Books and stuff

bookfair1

It’s that time of year again. Book fair time. “Miss Hewes! Look at the figurines I bought! Aren’t the polar bear and the penguin so cute?” I’ll be honest – yes, little rubberized figurines in the likenesses of polar bears are cute. I understand the appeal of such items to young children. However, I am […]

“Rabid Rabbit Readers” —- try saying that five times fast

country bunny golden

I’ve often heard the expression “teaching is a marathon, not a sprint,” an indication that teachers must allow time to pace themselves throughout the school year. But based on my experiences, that’s a whole lot easier said then done. First-year teachers are often thrown into a developed, engrained curriculum plan for a school’s reading program […]

Thinking about school as a privilege

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

As our year in second grade began last fall, my students and I spent some time thinking about why we go to school. In our first few weeks together, I tried to help my students understand that going to school is a privilege that has not always been (and is still not) available to everyone. […]

Science and stereotypes

Me...Jane

I’d like to start this post with a little thought exercise. Close your eyes and picture a scientist. What is your scientist doing? What does your scientist look like? If you are anything like my second graders, you’ve conjured up the stereotypical scientist: a man in a white lab coat with crazy hair who is […]

I wish I wrote that

Shark vs. Train

Every teacher I know is writing a book. Okay, that is probably an exaggeration, but I would venture that there is a sizable percentage of teachers ranging from kindergarten teachers working on picture books to high school English teachers working on YA novels. Some may be writing as a hobby while others might already have […]

El Deafo

eldeafo

This week, I was lucky enough to have a thirty-minute window when I could pop into my favorite independent bookstore in Los Angeles. They have a large children’s section on the second floor that I love perusing because they do an excellent job at getting new books. On one of their displays sat El Deafo […]

The kid-friendly, kid-maintainable classroom library

Nicole_Hewes_ Classroom_Library_5

If you’re a teacher reading this blog, you likely devote significant attention to carefully selecting literature to add to your classroom library. And, if you’re like me, you want your students to have access to these books, but also to not spend hours after school reorganizing and looking for titles that have mysteriously disappeared. Last […]

Books that inspire community

pedro_y_la_luna

Lately — and by accident — I’ve been reading Spanish versions of many French-authored children’s picture books. For some reason, most of the books I’ve recently bought from bookstores in Lima and Buenos Aires to use for storytelling in Spanish were translated from French authors. I didn’t realize it at the time, but once I […]

Open Very Carefully: even quality books can contain stereotypes

Open Very Carefully

One of the most popular books in my Pre-K class this past year was Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne. The book starts off like it will be a retelling of The Ugly Duckling, but soon a crocodile interloper enters the book. For the rest […]

Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome

willems_knuffle bunny too

This summer, I was asked by a parent whose child had attended our reading tutoring program in the spring, to work one-on-one with her daughter, a rising middle schooler with CHARGE syndrome. CHARGE syndrome involves a number of developmental and medical differences (see www.chargesyndrome.org to learn more), and for this particular child it means profound […]