Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SOLSC #14 Love of books

I observed a sweet moment. 
Mom arrives and the child pulls her over to show her today's book.  He won't leave class until she sits with him and let's him tell her the story.  Today, it is Lon Po Po by Ed Young.   He flips through each page, using his own words, and he reads the book aloud to her. I predicted the children would love this book!  (I'd been informed by their many personal stories about wolves... I knew they would love this "Red Riding Hood Tale" where the children outwit the wolf.) 

For me, this is one of the most obvious signs that a book has "hit a home run" - when a child needs to share the book with his family before he will leave the classroom at the end of the day!  

I am so delighted that this has been a frequent scene this year.  I am thinking about which books have jazzed children in recent weeks...books they have needed to read, over and over...that they wander off to read during centers, or at nap time, or when the day is winding down.  I wonder if there is any connection between these?

Alistair in Outer Space by Marilyn Sadler
Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
The Little Old Woman in the Vinegar Bottle by Margaret Read MacDonald
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Peter and the Wolf, symphony by Sergei Prokofiev; here, we read several versions, but particularly loved the adaptation by Chris Raschka
The Magic Gourd by Baba Wague Diakite
Twenty One Elephants by April Jones Prince
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott

I am wondering...
Is there any connection between all these?  
What makes a picture book so loved?

Many have lovely writing. 
Many have delightful rhymes.
Many are totally fun to read aloud...especially if you "ham it up," exaggerate expressions, show acute emotion. 
Many of these stories have incredible illustrations.
Many of these have main characters who are children.
Though, then again, many of the main characters are animals.
Many have characters who get into real trouble - and then get out of it!
Many situations are just plain silly.

I'm not sure I see a common thread.  
I am so excited by how excited my children are by the books and stories we share.  

Bev Bos notes that when she starts to read a book and it appears she has no one's interest, she closes the book and opens another.  I see the wisdom in this - children are very clear about which books they love and there is a bounty of great books to share.

I sometimes struggle about leaving a book out and accessible, because, well, they are only three and four years old - they are not one hundred percent careful with books. Unexpectedly, they'll leave them on the floor and someone else will step on them, or they'll turn pages with too much enthusiasm or faster then their reading mate wants them to turn them - only to have the pages rip.  But, to me, 
I'd rather repair or replace a book that has 
jazzed them, 
juiced them, 
made them crave another reading, 
then keep my books pristine and removed.  
So, I repeatedly teach them how to care for books...we keep a "book hospital" at the ready, with tape and scissors for repair.  We repair books together.  And I watch them devour books, over and over....

It is really delightful.


  1. I agree that books should be accessible to kids. I'd much rather see a very loved book than one that hasn't been opened. I saved many of my childhood books and have them accessible to my children. It's sad to see one of my beloved books lose a cover or suffer a torn page but these things can be fixed.

  2. The love for reading is so clear in this post. Your kids are so lucky they get to hear so many books all through the day. I love the beginning scenario of the child sharing the book with mom. That's the way to raise a reader!

  3. I love it! Your words captured my feelings about sharing books with kids--at school, at the library, with my young grandchildren perfectly. Oh, and I am going to steal your idea of calling the supplies to repair books a book hospital. Thank you.

  4. Jazzed about reading- that's what it's all about! I love the scene of the little boy and his mom. How delightful to see the love of reading unfold.

  5. This is great--I love, love, love hooking kids up with books and was delighted to read about you doing that for your little ones.

  6. Absolutely love when you say "jazzed" and "juiced." It is clear how important literature is to you and how much you love to expose your students, regardless of accidents that may occur.

  7. Thank you for the book ideas - I added some that I haven't read to goodreads. I enjoyed listening to you think aloud about what about these books captures children. It was a joy to think about your students devouring books.

  8. We read Lon Po Po around Chinese New Year's. They took to it immediately. Will check out some of the others on your list with which I am not familiar.