Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Value of a Banned Picture Book

Image taken from macmillan.com
It's a Book by Lane Smith, (2010)
This picture book is plain and simple.  Its purpose is basically to explain what a printed book is and how it is different from the forms of technology that is prevalent today.  It may sound silly but in reality one must remember that the generation of youths today is more familiar with what technology can do than how to use a book!  Youths now a day are unfamiliar with printed material but they are fond of books on iPods, laptops, Nooks, and Kindles. Therefore, this book presents the basic concept of a printed book in a humorous manner.  This book is marketed towards elementary aged kids but I think it may be even better for the older ones since they can appreciate the tech-terms and final punch line.  Educators can use this as an opening activity in introducing students to web 2.0 tools such as blogs.  In all of its cuteness, this book also happens to be included among many banned books list because of its “jackass” comment.  Before judging the book please read it in its entirety and also keep in mind that the correct term for a male ass or donkey is in fact jackass.
Watch the booktrailer HERE!
Hear what Lane Smith has to say about his book HERE!

Learn about Safety with Officer Buckle and Gloria

Image taken from readingtokids.org

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (1995)

Officer Buckle is a safety activist who tries to teach kids how to keep safe.  The problem is that the kids always get bored during his presentations.  They do not benefit from all of the helpful tips that Officer Buckle has to offer because they are too busy playing or falling asleep during his lectures.  That all begins to change when a K-9 named Gloria joins Officer Buckle in his presentations.  Even though, Gloria cannot talk she does manage to help Officer Buckle by keeping the audience’s attention!  To find out exactly how she does this you need to read the story and look at all the funny illustrations of what Gloria is doing during the safety presentations. This picture book is a Caldecott Medal winner and is useful in teaching content related to safety/rules.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan

About the Book:
The Dreamer (Ryan, 2010) allows readers to glimpse into the life of Chilean poet Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto whom later took the pen name of Pablo Neruda.  Neftali loves to read, displays a creative imagination, and is a talented writer. At a very young age, Neftali discovers that he wants to follow his dreams of becoming a poet; however, his talents were discouraged by his oppressive father whom views such an idea as foolishness.  His father’s constant ridicule makes it difficult for Neftali to overcome his shyness and low self esteem.  Readers may begin to think of children they personally know who display similar traits as young Neftali or who may live in a similar home environment.  All readers can benefit from this biographical story and creative tale but imagine how much more meaningful it would be for someone whom can truly identify with Neftali?  Wouldn’t it be an inspirational tale to share with such ones?
Additional information: Personally, I appreciated the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter as well as those associated with Neftali’s daydreams and feelings.  The book is written in medium texts and includes onomatopoeia.