#365PictureBooks No. 47 Naked!

A hilarious new book about a boy who refuses to wear clothes, from comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrator Debbi Ridpath Ohi, the team that brought you I’m Bored, a New York Times Notable Children’s Book.

Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi, whose “smart cartoony artwork matches Black’s perfect comic timing” (The New York Times Book Review), have paired up again to showcase the antics of an adorable little boy who just doesn’t want to get dressed.

After his bath, the little boy begins his hilarious dash around the house – in the buff! Being naked is great. Running around, sliding down the stairs, eating cookies. Nothing could be better. Unless he had a cape..Publisher

This would be such a fun read aloud, even in a school library. I loved the time when my own children were toddlers and there was a little fun relaxed interlude of running around NAKED! after the bath and before being forced into into jammies. This book captures that interlude perfectly. The little child is delighting in his freedom but the look on the mothers face will be familiar to many parents…”I am going through all the steps until I get you into bed …aka I’m exhausted”! The comic style artwork of this is absolutely perfect with the style and pacing of the text.

Cute and funny and kids will love this!

Bibliographic details:

Naked! / Written by Michael Ian Black and Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2014.

40 pages.

ISBN 9781442467385

I borrowed this copy from Auckland Libraries.

#365PictureBooks no. 46 I and I : Bob Marley by Tony Medina

Brimming with imagination and insight, this biography of reggae legend Bob Marley features soulful, sun-drenched paintings that transport young readers to Marley’s homeland of Jamaica, while uniquely perceptive poems bring to life his journey from boy to icon“. Publisher

At first glance I thought this picture book featured the lyrics of Bob Marley, however reading it once I had arrived home from the Public Library, led to the delightful discovery that the author has written the story of the life of Bob Marley in free verse. I didn’t know much about Bob Marley before reading this book and I suspect many kids won’t know his name these days unless they are familiar with his enduring and very catchy lyrics.

For our students that inquire into different forms of artistic expression through their PYP : How we express ourselves unit of inquiry, music is one area I need to resource more fully. I’ve recently bought some multiple user ebooks on hip-hop because we had a hole in our collection in that subject and I can see some books on reggae would be a good addition too. I’ve had some interesting conversations with our Music and Performing arts specialists recently – one part of our teaching team that I think has been overlooked in our resourcing mix in the past. I think they deserve some resources that they can use to paint a very holistic picture of any artist – musical or visual – when they are teaching about styles and movements.

I love this…and when the verse is combined with the warm, ocherish, plump illustrations, the words and pictures paint a very vivid picture of the boy, the man and the musician.

Mama just a caramel country girl shy as can be

And Papa many many years older than she

Papa is a white man so I’ve been told

My face a map of Africa in Europe’s hold

My heart the island where he and she both meet…

From “My heart the Island”

I found this perceptive review from Elizabeth Bird at NY Public Library. (My goodness she can write – one of the best book reviewers out there imo)

Bibliographic details:

I and I : Bob Marley / Written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson.

Published by Lee & Low Books, 2009.

48 pages.

ISBN:9781600602573

This is available via back order on Wheelers – NZ $36.99, but I borrowed this copy from Auckland Libraries.

My opinion on the print vs digital ‘war’

Image Source: Wiki Commons

 

Can you the see the bee in the bonnet in this picture?
No?
This article appeared in the Washington Post on February 22nd 2015 : “Why digital natives prefer reading in print

 

The link was posted on the NZ School Librarian ListServ today and predictably due swift responses affirming a preference for print over digital.

 

I sighed loudly. I thought and fumed a bit.

 

I sighed again as I considered replying to the thread on the ListServ.

 

The bee in my bonnet? I get very frustrated when librarians appear to gleefully seize upon any article or piece of ‘research’ that ‘proves’ that print is winning the ‘war’ against digital. Why is it a war or even a battle? Why do some librarians see the future as print OR digital, rather than print AND digital?

 

What upsets me is not so much whether the opinion expressed in the article is right or wrong (or some shade of grey in between), but the attitude to the adoption and acceptance of new digital forms by my librarian peers. They use any article like this one as validation for their choice not to introduce digital formats or a reason to continually justify their reluctance to do so.

 

My opinion: We are not preparing students for the same world many of us grew up in, or are living in now.

 

Regardless of whether individuals prefer print or digital for reading for pleasure, they need to learn how to synthesise and comprehend any information presented digitally for research purposes. The reality is that even in a school library with a predominantly print based collection (no matter how comprehensive and up-to-date), sometimes the best information on a topic will be online.

 

I also read this local article today and two snippets provided me with food for thought:

 

“The average Kiwi teacher is a woman in her early fifties. She’s facing a generation of kids she wasn’t trained to teach who have grown up with Wi-Fi, the cloud and hand-held technology”.

 

“The full impact of digital kids was expected to hit over the next couple of years, as a critical mass of children now under 10 floods the education system”.

 

I wonder if the average school librarian is of similar age?  Given I am a woman in my early fifties I am prepared to say that age and gender is no indicator of mindset and rate of technological adoption. I have met so many incredible teachers and librarians via social media and conferences that have an incredibly open mind about the use of technology, adapting to change and being motivated self/life-long-learners.

 

If I ever hear a teacher tell a student, who is happily reading an ebook, that she wants them to choose a ‘real’ book instead, I blanch. An ebook is a ‘real’ book – it’s just in a different format. For some students that difference in format can be a game changer. I have seen a number of struggling students become readers, by using technology where they get to control the text size, font type and background page colour and use an inbuilt dictionary or enable text to speech features for words they don’t recognise or understand. When I hear librarians justifying their decisions to not introduce ebooks into their collection, or doing it very reluctantly, because of their own preference for reading and researching in print, then I also blanch.

 

Students accessing a multiple user, recently published, non-fiction ebook access the same text as their peers (they haven’t missed out because another student checked out the best book first or because the Library only owns one copy). Every student in a class or year level can access the same material. For differentiated learning they can make use of the different text types and images in the text exactly the same way they do using the print edition or they can choose a lower or higher level book on the same topic from a group of ebooks curated along with other resources related to their inquiry issue. They can also highlight and take notes in their own words (but not cut and paste like they could with a website), store their notes in a personal notebook and immediately add the resource they are using to a bibliography or prepare a citation.

 

My opinion: Reading digitally is a skill that needs to be learned like any other literacy.

 

Our own preference for print and/or the problems some of us have coping with electronic text should not be used as a yardstick to gauge whether or not we allow students ready and easy access to non-print formats. Our own biases towards print should also not prevent us from teaching students to be effective users of information in all formats. We are doing our students a major disservice if we do not prepare them for a world where most of the research they do in the workforce will be digital. I feel it’s part of my role (and should be for every other future focussed Librarian and teacher that young learners encounter) to enable them to be future ready and to be able to navigate text and visual information wherever they find it and in whatever format. Don’t we want our learners to apply all the critical skills they have learnt about identifying and using appropriate, authoritative and relevant sources to whatever they are accessing or reading? Does it really matter if the information source students use is print or digital as long as they can use both equally well?

 

‘The digital natives’ referred to in the Washington Post article are predominantly college (university) students, and although this group grew up with computers and more recently easily adopted mobile devices, many of them have not had the same exposure to extensive and ‘every-day’ use of ebooks, ejournals, and websites for research, until they got to senior high school or university, that younger kids are used to using right now, today.

 

Many students in the younger years in primary schools right across New Zealand are already using more technology than the ‘digital natives’ portrayed in the article did at the same age during their years at school. We have students in Year 1 who use a combination of non-fiction print and ebooks for inquiry and then pick from a variety of digital tools to present their learning. Our students from Year 3 up, are writing their own blogs and reading and commenting on the learning reflections of their peers. All of these students still have ready access to a wide selection of print resources and they have a choice of format for their recreational reading as well. There is a noticeable difference in the levels of ebook use for reading for pleasure between our youngest students and those at the higher end of the school. As these younger students grow with their devices and acceptance of digital forms I expect the numbers reading ebooks at different year levels in future years to change significantly.

 

The reality is that I can get more books into more hands if I use a combination of print and digital format than I could if we used print alone. Students have the convenience of accessing books (not just websites and YouTube videos) from anywhere at anytime (and not only when the library is open during school hours). Our students are learning to be ‘ambidextrous’ and switch between formats and to handle a variety of text styles and layouts. It’s really important for the success of our students that we provide them with  great quality, current, authoritative resources. For some topics there may be more material available in one format over another. Publishing and content availability is in transition and it is is almost impossible to predict what resources students and workers will be using in the future. I doubt very much that they will only be using print.

 

Whether or not I love to read ebooks, or if I struggle with online forms, or even if I swoon at the smell of a paper book… none of these things should have any bearing on the level of encouragement and support I give to young readers and learners to make the best use of the resources they need to learn to use so that they will thrive in their future.

 

Rant over.

#365PictureBooks No. 45 My two blankets by Irena Kobold & Freya Blackwood

Cartwheel has arrived in a new country, and feels the loss of all she’s ever known. She creates a safe place for herself under an ‘old’ blanket made out of memories and thoughts of home. 

As time goes on, Cartwheel begins to weave a ‘new’ blanket, one of friendship and a renewed sense of belonging. It is different from the old blanket, but it is eventually just as warm and familiar.” Publisher: RandomHouse

Teacher’s notes

A lovely book to use with students in our multicultural school where we have many ESL students. It describes the loneliness of life for someone in a new land when they have nothing in common with the local people, but especially when they cannot communicate via spoken language.  A wonderful title to built empathy and understanding. I might use this with the Keeping quilt by Patricia Polaccio. In My two blankets the blankets are figurative andrepresent Cartwheel’s memories of sights, sounds and language. In the the Keeping quilt – the quilt is made up of fabrics from clothing from “home” and it becomes a tangible family heirloom containing the memories and history of the family.

This will be a wonderful book to use when introducing our Year 5 Unit of Inquiry Where we are in place and time : Migration (Human migration is a response to challenges, risks and opportunities;The reasons people migrate; Migration throughout history; Effects of migration on communities).

Bibliographic details:

My two blankets / Written by Irene Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood.

Published by Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014.

32 pages.

ISBN:9781921714764

 

#365PictureBooks No. 44 Red : a crayon’s story

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colourful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!” Goodreads

I have just ordered this for our picture book collection. It’s going to be a great title to use to to inspire thought and provoke conversations about identity and diversity. This seems such a simple message and one kids will get a lot more quickly than most adults and politicians. This should be compulsory reading for the adults in this world who just don’t understand that difference isn’t a lifestyle choice.

It’s about being true to your inner self.” (Author)

Teacher’s guide

And for curious children wondering how crayons are made:

Bibliographic details:

Red : a crayon’s story / Written and illustrated  by Michael Hall.

Published by Greenwillow Books, 2015.

40 pages.

ISBN:9780062252074

#365PictureBooks no. 43 Love monster & the last chocolate

A delicious new story about Love Monster, the only monster in Cutesville, from phenomenal, award-winning picture book talent Rachel Bright!

When Love Monster finds a mystery box of chocolates at his door, he can’t believe his luck. But he’s soon thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil. Should he keep the chocolates for himself? Or risk the perils of sharing his good fortune with his friends?

This super-funny-rumbly-tummy-sherbert-explosion of a story shows that when faced with the selection box of life, following your heart will bring you the best treats of all”. Publisher.

This cute story was my read aloud today for a Year 1 Class as a tie in to the weekend Valentine’s Day celebration. It’s sweet without being saccharine and has a welcome message about sharing with your friends. I love how the monster expresses feelings so familiar to children “…what if there aren’t enough chocolates for everyone, what if they take MY favourite?” As we talked about these and other things, little heads were nodding in agreement.

The book almost looks like a chocolate with a metallic foil print on the cover. As I was reading it I was envisioning those strawberry flavoured, heart shaped chocolates one used to get in a box of Cadbury Roses. Yum!

Bibliographic details:

Love monster and the last chocolate (Love monster, #3)

Written and illustrated by Rachel Bright.

Published by HarperCollins, 2014.

32 pages.

ISBN:9780007540303

I picked up this copy from a Scholastic Book Fair – I must seek out the other two titles – I didn’t realise this was part of a series.

#365PictureBooks no. 42 Looking like me by Walter Dean Myers

When you look in a mirror, who do you see?

A boy? A girl?
A son? A daughter?
A runner? A dancer?

Whoever and whatever you see–
just put out your fist and give yourself an “I am” BAM!

This jumping, jazzy, joyful picture book by the award-winning team of Walter Dean and Christopher Myers celebrates every child, and every thing that child can be“.

I picked this up at the public library thinking from the cover it was going to be about race or cultural identity. Turns out it’s more about identity and self affirmation in general – and very much about self esteem. Every time Jeremy declares something positive about himself, his talents and his abilities, his relationships with others he gives himself or the other person a fist bump. This could be an interesting provocation to use at the start of the year and could lead to some insightful art work by children. Useful for PYP : Who we are inquiry.

Read Betsy Bird’s great review on Goodreads

Bibliographic details:

Looking like me by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers.

Published by Egmont, 2009.

32 pages.

ISBN:9781606840016

I borrowed this copy from Auckland Libraries

 

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