Children MUST HAVE FREEDOM TO BE A CHILD....enough said.
"Children are neither the property of their parents nor even the world. They belong only to their own future freedom." -- Mikhail Bakunin
Must haves for your family and school library. 'We Are All Born Free' has been around for a long time now but now this beautiful Amnesty book 'Dreams of Freedom' is coming out in March with many well known illustrators contributing including the lovely Oliver Jeffers.
Children MUST HAVE FREEDOM TO BE A CHILD....enough said.
Perhaps we need to simplify developing a love of reading and think about how we respond to books in an instant first before over complicating the matter. Perhaps we wouldn't necessarily choose to answer a lot of questions first off. Perhaps we might just say... I loved/hated that bit when:
Charlie takes the wrapper off the chocolate bar so carefully (so that it's etched on my brain when opening bars of chocolate-just in case....)
Plop discovers fireworks for the first time-'Dark is exciting'.
You read 'The Dragonfly Pool' and find out what an Axolotl is in Pet's corner.
The Dad in 'Framed' heats up the sea for his son, wading in to the water with a kettle heated from the caravan.
You can do that in passing-you know if someone has engaged with a book not just by their language but through body language, by their facial expressions.In fact there's nothing better than watching expressions when you read 'that bit'. Surely that's what it's ALL ABOUT? Just witnessed it myself when we were reading that bit when: James finds himself in a tunnel which smells beautiful and realises he is inside the peach so he takes a bite out of it.
Books are the places for awe and wonder first and foremost. We need to get MORE TALK about them, more debate, more 'that bit when ....'
AND....read ourselves so we can join in because that's what makes it special, that shared experience which leads to very different responses.
PS just looking at a picture of an axolotl gave us lots of story ideas;a spin off from 'The Dragonfly pool' perhaps, it made us smile when we looked this particular character up on Monday.
I'm looking forward to reading my copy of "I am Henry Finch". It's a very delightful book by all accounts but even more exciting is looking at the link above where the lovely illustrator Viviane Schwartz tells us How to draw a FINCH. Then we can draw many more finches to join Henry and IMAGINE AWAY.
"Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds."
THE RIGHT TO MISTAKE A BOOK FOR REAL LIFE
The right not to finish a book.... and lots of other statements to think about so we can make sure children see reading as a wonderful thing in itself not just because they are going to race through a scheme or answer questions on it.
As a grown up do you answer questions after every book you read? Imagine if you did? Would you enjoy reading? Where did that come from.......if it puts you off it'll put them off too.
It's our job to instill a love of books in every primary school child. It actually says so-no arguing, no messing around. So why do you read? If you haven't had that discussion in school yet or even if you have it might be worth asking regularly to help us develop those emotional responses and a true love of reading.
PS the quote at the top is a rather lovely one isn't it-wonder where that's from? Hmmmmm. You might be surprised and because it's from there (CLUE) it's statutory to develop a love of reading NOT just teach children to read.
Happy New Year Imagineers and readers everywhere. I'm so sorry I haven't blogged for ages .... I've been too busy
Here's a selection for New Year Reading adventures. Let the reading begin:
To start off a sweet series Called Clementine Rose by Jacqueline Harvey. Good chapter books for 6+ or equally charming to read together. The one above is called 'Clementine Rose and the Farm Fiasco'. Clementine has quite an eccentric family including a rather stand offish Aunt who ends up accompanying Clementine and her class on a farm trip which makes room for some funny adventures but there's also some little messages about being kind and about people not always being what they appear on the surface.
If Shirley Hughes says it's 'beautifully written' that's enough for me. 'The Children of the King' by Sonya Hartnett has enough intrigue, suspense, character formation to be a page turner for 8+. I don't want to say too much because, if I do, it will spoil the dawning of awareness of who the mysterious boys in a ruined castle are. I'll just say I remember writing an essay about a particular King possibly involved in said mystery many moons ago. The children are discovered by a young girl who has been sent away to her Uncle's mansion during WW2 along with her brother. There's lots of interwoven stories in this including that of the older brother's relationships with his parents and his fight with them to be allowed to be grown up.
'The Brockenspectre' by Linda Newbery (author of Storyshack favourite: Lob) Another beautifully illustrated book with line drawings by Pam Smy. Once again this a book to evoke thought and empathy. It's a good read and in CS Lewis' words will make lots of readers feel like they're not alone. Tomas lives in the mountains with his family. One day his Dad, who is a mountain guide, doesn't return. Folklore tells of a monster in the mountain called the Brockenspectre-Tomas has to overcome his fears when he goes in search of his Dad. It's a sensitive story for 7+ especially if it's read together. It's a good one for realising things aren't black and white, it's not always straightforward to explain why people behave in the way that they do.
There are a number of books in the Morpurgo Christmas collection which as worth collecting not only for their stories but just because, also, they are a rather jolly size. That square little book which is appealing to fit in your hands and curl up with. 'Mimi and the Mountain Dragaon' is this year's 'collectable'. A sweet little story with a different twist to tale of being warm hearted because it has a Christmas DRAGON in it. The dragon is befriended ( I don't want to say too much more) by the singing of 'Sweet bells'. Take a look above at the Kate Rusby version if you don't know it. It'll make you feel Christmassy I promise.
A dedication to spur us on from Carolina Rabei: 'to my family, friends and teachers who always encouraged me to do what I love'.
A STARTER FOR CHRISTMAS:
Beautiful poem by Walter de la Mare with original illustrations by Carolina Rabei in this just perfect picture book. The stillness of the snow and the excitement of Christmas is conveyed with print making,a few muted colours and which makes the red stand out-they're very striking because of it.
For anybody afraid of poetry it's also a wonderful way in to enjoying language...if it does snow before Christmas it's a sure fire inspiration/stimulus for some wintery poems.
BUT-above all it's a book worthy of a place in your Christmas collection because it retains the wonder and magic without being naf and commercial.
SNOW by Walter de la Mare
No breath of wind,
No gleam of sun –
Still the white snow
Whirls softly down
Twig and bough
And blade and thorn
All in an icy
Through the air
On still and stone,
Roof, - everywhere,
It heaps its powdery
Of every tree
A mountain makes;
‘Til pale and faint
At shut of day
Stoops from the West
One wint’ry ray,
And, feathered in fire
Where ghosts the moon,
A robin shrills
His lonely tune.
'Hauntings are our business' -they can be yours too if you read 'The Whispering skull' by Jonathan Stroud.
The next instalment of Lockwood&Co has been a good read this week. The first one has been very eagerly received by the pupils in Year 5/6 I've been working with this week. They're all itching to read the first one-in fact I better get hold of some more copies. They really liked the sound of it AND the look of it too.
'The Whispering Skull' is a fast paced, suspenseful where you get to know Lucy, George and Anthony Lockwood a little bit more. I really liked the characters in the first book and the dynamics between them-there's lots of humour in the book again too. It would definitely appeal to 10+ as I said above it certainly does to the ones I know! We find out more about the skull housed in Lockwood's house, see more of the character's world. There's some interesting new characters including a mud larker along the Thames which I could imagine really week having been along the little beaches recently. Rivalry with the largest 'Fittes' agency abounds in the book.
It's a scary read (but not too much because there's lots of quips and put downs between the characters to relieve the tension) with enough mystery to keep you hooked. Get reading!
"Le vent se lève! . . . Il faut tenter de vivre!" ("The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!")
Watching 'The Wind Rises' is a lovely way to spend a rather grey Saturday afternoon. The usual beautiful animation from Studio Ghibli. They're all worth watching. This particular film lost out to 'Frozen' for best animation. If you'd like a refresher from Disney please try Ghibli. The 'blurb' will be enough for you to see what ages the film would be suitable for but they really are stunning to watch.
As I've mentioned before I think an audience of Rec to Year 6 pupils are a tough crowd. The magical thing about Ghibli is they do appeal to cross ages so if you're over whelmed by choice these ones would be great for a family intro to Studio Ghibli
Howl's Moving Castle
Tales from Earthsea
My Neighbour Tortoro
Kiki's Delivery Service
"Perhaps the greatest animated film ever made"