Picture Book Month 2016

by Dianne on July 26, 2016

PBMBADGE-AMBASSADOR

Friends:

We are excited about this year’s Picture Book Month! I wanted to give you a status update because I am receiving emails inquiring about when the 2016 Picture Book Month Champions will be announced and when the new calendar will go up. We are working on it diligently and will have everything up, hopefully, by September 1, 2016.

Exciting news… We are now an official celebration! We have been listed in Richard Chase’s Calendar of Events. We also have a new partner, Kidlit TV.

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We are looking forward to an amazing year! Thank you so much for your support!

Warmly,

Dianne de Las Casas
Founder, Picture Book Month

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Natasha Wing

by Dianne on November 30, 2015

Natasha Wing book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Natasha Wing
Picture books offer children a vehicle in which they are the captains of their world. When I learned to read to myself, I could determine the pace of the story by turning the pages when I was ready. I could linger over the illustrations, or memorized how a new word was spelled. I could learn about nature, or enter a fantastical world. And boy, did I love the sound of rhyme thanks to Dr. Seuss!

Some books I grew up with and loved (and still own) were The Cat in the Hat, The Little Engine that Could, and Cinderella. Lo and behold I turned out to be a children’s author who likes to write in rhyme, who is persistent and doesn’t give up, and who found her prince and is living happily ever after (although I don’t have a shoe fetish!)

I wonder how the children’s books being read today will shape the adults of tomorrow. Keep reading picture books to kids and some day you’ll find out.

Natasha Wing headshot

About Natasha Wing
Natasha Wing has been publishing for 23 years. Her bestselling rhyming Night Before series includes 20 titles with more on the way, and overall has sold in excess of 5.3 million copies. An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers was an ALA Notable and was translated into Chinese. Her multi-cultural book, Jalapeno Bagels, about a Mexican-Jewish family is in its 23rd printing! (See a full list of published books at natashawing.com) Along with writing, she is also having fun painting with watercolors (dogs mostly) and hopes to someday illustrate her own book. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her prince, Dan, and cat, Purrsia.

Literacy Activity
Nov 30 ~ School

“Picture books build empathy which is an important tool for navigating through society.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Get to know others in your school by hosting a story time book club. Have students bring their favorite picture book to share aloud with other classes in a way of fostering community.

Suggested reading:

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Julie Durrell
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley
Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard Jr., illustrated by James Marshall
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Matt Phelan

by Dianne on November 29, 2015

Matt Phelan book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Matt Phelan
Shhh. Quiet down. Forget everything that happened today and everything that will happen tomorrow. Close your eyes to the images, noises, and stimuli of today’s world.

Now, open your eyes and look at these pictures. Listen to this story. Sink into this world which will exist for thirty-two pages but will last in your memory forever.

Picture books can make you laugh, cry, wonder, and become inspired. You can learn about people, places, and events in history. You can learn about friendship and love. You can learn about what it means to be a good human being.

This is why I think picture books matter. This is why I want to spend my life making them.

Matt Phelan headshot

About Matt Phelan
Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers including Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, Marilyn’s Monster by Michelle Knudsen, and Druthers, which he also wrote. He is also the author of the graphic novels The Storm in the Barn (winner of the Scott O’Dell Award), Around the World, and Bluffton. In 2014, Matt was awarded the Free Library of Philadelphia/Drexel University Children’s Literature Citation.

Literacy Activity
Nov 29 ~ Bears

“Picture books are meant to be read-aloud, which automatically makes them a social experience.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Create your own television or book trailer to get others to read your favorite picture book about bears.

Suggested reading:

Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Matt Phelan
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury, illustrated by Michael Rosen
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood, illustrated by Audrey Wood
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Why Picture Books Are Important by TJ Shay

by Dianne on November 28, 2015

TJ Shay Dot Day

Why Picture Books Are Important by TJ Shay
Picture books challenge us all to be better people.

They launch creative experiences, support the burgeoning artist, teach new concepts in a fun way and help ignite passion in the reader. Art, story, and history all come together in a small package. Whether it be stunning art created by a master like Wendell Minor, which encourages someone to pick up a paintbrush, a story like Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton that helps us recognize our gifts, or a book like Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder that gives us a glimpse into history at a person who changed the world.

Picture books invite us to take action and make our own change. For the past seven years, I’ve had a front row seat to a global creativity movement over four million people strong, sparked by a picture book. International Dot Day is a day of creativity inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book, The Dot, and inspired by the themes in the book: creativity, bravery, and collaboration. I believe The Dot should be required reading for teachers, as it shows the best of what we can become.

What better way is there to learn a new concept than using a picture book? The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is the perfect example of personification and would be an easy way to get kids excited about learning the concept. The best thing is, you might not even know you learned something!

I am disheartened when people say that picture books are just for little kids, because don’t we all need to see and appreciate art, learn new things, find ways to make the most of what we have, and be inspired to reach greater heights in our profession and world? I think so! Read on.

TJ Shay headshot

About TJ Shay
Terry J. Shay is a K-12 Vocal Music Teacher at North Tama School in Traer, IA. He was
the founder of International Dot Day ( www.thedotclub.org) and the Celebridots site
(www.celebridots.com). In his spare time, he is an Ambassador for FableVision Learning. He lives in Waterloo, IA with his wife, a high school English and International Baccalaureate teacher.

Literacy Activity
Nov 28 ~ Creativity

“Picture book illustrations serve as wonderful models of how shapes are used to create pictures.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

You don’t have to wait until September to celebrate Dot Day and making your mark on the world. Check out the many activities to inspire and get your creativity on all year round at thedotclub.org.

Suggested reading:

The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Bosom

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Eric Litwin

by Dianne on November 27, 2015

Eric Litwin book cover - Pete the Cat

Why Picture Books Are Important by Eric Litwin
Literacy begins with picture books. They are the first step on the path to reading and learning.

The love of books and reading starts when a child first feels the joy of story and pictures. It is expressed with those magical words, “Read it again”. It is nourished in cherished moments of bonding between caretaker and child as they read together. It is where a child’s imagination is given wings and the encouragement to fly. It is where the love of language begins.

Picture books integrate words and art into an extraordinary experience. Picture books are often deeply conceptual and work on many layers. This is why they are loved by children and adults alike.

I love to create picture books that blend early literacy and music together. I love to create picture books that are fully interactive between the child and reader. What is extraordinary is that these same techniques help the emerging reader learn to read.

My greatest joy is when parents and teachers share with me the moment their child broke through and was able to read. Their child’s happiness as they first read and their parents joy watching their child break into the world of literacy is astonishing. I want every family to feel that happiness.

So let’s celebrate Picture Book Month by reading and singing and learning together.

Eric Litwin headshot

About Eric Litwin
Eric began as a classroom teacher. He discovered that music helped his students learn to read and fall in love with books. So he brought his guitar to work every day. Eric left the classroom to write books that bring music and literacy together. Eric became a popular entertainer giving hundreds of shows every year. He did this for over ten years developing his unique musical writing style. Eric entered the world of publishing when he wrote the first four Pete the Cat Picture books (I Love My White Shoes, Rocking in My School Shoes, Four Groovy Buttons and Pete the Cat Saves Christmas). They were a huge success and are now classroom classics, helping more and more children learn to read. Eric continues to delight audiences through live performances where he shares his books and music. Eric has exciting new characters and books on the way. So stay in touch and stay groovy because it’s all good. Visit Eric at ericlitwin.com.

Literacy Activity
Nov 27 ~ Cats

“Children are born scientists; and picture books, like Science, are about the spirit of curiosity and exploration.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

They say “curiosity killed the cat,” yet curious minds should be celebrated! Real scientists are always asking questions and seeking answers. Ask your students to be scientists or “text-plorers.” Page by page read a picture book aloud. Ask students what questions they have after each page. Make sure to record all questions. No questions are silly. At the end of the book, review the list of questions and discuss possible answers. Some questions may have been answered in the story. Maybe some kids would want to guess or “hypothesize” the answers that are still unknown. Next, research the answers in the library or on the computer.

Suggested reading:

A Box Full of Kittens! by Sonia Manzano, illustrated by Matt Phelan
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates
Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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House that Santa Built 383 X 500

Why Picture Books Are Important by Holly Stone-Barker
When thinking back to my early childhood, some of my fondest memories are of picture books like the Grown-Up Day by Jack Kent, Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman, and Magic Jim by Diane Redfield Massie.

While pondering why picture books are important, I pulled out tattered, torn and well-loved copies of my childhood books and reminisced about lying flat on my stomach on green shag carpet for hours soaking in every picture. Even though I was not a strong reader at that age, it didn’t matter because the pictures told me the story.

Recently, I asked my nine-year-old daughter why picture books are important to her. Her response was, “My favorite thing to do is to go on ‘picture walks.’ I sit on my bed and read picture books in my head or out loud. I love picture books.” It is insightful and delightful to know that she goes on “picture walks” before going to sleep. I can’t help but wonder what her favorite remembrance of a picture book from her childhood will be.

Picture books are timeless. They are as powerful today as they were generations ago. Picture books capture stories that make up the fabric of who we are as they are retold to the next generation. The combination of hearing the words spoken and seeing the vivid illustrations create powerful and deep memories that last a lifetime.

Holly in Witchy Hat at Barnes & Noble small

About Holly Stone-Barker
Holly graduated from Pratt Institute with a B.F.A. in Communication Design and works as a freelance illustrator. Holly currently has seven published picture books. Each illustration is uniquely different, but they all have the same distinct style and medium. Holly uses textured and hand-painted paper to create her designs. Whimsical illustrations bring words to life through the thoughtful use of color, texture, and design. In conjunction with illustrating, Holly has been an active member on the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge Artist Roster. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and love of art with children.

Literacy Activity
Nov 26 ~ Holidays

“Picture books not only tell a story of a culture or historical time, they also provide a visual into the world through illustrations.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Each year different holidays are observed around the world. Their traditions and cultures are as diverse as the people who celebrate them. Conduct research on holidays around the world to share. Maybe even find a way to celebrate in the Classrooms.

Suggested reading:

The House that Witchy Built by Dianne de Las Casas, illustrated by Holly Stone-Barker
Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Dia de Los Muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Matthew Winner

by Dianne on November 25, 2015

Matthew Winner All the Wonders

Why Picture Books Are Important by Matthew Winner
Think back to a book that was read to you as a child. What details can you remember? Can you picture the person who read to you? Can you hear their voice and the cadence placed on the text each time they read it? Did you sit on a lap to hear the story? Or was there a special location in your house where story time always happened each day?

Picture books build memories that last and the act of reading a story aloud creates a shared experience that bonds the reader with the listener or listeners. For me, this story was Scuffy the Tugboat, a Golden Book written by Gertrude Crampton. According to mom, my dad used to read this book to me nearly every single morning over breakfast. It became part of our routine. It was expected. No matter the morning, it was a part of our day that I could look forward to. Over the years it became a memory that defined my relationship with my dad.

Later, it would be the memory I looked back on most frequently as a personal testament to the power of picture books. Imagine what impact reading to a child may have and how a good book, a just-the-right book, a sticky-story kind of book might just stick with them for the rest of their lives. And to know that it’s a picture book, a 32-page, printed and folded, sewn and glued, perfectly packaged work of art that’s helping to create those lasting memories? That right there. THAT is why picture books are important.

Matthew Winner headshot

About Matthew Winner
Matthew Winner an elementary library media specialist in Elkridge, Maryland. He is is the co-founder and content director of All The Wonders, a children’s literature website and more, and host of the Let’s Get Busy podcast, a weekly podcast where Matthew talks to authors, illustrators, award winners, up-and-comers, and everyone in between. In 2013, Matthew was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker and was invited to the White House as part of the Champions of Change program. For more information, connect with Matthewon Twitter at @MatthewWinner or online at AllTheWonders.com.

Literacy Activity
Nov 25 ~ Celebrations

“Picture books teach the universality of many experiences.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

We all have birthdays, yet we might have different ways of celebrating. Ask students to tell about their birthdays/favorite birthdays/birthday celebrations (especially cultures other than American). Have students recite the months of the year and create a birthday calendar bulletin board. Then have each student write their name and place it on their birthday on the calendar.

Suggested reading:

A Gluten-Free Birthday For Me! by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Jennifer Morris
Dale, Dale, Dale/Hit it, Hit It, Hit It: Una Fiesta de Numeros by Rene Saldana Jr., illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores
Happy Birthday To You! by Dr. Seuss
The Night Before My Birthday by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Happy Birthday, Cupcake! by Terry Border

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Joe Kulka

by Dianne on November 24, 2015

Joe Kulka book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Joe Kulka
Kids will devour books. Literally. I’ve seen books that I have written and or illustrated been chewed, chomped upon, and drooled on. To me that is the highest compliment.

That means the kid likes the book. Or then again maybe he or she really hates it and is actively destroying it.

Either way, I made an impact.

As artists and authors that is all we can ever hope of our work – that we will make an impression on our audience.

Due to the age in which we live, imagery and information bombards us nonstop in every possible way. Cell phones, computers, television, video games, movies, billboards, magazines, newspapers – everywhere you look some message is being delivered on some medium.

For a child who has only been alive a short period of time, all of this is new. All of this is being directed either intentionally or accidentally at their young impressionable eyes as well as at the eyes of more jaded adults.

This is why picture books are important.

Picture books are some of the first images and words that a child will hear and see in context of a story. The fact that someone is taking the time to share these books with children makes the books take on a sense of greater importance to the child. Mommy is reading me this book. This must be important. Even if the child is not consciously thinking this, it is registering.

Picture books are designed specifically for young children. They are written to delight, educate and entertain. Radical ideas may for the first time in their lives enter a child’s mind due to a picture book. You mean I can be the one in charge like Max is in charge of the Wild Things? But I am little and small. Hmm…Max is little and small too. But he was brave and tamed the Wild Things by staring into their yellow eyes. Maybe I can be brave, too!

Picture books can be empowering this way.

They may also be the first time a child understands a joke or some sort of humor other than someone tickling her or making a funny face at him.

All of this leads the child to want to experience more books and ultimately read books by themselves.

Or eat them.

Either way, they will devour picture books and I hope they will continue to do so for a very long time.

Joe Kulka headshot

About Joe Kulka
Joe Kulka has illustrated over 20 books for children. 5 of those books he has also written. Joe’s latest picture book is The Christmas Coal Man (CarolRhoda Books, 2015). He has been honored to have had several of his books win or be nominated for over 15 children’s book award and honors. Joe’s book, Wolf’s Coming! was named by School Library Journal as one of the best books of the year. Joe teaches classes on illustration and children’s books at Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Moore College of Art and Design, Rosemont College and DeSales University.

Literacy Activity
Nov 24 ~ Monsters/Beasts

“Picture books help students make sense of the world.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Monsters can be big. Or monsters can be small. Some monsters are fluffy. Others are scaly. There are many kinds of monsters. Read aloud the text of a picture book about monsters but do not share the illustrations. Then, have students create their own illustrations for the monsters in the book.

Suggested reading:
My Crocodile Does Not Bite by Joe Kulka
The Monstore by Tara Lazar, illustrated by James Burks
Even Monsters by AJ Smith
The Monster’s Monster by Patrick McDonnell
Substitute Creature by Chris Gall

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Why Picture Books Are Important by Paula Yoo

by Dianne on November 23, 2015

Paula Yoo book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Paula Yoo
When I’m not writing books, I’m a TV producer who writes screenplays. What I write on the scripted page is later interpreted by the director, the actors, and the crew (props, makeup/hair, special effects, wardrobe, lighting etc.).

When I started writing picture books, I realized the picture book writer’s job was very similar to a screenwriter. We create visceral and emotional stories to inspire the illustrator to create the perfect art to enhance the storyline.

But I also discovered there is a big difference between picture books and the visual medium of TV and movies. Given the rise of technology and ever-present handheld devices such as smart phones and tablets, our children have become even savvier about visual storytelling. They’re used to state-of-the-art computerized animation, dazzling special effects and clever software apps.

This is why picture books are even more important today because they provide an opportunity for children to focus purely on the STORY ITSELF. By focusing solely on the words and images on the page, children must use their OWN imagination to interpret the story. When a movie-goer or TV viewer sits in a chair and passively watches the screen, they are letting the screenwriter, director, actors, and crew interpret the story for them.

But the picture book reader becomes ACTIVELY INVOLVED in reading the story. The child must use his or her imagination in order to interpret the words and artwork. By using their imagination, the reader now lives in this fictional world and has joined the characters on their dramatic journey.

And there’s nothing more exciting – or rewarding – than that. Sure, picture books may seem “old fashioned” in today’s iWorld, but at the end of the day, picture books trump technology, thanks to their ability to capture a child’s imagination and wonder.

Paula Yoo headshot

About Paula Yoo
Paula Yoo is a children’s book author and TV producer. Her latest picture book, the Junior Library Guild Selection Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank (illustrated by Jamel Akib, Lee & Low Books 2014) won the 2015 South Asia Book Award. Her other books include the YA novel Good Enough (HarperCollins ’08) and IRA Notable picture books Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story and Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story from Lee & Low Books. As a TV producer, Paula has written for many shows, from NBC’s “The West Wing” to SyFy’s “Defiance.” Visit Paula at paulayoo.com.

Literacy Activity
Nov 23 ~ Biographies

“Picture books place a human face to historical, political, environmental, and cultural events.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Create a Classrooms library of picture book biographies. Then, using the biographies as a mentor text, have students write and illustrate a biography about someone special in their own lives.

Suggested reading:
Twenty-two Cents: Muhammed Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by April Chu
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story by Rebecca Langston-George, illustrated by Janna Bock
The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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Jennifer Gray Olson book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Jennifer Gray Olson
There are countless reasons why picture books are essential. Reasons ranging from their role in the development of early literacy skills to the bond that is shared between parent and child during lap time reading. For many children picture books are the first form of art that they will experience. Numerous studies have shown that a child’s early exposure to reading makes them more likely to succeed at every level of their education.

All that being said, the only thing that I can speak to with any certainty is the importance that picture books have played in my life. To me, picture books are everything. I have giggled at their absurdity, made lifelong friendships with their characters, and been brought to tears by how simply and poetically they can encapsulate the most complex of emotional narratives. They are tied to most major life experiences that I’ve had, as well as ones I could only hope to have. The way that some people assign certain songs to memories, I assign books. Seuss, Sendak and Silverstein are the background music to my childhood movie reel.

Growing up, Dr. Seuss was my hero. My first memories of reading (some of my first memories entirely) were of his books. Where some may have found just an entertaining rhyme, I found songs. The ones that get stuck in your head. The kind you can’t shake.

“I’m Yertle the Turtle!
Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler
of all that I see!”

See? Now it’s stuck in your head too.

Where some only saw an elephant and an egg, I found integrity. When you make a commitment to something, you see it through.

“I meant what I said
and I said what I meant…
An elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.”

Always keep your word.

A book that maybe to some was just quirky story about an anal retentive woodland creature, was to me, a commentary on the environment and our treatment of it.

“I am the Lorax.
I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees,
for the trees have no tongues.”

The Lorax, of all the Seuss books has probably stuck with me the most.

I recall a few years back, exiting the freeway near my house and seeing the that the most beautiful grove of orange trees in town had been destroyed. Steam was still rising off the piles of what was left. I gave an audible gasp and then began to tear up. My son (5 at the time), also disturbed by the scene, asked what had happened to the trees. Without hesitation I said “The Once-ler”. And he got it.

Jennifer Gray Olson headshot

About Jennifer Gray Olson
Jennifer Gray Olson is the author and illustrator of Ninja Bunny and the upcoming Ninja Bunny: Bunny vs. Bunny. She grew up in sunny Southern California where she spent most of her time indoors, drawing imaginary worlds and the characters who inhabited them. Not much has changed. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children and still draws every day. But she tries to go outside more…
To view her daily ramblings visit her on Twitter at @jgrayolson.

Literacy Activity
Nov 22 ~ Bunnies

“Visuals in the illustrations build skills for determining meaning through context.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

Bunnies are so cute and fuzzy. But looks can be deceiving. Maybe the bunny is a superhero. Or maybe the bunny has a bad temper. Or maybe the bunny is really a gorilla in disguise! Whatever it is, write a story about a bunny who is more than meets the eye.

Suggested reading:
Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Gray Olson
Bunnies!!! by Kevan Atteberry
I Am A Bunny by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah O’Hora
Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear by Monica Carnesi
Bear and Bunny by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

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