Remember comic books? They’re still popular, but so are graphic novels; stories told using the comic form, but published as books. They can be an original tale or a retelling of traditional fiction. “The Swiss Family Robinson,” for example, was recently published as a graphic novel. Well loved by all ages, these books are great for reluctant readers. The combination of minimal text and many pictures grabs their attention and makes reading more accessible. Try some of these with your elementary school students.
Jimi Hendrix was an iconic force in rock and roll. His name is synonymous with music. In the book Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow, author Gary Golio introduces us to the young Jimi. The book begins in 1956 in Seattle, Washington, where Jimi was living with his father. They were not wealthy, but Jimi's father recognized that his son had a love for music. Jimi often practiced on his one-string ukele. With it he recreated the sounds the raindrops made as they hit the roof and the windowpanes. Even as a very young boy he interpreted the city sounds that he heard outside the boardinghouse where he lived with his Dad and turned them into melodies.
Boris the cat wakes up one morning and finds that his shadow has changed. It no longer resembles him. In fact, to his utter dismay, it resembles a mouse. But he decides not to let something like this ruin his day in the book Boris and the Wrong Shadow by Leigh Hodgkinson. However, he is ridiculed by his cat friends. He is unable to scare the birds. Now Boris begins to doubt that he is a cat. Maybe he is a mouse. Well, he catches a glimpse of himself and is reassured that he is still a cat, though he is a cat with a mouse's shadow.
Boris decides to quietly investigate this disturbing turn of events. Actually, he is so quiet that he could be described as being quiet as a ..........don't say it. Suddenly, he runs into Vernon the mouse and discovers that Vernon's shadow looks oddly familiar. Vernon has a cat shadow. Not just any cat shadow. But Boris' shadow.
People all over the world, from the Arctic to the South Pacific, love to play with string. They often use the pictures that the string suggests to tell stories from their ancient traditions. The Inuit might use sinews or leather from the animals they hunt, and the islanders might use tree bark fiber. You could use macrame or nylon cords or even simple, white string to show off your creations.
My week has been filled with art! Last weekend, my husband and I enjoyed the Picasso exhibit at the Richmond Museum of Fine Arts. This week, I have been working with colleagues on the 16th Annual Teen Art Show. Both are awe-inspiring and worth a trip! There is a charge for the Picasso, in Richmond through May 15th, but the teen art is absolutely free and runs through March 30 at the Headquarters Library. If you attend either event, or know a child who’s interested in art, there are books to enrich their experience.
When the Brothers Grimm wrote their fairy tales in Germany in the early 1800s, they were scary. Many of them were so scary, in fact, that they were considered unsuitable for small children. As time passed, the stories have been altered to give them wider audience appeal. In A Tale Dark and Grimm, Adam Gidwitz has brought the scary back to Grimm. This is not a fairy-tale book meant for small children. The author gives fair warning periodically throughout the story that the tale is going to get gory and it does!!!
One day Sally the duck is thrilled to get a pair of purple socks in the mail in Sally and the Purple Socks by Lisze Bechtold. They are lovely and so soft, but a bit small. However, there is something special about these socks: they will grow to the "size ordered." Once she airs them out, they fit just right.
Sally wears them all day - dancing, cleaning, and relaxing. After a while she notices something curious - the socks have grown to be too big.
But Sally is resourceful, and the purple socks become a soft purple scarf and cap....and so on. With each page, the socks grow larger and larger, and Sally deftly adapts to their new size and makes them into something totally new.
Newbery Medal-winning author Meindert DeJong (pronounced De-Young) immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. The family came to America so that his older brothers would not be drafted to fight in World War I. The DeJong family had a difficult time in their new country. The family was poor, and the children were sent to a private, religious school where the children were bullied for being immigrants. Meindert DeJong never forgot the experience of being a lonely child, and he wove that perspective into many of his books.
George Mason, future patriot, spent part of his childhood in Stafford County. His father died by drowning when he was very young, so he sometimes stayed with relatives including his uncle, John Mercer who lived at Marlborough Point. His uncle was a lawyer and landowner. He had a large library for the time—more than 1,500 books—and 11-year-old George enjoyed the library, including law commentaries his uncle had written.
This book is another example of why I love reading children's books. The Chiru of High Tibet by Jaqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Linda Wingerter, introduced me to an animal I knew nothing about--the chiru. Chiru are unique animals resembling antelopes, but related to wild goats and sheep. Their wool is special also and is considered to be the finest in the world. It is called shahtoosh, the king of wools. In order for this wool to be used, the animal has to be killed.
A man named George B. Schaller was very worried about the chiru and its existence. He was afraid that if something was not done to protect them, they would become extinct. So Schaller decided to do something. He wanted to protect the chiru from the hunters. In order to do that, he had to find the secret place where the female chirus gave birth. After several attempts to locate this elusive spot failed, four mountain climbers offered to help Schaller.
They set out on the journey with no trucks and no camels or donkeys that would need feeding. They pulled their supplies in wheeled carts across the plains of Tibet. When you read this book you will find out how their journey went and how the chiru situation was resolved.