Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Very Good Cause

Marianne, a friend (and Hogarth parent) who works for Pearson Education recently told me about We Give Books. This year alone, the Pearson Foundation, in partnership with the Penguin Group, is planning to donate more than a million books to children who do not have books. You can drive the effort simply by reading free books on-line at We Give Books. You'll find picture books for children through age ten, with a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. There are read-aloud books, and books for older children to read independently. New books are added each month, and you'll find special seasonal offerings, as well.

How does it work? For each book you read, one book will be donated to the organization of your choice. And it doesn't cost you a penny. When you first log on, you'll be asked to register and choose your designated charity from among several literacy organizations. You can even switch up your designated charities to spread the wealth.

Did I mention it's free? (I know that I did. Three times. I just want to over-emphasize that it doesn't cost you anything to be a hero.)

Aside from contributing to the very worthy cause of child literacy, if you're a picture book author you'll be able to "research read" within your genre. If you're a parent, you can teach your child about philanthropic giving as you read with him or her. Older children can experience the joy of giving as they read books on-line on their own. Teenagers could even design a service project around We Give Books. Everybody wins, but only if you log on now, register, and start reading.

It's free, by the way.

This post originally appeared at The Write Sisters' blog on April 26, 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Read It Again!!

The CPG and EK children read an out-of-print old favorite, Little Cloud, by Robert Tallon. After I finished reading it, cries for me to read it again went up from the CPG kids. I wasn't at all surprised. Over the years, Little Cloud has elicited this response over and over. What a shame that a book kids connect to so strongly has gone out of print. I'll never understand the publishing industry!

Creative Play Group Responses:

Teagan: The lightning knocked off the mountain's nose and it fell off. I liked when it knocked off the nose. See! The lightning's touching the nose. His nose fell off and he said, "Aaaaw!! My nose!!" Look it. He blowed his nose when it was off him on the grass. He was tearing [crying] because his nose fell off in the dark.

Maeve: The cloud was near the big mountain. The big mountain scared everybody. He knocked off his nose because he didn't want him to be mean. The mountain grumbled. I liked it because he knocked off his nose.

Aria:  There was no more water for the animals. I like this one. [Illustration showing Mean Mountain's nose on the ground.] His nose is all sad.

Brady D.:  It was a story about Mean Mountain and Little Cloud.  I liked when Little Cloud wanted to go to the other side of Mean Mountain. The water was drying up because there was no rain. Mean Mountain scared away the clouds. I like this part. "Blast off!" He got his nose!

Ryan:  Big Mountain was mean to the clouds and he said, "Go away!" The water went all up because of Mean Mountain. I think he drank it all, so now the tree said, "I need water." Little Cloud was going to bring his friends. Mean Mountain was mad at Little Cloud. All the clouds gathered up and Little Cloud was the leader. When they got to the mountain the lightning shot Mean Mountain's nose. And then clouds rained and filled up the water.

Lindsey:  Little Cloud rained. The nose fell off.

Alec:  I like that page because it's scary. Mean Mountain is mad.

Aidan C.:  The tree didn't have any water because it didn't rain. Little Cloud broke Mean Mountain's nose off because he was mean to him. He was going, "My nose! My nose!"  I like that part.

J.J.:  Little Cloud got all his friends and made the big mountain's nose fall off because the mountain was mean. The water was drying up and the animals were really thirsty.

Aiden R.:  The animals needs some water, and even the trees.  The water is getting all dried out. There was no rain. This is my favorite. [Illustration in which lightning streaks out from Little Cloud, knocking off Mean Mountain's nose.]  His nose just fell off! The thunder was just cracking it.

Early Kindergarten Responses

Keegan:  There was a little cloud that couldn't get over the mountain because the mountain was mean. There wasn't a lot of water for the animals and trees. I liked the part where his nose broke off. And he kind of looks funny with his nose off. I think he's supposed to be The Old Man in the Mountain, but I'm not sure. This book kind of looks old. 

Daniel:  It's about a cloud who saves a valley from the bad mountain. He always scares the rain clouds away because he looks mean and scary and throws pebbles and rocks. The valley dried up. Little Cloud got all of his friends. Little cloud struck a light of thunder and knocked off the mountain's nose and brought water to the pond so they could drink and live. The last page was the mountain crying at his broken nose.

Allison: The mountain laughed at the cloud. All of the animals didn't have water. Lightning knocked off the mountain's nose. All of the animals and the trees had water.

Brady K.:  Little Cloud found Mean Mountain. Lightning came out of Mean Mountain's nose. It fell on the ground.

Bella:  I like the Little Cloud story because he had an idea to make lots and lots of rain because he wanted to make Mean Mountain's nose fall off. The water hole wasn't filled. So Little Cloud went to talk to a tree and the tree whispered because he wanted some rain. And then Little Cloud wasn't afraid of Mean Mountain.

Annalee: The mountain broke his nose because the lightning strucked him. The tree needed the water. His leaves were falling off and the leaves were very dry. The water was going away because the sun was up.

Sophie:  Where's the nosy part? [Flips through book to find illustration of Mean Mountain's grounded nose.] Well, the mountain's nose came off and he was just looking at it, crying. And the nose melted, because I see the green. [It's actually the nose's shadow.]

Leah:  The tree was whispering to the cloud because every time the clouds went by Mean Mountain scared them away. Little Cloud and all the clouds filled up over the sea with water. They made a big cloud all together with Little Cloud in the lead, and then they went to Mean Mountain and then lightning struck from Little Cloud onto Mean Mountain's nose. His nose fell onto the ground and it was gathering all the dust up. I just saw something! You [in my blue shirt] and the [blue] end pages match!

Brooke B.:  Little Cloud went to Mean Mountain and Mean Mountain wouldn't let Little Cloud go over him, but Little Cloud went around him. The valley had no water, and the tree whispered, "Can you bring some water?" Little Cloud asked her friends if they would help her, and they did. And then Little Cloud shot a big lightning bolt at big Mean Mountain and cut off his nose. And then he let water into the valley's waterfall and Little Cloud stayed in the valley.

Hayden:  All of the clouds said, "Hey come back, Little Cloud!" He just floated away and met Mean Mountain. He was crabby. When you be crabby, that means you're mad. Everybody is so hot because there's no water to play in . The tree whispered, "Please make it rain." And Little Cloud go back over Mean Mountain, and Mean Mountain blasts him off to the stars. Little Cloud got an airplane and taked one little snooze. That's what I do when someone's going to come over to my house. And then Little Cloud said, "Hey, why you all sleeping?" The clouds said, "Shhh! We're taking a little nap." Than all of the clouds maked an arrow, and went back to Mean Mountain. And then the mountain did some thunder. All the thunder came to Little Cloud. Everybody was so happy because Little Cloud brought the rain from the ocean. Then Mean Mountain cried because all the clouds knocked his nose off. He got a big tear coming out. And then Little Cloud saved everybody's life.

John: I liked when Little Cloud struck a streak of lightning and it knocked off Mean Mountain's nose and he said, "My nose! My nose!" And he groaned.  And that's it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Talk About Books!

I wasn't planning to blog today, but Emelyn asked if she could talk about books with me. Of course I said, "Of course!" Emelyn and her pals decided to talk about Beaver's Lodge by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. We are weaving the room this week,  and read Beaver's Lodge because our sculpture just might be a beaver's lodge. Or it might be a giant spider web. Or maybe it's a pirate ship.

Emelyn:  The beaver falled and he had blood. Maybe he got the blood on this pointed stick right here.

Christel:  First Beaver fell down, then he got hurt. He got pointies by those sharp sticks. Beaver's dam was all into rubble. And then Bear came and they brought him to Bear's house and then he fell asleep. I love the mouses on the pages! Squeak! Squeak! One little mouse is swinging. And then Bear and Porcupine fixed Beaver's dam. They decorated the dam. That shoe doesn't look like a shoe. It looks like a shark. There was none door! Beaver said he would chop himself in.

Arthur:  I want to talk about the end papers. Beaver is falling down and the porcupine is scared because it's going to fall down on him and the bear is going to catch him.

John:  Beaver was filling some holes in the top of his lodge. He fell down and his lodge broke and he got hurt. Beaver was sad. He was not sad because he got hurt, he was sad because his lodge broke. Hedgehog called Bear to come along and help him with all of his cuts. I liked when they were building the lodge and they had to decorate it. And I liked when the lodge was there and it was all fixed and it had Bear and Hedgehog on it. Bear was a stuffed animal, and Hedgehog was made from twigs and shells and mud. Right before that when Beaver was feeling better from all of the leaves on his cuts like Band-Aids, I liked it.

Camryn:  I liked the part when they build the new lodge. The other one fell down. That's all I want to talk about.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Road with Mr. Goody Wuthrie

We had a traveling theme in Early Kindergarten this morning when we read This Land is Your Land written by Woody Guthrie and illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen, and The Trucker written by Brenda Weatherby and illustrated by Mark Weatherby.

Bella [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]: I like the golden valley. It has flowers, wolves, and bulls [buffalo]. I like all the colors. I like that. [Statue of Liberty] I think I saw it on Wonder Pets. I like that [a rainbow]. I saw a rainbow before with my daddy.

Hayden [Blogged about The Trucker]: The little boy fell asleep in his room and he had a dream, except it happened. His truck got bigger, and bigger and bigger and he got into the truck. And the truck had to stop so the people could walk by. And those are so cute!  What are they? [Me:  Deer.]  Oh, I like deers! On the alphabet line, reindeer starts with "R." I like this page because he blew the tire, but he needed help putting the big tire back onto the truck. He can't do it if it's raining.

Keegan [Blogged about The Trucker]: I love the fact that trucks have been around for millions, and millions and millions of years. A lot of the old ones didn't survive, they got scrapped. The toy truck transformed into a humongous big rig. And some rigs are so huge, they're bigger than a big house and they could hold millions and millions and millions of tons!

Daniel [Blogged about The Trucker]:  He was playing with his truck, and it became bigger, and bigger, and bigger and bigger until it was big enough so he could fit in it. Some kids saw him in the truck and they did the truck signal and it meant they wanted him to blow his horn. And on the next page he drove on the highway, and then he was bored so he called on the radio. Then he saw a truck that was stuck in a hole. The storm went by and there was trouble. A tire popped and it was called bubble trouble. The tow truck came to help him and followed him a ways, and then he pulled off the road to take a nap. It was a dream! And he was with his Dad to work. His Dad was a truck driver.

John [Blogged about The Trucker]:  The truck got bigger and bigger and bigger and then BOOM! It got humongous. He first checked all the equipment, and then he went to the lumber yard. At the bus stop, the kids wanted him to honk his horn. They gave the signal and then he gave a big, BOOOOOOM! He passed a deer crossing sign. Then he needed some company so he called up someone on his radio and he said, "Anyone out there got your ears on?" Then he was going past a tow truck that drove off the side of the road, and the big truck helped him back on the road. Then the storm came and thunder and lightning went, BOOM! BANG! Then he said, "I lost a bubble!" That means he lost a tire. He needed help to put the tire back on and then the tow truck was grateful enough so he put the tire back on. And then he got happy again and he was at the lumber yard. And then it was time to get his shut-eye. It was all a dream, and then his mom and his dad put him in his seat and he went to work with his dad. He works driving a truck at the lumber yard.

Sophie [Blogged about The Trucker]My favorite part was when that guy [the tow truck driver] was stuck there. The other truck pulled him out.

Leah [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]: They thought they had a job here, and then one people had no gas because they didn't have much money. Mr. Goody Wuthrie was strolling down the highway. Me and Sophie were lying on our backs because we were pretending we were seeing the Redwood Forest. They're so tall. There he is walking. It's Mr. Woody Guthrie.

Brooke B. [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]: Mr. Woody Guthrie was walking down that ribbon of highway. I like this page because I like how they like painted the mural and how they created the playground.

Annalee [Blogged about The Trucker]:  The truck is growing bigger and bigger. He's driving it. He didn't know how to drive. There's deer right there. I saw deer in Colorado. I went with Abby. We visited my cousins.

Dev [Blogged about The Trucker]:  He was playing with his toys and the truck began to be big. He could ride it. He was talking on his radio. The rain starts to go. It was raining hard. At the end the truck went small again.

Arthur [Blogged about This Land is Your Land]:  The policeman comed, three of them, and they wanted to give them gas, but they couldn't because there was no gas there. A lot of things were damaged because some burglar or some bad guy putted some fire on it. On the next page they fixed it. I like this because they think it's a rainbow, but it's really not a rainbow. It's a brick wall painted like a rainbow. Mr. Woody Guthrie is really a singer. The fog is moving on this page.

Arthur [Blogged about The Trucker]: I want to talk about something on the end. They want some food. That's all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Here Comes the Sun/Son! (Doo, doo, doo, doo!)

The EK kids read and discussed Gerald McDermott's 1975 Caldecott Medal Winner Arrow to the Sun. March was such a wet and dreary month here in the Northeast, we just had to celebrate this first sunny day of April by reading a book featuring the sun.  Arrow to the Sun is a perennial favorite, and this year's crop of kids enjoyed it as much as my first class back in 1980.

Hayden: When the boy tried to find his Daddy someone put an arrow to the sun and the boy gets on the arrow and then he goes to the sun and he sees his father up there. He had to go in the Kiva of Lions. And then he had to go in the sea lions [serpents]. Then he trapped the lions. Then he curled up the sea lions. And then he goes into the bees. He trapped them. And then he goes in the lightning. He got hisself rainbowy. The father sended the boy back to earth. I liked when he goes in the lions and the sea lions.

Brady:  The boy turned into an arrow to find his dad. Arrow Maker maked the boy into an arrow and shooted him up to the sun. The father said he had to go into the Kivas. They were lions, snakes, bees and lightning. His father shot him back to the earth. My favorite part was when the boy turned into the arrow.

Brooke N.: His dad said, "Kill the bad guys." The bad guys were the snakes and the bees and the lion. The boy was brave. My favorite part was when he was fighting the bees. [I ask which Kiva she would enter.] I would fight the bees.

Bella: I liked it 'cause of all the pictures. It looks really cool, and I liked it when he goes through the lava [Kivas]. My favorite was the lion. [I ask which Kiva she would enter.] I would go through the lions.

John:  It was about a boy looking for his father. He asked the bow and arrow maker to shoot him all the way to the sun. Then he met his father. The father told him he had to go in four Kivas. The Kiva of Lions, then he tamed them. The Kiva of Snakes, then he turned them into a circle. The Kiva of Bees, then he turned them into honey. The last was the Kiva of Lightning. On the last Kiva he got static shocked and formed into a color just like his father. Then his father shot that arrow right back to earth, then I think the boy was king of the earth.

Annalee:  His dad told him, "Go to the lions." He tamed them.

Leah:  I love this part. She [Arrow Maker] gave the biggest arrow that she made to him. I liked the lightning part because I liked the colors.  And then the father shot the arrow back down. He [the father] was the sun. 

Keegan: It's kind of cool because I like these people. I like the buildings because they're Indian-style and I like that because it's like a hundred years ago and I like that. It's about a boy who went up and found his father up on the sun. He got shot up there by an arrow. His clothes changed up on the sun.

Daniel: In the Lion Kiva he made the lions not be so mean. Then it was the snakes. He made them not be mean. And then bees. He made the bees not be so mean. Near the end he was in the lightning place then when he came out he was looking different. Before he was in there he lookeded black with one flower in a circle around it. After he was like black with orange and blue and green and pink all over him, just like his dad. Then he was shot on an arrow back down to earth and everyone was nice and the mom was watching down on them.

Dev: I like this page where the arrow goes to the sun.

Allison:  He was going to the lions. I like that part.

Arthur:  I like it because he tamed the lions and he tamed the snakes. And because he tamed the bees and because he tamed the lightning.