic in several publications including the Wall Street Journal. Anna supports environmental efforts, including pangolin conservation in southeast Asia, as well as local historic preservation. Anna enjoys running and gardening. She is the mother of two daughters and several dogs.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Llamas

Curriculum Connections

Look closely at the illustrations in Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too. How would you describe how Nelly Gnu? How do you think she feels in each illustration? What about the illustration makes you believe she feels this way?

Stand up and mimic what she is doing? How does it make you feel?

Ask children to share their ideas for each illustration while they are on their feet imitating Nelly Gnu. For example, “Nelly Gnu is feeling happy. I feel happy when _______.”

Correlates to the Common Core Reading standards: R.K.7, R.1.7, R.2.7, R.3.6, 7

HANDS-ON BONUS: Divide children into groups of 3-4. Give each group a cardboard box. Assign each student a different task: markers, glue, colored paper, scissors, etc. Ask children to decorate the box using teamwork, just like Nelly Gnu and her daddy. How does working together make you feel?

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