As we prepare for the big, exciting Caldecott announcements at the end of January, the first graders are doing one of my favorite library lessons: Reading pictures. We learn to appreciate illustrators and the power of their craft by reading books with no words. But wait, how do you read a book without words? Ask a first grader that question and you'll get all kinds of great answers such as: "We use our imagination" and "Make up your own words by looking at the details in the pictures". We "read" a wordless picture book aloud by making up our own words to describe what we see on each page. My students have learned that you don't need to be able to read or even speak the same language to appreciate a picture book together. Here are some of my favorite wordless picture books:
Chalk by Bill Thomson
Tuesday by David Wiesner
The Girl and the Bicycle by
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner
Flora and the Flamingo (and other Flora stories) by Molly Idle
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
And perfect for today... The Snowman by Raymond Briggs!
Today is Christian's birthday, and he's celebrating by donating Maxi's Secrets to the library. This book looks so sweet! I haven't read it yet, but I'm moving it to the top of my "Must Read List". Here is what Amazon has to say: "When a BIG, lovable, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy, wonderful things happen that help him become a bigger, better person. With its diverse cast, authentic narrator, and perfect blend of spot-on middle-grade humor, drama, and wisdom, this powerful debut is relatable, funny, bittersweet, and full of heart. " Check out Maxi's Secrets from the libary and wish Christian a happy birthday today!
I am a huge Sharon Creech fan and will read every book she writes. So it was no surprise that I took Moo home the moment it arrived at Hamilton. This book reminded me immediately of all the things I love about Creech's style. Her mix of poetry and prose was fluid and bounced all over the pages. Like a true poet, she picks her words carefully and creates beautiful images in the mind. This story featured a young female protagonist (Reena) who is uprooted from California to Maine, without really knowing what to expect. She's surprisingly optimistic and has a fabulous relationship with her younger brother, which I sincerely admire. Reena forms a grandmother-like bond with an old Italian woman in her new neighborhood named Mrs. Falala. The relationship between the oldest and youngest generations is a recurring theme in Creech's writing, as is poetry, Italy, and self-discovery. Reena comes out of her shell and discovers a new side of herself, the "Maine-y" side of herself, with the help of Mrs. Falala and her stubborn, stubborn cow, Zora.