Monday, March 23, 2015

I am who I am

Red: a crayon’s story by Michael Hall is one of ‘those’ books.  You know, the books you read and go “Oh!” then a few goose bumps race up and down your arms. Your brain is telling you that this book is going to be great in the classroom!

This is a story about Red.  He’s a crayon who is red.  Except he isn't very good at being a red crayon.  Everything always turns out blue. Red ants are blue. Strawberries are blue. Cherries, hearts and foxes all come out blue.

Even with help from his parents, teachers, and friends, all his pictures turn out to be the wrong colour.  No one quite knows what to do but all have an opinion as to why Red is the way he is.  Some crayons are more understanding than others.  He becomes very frustrated when practice and hard work doesn't make a bit of difference
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But wait! 

A new crayon hits the scene and asks Red to make a blue ocean for her boat.  And, voila! A perfect ocean is drawn by Red. He does a good job.  No one criticizes him or makes excuses.  It  is easy!  So is making blue birds, blue berries and blue whales.  He has finally found out what he was good at doing.

This is a terrific book that looks at identity and individuality in a fun way.  No one has to be stuck with a label.  Finding what each person (or crayon) is good at changes the game and allows for everyone to shine.

Recommended for preschool to grade 3, but why stop there?  Take it to any level and see what happens.

Books to think about pairing with:

Ten Birds by Cybele Young is also about labeling.

This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris about following your heart’s desire and not letting anyone but you in a box.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt keeps with the crayon theme though the story is about appreciating things we take for granted.





All recommended for the primary grades.

Monday, March 16, 2015

World Water Day 2015 - Sustainability



This Sunday, March 22 is World Water Day. This is a day designated to celebrate, raise awareness, and change the way we think about and access water, especially for those in the world who suffer for lack of clean water.  This year's theme is sustainability.  Visit the official website to learn more and get posters and banners to display in support.

A very timely arrival into the Doucette Library is Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior good for the primary grades.

It's about a group of children given the important job of collecting water for everyday household use such as drinking, cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning teeth. Anna, the youngest, is frustrated because she hasn't picked up the knack of carrying her water container on her head like the others. She does eventually overcome her lack of ability. They collect the water from a fairly fast moving, clean-looking river. The landscape is full of green hills, pastures and trees. This is a day-in-the-life kind of book, that would raise the question as to why children have to go a collect water from a river. It's not focused on accessed to clean water.

The story takes place on an island in the Caribbean.  It just so happens, that last year, I spent a little over two weeks on the Caribbean island on Carriacou part of Grenada and came across a similar scene as the opening in this book -- a group of children carrying large plastic containers of water, though not on their heads. Essentially, there is a wet season and dry season here.  I was there in April towards the end of the dry season and things were pretty dry; brown, dry grass, leafless trees and no standing water for wildlife or domestic animals.  There are few wells and no rivers.  Water is collected during the wet season using household catchment systems. When water runs low, people and animals do without. 
Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions. -- from unwater.org
Another terrific nonfiction book that ties in perfectly with World Water Day is Every Last Drop: bringing clean water home by Michelle Mulder. Here you will learn how people throughout history have obtained, used and disposed of water.  Current practices for water use around the world are found in the second half of the book with a smattering of information about sanitation - the often overlooked component of the clean water initiative. I recommend this for the middle grades as a way to delve further into the issues about water.

In last week's blog, I mentioned an enhance e-book app that was also a recent acquisition for the Doucette Library.  Water by Edward Burtinsky is well worth looking perusing as it looks at water issues through the eye of an artist.  This is best used at high school levels and up.

Happy Water Day, Everyone!

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