Tag Archives: Picture book

Multicultural Children's Book Day review of I am Farmer

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Book Review – Readilearn

Now in its sixth year and held on the last Friday in January, Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) celebrates books that celebrate diversity. As classrooms are increasingly filled with children from a diversity of backgrounds, it is important to provide them with books that reflect their lives, books in which they can find themselves.

The purpose of Multicultural Children’s Book Day is to create awareness of books that celebrate diversity and to get more of them into classrooms and libraries.

Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, co-founders of MCBD, define multicultural books as:

  • Books that contain characters of color as well as main characters that represent a minority point of view.
  • Books written by an author of diversity or color from their perspective. Search #ownvoices to discover diverse books written by diverse authors.
  • Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions. These books can be non-fiction, but still written in a way that kids will find entertaining and informative.
  • Books that embrace special needs or even “hidden disabilities” like ADHD, ADD, and anxiety.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day provides us with an opportunity to examine the collections of books in our classrooms and libraries to determine if they reflect the lives our children.

This year, for the first time, I am participating in the MCBD celebrations with a review of I am Farmer, a picture book written by Miranda and Baptiste Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. I am grateful to Miranda and Paul and publisher Millbrook Press for providing me with a link to access the book on NetGallery prior to its publication in early February.

I am Farmer - the story of a farmer in Cameroon who became an environmental hero

Continue reading: Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Book Review – Readilearn

One for the children . . . A “Who’s hiding?” picture book

On Christmas Eve, my post is one for the children, especially my two gorgeous little grandchildren, Artie and Anna.

I hope they, and children everywhere, will enjoy this little guessing game.

Next year my skills may have developed enough to make it interactive, or even an app!!! Now, let’s not get too excited!

I am very grateful to Bernadette Drent who created the illustrations for me with very little notice.

Here it is for you:

Happy Christmas everyone!

Searching for meaning in a picture book — Part A

Do you recognise this book?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Chances are you do.

According to the website of the author Eric Carle, since its publication in 1969 it has been published in over 50 languages and more than 33 million copies have been sold worldwide. It ranks highly in the Wikipedia List of best-selling books.

Most primary schools, preschools and kindergartens would have numerous copies in their libraries with a copy in most classrooms as well as in teachers’ private collections. Most homes with young children would have a copy in their storybook collection.

reading

In addition to the books, many of those schools, classrooms and homes would have some of the associated merchandise; including toys, games, puzzles, posters and colouring books, which are now available.

When I typed ‘the very hungry caterpillar’ into the Google search bar about 5,640,000 results were listed in 0.33 seconds!

 Google search the very hungry caterpillar

There are activities, lesson plans, printables, videos, and advertisements for merchandise. There is a plethora of suggestions for using the book as a teaching resource, including counting, days of the week and sequencing.

I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that hasn’t at least heard of the book. That is quite an impact, wouldn’t you say?

For a book to have done so well, it must have a lot going for it. And it does.

There are many things I like about this book, including:

  • The bright, colourful, collages with immediate appeal
  • The natural flow and rhythm of the language making it easy to read, dramatize and recall
  • The sequence of numbers and days encouraging children to predict and join in with the reading and retelling
  • The match between the illustrations and the text supporting beginning readers as they set out upon their journey into print
  • The simple narrative structure with an identifiable beginning, a complication in the middle with which most children can empathise (being ill from overeating) and a “happy” resolution with the caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly.

Reading to children

 Nor and Bec reading

Sharing of picture books with children from a very young age has a very powerful effect upon their learning.

There are many benefits to both parent and child of a daily shared reading session.

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It can be seen as a special time of togetherness, of bonding; of sharing stories and ideas. It can be a quiet and calming time; a time to soothe rough edges and hurt feelings; a time for boisterous fun and laughter; or a time for curiosity, inquiry, imagination and wonder.


Whatever the time, it is always a special time for a book
; and all the while, children are learning language.

8-12-2013 7-38-33 PM

© Bernadette Drent. Used with permission.

They are hearing the sounds and rhythm of their language. They are being exposed to new vocabulary, sentence structures, concepts and ideas. They are learning important understandings that will support them on their journey into literacy e.g. they are learning that the language of a book differs from oral language and that the words in a book always stay the same.

They begin to realise that it is the little black squiggly marks that carry the message, and they may even start to recognise some words.

Robert 2

Many of these, and other, features make “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” suitable for incorporation in an early childhood curriculum, for example:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  • Literature appreciation – love of language, knowledge of story, interest in books
  • Reading – the clear, simple and predictable text make it an easy first reader
  • Maths – counting and sequencing the numbers, sequencing the days of the week
  • Visual arts – learning about collage and composition of a picture
  • Philosophical inquiry —sharing interpretations and discussing feelings about the story, asking questions raised including the ‘big questions’ of life

ryanlerch_thinkingboy_outline

Eric Carle, in an interview with Reading rockets, describes it as a book of hope. He says:

You little, ugly, little, insignificant bug: you, too, can grow up to be a beautiful, big butterfly and fly into the world, and unfold your talents.”

He goes on to explain that,

I didn’t think of this when I did the book, but I think that is the appeal of the book.”

But I’m not going to let him have the last word!

While “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has always been one of my very favourite picture books, I do have some misgivings about the impact that this book has had.

In future posts I will share what I consider to be some limitations of the text, and what I consider to be the most powerful use of all.

What do you think?

What appeals to you about this book?

What questions does it raise for you?

Please share your ideas. I look forward to hearing what you think.