You wouldn’t guess that it’s spring here in Boston given the snow we’ve been getting in April! Still, I am dreaming of spring and getting my little garden going.
These are my favorite picture books for garden inspiration. These books demonstrate that gardens can transform an environment, bring neighbors closer, and even become a political touchpoint. Ideas for Earth Day include starting a compost pile, planting a tree, or even just germinate seeds.
What are your favorite spring picture books? Are you planting a garden this year of any size? Please share! Read more…
I have to say that I got my money’s worth out of the pattern blocks toy manipulative that I’ve had for ages. All my kids loved playing with them. I kept them in an old diaper wipes box, decorated with stickers and I found that my son, now 11 years old, will still occasionally pull them out!
Pattern blocks are a great math toy; math is the science of finding patterns! There are also patterns in language too! You could say that finding and understanding patterns is the secret to unlocking the world around us. Read more…
Please welcome my guest blogger today, Glenda Armand, the author of Ira’s Shakespeare Dream. If you agree about #OscarsSoWhite now in 2016, imagine how difficult it would be for people of color to succeed in theater more than 1oo years ago!
An analysis of the full 92-year history of the Academy Awards shows that Hollywood’s highest honors have lagged the population on issues of race and representation.
In all, as the graphic below shows, 6.7% of acting nominations of the total 1,668 since the awards began in 1929 have gone to non-white actors. Isolating for the past 25 years, only 62 actors—12.4% of the total—were non-white.
PickyKidPix is now in 8th grade but only less than half way through. She tells me that her curriculum covers Colonial America, Industrial Revolution in science, American Revolution, Civil War, French and Indian War, Constitution, and Racism.
I’m creating multicultural picture book lists for middle school in hopes of helping teachers cover their curriculum. I hope that they will participate in Multicultural Children’s Book Day Classroom Reading Challenge. They can earn a FREE hardcover diversity book provided by reading four picture books during the month of January. Sign up here.
What books should I add to this list? Thanks for your help!
The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P. J. Lynch
P. J. Lynch’s masterful watercolor paintings and vivid prose told from the perspective of young John Howland bring to life the difficulties of the Mayflower settlers. John is an indentured servant and his master and mistress seek religious freedom in the New World. His adventure begins with certain death should he be caught before boarding the Mayflower. Once aboard, the voyage is plagued with misfortune. John gets cast out to sea when a big wave hits the desk, and survives miraculously because a rope trailed behind the ship. Life in the New World is not easier. Only half of the pilgrims survive the brutal New England winter but the local Native Americans, the Wampanoag, prove to be their saviors. When John Howland’s Mistress and Master die, he is freed of his indentured servitude. Should he stay in this new world or return home? [advanced picture book, ages 8 and up]
The Kid Lit Blog Hop is now monthly! To celebrate the holidays in December, I’ve picked out five new picture books to share and I’m giving them away to five different winners.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Can you believe that it’s been thirty years since The Polar Express was published?! This story about the faith that children bring into the world is a classic that reminds young and old alike about the true magic of Christmas. Do you want to spread the magic? Every time you use hashtag #ReadandBelieve, a copy of The Polar Express will be donated to Christmas in the City, a Boston-based non-profit helping families in need. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Imagine life more than 30 thousand years ago, before drawing was invented! Using a burnt stick (charcoal), imagine the first human to see shapes on a wall that resemble animals and draw them. It would feel like magic! This is one version speculating why early humans created cave paintings and this story is inspired by cave paintings in Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave in Southern France. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
I consulted my 8th grader, PickyKidPix, about middle school curriculum. She pays attention to everything going on so she remembers what she studied and notices what other grades are doing. She said that her teachers have generally covered the same curriculum they have always done which seemed to naturally follow Common Core but that different teachers put different emphasis on units based on their preferences.
For example, Grasshopper and Sensei, in 6th grade was delighted to find that 6th Grade English included an extensive Mythology unit with she aced without studying because she loves mythology. She took the National Mythology Examination in 5th grade for fun, for example. For PickyKidPix however, her teacher wasn’t as into mythology so this was a single week unit (which suited her just fine because she never got into the Percy Jackson series).
6th grade curriculum for my kids included Greek and Roman Mythology, World Geography, culture and modern life of different countries around the world, and World Religions (Buddhism, Muslim, Catholic, Judaism, Hinduism). 6th Grade STEM included chemistry, physics and bridges and 6th Grade English included Tuck Everlasting, Beowolf, The Giver, The Odyssey.
What diversity picture books would you add? Thanks for your suggestions!
I spent more time in my kids’ 5th grade classroom because I was the parent coordinator for our PTO Creative Arts and Sciences. I know that there are always shifts in curriculum due to Common Core but leeway, as well, for teachers to cover what they typically have done in the past. My kids studied these topics in 5th grade:
Native American (we brought in Native American Art program that compared the turtle creation myth using artwork from Native American tribes across the U.S.A.)
Colonial America (we brought in a program where a husband and wife role played colonists in the 1800s with a table of antiques from that period)
Pre-Civil War/Slavery (I noticed the slavery unit included a book display of picture books on slavery and my kids talked about Henry’s Freedom Box at home)
World War II/Holocaust (Our 5th grade teachers touched on the Holocaust without getting two graphic. My daughter read Number the Stars and the classroom read aloud was The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark and The Cats in Krasinski Square)
I’d love to get your suggestions for books that support 5th Grade Common Core. Thanks for sharing!
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London, illustrated by Thomas Locker
In many Native American cultures, there a legend of how the world was created on the back of a giant sea turtle. Joseph Bruchac’s picture book goes further and describes how each of the thirteen moons of the year hold a story, reflected in the scales of the shell of a turtle. He tells these stories, reflecting different Native American tribes and the rhythms of nature, in lyrical free verse poetry. [poetry picture book, ages 6 and up]
Encounter by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Shannon
This is the perspective from a young Taino boy on San Salvador when Christopher Columbus comes to the New World. Columbus carried away ten young Taino men and women back to Spain as slaves and their island was later colonized by the Spanish, changing their culture forever. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Hi! I'm Mia Wenjen. I blog excessively about children's books. I am also the co-founder of Multicultural Children's Book Day on Jan 27th.
I'd love to chat with you. Let's connect! PragmaticMomBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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