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Archive for the ‘nonfiction’ Category

There are so many great picture books to read with kids for Black History Month, but this year try this true story:

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Viola Desmond was arrested in 1946 in Halifax for sitting on the main floor rather than the balcony in a theatre. Because she was a non-white patron, theatre employees insisted Desmond sit in the balcony. She refused and was taken away by the police. Viola Desmond’s face will now be printed on Canada’s ten dollar bill.  An essential library book.

 

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When you walk in the doors of Strathcona School Library, one of the first things you see is the new Discovery Table. Here students can investigate and explore natural objects with their hands, eyes, and noses. They can use the magnifying glasses and read bits of related books I’ve left there. The Discovery Table is inspired by our wonderful Kindergarten teacher and winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellency, Colleen Sturrock’s classroom. Full of wonderful natural objects, beautifully displayed and arranged to invite children to explore, play, learn and tell stories, Mrs. Sturrock’s classroom is engaging and inspiring place. Tucked to one side of the classroom, is a sand table. Its not just any sand table, though, this one also contains fascinating natural objects such as fresh water drift wood form Pitt Lake, shells, rocks, and pine cones. When I saw this sand table, my heart leapt, and my imagination  soared.

How could I incorporate this into my school library without creating a giant headache for myself? Borrowing some shells, pine cones, and pieces of wood from Mrs. Sturrock, I arranged these objects on a low, natural wood table my mom gave me. A few books and a couple of magnifying glasses completed the table. I was surprised by how interested the children were. Gathering around in small groups of two to five, they explored the objects, picking them up, peering closely, and smelling them. they compare information in the books with the objects on the table.

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As interested waned, I replaced the natural objects with some simple puzzles and building materials. Kids were thrilled. Changing the materials every so often seems to work well. My colleague Annie gave me some evergreen branches with needles and cones that she used for a writing and math provocation inspired by the Reggio method (see book below). I am inspired by the provocations Annie and Colleen use that invite and inspire children to inquire and express.

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What’s next? I plan to read the book above, learn from my colleagues, and try Story Workshop with some intermediate students. I am grateful to work with such amazing colleagues.

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Two more gorgeous books by author and illustrator, Steve Jenkins. Discover fascinating facts about animals with great infographics. Steve Jenkins never disappoints with his beautiful paper collage images and captivating lay outs. And great facts. Did you know that in a 24 hour period, elephants sleep 3.5 hours while squirrels sleep 15?

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All about the eyes of animals!

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Here is a simple tale of three kids who have moved Guatemala, Korea and Somalia and some of the feelings and challenges they face as immigrants in a country with a different language and culture. Although it does not discuss refugees and is not a tear jerker, the book would make a reasonable launching point for discourse on refugees or immigration.

Here are a few nice picture books lists that are specifically about refugees:

What Do We Do All Day?

Humane Education

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Trees

Beautifully illustrated tree guide with information about what each tree is like throughout the year.

This charming book is part of a series that includes Wildflowers and Walking in the Woods.

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A lovely book to help you and your little one get ready for bed. A nice series of scripted poses.

 

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Dreaming in Indian is a collection of writing, memoir, artwork  and poetry, by Aboriginal artists exploring what it was like for them growing up. A fabulous read and essential for all libraries, this would be a great book to read with older students for prompting deep discussion or writing. Check out art by Bunky Echo-Hawk, wise words from Olympic swimmer Waneek Horn-Miller, and childhood reflections by Joseph Boyden.

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