Sunday, July 16, 2017

16th July Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day only started last year, but it would be a huge hit in my library as the young children I teach love guinea pigs and I am constantly asked for guinea pig stories. Fortunately we have a large number and some of them are series so they can 'get hooked' and keep reading. Humphrey's Tiny Tales by Betty G Birney have been popular and the graphic novel series Guinea Pig Pet Shop Private Eye by Colleen A F Venable has a large following too. We used to have a wonderful Folkmanis guinea pig puppet too, but sadly he was borrowed, never to return. I do know he is probably well-loved! The display does work without accompanying toy or puppets.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

14th July Pandemonium Day

I love the word 'pandemonium' and so do young children. They feel a great sense of achievement when they say it. Therefore I really enjoy reading books to my preschool classes that use that word. Some of my favourites are:






My year 2 readers get quite engrossed in Jeanne Willis' Penguin Pandemonium series too.

I also love the origin of the word, not that I would be teaching Kindergarten about Milton.

 1660-70; after Pandaemonium, Milton's name in Paradise Lost for the capital of hell; see pan-, demon, -ium

Given how many times it is spelled to feature 'panda' in the title though perhaps it should have been spelled with the 'a' not the 'e'.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

9th July Ada's baptism

I have just come home from a lovely celebration for a friend's baby, Ada Grace. For the last week I have been agonising about what gift to give her. I always give this family books, so I felt quite sure they would expect me to arrive with books, but what to take? I had given Ada's older sister picture book bible stories for her baptism, but felt I had chosen the best of these then. So finally I decided to give Ada some books about exemplary Adas. Well as it turned out I had a lot to choose from, all of which she would grow into at some stage. In the end I bought a current favourite, Ada Twist, Scientist and one of the wonderful biographies on Ada Lovelace, Ada's Ideas, but it could have just as easily been any of these below. The one at the top right is book one of a new series about Ada Lace, an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, maths, and solving mysteries with technology. It will be out in August and I will buy it for the library.


Friday, July 7, 2017

7th July Global Forgiveness Day

July 7th is celebrated as Global Forgiveness Day. Forgiving someone, asking for forgiveness and apologising are often not easy things to do. It  is something we work hard on with the very young children I teach. Teachers often burst into the library saying, 'Quick I need a book about forgiveness for circle time.' And of course no book does exactly what they want, but I often use these to get teachers started.






Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7th July Chocolate Day

There are several times a year to celebrate with chocolate, but it is a while since Easter and still some time till Christmas or Valentine's Day so it is timely to have a Chocolate Day in the middle of the year, especially when it is cold here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Latest reports suggest that regular intake of chocolate and cocoa could be beneficial for cognitive functioning over time, thereby staving off degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  People who ate chocolate every day were found to have better attention spans, working memory, ability to process speed and verbal fluency, but it should be dark chocolate to avoid health problems associated with high sugar intake.

The most popular book about chocolate is probably Charlie and the Chocolate  Factory by Roald Dahl, but there are many other wonderful novels which allow fans to read more about the wonders of chocolate. The books below are ideal for reading at times other than Easter and when you are feeling like some chocolate.



Sunday, July 2, 2017

3rd July International Plastic Bag Free Day

Today needs to be a  Plastic Bag Free Day! My local council has designated the whole of July as a plastic free time in order to make each of us contemplate what plastic bags do to our environment.International Plastic 

This most popular of disposable carrying devices that  we pick up from retailers are used for an incredibly short time, usually under 25 minutes, and are then disposed of. They may pass out of our thinking then, but they do not pass out of our world. Plastic bags remain in the world for anywhere from 100-500 years before finally decaying completely, and have a profound impact upon our environment as a result.

Out in the great reaches of the ocean are massive reefs made up of all sorts of plastic waste, and plastic bags play heavily among them. Such is the magnitude of the problem that these great floating islands reach hundreds of miles, like great monuments to mankind’s wastefulness, and disregard for the world upon which we live. International Plastic Bag Free Day gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves, and others, that every action we take, and every bag we dispose of, effects the lives of everyone in the world for generations to come.

I find that the children I teach are very aware of plastic in the oceans, but not so aware of its ramifications elsewhere such as in landfill. Luckily there are some wonderful picture books that can be used to start any discussion on what happens to plastic when it is not disposed of responsibly. 


See:
One Plastic Bag  by Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon tells the story of Isatou Ceesaya, a Gambian woman, 
 who came up with a way to recycle the plastic bags that had littered the landscape in her nation, an act that saved the environment and transformed her community.

Bag in the Wind by Ted Kooser and Barry Root. This story follows a plastic bag on its  journey from a landfill into a series of townspeople's lives. One cold morning in early spring, a bulldozer pushes a pile of garbage around a landfill and uncovers an empty plastic bag a perfectly good bag, the colour of the skin of a yellow onion, with two holes for handles that someone has thrown away. Just then, a puff of wind lifts the rolling, flapping bag over a chain-link fence and into the lives of several townsfolk a can-collecting girl, a homeless man, a store owner not that all of them notice.

Theo and the Giant Plastic Ball  by The United Nations Environment Program and Adrienne Kennaway tells of Theo and his quest to improve at football by making a ball out of discarded plastic bags. This then leads to clearing up his local environment and the realisation that by the community working together they could maintain a cleaner, more healthy environment.

Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman and Anne Crawley tells of a team of scientists who explore the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where millions of pieces of plastic have gathered, having drifted there from rivers, beaches, and ocean traffic all over the world.

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle by Alison Inches and Pete Whitehead is the diary of a plastic bottle. It goes on a journey from the refinery plant, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges into its new life...as a fleece jacket! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

29th June International Mud Day

The creators of International Mud Day wanted to find a way to help all of the children of the Earth feel closer to each other…and what a better way to do it than through the Earth itself? International Mud Day began in 2009 at a World Forum event, when Gillian McAuliffe from Australia and Bishnu Bhatta from Nepal got together to talk about ways to encourage feelings of community and appreciation for the world around us. It has since become a day where children, adults, and organizations across the globe get muddy to raise awareness about the importance of nature for children. 

Mud has always been an important element of childhood. Today most outdoor play occurs at schools/preschools and therefore it is important that schools begin, or continue their discussions and exploration into mud play (and other nature play concepts).

The school I teach at does value outdoor play. Kindergarten go to Bush School once a week for all of second term and then to Beach School once a week for all of fourth term. Here they get to revel in mud, sand, play with stones, sticks, in trees and immerse themselves in nature. Of course what they do here is supplemented by the more formal curriculum in the classroom, which in turn allows for much sharing of literature. If you are looking to 'celebrate mud' try these.