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Folktales redux

hobbie_hansel & gretel

Three recent picture books offer fresh takes on old tales from the likes of Grimm and Aesop; a fourth paints fairy-tale baddies in a more favorable, relatable light. Holly Hobbie’s handsome edition of Hansel & Gretel strikes just the right balance between scary and not-too. The deep green forest is mysterious but inviting, its darkness […]

Last children’s lit class in 2016

charlottesweb_honorseal

It’s hard to believe that this half-semester module is finishing up in one week. Tonight the students are handing in their annotated bibliographies — the big written assignment in this course. Next, we head into the last class for a little fun. We are reading Charlotte’s Web for dessert but most of our last meeting […]

Charlotte’s Web | Class #6, 2016

Charlotte's Web

During our last class meeting, we will be holding six mock book award sessions. There are four Caldecott groups and one each for Geisel and Sibert. Check out the books they have nominated here and tell us which one would get your first vote. Charlotte’s Web has been my last class reading assignment for several […]

Mock book awards | Class #6, 2016

h810F_mocks_2016

During our last class, students will meet in mock award groups. We did this for the first time last year and it went surprisingly well. This year the class is larger, which means there will be four Caldecott committees instead of two. Like last year, we will follow the terms and criteria as outlined by […]

Recommended Poetry: Young Adult

block_how to uncage a girl

Block, Francesca Lia How to (Un)cage a Girl 119 pp. HarperCollins/Cotler 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-135836-4 Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-135837-1 This three-part collection includes forty-five autobiographical poems. Part one details Block’s teenage years; part two follows her as an adult; part three contains “Love Poems for Girls.” Readers will welcome advice from someone who not only understands […]

Recommended Poetry: Picture Books

argueta_salsa

Argueta, Jorge Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem 32 pp. Groundwood 2015. ISBN 978-1-55498-442-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-443-5 Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. This bilingual cooking poem plays on the multiple meanings of salsa for a musical recipe. As a boy and his family prepare salsa roja, his imagination runs wild, with ingredients becoming […]

Recommended Poetry: Intermediate

fogliano_when green becomes tomatoes

Fogliano, Julie When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons 56 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2016. ISBN 978-1-59643-852-1 Illustrated by Julie Morstad. The book begins and ends on “march 20″ with a blue bird on a flowering tree branch (and with the same poem). In between are poems for days throughout the year. Morstad’s gouache and […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2016

Folklore and poetry

For our class on April 2, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile | Class #5, 2016

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile

There are so many stand-alone folktale picture books that it’s hard to choose just one for us to read together. But I’ve used this one for several years because of its humor, voice, and authenticity. Interestingly, it also represents two story types: noodleheads (heroes or heroins who are a bit scatterbrained) and tricksters (a small […]

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal | Class #5, 2016

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

One of the fascinating and mysterious things about folklore is that the same story types appear all over the world. Here’s a single picture book that tells a Cinderella-type story as found in several different cultures. I think children would need to first be familiar with a single, cohesive version of this story in order […]