Category Archives: art

Books for Booklovers

Every once in a while you pick up a book that – like an arrow – goes straight to your heart. Here are two books that recently did that for me. The first one is a brand-new book. A monument in itself, a tribute to booklovers and wordlovers in the broadest sense of the word: Alphamaniacs, Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word, written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

 

 

The text is a poetic description of   26 people who made a difference in the world of language – some are writers, others invented a new style or printed books in a new, unique way.   Rather than a summation of biographiesthe author chose to use the voice of acircus ringmaster to introduce each ‘Wonder of the Word’. There is Jean-Dominique Bauby who became paralyzed except for one eye lid and ended up dictating an entire novel by blinking the letters. An astonishing feat. Jumping back and forth through the ages, the book celebrates Europeanwriters and native Americans, among others. One is Jessie Little Doe Bairdwho singlehanded saved her Wampanoag language, actually bringing it back from extinction. There’s the inventor of Klingon as well as the creator of Esperanto, a universal language created by Ludwik Zamenhof in Poland in hopes of promoting peace and understanding between people.

Each story is accompanied by a piece of art by the incredible master of collage, Caldecott Honor illustrator Melissa Sweet, making this book is a feast for the eye and ear of any booklover.

Candlewick Studio, ISBN 978-0763690663

Another book I recently fell in love with, but which was published a few years ago, is the picturebook A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. One of those fabulous books for anyone who knows the value of stories, this one starts with a pen and a blank page. Then the main character takes us along on a celebration of books, through illustrations composed of words from those very books. While sailing the ocean, the words forming the waves are from books like Ten Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, The Swiss Family Robinson and more. Kids climb mountains of words from Peter Pan to reach the sky. They discover treasure and wander through forests made of book spines. I love this book and its powerful images, and I suspect that booklovers of all ages will love it, too.

Candlewick Press, ISBN 978-0-7636-9077-9

Creative Resources for Being Home Alone

Now that everyone is staying home in isolation, what to do – alone or with kids?

You don’t want to spend the entire time online so here are options to print colouring sheets, crafts, create treasure hunts, and much more. It is an amazing array of creative ideas, offers of free stories, books, museum visits, trips to national parks and much more.

I will try to update this list often. I also try to only use links to sites that are truly free and don’t require sign up. Enjoy your time of being creative, reading, learning and staying well.

VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS:
• For educators and older students, this list includes virtual visits, musea, science activities and other very impressive stuff to do at home.

Vancouver Aquarium offers live webcams to observe sea otters, penguins and jelly fish.

• If you have learned about Egypt, why not go down into the tomb of King Tut? If you imagine it getting cooler and quieter as you descend, this is just what it’s like for real! Notice the many hieroglyphs and look at the ceiling. They tell the stories of the pharao’s life…https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=NeiMEZa9d93&mls=1&fbclid=IwAR3IbaHClHSZpwsnG69c2kgRWmAfsvRQb3NfqueXUGa5Ru5Zxr0RpKgpTws

From Wild Babies by Margriet Ruurs & Andrew Kiss

• Over 30 different field trips, including San Diego Zoo and even to Mars!

Virtual Tours and 360º views of US National Parks. 

• Real National parks across the US will temporarily be free for all visitors, offering easier access to natural spaces during the coronavirus outbreak.  Entrance fees will be waived at all national park sites that remain open, the National Park Service effective until further notice.

• And Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico invites you to come along with a park ranger
Web cams of bears, otters and more.
• Feel like a stroll along the Great Wall of China? Now you can do it virtually: https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
• The Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC offers free talks and activities:Royal BC Museum, https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/engage-us-home

BOOKS:
• The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has a brand new YouTube channel with interviews, demonstrations and readings of books: Bibliovideo  – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoRQbrmtvSYMRm1emqkhP8Q
• For fans of Magic Treehouse, here are readings, recordings, games and much more about the books: https://www.magictreehouse.com/go/?fbclid=IwAR1uz_vmTJzOyaLxmKcQjG5ShoGJInIpcb-GgY4bKIHRlTmfvb5dnwGcO-c
• Lots more books being read aloud here!
Room To Read offers a free library of books from around the world.
Story time from space, books being read by astronauts.
• Meryl Streep reads Charlotte’s Web!
• Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton reads (Neil Gaiman’s) books.
Children’s books read in Spanish: for those who speak Spanish but also to learn a new language.
• And in French too! Free app with illustrated children’s book to help you learn French.
• This amazing list includes Project Gutenberg’s thousands of free books as well as foreign language books and much more.
• Audible is offering free audio books while school is out: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
• Interviews with authors and fun tidbits about books:

Listen to poets share their work!
• Here are 25 sources of free public domain books.
Pacific Edge Publishing offers free educational materials for homeschoolers and parents.
• This link is to Open Culture, linking you to many free books, audio books, ebooks, courses and more.
• Here is a free kids’ book about Staying Home: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoRQbrmtvSYMRm1emqkhP8Q
• Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library donates free books to children and organizations but also offers online stories to listen to: https://imaginationlibrary.com/goodnight-with-dolly/
• And Michelle Obama reads books to children every Monday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyhgubvRYF4
NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA has an amazing website full of films, documentaries, filmed books, historical stuff, science for all ages and more: https://www.nfb.ca  It’s free but you do need to set up an account.
ART:
• Tutorials by Barbara Reid on making plasticine art!
Virtually tour several musea, in Paris, London and more, including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
• NFB presents Stop Motion, Animation workshops.
• Singing is fun! Here’s an app for karaoke, including kids’ songs.
TIME FOR KIDS now has a free digital library.
• Sci/Why is a science blog by Canadian children’s science writers full of cool stories and links: http://sci-why.blogspot.com/p/science-for-kids.html
Earth – And now for something just cool and fun: have you ever been on the beach and tried to dig to China? Now you can! Except it’s not likely China where you will end up. Check it out this antipodes map!
MAPS – this site does offer books and games for sale but also has links to free crafts and apps, all related to maps and geography.

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The Wall of Birds has an interactive component that lets you learn details and listen to the sounds of many birds.
• Print these scavenger hunts out to use any time:

Author Visits in Kelowna BC

Had fun talking about books, reading, writing and the whole publishing process to nearly 2,000 students in 10 schools over 5 days in Kelowna BC.

Very nice to receive teachers’ comments like this one:

Thank you so much for visiting Glenrosa Elementary. My students were already amazing little story tellers but your visit brought the whole process to life and we have been writing stories ever since.


And to see the kids producing such fun art based on books and inspired by Ted Harrison!

The London Jungle Book by Bhajju Shyam

The London Jungle Book by Bhajju Shyam
I felt very lucky when I ‘discovered’ this unique book, several years ago. It’s one of those gorgeous books, and story, that makes a fascinating read for adults, a coffeetable art book AND a children’s book.
“A beautiful book. I would like to give it to everyone I love when they are traveling by choice or necessity.”—John Berger

“Bhajju Shyam is causing quite a stir among museum-goers in London. . . . This is London as you’ve never seen it before. An incredible vision.”—BBC World Service

This stunning visual travelogue by an Indian tribal artist turns a modern metropolis into an exotic bestiary. Bhajju Shyam, from the Gond tribe in central India, had never left his native village when a European visitor encountered his art and invited him to London to paint the interiors of a chic Indian restaurant.
With radical innocence and great sophistication, Bhajju records his experiences and observations showing a modern city as you’ve never seen it before, combining his vision with native lore — the London Underground becomes a giant earthworm, Big Ben merges with a massive rooster, and English people are shown as bats that come out to play at night. It is rare to encounter a truly original vision that is capable of startling us into reexamining familiar sights. By breathing the ancient spirit of wonder back into the act of travel, The London Jungle Book does just that. Bhajju’s work is well known throughout India and has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, and Russia. From the walls of his tribal village home to international acclaim, Bhajju’s has been an incredible creative journey.

Check out what Delhi street children did with art based on this book:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5Np1dyG_o8