Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Village in the Sky by Janeen Brian illustrated by Anne Spudvilas

Picture book readers will know the best examples of this genre often feel like poems. Our Village in the sky really is a set of poems which together share the daily life of a small group of children who live in a remote village in the Himalayan mountains.

I am so tempted to quote extensively from this text - every page contains tiny writing jewels.  Here are a few lines to tempt you :

"I am a drummer.
My hands make noise
that echoes through the village.

Sometimes my fingers flutter
like small, brown butterflies
and the sound is their heartbeat."

"Hands can 
pitch stones
grab cows' tails
wave to friends
tie scarves
shake mats
and tickle!

Feet can
chase goats
jump puddles
kick dust
dance anyhow
and run away!"

You can listen to a very special reading of the whole book here.  Children from Immanuel College in South Australia bring these touching poems to life. Here is a very comprehensive set of teaching notes including ideas you can use for Visual Literacy.

I will make an early prediction that Village in the Sky will be short listed for the CBCA prize in 2015 it certainly deserves this honour.  This book would be an excellent way show how children from other lands follow their daily routines, routines which are very different to those of children from suburban Australia.  We see the children at work washing and drying clothes, preparing dung for burning, breaking rocks, caring for animals and most of all having fun with games, dance and music.
The illustrations are especially beautiful showing the landscape and warm smiles of the children. This is a book to treasure and it is a book that will enrich the lives of all readers.

No comments: