Category Archives: educator

Entertaining an Elephant by Bill McBride

Why is it, that so often the most powerful books are tiny, thin volumes. Think of Stone Fox. Think of Sarah Plain and Tall. Think of Tuesdays with Morrie. All little books with a tremendous impact and a huge message.
Entertaining an Elephant  fits right into the category. A powerful story for every teacher in your life

This is the heartwarming story of a burned-out teacher struggling though fifteen year of teaching. He is stuck in the proverbial rut and no longer finds no joy in teaching.
Through a set of unexpected events, mostly through listening to wisdom from an unexpected corner, the teacher becomes re-inspired with both his profession and his own life.
Woven into this short novel are quotes from world-renown spiritual and philosophical writers who suggest ways for us to face the tough challenges of today’s world.

Already in its 16th printing, the book is a favorite among educators and parents. Half the proceeds of every sale go to charity. As I read the book I kept looking at the photo of the very young author. I kept wondering where all of his wisdom came from… Impressive. I also checked out his website:
Bill McBride has written several books, most to do with literacy and writing. I highly recommend you read his books and savour their wisdom.

Feature Movie: Library of the Early Mind

This documentary film explores children’s literature! Hooray for the creators, and those authors and illustrators interviewed.
OK, it’s very much American. Too bad they did not include some Canadian, or more international authors of children’s literature to give the study a broader scope.
Authors like Anthony Brown or Dick Bruna whose books are widely read in North America could have added a more worldly perspective.
However, this is an admirable production.

The accompanying website states that:

“Library of the Early Mind” is an exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves.
From the first stories we hear told to us to those childhood heroes that stay with us a lifetime, the impact on our culture runs deeper than what we might expect. “No one suspects the children’s writer,” says author and illustrator Mo Willems, a former ‘Sesame Street’ writer.
The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact. The number of books in print by the authors in ‘Library of the Early Mind’ exceeds 240 million.

It can be rented online to view directly on your computer, or you can purchase the DVD via the website. Check also to see if it is available in your local library.

Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living – by Mem Fox

Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living  by Mem Fox

Mem Fox, internationally acclaimed children’s book writer and educator offers insights into the learning process, language education, and the pleasure, growth, and power that reading and writing can bring.
Some of her most well known titles include Possum Magic and Koala Lou, I Do Love You.
But this title is fabulous reading for any educator, including homeschooling parents. She explains how no child will ever get passionate about filling in the blanks, but how to turn anyone into an avid reader.

At the same time I should mention Mem’s book specifically at parents:

Reading Magic is a great guide to reading with children, now in a new and revised edition. Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and get the most out of a read-aloud session. She discusses the three secrets of reading, offers guidance on defining and choosing good books, and–for this new edition–includes two new chapters on boy readers and phonics, a foreword, and a list of “Twenty Books That Children Love.” Filled with practical advice, activities, and inspiring true read-aloud miracles, this book is a turn-to classic for educators and parents.

I have often used these books as gifts for educators or new parents. Hope you love them.