Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Magical World of Books and their Librarians

Picture Book Month Day 13 theme: Books
Find out more about Picture Book Month here
Download the daily themed Picture Book Month Calendar. 

I feel very blessed that my work environment is filled with amazing literature for young people. I feel like I am a key holder to the gates of  the Kingdom of Imagination. "Come seek your fortune and fame here at my gates, rest your weary heart, grow your mind and spirit"-yesh, librarians can be really corny sorts of folks. What a marvelous job I have-children of all ages walk through my library doors and their eyes come alive with happiness or memories of books once read. 

The following are ten well presented books that capture our imagination and help us to understand what really goes on in the world of libraries and of the librarians who manage these magical worlds of books and resources. The information that follows comes from an article I wrote for BonBon Break, an online magazine for busy women.

Books are not presented in any particular order.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.

Theme: Inspired by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, "Morris Lessmore" is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor.

Explore the book here

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  •  It is a simple story that is a highly imaginative and beautifully illustrated.
  • "Everyone's story matters, " said Morris. And all the books agreed. (Awesome line!)
I will introduce my students to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore with this Academy Award winning short film.

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
Illustrated by Marc Brown

Theme: A librarian introduces zoo animals to a love of reading.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
This rhyming adventure begins when librarian, Molly McGrew, mistakenly drives her bookmobile into the zoo and then decides to make the best of a unique opportunity. She launches into a read aloud that has all the animals stampeding to find out about something called reading. It is a fun read aloud and many classic children's book titles are sprinkled throughout. Many libraries adopted a "Wild About Books" theme when this title was first released into the wild.

What makes this a terrific read aloud? 
  • The story is humorous and contains a well crafted rhyme structure.
  • The story teaches us that we should look for opportunities even when we take a wrong turn like Molly McGrew did when she drove into the zoo.
  • All the animals become so excited about reading and listening to stories that they decide to turn their zoo into a Zoobrary.  
Curriculum Connection Activities

Discussion Guide from Scholastic
"Books are Wild" printable 

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk
Theme: A library mouse discovers his inner author and writes books for children to discover and read.

Sam is a mouse who lives in a hole behind a wall in the children's book section of a library. At night, he creeps out to read to his heart's content. Then one night, with a mind so filled with ideas and imagination, Sam decides to write and illustrate his own book and add them to the shelves. Children soon discover Sam's little books and love them. The librarians like them too and began to share them through read alouds. Everyone wants to meet Sam and the head librarian invites him to a "Meet the Author Day" but Sam is too shy so he sets up an alternative display to everyone's delight.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  • Great illustrations that clearly show what a library looks likes and even highlights call numbers on the spines of a library book. 
  • It is a fantasy tale that touches on types of literature genres.
  • Lets children know they can become authors too.
  • Awesome read aloud for teachers looking for ways to inspire kids to enjoy writing.
  • Terrific resources to build into a lessons on writing and authorship.
I will be copying Sam's "Meet the Author" tissue box display and let the kids think that Sam created it just for them. This will make for a good lesson prop.

Curriculum Connection Activities
The Little Mouse Book by Sam
How to make a little book
Bookmarks by Sam "Keep Reading" "Keep Writing"
We Love to Read printable coloring poster by Daniel Kirk

Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
Illustrator: Raul Colón
Theme: A lady librarian befriends and shares books with the son of migrant workers who in turn shares the stories with his family.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  •  Families are part of this reading experience. Tomás shares the stories that he reads with his family.
  • The role of a librarian as a reading advocate is well presented. Librarians are more than a providers of books-they are teachers, counselors, mentors, and good examples of how reading changes lives. 
  • It is realistic fiction based on a true story of a librarian who inspired the boy who became Dr. Tomás Rivera, a national education leader. The library at the University of California at Riverside bears his name.
Curriculum Connection Activities
Teaching Guide from the Harvard Family Research Project
Teacher Resource Guide and Lesson Plan Activities from Children's Theater of Charlotte

That Book Woman by Heather Henson
Illustrated by: David Small

Theme: A pack horse librarian inspires a young boy to learn to read.

Every two weeks, a librarian on horseback trudges along rocky Appalachian trails bringing books to Cal's family. Although Cal's sister loves the books, he insists he doesn't care anything about reading, but is puzzled why this book woman travels so far on dangerous trails in bad weather just to bring his family books.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  • The characters are interesting especially the librarian who rides on horseback. 
  • This book is a good introduction into historical fiction and students can follow up with research on packhorse librarians or bookmobiles. 
Curriculum Connection Activities

That Book Woman Bluebonnet Book Club activities and additional research resources
That Book Woman Reading Guide

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies

Theme: Bats explore the library at night after the doors have closed for the night.

Do you know what really happens when the library lights go out each night? Books and bats come out to read and play. At least author and illustrator Brian Lies would have you think so. In his beautifully illustrated, rhyming story, bats come out to read classic tales, splash in the drinking fountain, and celebrating the joys of reading.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  • Are you kidding? What's cooler than bats reading books?
  • This fantasy story will motivate children to want to learn more about real bats. 
  • The illustrations are rich and beautifully created. 
  • The rhyme structure adds to the fun of the book as a read aloud tool. 
Brian Lies has written a series of Bat books: Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Ball Park, and Bats at the Library.

Curriculum Connection Activities
Brian Lies "The Bat Wing" a collection of everything batty-photos, activities, and bat facts.
Bats in the Library Reading Guide

Waiting for Biblioburro by Monica Brown
Illustrated by John Para

Theme: Teacher, Luis Soriano, brings reading education to children in rural Colombia on the backs of his donkeys, Alpha and Beto.
What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  • Children are not only surprised to learn that a burro can deliver books but that some children are rarely or never exposed to books or libraries. 
  • Spanish words are incorporated into the story.  
  • Introduces children to other cultures and experiences.
  • The story is useful to compare and contrast with The Book Woman, Tomás and the Library Lady and stories other about libraries and librarians.
  • The story allows children to see that librarians will go to great lengths to put books into the hands of readers.
  • The story was inspired by a real person helping children in rural communities. 
Curriculum Connection Activities
Watch this CNN video to see the real Bibliotecario who inspired this story.

Our Librarian Won't Tell Us Anything by Toni Buzzeo
 Illustrated by Sachiki Yoshikawa
Theme: A librarian teaches children an important lesson in library research skills. 

This colorful librarian won’t tell them anything because she wants the students to learn how to find things themselves in the library by using the catalog and learning how to access appropriate information.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  • The story is a good introduction into ways to conduct research.
  • The story demonstrates how librarians guide instead of telling students how to research. 
  • Children learn that they can find answers by themselves with the right tools for learning. 
  • The story was written by a school librarian. 
Curriculum Connection Activities

Our Librarian Won't Tell Us Anything Reader's Theater

Out Librarian Won't Tell Us Anything Curriculum Guide:                                   
Research Project for learning about Animals in the Natural Habitats.

The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore
(This is a book about a read aloud but it must be included)

Theme: Animals discover a lost book in the woods and try to figure out what it is. 

Deep in the woods, a rabbit finds a mysterious thing.
“What is this?” asks the rabbit.
“It looks like a wonderful house for me.”
So he wriggles inside and there he stays
until a big grumpy bear lumbers by.
“What a beautiful hat,” says the bear..
A lost book in the woods is discovered by a series of animals trying to decide its purpose. Is it a home, a table, or a hat? A boy walking in the woods finds it and begins to read it aloud. The animals all gather around to hear the wonderful story. 
What makes this a terrific read aloud?
  • Younger children will find the animals amusing as they try to figure out whether the thing they found is a hat, table, or a house. 
  • The story evolves into a read aloud within the story. 
  • It is a story that celebrates reading. 
  • The story can serve as an introduction into learning what a book is and the parts of a book. 
Curriculum Connection Activities
Parts of a book dictionary from
School Home Link-a letter and activity for families to complete together.

What Happened to Marion's Book? by Brook Berg
Illustrated by Nathan Alberg
(currently out of print)

This is the book I use for Kindergarten-second grade library orientation. I purchased it with my Scholastic dollars earned through school book fairs. 

What makes this a great read aloud?
  • Children connect well with Marion because they have also gotten books dirty or torn a page. 
  • Marion learns that her librarian is an understanding and forgiving person.
  • It comes with lesson activities for educators and printable templates and a coloring page.
  • There are printable band-aid bookmarks and Marion finger puppets that will help children retell  the story to their families of how Marion learned to take care of books.
  • The story supports library learning objects on care and treatment of library materials. 
Curriculum Connection Activities
Here is the awesome "What Happened to Marion's Book" Library Lessons

Thank you to all the librarians in the world who work hard to make books a wonderful adventure for everyone.

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