Archive | January, 2013

Tequila Mockingbird

24 Jan


This is a hysterical article I read in McLeans about the odd requests that book sellers get from patrons.  ENJOY!

Snowy Day Reads

22 Jan

Weather often dictates our moods, even our reading moods.  When it’s rainy I feel more mellow and I am inclined to curl up on my couch with a novel. During the summer, I like to enjoy the sun on my back deck with a cold drink and a magazine.

For some of us the snow is invigorating, for others it is an annoyance.  No matter how you feel about the winter weather, here are two books that make snowy days more enjoyable.

For Kids:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The book is about a boy named Peter exploring his neighborhood after the first snow of the season. It is also a Caldecott Medal winner for illustrations

For Adults:

Smillia’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

Smilla uses her knowledge of snow to unlock the mystery of a young boys death. The book was also made into a wonderful movie staring Julia Ormond as Smilla.


What is Folk Literature?!

18 Jan

In an effort to clean my home office, I went through my graduate school binders and came across a well-organized handout by Professor Richard Feldman, that describes the genres within folk literature, and I included some of my personal favorite examples from children’s literature:

A fable is very short, with a moral at the end.  Characters are usually talking animals.
The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney


A folk tale is a story, also usually with talking animal characters, which uses a pattern (numbers, repetition).
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald Mc Dermott


A fairy tale is similar to a folk tale, but the characters are people. There are obvious “good guys” and “bad guys”, and magic is usually involved. Cinderella would be a classic example, and The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieska would be a more contemporary example.


A myth is a magical story about how natural forces work (death, creation, weather). Sometimes myths have gods, goddesses, or heroes.
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingrid d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

A legend is similar to a myth, but it is based on actual historical events or people.
Becoming Buddah: The Story of Siddhartha by Whitney Stewart and Sally Rippen


A tall tale is a story about a heroic person who did completely outrageous, impossible things.
Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg

Paul Bunyan
Happy Reading

Linking Literature and Dramatic Play

11 Jan

I recently discovered a photo from my childhood of my brother John and me acting out the Declaration of Independence. I have fond memories of preparing for this afternoon activity:  putting our costumes together, using the encyclopedia and collecting older antiques from around our house to use during our ‘play’.  Seeing the photo as an adult (and as an educator) I realize how important acting out this historical event was (as opposed to just reading about it) to my understanding of the Declaration of Independence.


Dramatic play is an amazing way for children to access literature. During dramatic play children are creating the story as they go. When dramatic play is used in conjunction with a book or with other pieces of literature it takes the understanding of the written word off the page and to a new level.

For children learning vocabulary, the dramatization of words can be an effective means of study. In the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, the story of a little girl who didn’t like her name, the teacher could act out the word wilted for her second graders, effectively demonstrating how a girl could wilt. (Tompkins, 2010).


Dramatic play, in conjunction with or without literature can also gives children more playing time with peers, better verbalization and vocabulary (I can assure you my brother and I had to look up a lot of words for our play!), a curiosity about the world, longer attention spans, and practice in cooperation.

A few ideas include:

-Act out new vocabulary words

-Bring history to life and act out an event from the past

-Read a book and act out an important scene between characters

-Bring poetry to life through dramatization

Whether you are a parent, caregiver or teacher there are many wonderful ways to incorporate dramatic play into reading.

Guest Post- Julie Vick!

6 Jan

Mother Reading Story To Son

The article below is from the Philadelphia Inquirer written by my mom.  It’s about a mother and child book group, and it’s an awesome article about reading, friendship, and how books can open so many new worlds.