There Is a Bird On Your Head | Class #2 2015

thereisabird

Mo Willems has become THE master of easy readers. With pre-book work including Sesame Street and animation, he had the perfect training to create child- and teacher-friendly easy readers. I think he deserves every one of his many awards. What do you notice in this deceptively simple book? What does he do with simple shapes […]

Ling and Ting | Class #2 2015

lin_ling & ting twice as silly

This is one of two early readers (a.k.a. easy readers) for our second class. At the end of class, we talked about the difference between picture books and easy readers. How well do you think this book works in the early reader genre? Clearly it’s for somewhat more fluent readers than the Elephant and Piggy […]

Picture This | Class #2 2015

picture this

Molly Bang‘s Picture This is her personal exploration as she works to analyze the emotional effects of art. Most illustrators go with their gut as they compose their pictures, but Molly wanted to see if there were some rules involved. An experienced illustrator, she says she began to understand art and composition better through this […]

Children’s lit class begins again

wwtwa_mirror

     The first day of my children’s lit class at Harvard Ed School will be this Thursday, Feb. 26. Once again, we are hoping you will all help us discuss our readings here on the blog. The students will be required to post comments (short ones, I hope!) and the more comments we can get […]

Mirror by Jeannie Baker | Class #1, 2015

mirror

Wordless books present an interesting challenge to adults who share them with children. Is there a right way to read them? There is a heated discussion about this going on in the comments to Megan Lambert’s recent post about The Farmer and the Clown. The great children’s literature specialist Rudine Sims Bishop has talked and […]

Where the Wild Things Are | Class #1 2015

Where the Wild Things Are

For our first class this year, we are again reading Where the Wild Things Are, a picture book that is now a classic, but was highly controversial in its day. It’s rare to find students who have never read Where the Wild Things Are, but every year there are a handful. For those who know […]

Using wordless books in the classroom

arrival

It is easy to underestimate wordless (or nearly wordless) picture books. At first glance, they can seem simplistic and their educational value can seem limited since so much focus is placed on reading in the classroom, but if used in the right way they can contribute to a number of learning objectives across a wide […]

In Defense of Gentle Men

frazee_farmer and the clown

Although I found much to celebrate in the aftermath of the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards announcements, I admit that I sat licking my wounds over one favorite picture book that didn’t make the Caldecott cut: Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown. I’d given a copy to my eight-year-old daughter Caroline, and my liking […]

Picture books measure up

How tall short

When I was a young student, I don’t recall learning about math concepts from picture books. Of course, I could simply have forgotten, but I do think it may be fair to say that there are more high-quality math picture books today than there were when I was a student. Nowadays, whenever I begin a […]

Empathy spells understanding

Yang the Youngest

If there’s one thing my students have come to know about their teacher, Ms. Tell, it’s that I have an extreme passion for, and knowledge of, the Harry Potter series. I won’t get too much into it (I’ll save that for another blog post), but it’s true. It’s not just the magical characters and enchanting […]