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.
Edited by Bill Martin Jr. with Michael Sampson. (2008) The Bill Martin Jr. big book of poetry. New York: Simon& Schuster Books for Young Readers. ISBN 1416939717 Page count: 175 Genre: Children’s Poetry Recommend to: ages 4- 10
Description: Description: The Bill Martin Jr. Big book of poetry is a colorful and whimsical anthology of poetry perfect for any elementary school collection. Rochman (2008) from Booklist agrees, “This is a great gift book as well as a strong library and classroom anthology for browsing and reading aloud. Adults, in particular, will enjoy Eric Carle’s moving introduction”. In the beginning of the book is a note from Eric Carle explaining how Bill learned to read in high school with the use of rhythms and sounds. Poetry was at the heart of Bill’s own literacy experience. Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson organized this collection from Bill’s favorite poems. A selection of poem from both modern and classic poets including: Jack Prelusky, Mary Ann Hoberman, Margaret Wise Brown and Langston Hughes. Each chapter is based on themes common to childhood: animal, people and places, school, family, feelings, nonsense, and Mother Goose. The list of artists is amazing which includes but is not limited to: Lois Ehlert, Chris Raschka, Steven Kellogg, Aliki, Robert Quakenbush, and Ashley Bryan.
Curricular Connection: With over one hundred poems, this book could easily be the beginning of a poem a day curriculum focus. An additional classroom connection could be the teacher reads one of the poems from the book out loud to the class; the students then draw their own interpretation of the poem. Then the class could look at the artwork in the book and compare the two. This would be great time for discussion on how the words we hear have different meanings for different people.
Personal Response: This anthology is beautiful from both a visual and auditory perspective. Poetry is best when it is read out loud. The artwork for each poem is engaging and the poems are perfect for students. I read many of these poems to my son and we both enjoyed the art and the poetry. Lempke (2009) of Horn Book says “This collection will appeal to many tastes, and, with its array of art and subjects, it’s a book parents and grandparents can read to young children without anyone getting bored.” I thoroughly agree with this assessment of the book.
Written By Nancy Krulick; illustrated by John & Wendy. (2003) Drat! You copycat! New York: Grosset & Dunlap ISBN 9780807509104 Page count: 80 Genre: Fiction – Magic, School, Series, Chapter book Recommend to: ages 7- 10
Set in Katie’s school, home, and classroom.
Description: Katie Carew is a normal ordinary third grader with the problems of all kids this age, until a strange wind comes and magically transforms her into someone else. In this installation of the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series, she offers to befriend the new girl in class and it cause problems for Katie with her best friend, Suzanne. Becky, the new girl tries to copy Suzanne in an attempt to fit in at the new school. Her actions earn her the reputation of a copycat to the students in Mrs. Derkman’s class. When it comes time to do the oral reports in class, Katie switches into Becky and the crisis of the copycat problem gets resolved. The consistent theme in this series of book is Katie’s ability to resolve the conflict of the story when she switches with one of the other characters. According to a review in School Library Journal the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo “series could be a feminine contender to rival Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” series”(Bowes, 2002). Clearly, a publishing success the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series has over thirty books and the author keeps writing with the most recent title being, Three Cheers for..Who? (2011).
Curricular Connection: These books could be used on a unit comparing high fantasy with low fantasy. The friendship between Katie and Suzanne is one of the recurrent themes in this series of books. A unit on friendship might include this series. The biggest impact these books will make is that students will develop their love of reading because they love these books.
Personal Response: As one of the reviews I read on Goodreads said, these books are high interest low vocabulary. According to the PBS developmental tracker for children 7-8 years old, children at this age begin to “Choose to read to meet personal needs …To select materials, children rely on their knowledge of authors and different types of texts, as well as their abilities to estimate text difficulty.” These be easy to read chapter books but I can see how young girls would identify with her struggles. Katie Carew lives the life your average third grader with a little more magic and fun. I have also seen how these books fly off the shelves at the two school libraries where I volunteer. If this series of books get readers engaged in reading, then it should be a part of the library collection.