I am in my last semester at SJSU SLIS. One of my last two classes is creating my e-portfolio. I kept every possible assignment so I did not struggle to find evidence to support each of the competencies. My struggle is the writing. I have days where it seems like my brain is on fire with ideas, the only problem with those days is I have a hard time organizing my ideas. Then I have days where all I can seem to do is edit/ delete what I have written. I can take both of those types of days over the dreaded blank space days, where I seem to write nothing. One of my professor swears that most successful writers get to success with the BIC (Butt in Chair) or sometimes known as BIS (Butt in Seat) method. I know I have to be sitting to write but just looking at the screen some days just makes me so frustrated. Why can’t I get my ideas out of my head and onto the paper/computer? I enjoyed the reflective process of reviewing my past work and selecting what I think are my best examples for each of the competencies, that part was fun. Clean, concise writing is one of the most important skills for a library school graduate. I want to write, why does my brain not understand?
If you have any great writer’s block tips you want to share, please do.
Written by Eloise Greenfield ; illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrest (2011)
The Great Migration: journey to the North. New York: Amistad.
Page count: 32
Genre: Poetry; History
Recommend to: age 5 and up
Set in the American South and the metropolitan cities of the North.
Description: From 1915-1930, more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South to find jobs and to escape unfair conditions created by the Jim Crow laws. The poems in this book address the sequential stages of the migration from ”The news”, “Goodbyes”, “The Trip”, “Question” and “Up North”. In a poem about traveling on the train North the words match the cadence of wheels on the track
“Will I make a good life /
for my family, /
for myself? /
The wheels are singing, /
‘Yes, you will, /
you will, you will!’ /
I hope they’re right. /
I think they’re right. /
I know they’re right.”
The artwork is a predominantly mixed media. In a book review in Horn Book Review Smith (2011) writes, “Cut paper, ephemera, paint, and processed photographs create collages, adding the right air of seriousness and history to the poetry”.
Curricular Connection: This could be used in a history unit on the Dust bowl, Jim Crow laws, African Americans in the United States, the Underground Railroad or emigration. The poems sounds match the rhythm of the story; it could easily be used as a story time book during African American History Month. Phillips (2011) of School Library Journal recommends “Greenfield’s lyricism and her clear, narrative style make this book a solid choice for independent reading and for reading aloud.”
Personal Response: The emotions that people must have felt when they were making the Great Migration are conveyed in the art and poetry of this book. The poems communicate excitement, fear, loss, and hope. This is not to my heritage but reading this book made me pause to think about all of the humans that have ever left home looking for a better life. The hope has to be very strong because the journey is often not easy.
Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. (2007) Living color. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Page count: 32 Genre: Non Fiction – Animals, Color Recommend to: ages 4- 10
Description: As Jenkins begins this colorful book about animals, he explains animals are colored for a reason. Colors in nature are there to communicate things like “don’t eat me” or “ pick me as you mate”. The book is a rainbow of animals. Each page is dedicated to on one color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) with illustrations of many different animals and a short explanation of the significance of their color. Auger (2008) from Horn Book Review says “The book’s real highlight, though, is Jenkins’s cut-paper collage: his animals are dazzling—vibrantly colored and detailed.” At the end of the book is detailed information about habitat, diet, and size for every animal. School Library Journal (2008) recommends the book for Kindergarten to Grade 5, a wide audience but this book will have wide appeal.
Curricular Connection: This could be used in math for a lesson on scale. It could be used in science for a unit on diversity of life or camouflage. It could also be used in art for a study on the cut paper technique used to make the illustrations.
Personal Response: This book had me on the first page. Beautiful color artwork and accurate science, what more could I ask for in a book? I read Jenkins’s biography on his website His father was a Physics professor and he thought in his youth that he would become a scientist but instead he chose to go into graphic design. He has the perfect background for making amazing books.