Sunday, September 26, 2010

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

You may have read my review of The Colour of Home. Here is another really special picture book which needs to be on every senior primary reading list. Four Feet, Two Sandals tells the moving story of Lina’s life in a refugee camp in Pakistan. She has been living there for two years following the long and dangerous journey from Afghanistan and over time her bare feet have hardened but when an aid truck arrives with clothing Lina is so excited to see a sandal left behind. It fits her perfectly but where is its partner? Another girl has found it. Feroza is new to the camp and her feet are very damaged.

It is Lina who suggests the best compromise. The girls should share the sandals – taking one day each. Through this simple act of generosity a lovely friendship blossoms. Things go well, with the girls watching the boys in their makeshift school room, spending time together enjoying secrets and future plans until one day Lina gets the joyous news that she and her mother along with two young brothers are now allowed to enter America.

The scene where the two girls say goodbye will leave you in tears. Take a look at this video for more details of the illustrations and background to this important and moving story.

There are excellent teacher notes too. I use this book with Year 6 students as part of their topic "Identity and Values" along with the web site "The Long Journey".

It's a book by Lane Smith

I will let this one speak for itself! I love Web 2.0 but I also love books. All children should experience the joy of stories. A school library or any library is, of course, a great place to get your hands on all those books!

The little animation leaves out the page where the monkey says he will go to the library to get another book. Also the ending in the book is quite @@!!

Frank Asch and Moonbear

Our Kindergarten classes have spent the last three or four weeks exploring the world of Frank Asch and his little character Moonbear. At first glance these books seem so simple and yet each has a layer of science which the children a this age love to identify.

Asch sets up the science message with four small squares at the beginning of each book. In these pictures we see something changing. It might be a rainbow in Skyfire, the position of the moon in Moon Game, a tree through the seasons in Happy Birthday Moon or a tadpole in Moonbear’s Pet.

I think the special appeal of these books comes from the simple device that the young reader is way smarter than our little bear hero. Did he really visit the moon to eat moon cake? Of course not the children all shout. Did he really put out the skyfire with his bucket of water? Did he really give the moon a lovely hat for his birthday? As as added bonus I am even lucky enough to own a little Moonbear toy and when he emerges from my library bag there is usually quite a squeal of delight!

Frank Asch has a fun web site and there are quite a few videos on the internet of his lovely books. Every Moonbear book is a delight – look for them in your library today. I should also mention Bear and Little bird enjoy some delicious Honey Cake in Skyfire. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I love the idea of honey cake.