Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
"Line No. 50" by Zdenek Sykora
"Urban Jewels" by Denyse Thomasos
Monday, April 28, 2008
This story is so original and creative. I love how the reader is encouraged to really interact with the book through Child's use of text on the page as well as pages you unfold or an actual hole in the paper that leads from one page to another. She also includes so many details that one can only catch upon multiple readings such as the "stains" left by food or what looks like a banana sticker stuck to the littlest of the three bears. She also incorporates some characters from her other books, such as the wolf with the eye-patch wearing a dress who is in her book "Beware of the Storybook Wolves" which also has Herb as the main character.
Published By: Greenwillow Books, 2005
Genre: picture book, poetry, multicultural
Age Range: Grades 2-4
This collection of poems describes the different lights that can be seen during the winter such as the light caught in an icicle, holiday lights on houses, lights from different winter holiday traditions such as Santa Lucia, or the menorah, and many more. This book does a good job of describing lights from many different cultures that make up American culture, not just those of Western culture.
The main thing that made this book stand out for me, though, was the fact that all of the illustrations are quilted! Thats right, not drawn or painted, but made of pieces of fabric quilted together to make beautiful and intricate scenes. One of my favorites is a scene that looks like luminaries lining a pathway to a house. The lights stand out so brightly against the dark background and their are other warm colored clothes surrounding the luminaries to look like the light falling on the ground around them. Absolutely beautiful!!
This collection of poems could be used in the classroom during the winter months and would be a good way to incorporate the many different cultural traditions that occur in the winter. Students could also learn about quilting and the traditions that go along with it. Quilting is a craft that has been important in many areas of the world to show heritage, and different patterns represent different things such as where a person or family is from. Quilting also often brings people together because women would get toghether to work on quilts and became a social thing for them. Hines ends her books with an explanation of how she made some of her designs. She learned quilting from her mother and has really turned it into an artform. I think it is important to show these types of artistic expression because often fiber arts are lumped into the craft category and not given as much recognition. Some people believe that this lack of recognition is due to the fact that often the creaters of these types of art were women so their accomplishments were not as valued as the paintings or sculpting done by men. Students could try designing their own quilt patterns to represent them or scenes that they connect with. This could also provide an opportunity to bring in an artist or craftsperson who knows how to quilt to teach the students.
Check out this website: it explains some of the traditions behind each of the lights described in "Winter Lights" and how Hines accomplished her illustrations. Click Me!
This is Hines second book of Poems and Quilts. Her first is called "Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts" and won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children's Poetry in 2002.
Illustrator: Henrik Drescher
Published By: Harcourt, Inc. 2000
Genre: picture book, poetry
Age Range: grades 4-5
There is lots and lots of color poetry out there, but this book has got to be one of my favorites. "Colors" began as radio advertisements for paint, giving fun new descriptions for the different colors, but people liked them so much that Nordine ended up recording them and calling them word jazz and then wrote them down combined them with Drescher's illustrations and now they are a children's book. He begins with green, my favorite color, and gives green a personality, describing it as "an intellectual vibration, smack dab in the middle of spectrum," then he goes on to describe all the "different greens inside of green". Green is also a trouble maker but is put in his place by blue and yellow who tell him they could make their own green if they needed to. After green comes blue, called Azure. Next is black and white and gray and lavender and on and on. Nordine doesn't just describe your basic primary and secondary colors but names others like, olive and burgundy, and turquoise. (click on any of the highlighted words to hear a clip of Nordine's "word jazz")
I love how fun this poetry is. The wording is a little advanced so it would be best for the older elementary age. I also really like the illustrations in this book. They are very playful and childlike. They are done on what looks like graph paper with different media such as watercolor,pen, collage, and others.
Becoming Naomi Leon
I really enjoyed this book. I think that it does a good job of incorporating cultural details without making it seem like they are just stuck in there as a side note. When Naomi makes a new friend at school named Blanca ,who also has Mexican heritage, she learns some Spanish words through her. She also learns Spanish words and customs from Bernardo and Fabiola and their family that she meets down in Mexico. Naomi does not know how to speak Spanish so it comes naturally, that the other characters would teach her and through that the reader will learn as well. Naomi and Owen come from one parent that is white American and one parent that is Mexican and are being raised by their great-grandmother, so in that alone this book is breaking not only racial stereotypes that suggest people should marry within their own race but also stereotypes about family. This book shows that a family does not have to be a mom, dad, and children who all resemble one another. A family can be a group of people who love and care for one another. If Naomi was to draw a picture of her family she would probably draw her Gram, her brother Owen and probably her neighbors Bernardo and Fabiola, and maybe even Mrs. Maloney. She would probably have to use a different color to depict the difference in their skin tones. Naomi has dark hair, skin and eyes and Owen has the opposite but that does not mean that they are not family or that their Gram will love them any differently. Readers are with Naomi as she learns more about her heritage. She really grasps onto the things she finds out about her ancestry and is proud of what her ancestors have accomplished. I really enjoy how the author introduces the reader to new vocabulary and ideas through Naomi's lists that she makes in her notebook. She has her list "Splendid Words" and "Superb Spanish Words". She doesn't just hear these words and then move on, she hears them and recognizes them as new and different and writes them down. Most children when they hear a new word will show some interest, they may ask what it means or may remember it to look it up later. Ryan provides an insider's perspective with this book because she has Mexican heritage as well. This makes me feel like she has a better understanding than an author who has simply researched Mexican culture. She knows what it is like to grow up in the culture that she is presenting to the reader.
This book would be great to use in the classroom to introduce diverse perspectives, and can spur on a bunch of other related activities. Students could make their own splendid word lists to learn new vocabulary, both Spanish and English. To practice this vocabulary the teacher could use the words in a Wheel of Fortune-esque game that the class could play just like the tv show that Gram and Fabiola always watched. For an art classroom it would be great to use this time to learn about Mexican artists and artforms as well as let students try soap carving. Naomi was working on a sculpture in her art class so this would be a good time to learn about three dimensional art forms and what goes along with that. Their are also a few extras in the back of the book that students can use to learn more about what the author used to write the book. I really like how it taught about collective nouns which come from the chapter titles. The author used descriptions of the animals and turned them into collective nouns for the chapter titles which also corresponded with what went on in the chapter. I really liked "a schizophrenia of hawks" and "an unkindness of ravens". In "an unkindness of ravens" Naomi's mom dyes her hair raven brown to match Naomi's dark hair, they also saw in this chapter some of their mothers meaner qualities.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Illustrator: Mary Grandpre
Published by: Scholastic Inc. 1997
Genre: Fantasy novel
Age Range: 4th-6th grade
In book one, or year one, we meet Harry and learn a little about his past, his parents' death, and how he survived a killing curse from Lord Voldemort, which led to Voldemort's ruin, or so some people think. Harry lives with his Aunt and Uncle and cousin, who are muggles (non-magical people), and has no idea that he is a wizard. They treat him terribly but despite all of this he still has grown into a loving and humble boy. As it gets closer to his eleventh birthday he begins to start receiving letters in a very strange way, via owls, and on his eleventh birthday he finally finds out he is a wizard and will be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Within the first few weeks of school Harry makes some big choices, some of which he will not find out the significance of until later, about the house he wants to belong to and those he chooses as friends and enemies. Some of these friends include Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger who will remain his friends through thick and thin. They form the perfect combination of talent, loyalty, cleverness and most of all courage that help them through the challenges they face in this book and the rest. Their curiosity also leads them into many of the adventures that they have, including fighting a troll in the bathroom and wanderings through the hallways under an invisibility cloak after hours. In the end Harry and his friends figure out the mystery of what is being hidden in the school that all of the teachers have been protecting and they think they know who they should be protecting it from. They go to save the object and Harry ends up triumphing once again over Lord Voldemort, who is still alive but must rely on his remaining followers. Harry's courage and the love that his mother gave in giving her life to protect him as a child help him to succeed in this challenge.
This book is so good, and I especially love it because it is a part of a series. In this book the reader will begin what will be a seven year journey (in book time), if one reads the whole series. Even if one doesn't read the whole series it is still great book by itself because Harry and his friends have separate obstacles and challenges in each book that ultimately lead up to the overall challenge of defeating the evil Lord Voldemort. I started reading it way before we were assigned to because I was so excited to start, and I became hooked and within a few weeks I had finished to whole series. Rowling uses the fantasy genre to touch on real life challenges that we all meet. For example, Harry has choices that he has to make. He could choose to take advantage of the fame that he receives in the wizarding world and become proud and maybe join forces with the Slitherins and Draco Malfoy who are very proud and prejudice but instead he chooses to make friends with people who are caring and sincere and chooses to belong with the Griffendors, who stand apart because of their courage and chivalry. Other themes of the book are good vs evil, the power that love can have to allow good to triumph over evil, and a desire to belong. It touches on the injustice of prejudice and how it can hurt people through how the Slitherins look down on wizards who are not pure-blood and other magical creatures that are not wizards (this theme is brought out more as the books continue).
During one of his wanderings through the school Harry stumbles upon a mirror that shows not just his reflection but the image of himself with his parents as if they were still alive and they were one happy family. This mirror is called the Mirror of Erised and on it are the words "erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi" which if you reverse the spelling of and move the spaces around says "I show you not your face but your heart's desire." The thing Harry wants most in the world is his parents back and to have a happy family, something he has never experienced in his memory since his parents were killed when he was so young. Later in the book Harry sees something else in the mirror, something that Voldemort wants very badly but can not get because of a very clever idea on Dumbledore's part. Harry shares the mirror with Ron and he sees himself as Head Boy and Captain of the Quidditch team. This shows Ron's desire to prove himself and make himself standout both among his brothers who have been head boys and precepts and pranksters, and his famous friend Harry who has become "the youngest seeker in a century" on the Griffendor Quidditch team. I think if I looked in the mirror right now I would see myself with my friends on the beach because at this point in the year my greatest desire is for school work to be over and for summer to begin. The first thing I am doing after returning home this summer is heading to the beach with my highschool friends on what has become an annual summer trip to the beach, this tradition in my mind will mark the beginning of my summer.
An activity that students could do would be to make their own Mirrors of Erised and draw, paint, collage, be as creative as they can be to show what they would see in the reflection. This is my Mirror of Erised. I made a frame for it and painted a beach scene on tin foil to represent the reflection of my trip in a shiny mirror.
Monday, April 7, 2008
My initial reaction to informational text is the fear that it might be boring. Often we are presented with factual information in the form of a text book which can often suck all the life and interest out of a topic or important person. I am hoping that informational children's literature will be different. I am hoping that the author's of these books will help to create enthusiasm in the reader to learn more about the subject matter they are presenting. I also hope that illustrators of these books help to create interest as well through their use of media that appeals to children and can help them invision these new areas they would be reading about.
April 7, 2008-
In reading some informational children's books I found that my hopes were satisfied. There are books out there that present information to children in interesting ways and are backed by beautiful and creative illustrations.
Illustrator: Ana Juan
Published by: Scholastic Press 2002
Genre: Biography, Picture Book, Multi-cultural
Age Range: grades 2-4
This book is a biography of the life of Mexican female artist Frida Kahlo. It begins with her childhood where the reader learns about her family. Frida's dad was a photographer and she had 5 sisters which meant she had a very busy mother. The reader also learns that she was very sick as a child and learned how to draw because she was confined to her bed for so long. Art becomes a source of happiness and escape for little Frida. As she grows older she learns how to paint photographs from her father and teaches herself how to paint her own pictures. During her school age years she is in a horrible bus accident and almost dies, but in the end, she survives but to walk with a cane and cope with a body that always hurt. This experience finds its way into her artwork. She expresses her pain through her paintings and her painting is always there for her even when she is restricted by a cast around her torso. She also incorporates her Mexican culture into her paintings but retains her own unique style.
Smart, Creative, Unique, Suffering
Twice, the Wife of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
Who found happiness in painting.
Who feared not being able to paint because it was her escape from her sickness and pain.
Who wanted to see herself become a professional painter but received most of her fame after her death.
Who likes to wear long socks to hide her less developed right leg, due to polio.
Resident of La Casa Azul (the blue house) that is now a museum in Coyoacan, Mexico
Friday, March 28, 2008
The first version is the Algonquin Cinderella called Little Firefly. I read Little Firefly: An Algonquin Legend adapted by Terri Cohlene and illustrated by Charles Reasoner to learn about this version of Cinderella. I also looked more into the Algonquin culture so that I could add more of their traditions and practices into Little Firefly's perspective in the I poem.
The second version is the Persian Cinderella called Settareh meaning star. To find out about this Cinderella I read The Persian Cinderella by Shirley Climo and illustrated by Robert Florczak. Climo adapted this version of the Cinderella tale from one of the tales from the volumes of The Arabian Nights. I also looked up more information on Persian customes to add to Settareh's perspective.
I found it very interesting to write an I poem for two voices. It helped me understand where each character was coming from and was a good way to find out more information about each culture. I hope you enjoy my Cinderella I poem.
click here to read my Cinderella I poem for Two Voices: click on the link next to my name.
Also read my fellow classmate's I poems about other versions of the beloved tale of Cinderella.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The first story was adapted and illustrated by Lauren Child. Her story followed the traditional tale that I have heard before pretty closely while ofcourse adding her own sense of humor into the narration. The King and Queen have a handsome son who needs to be married. In her story he wants to marry for love and wants her to have a certain "something". The King and Queen want him to find a real princess and she eventually finds them one stormy night. They give her dry clothes and allow her to sleep at the castle. The queen puts a single green pea under a pile of mattresses and says that if she is truely a princess she will be able to feel it. The next morning, after the princess has had a terrible nights sleep, she meets the prince and he thinks she has that "something" that he has been looking for. The queen also finds out that the princess is so sore from sleeping on the pea all night and she approves of her marrying her son.
For the venn diagram I decided to use a teacup to represent Child's story because the Queen in this story realizes that the Princess is sore from the pea when the princess says "ouch" trying to pick up the teacup that the prince dropped. Vaes' story is represented by the opal charm that the princess wore, and the similarities are written on a pile of mattresses with the pea in the middle because they both had this element in common. For the sake of an art class I decided it would be good for students to also explore the difference in the materials used in each book's illustrations. Lauren Child uses collage as a way to illustrate her story so students could explore that method to make the object representing that story. I could not find any direct information about Vaes' materials but it looked like watercolors. Students could explore using water colors represent the object for that story. On the shared object I would suggest that students experiment with using the two techniques together, watercolor and collage.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I hate her mother.
I don't hate her mother.
I can't understand her mother.
For a person who has such a strong relationship with my own mother, it is hard for me to understand.
Hard to understand how her mother could just send her to stay with someone else.
Hard to understand how her mother could just leave her in the camp.
It is terrible what the government did to her people. The hard times she was put through because of her race.
It makes it worse that one of her own family would turn her back on her as well.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I am from frames,
from G&G molding, and miter saws.
I am from the ground barefoot.
(Comfortable and close underneath leather-bottom feet.)
I am from the rose garden
the magnolia trees
which grow large in my backyard and after which my great grandmother was named.
pole on the kitchen floor,
a compound bow at the age of 4,
and snuggled next to my little brother in a sleeping bag
while my Dad hunted.
I am from banana-pudding and laughing loud with head thrown back,
from Mary Leigh and Nancy.
I am from the last blacksmith in Springhope, talented cabinetmakers and good mothers.
From “do you know how much I love you?”
and “it’ll all work out”.
I’m from faith in Jesus and His saving grace.
From Sunday school singing of “Jesus loves you” and the desire to give my heart to Him.
From His lifting of my burdens and
“when I die, hallelujah, by and by I’ll fly away”.
home-made chicken stew and mashed
potatoes with hard boiled eggs.
From the magic Papa used to hypnotize pigeons,
the cream soda in the cooler in the back of GranGran’s truck.
covered with framed photos of loved ones and
the experiences we’ve had together,
collages of family vacations.
I am from the times we get together and paint with our words the pictures that we did not capture.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Author/Illustrator: Sis, Peter
Published by: Doubleday 1994
Genre: Fantasy, Picture Book, Multi-cultural
Age Range: 3-4th grade
This book, written to his daughter Madeleine, is about Peter Sis and his fictitious trip back to the city of his childhood. A wild storm carried the hot air balloon that he is traveling in off course and her finds himself back in Prague. When he arrives the city is deserted but still looks the way it did when he was young. He finds his way to his childhood home and discovers that it is locked with three padlocks. His black cat leads him through the city to three places that he enjoyed as a child, my favorite was the Astronomical clock. In each place he reads a Czech legend and receives a key. After reading all the legends and receiving all the keys he goes back to his house and unlocks the door. His mother welcomes him, and it is like he has never left Prague and now he has brought his daughter with him.
I love Sis' attachment to his roots and his attention to detail. This is the second book I have read of his where he is trying to recreate for his reader the culture of his childhood. The first one I read, "The Wall" brought out the sad and bad things of his childhood but this story shares some of the good things of the city. These are the things he wanted to share with his daughter. All of his illustrations are very detailed, even the images that seem simple, like the weather balloon on the first page, have very detailed textures. I also like how he has a hidden image of a cat throughout the whole book. On one page the city looks like it has cat eyes, in others the doors look like cat faces. He plays with the process of juxtaposing one image on top of another to add new or more meaning.
This could easily be adapted into a lesson for any age group. In grade 3 students are supposed to learn about fables and myths and learn how to incorporate them in their art. Sis incorporated the legends of his culture into this book. Grade 4 is learning about North Carolina and they could work on illustrating a legend or tale from North Carolina's history. For older students into the middle and high school age range Sis' images could be used as examples of line drawing, juxtaposition, use of color as a symbol, etc.