Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Children's books

I grew up with many good children's books.  I didn't have them all, but I had many, and I certainly had enough to instill a healthy appreciation for books at a young age.  I'm trying to do the same with Elegance Class, my preschoolers.  We have library time every week and recommended storybooks that are a fixed part of the day-to-day lesson plans.  In the pre-set storybook list, I've come across a few that I recognized from my own childhood, but a few have caught me off guard with how good and adorable they are.

Time to put on our Reading Rainbow shirts!

Pete's a Pizza by William Steig

On a gloomy day, Pete's parents decide to cheer him up by making him a pizza.

My mom will make a joke about how if someone were to say to her, "Make me a sandwich," she would make magician hand motions and reply, "Poof!  You're a sandwich!"  This is the kind of way that Pete' parents make him a pizza.  They don't make a pizza and give it to him, they make him into a pizza.  I think all this is delightedly funny, and I've taken a stab at explaining why even though I know the humor doesn't entirely transfer...


Time for Bed by Mem Fox

This book and its tender rhymes and sweet illustrations captured my heart at first look. I want to read this one to my kids as a lullaby book.

It's especially fun being captivated by a new book while reading it with the students during class.  I'll be just a little distanced from the kids because I'm halfway between the classroom and the world of the book.


Willy the Dreamer by Anthony Browne

Willy the Dreamer is a popular book in Korea (as if The Little Prince, by the way), and my kiddos were already very familiar with the chimp.  I met him for the first time when we started to read this book.  I was much more fascinated by the pictures than the English words I was supposed to be teaching, and they were focused on finding all the bananas themselves.  No shame.  No shame.


The Mitten adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett

Jan Brett, your illustrations are so so great.  I'm especially partial to foxes these days, and these other critters are way to adorable to hang out with for only the allotted week.  (We spend just a week on each of these books.)

Lucky for me, this book was scheduled at the time of my open class, so I got to make an extra project with the characters to show the parents how well the kids can read a storybook.  I colored, cut, and laminated the animals.  During the activity, the students would each receive one for answering a question.  Once all the animals were dealt out, the students placed them in a mitten on the board as they read an excerpt of the story.  The kids really loved it, and I really enjoyed making the project.

(I used these two files which were kindly made public by Tracy and also this file for the mitten.  After the open class, I liked the animals so much, I kept them and stuck them on the air conditioner in the teacher's room where they still hang out.)

Just chilling out with the air con.  Heh.

Another project I wish I could do with the animals from The Mitten is these felt versions.  Aren't they insanely cute?


The Chinese New Year by Joanna Troughton

This book helped us learn the order of the Chinese New Year animals.  It wasn't listed in the curriculum, but I made sure we had individual testings so each of us will forever have the list memorized.  Quiz me!


Dinosaur Encore by Patricia Mullins

Okay, this was just crazy.  We had a dinosaur chapter that lasted a week, and that's super cool, but I was blown away by how the curriculum expected these first year English students to learn and say words like "struthiomimus," "compsognathus," and "pachycephalosaurus."  I was having trouble with the pronunciations!  Still, the kiddos did it, and they did it with feeling.  I'm actually really proud of them, those brilliant little chipmunks.


 I'm really excited to get to share these kinds of books with some kids that I might have one day.  Do you have any favorites you'd recommend?


  1. Wow. I haven't heard of any of those! I want to find the pizza one. As far as kids books go, my favorites are all by Mo Willems.
    Also, with how everything is a story in Korea, you'd think a love of books would be natural!

  2. @Scout Haha! Yes, I didn't even think about how the Story of everything ties in.

    I've never heard of Mo Willems, but the illustrations that show up on Google look like a blast. :)


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