One of the amazing things about being a school librarian for 22 years is reading a book you’ve read countless times before and finding something new in it. This week I read Helen Lester’s Tacky the Penguin and in the past had enjoyed the wonderful humor in it. This week I realized what a lovely, simple message it contained for the Kindergarteners. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a very funny tale about a penguin who is an “odd bird.” He doesn’t look like the other penguins, he doesn’t talk like the other penguins, he doesn’t even swim like the other penguins, but none of that matters in the end as he is of great importance and value to his companions. We had a nice, simple discussion about how differences in appearance are not necessarily a bad thing and that tolerance is something to strive for.
This was a short week due to the teacher inservice on Monday.
Also in the Library….
First Grade–It was so cold this past week that we even got a dusting of snow on the mountains here in Santa Barbara! This put firsth graders in the mood for Margery Cuyler’s The Biggest Best Snowman. Little Nell is so tired of being told she’s too little to do things so she sets out to build the biggest, best snowman. With the help of her animal friends she does just that. First graders loved figuring out the letters she made as she was rolling to snowballs.
Second Grade–We started off the new year with a lesson on the parts of a book. After seeing a Keynote presentation outlining each part, we played “Bookworm Says.” Each child was given a book and found the parts of the book we had discussed. As old fashioned as a Simon Says type game is, it is always great fun and makes one of the less exciting library lessons much more enjoyable.
Third Grade–The Quiltmaker’s Gift written by Jeff Brumbeau and exquisitely illustrated by Gail DeMarcken is a great story to read after the holidays. It tells of a quiltmaker who makes beautiful quilts she will only give away to people in need. When the fabulously rich but unhappy king demands one of her quilts for himself she sends him on a journey of self-discovery. This is a great allegory about the gift of selfishness and third graders were spellbound by the story and the illustrations.
Fourth Grade–Mrs. Edward’s class heard Frank and Devin Asch’s Mrs. Marlowe’s Mice this week. The illustrations, dark and a little moody, add so much to the mysterious story. We talked about two literary devices: “red herrings” and “plot twists” and the students were hanging on every word at one point in the story. This is one of those marvelous books that can be read on several levels–as a social satire or a cautionary tale or simply as an incredibly well crafted story that keeps you guessing. It could be used with older students as well, stressing the political and historical undertones. All in all, a fantastic book!
(Mr. Orr’s class missed library this week due to the Montecito Peak hike.)
Fifth Grade–To get our new year started we played a great game of Library Jeopardy.