May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. With continued social distancing, it's a good thing there are a lot of online resources to learn about and honor the people and cultures of this region. Start with this page, which is a gateway to a lot of resources at the Library of Congress, National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, and other entities under the federal government's umbrella. The County of Los Angeles public library has a lot of things going on, so find out about those events here. I like the Reading Rockets site because it has a lot of very specific "Themed Booklists" for interests and events, such as "Celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage" and, further, there are usually links built in that show where to borrow or buy the books. And right here are books in the County of LA public library's digital books collection that are available for immediate checkout (unless someone else got there first--in that case you can place a hold). Click on the images below to go to that book's catalog record. You do need a library card and PIN to check the books out. If you don't have a card, you can get an Instant Digital Card. And head over to the Weekly Readalouds page to see video readalouds for each grade. The grade levels on these are pretty fluid--anyone could really watch any of them!
Hello again! It's fairy tale week, so there are many fairy tale ebooks on Monday's post (see below) and video readalouds of fairy tale books on the Weekly Readaloud page.
My reading this week is of Once Upon a Goat, by Dan Richards. It's not a traditional tale, but it includes some of the fairy tale elements with which PK's students are familiar. So, students: how many fairy tale elements can you find in Once Upon a Goat?
Another reason I chose this readaloud is because I very much wanted to post the video below it, so I was looking for a goat-themed book! Thanks to James Culbert for creating this video and allowing me to use it. He has quite a few of these storytime videos featuring his adorable "kids"--I can't stop watching them! Highly recommended anytime you need a smile :-)
From "once upon a time" to "happily ever after," fairy tales continue to engage readers and listeners. Third grade works with fairy tales around this time in the academic year, which is all the excuse I need to feature them.
Below are a variety of books involving fairy tales and folktales. Some are traditional versions, some create a bigger narrative based on classic tales, and others retell fairy tales in new ways. Clicking on an image takes you to that book's digital catalog record at the County of Los Angeles public library, from which you can check out that ebook instantly (unless it's already checked out, in which case you can place a hold on the item). If you don't have a library card, you can get a digital library card instantly and start checking out ebooks as well as audiobooks right away.
There is an exception to our overall fairy tale theme, which is a Shakespeare choice for grade 5. Shakespeare's actual birthday is not known for certain, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564, so scholars believe he must have been born in late April. Please head over to Weekly Readalouds for this week's videos, and as always, students really can watch any of them--it's not necessary to stick to a given grade-level choice.
In 1970, fifty years ago, the first Earth Day was observed. Earth Day represents the best of what people can do to understand, appreciate, and act for our whole planet. This year finds us in a very unusual situation, but it's still a good time to think about and observe Earth Day. With so many of our routines disrupted, we have a chance to reflect on what we miss as a society, as families, and as individuals. As we gradually rebuild from this unanticipated moment, we have a chance to consider anew what we want and what we need.
Below are a variety of books on the environment that are available digitally. Clicking on an image takes you to that book's digital catalog record at the County of Los Angeles public library, from which you can check out that ebook instantly (unless it's already checked out, in which case you can place a hold on the item). If you don't have a library card, you can get a digital library card instantly and start checking out ebooks as well as audiobooks right away.
This week's readaloud is 16 Words: William Carlos Williams and "The Red Wheelbarrow," written by Lisa Rogers and illustrated by Chuck Groenink. I chose it in honor of April being National Poetry Month.
I love poetry, as the students know, and I gave a lot of thought to this week's selection. I considered some of my favorites that I have read aloud at school many times: Once I Ate a Pie, by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest; Guess Again! by Mac Barnett; One Leaf Rides the Wind, by Celeste Mannis; Hotel Deep, by Kurt Cyrus; Song of the Water Boatman, by Joyce Sidman; or Casey Back at Bat, by Dan Gutman. Unfortunately none of these is in the County of LA public library's digital collection. (I love our public library, but it feels like someone over there thinks young people don't like poetry, which I have not found to be true!) You can look for them in the Pennekamp library collection when we go back to school.
I decided on 16 Words. It is a new (2019) book--I have not previously read it aloud--and I like it a lot. "The Red Wheelbarrow" is a well-known poem that is often read by young people, and according to the author's note of 16 Words, it was William Carlos Williams's favorite of his poems. The University of Pennsylvania has made available for educational use five different recordings of Williams reading "The Red Wheelbarrow."
An interesting fact about Williams is that he was a medical doctor as well as a poet, and 16 Words shows his work as a doctor and his work as a poet existing side by side, not in opposition. Many of us are trying to perform different types of important work simultaneously right now; I like how different aspects of Williams's life supported rather than precluded each other. Williams's inspiration for the poem is believed to have been what he saw out his window in the yard of his friend and neighbor, Thaddeus Marshall. So while many of our diversions and destinations are not available, "The Red Wheelbarrow" takes its inspiration from what is at hand. It reminds me to look carefully and thoughtfully at my surroundings.
Included beneath the readaloud is an animation of the poem, which circles around the words and images without insisting on a particular interpretation. (As always, supervise young people on YouTube as comments and related content often include words and images that are not suitable for children.)
What does "The Red Wheelbarrow" say to you?
National Poetry Month has been an official thing since April 1996. Now said to be "the largest literary celebration in the world," it was started by the Academy of American Poets to remind us that poets play an important role in our culture and that "poetry matters."
You can learn all about National Poetry Month and encounter a lot of poetry on the website of the American Academy of Poets: poets.org. There are many ideas for use during this time of at-home learning. However please note that the website poets.org includes a lot of poems with adult themes that are not intended for children. I even find that their selections for children brush up against content better suited to teenagers. Just something to be aware of before you turn your children loose there. (Poetry can be strong stuff!)
Below are a variety of poetry books to enjoy during poetry month or anytime. There are collections of poems, novels in verse, books that encourage young people to try writing poetry, among other fun selections.
Clicking on an image takes you to that book's digital catalog record at the County of Los Angeles public library, from which you can check out that ebook instantly (unless it's already checked out, in which case you can place a hold on the item). If you don't have a library card, you can get a digital library card instantly and start checking out ebooks and audiobooks right away.
I hope you enjoy National Poetry Month!
Scientists have found that octopuses are curious, intelligent, and determined. To see these traits in action, watch the video below from Octolab of an octopus figuring out how to get a hard-to-reach snack. For even more octopus content, see the "Adorabilis" octopus on the Weekly Readalouds page.
Inky the octopus, from "Inky the Octopus Escapes from a New Zealand Aquarium," New York Times, April 13, 2016
A persistent, problem-solving octopus squeezes through the narrow neck of a glass beaker to eat the mussel at the bottom.
This week's theme is science and technology, including a little bit of inventing. This is always the time of year we do science in the library to support the science fair. It's also timely because of spring and Earth Day (April 22).
There are science-themed videotaped book readings on the Weekly Readalouds page of this site. If you click the little "cc" at the bottom of the video-player screen, captioning is displayed that you can read as the video plays.
I hope you're having success with ebooks! The books shown below are available through the County of LA system, of which the Manhattan Beach public library is a part. Click on the image below to go to that book's ebook record, where you can check that book out to read digitally.
I have enjoyed reading aloud to classes via Zoom! And the 5th-grade book club got together over Zoom this past week--so nice to see everyone and begin our new book, Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, by John August. I've been pleased to help those parents who have emailed. Please do get in touch if there's anything you need. I think PK's parents, teachers, and students are extraordinary all the time, but it's never been more apparent than it is now. Three cheers for you!
Barbara Siegemund-Broka, library media specialist, maintains this blog to inform Pennekamp students and families about library news and related content. Any opinions expressed here are solely her own.
What's Ms. Barbara reading?
Chomp, by Carl Hiaasen
"Along with her contemporaries Ellen Tarry and Ezra Jack Keats, Gyo [Fujikawa] made books that opened the door for today's conversations about diversity. She started with an empty white page and a wish for a bigger, better world and laid out a whole dream--inviting publishers, teachers, readers, future writers, and illustrators to imagine a more inclusive future."
--It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way, written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad