Monday, January 21, 2008
out with Mama
shopping at the Shop-o-Rama
great big feet.
Ladies smelling way too sweet.
Look at knees and stand in line.
starts to whine.
What parent hasn't experienced a toddler's meltdown while shopping past their ability to endure? Little Llama is not at all interested in bargains even if it means new shoes, socks and Cream of Wheat for him. It's Saturday and he wants to play!
In her second Little Llama adventure, author/Illustrator Anna Dewdney, recounts a common family situation. Her wonderfully expressive illustrations leave us in no doubt that Little Llama's temperature is rising and we're about to experience a major Llama Drama event. Just like its predecessor Llama, Llama, Red Pajama, the rhyming verses are fun to read aloud. She colors occasional words in the text to emphasize to both children and adults that these are the words to be emphasized in the stanza.
Not every parent will handle the public meltdown as well as Mama Llama, but this story is a gentle reminder to adults to set reasonable limits on what they can accomplish with a little one in tow. Little Llama and his Mama are two of the most charming characters of the last few years. Here's hoping that the next Llama adventure is just around the corner.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Instead of in the closet, the Mama of this story keeps her treasured special clothing in a suitcase under the bed, carefully and lovingly folded. It is the little girl's 7th birthday and Mama is preparing to dress for the party. As the little girl helps her Mama choose the sari for today's special event, she begs and pleads to wear a sari herself. The vibrant jewel tones of the saris themselves are set against other dense patterns in the backgrounds of the bedroom wall, a photo frame and bedspread. The wonderful array of patterns emphasize the importance and beauty of special occasions when you change from your ordinary self (in this case a blue shirt and jumper) to your beautiful, festive self. For many children, this book will be their first introduction to clothing and family tradition from another culture than their own.
At heart, it is a retelling of a story that children will find familiar - most having experienced some variation of it in their own homes. Taking a familiar story to a broader canvas is one of the great joys that a picture book can provide. Mama's Saris is terrific reminder to all of us of the universality of our life experiences no matter where we live.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
In the state of Washington as local school districts slash school library positions, parents and educators are lobbying the state to include library services as part of the state's definition of basic education services. California spending on school libraries has decreased from $29.16 per student in the 1999-2000 school year to $.41 per student this year.
The ALA announced that Americans spend 9X the amount of money on video games ($7.3 billion) as they do on school library materials for their children ($771.2 million).
ALA President Loriene Roy stated, "Since 1965, more than 60 education and library studies have produced clear evidence that school library media programs staffed by qualified library media specialists have a positive impact on student academic achievement."
- All students have the access to certified school library media specialists.
- All school libraries be adequately funded to ensure that they include up-to-date collections in both print and electronic formats.
- The school library media program be integrated into classroom curriculum.
We all must keep the pressure on our local districts and state governments to keep fully-funded school libraries a priority for our children. For more information, http://www.ala.org/ is a great resource.
Also, if you are a school librarian, the AASL is launching its second year of longitudinal research. The survey window is January 11 - March 15th of this year. If you would like to participate, please log in here. All K-12 public and private schools are invited to participate.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Willem's clever use of illustration and photography, his ability to capture the unspoken conversation between Trixie's parents in a couple of glances, the pain of separation between Trixie and her Knuffle Bunny, and the pure joy and importance of a middle-of-the-night rendevous make this a must read.
Not only is this title a finalist for the Cybil's picture books award, but Mo had this to say about us "wacky bloggers". The Cybils' Awards have even attracted the notice of the International Reading Associaton in particular for Knuffle Bunny Too.
Check out Mother Reader's review here.
Finalists will be announced on February 14th.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
This story of friendship found in the most unlikely of places reflects the experience of many refugee children and is, in fact, based on real experiences of the authors. It is a testament to how strong our human need for connection and friendship actually is. When a family is displaced, separated from their home, community, extended family and without a means to support themselves, they become dependent on the kindness of governments and relief organizations. Without control over where they will be relocated, some refugees can live in camps for years.
To realize that friendship can spark and live in a place of such uncertainty and fear is a powerful story of hope and survival. And one which all children should learn about and understand. No matter how bad our situation is, we always have a choice about how to respond to others. We choose whether to stand together or apart.
Refugee camps have some similarity to real life as there are always the routines of every day life that need to be created. Gathering water, washing clothes, cooking food, and care of the family. Impermanance, insecurity and fear fuels the concerns and conversation of everyone living in a camp. Caught between an old life that is gone forever and a new life that cannot yet be glimpsed is frightening.
Yet in the midst of that, two girls find each other and share a pair of shoes. Their friendship helps them humanize their situation reminding them that there are still wonderful things that life will offer them. Illustrator Doug Chayka uses soft, warm colors to convey the desert, tents, primitive conditions, and clothing of the people in the camp.
This is a wonderful story of friendship and hope that should be shared as widely as possible. When we know the face of the "other", we are more likely to greet them as friends than as enemies.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Then the recognizable list of bedtime needs and complaints begins as Lucy takes on the parental role of putting Monster to bed and getting him to sleep. This role reversal will amuse children and parents both.Part of the charm of this story is the lean elegance of the text and illustrations. They effectively convey the power of a child's imagination while demonstrating to children the universality of bedtime games and the struggles parents have in getting their children to bed and to sleep.
Congratulations to Natasha and Sylvie on becoming a Cybils’ Award Finalist.
I highly recommend this story for children ages 4-6.
Check out more blogger reviews for Go to Bed, Monster! at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Cheryl Rainfield's Book Blog, and World of Words.
ALSO check out this interview with Natasha Wing and Syvlie Kantorovitz at Becky's Book Reviews.