Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

Archive for the ‘Children’s books’ Category

Trawling for ‘t’ words?


Two tall tulips


Two turtles talking, on a tyre

Trillions of Trilliums

Today I feel like Heidi may have felt when she discovered masses of wild flowers in the Alps – except I am in the woods when I come across masses of trilliums.


Trillions of trilliums!


One superbly formed flower… after another…


But I don’t ‘gather great handfuls of flowers and
stuff them all into my apron’ 
like Heidi.

Instead, I photograph the brilliant white trilliums.


When I get home, I learn three very good reasons for not gathering the wild flowers. One, trilliums bloom in April/May – a short time to enjoy their beauty. Two, a trillium takes up to 11 years to … (read more)

The trillium is Ontario’s Provincial flower or ‘floral emblem’.

Spyri, Johanna. (No date). Heidi: A Story for Children. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

It’s ‘a great day for up’
when you go
off the beach cliff
and up, up, up
into the sky…


with these high up hang-gliders.

Up always reminds me of A great day for UP, by Dr Suess –
a fun read with a child!


with thanks to for the cover picture.

Why did it take so long…?

At the breakfast table, my husband looks at the book. It’s Mary O’Neill’s poems about colours, Hailstones and Halibut Bones  (1961, Tadworth, Surrey: The World’s Work). I was reading it after a dull, rainy yesterday to remind myself of O’Neill’s ‘grey’ words.

He says, “It’s not a ‘good fit’ book for me.”
But, when he looks at the blurb on the back cover flap and starts reading, something changes. He stops. Re-reads. Reads the words aloud to me.

‘Never let a thought shrivel and die
For want of a way to say it…’

I stop in my tracks. He reads again. I listen. We savour her words, look at each other and wonder, “Why did it take so long for us to discover this?”

‘Never let a thought shrivel and die
For want of a way to say it,
For English is a wonderful game
And all of you can play it.
All that you do is match the words
To the brightest thoughts that come in your head
So that they come out clear and true
And handsomely groomed and fed –
For many of the loveliest things
Have never yet been said.”

(O’Neill, M. 1966. Words Words Words).

May you and your children enjoy these inspirational words to spur budding writers.

10for10 Special Picture Books

What are ten of your favourite picture books for your classroom or library? Thanks to @mandyrobek and @CathyMere we can share ten favourite picture books on Blogs and Twitter today: #PB10for10. Here are ten special books that I love to share with children – in no particular order.

 Jamberry by Bruce Degen (1983) is a hugely enjoyable book with rollicking rhyme and rhythm – I can’t help but ‘sing-a-long’ to the words. Children pick up on the rhythmical language and join in. Colouful, clear illustrations and expressions of the characters add to the fun. A book to read and re-read!

Boo to a Goose by Mem Fox (1996) is also rhythmical, giving children a sense of rhyming words – great for beginning readers. Bright, clear illustrations add clarity to the sentences and a repetitive refrain invites children to join in. The big print enables children to easily see the text and participate in shared reading.

All by Myself by Mercer Mayer  (1983) is one of Mercer’s many delightful, kid-friendly books that are funny and easy for developing readers. The clear, expressive illlustrations enhance the simple language and messages. All by Myself is valuable for beginning readers with the repetitive sentence starter of ‘I can…’ and child-like actions. A funny book to also help children’s writing!

Pickle Things by Marc Brown (1980) is a funny rhyming book.  The bold pictures illustrate the crazy sentences as in: Pickle things you never make… like pickle pie and pickle cake. Pickle donuts, pickle flakes. Children laugh out loud at the absurdity of the pickle suggestions and uses. Big print and few words per page also help developing readers. A one-of-a-kind book!

More Spaghetti, I Say by Rita Golden Gelman (1977) is loads of fun for children with its child-like antics and responses. The rhyme, rhythm and enlarged text make it a sought after book for developing readers. Clear, expressive illustrations add to the hilarity of the story. Laugh out loud!

Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne (1994) is a superbly illustrated storybook with bright colours, fruits and animals of hot Africa. The simple and thoughtful story in words is enhanced by clear illustrations that tell another story… which is indeed a surprise. A real gem!

little blue and little yellow by Leo Lionni was published in 1959, but notions of friendship, co-operation and tolerance are still relevant.  The message is clear – told in direct sentences and accompanying sparse ‘blobs’ of colour.  A delight!

A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer (Suess Beginner Book, 1983) is a favourite with children because they identify with the boy’s actions that cause the problem –  starting small and getting bigger all the time. Children are enthralled by the unfolding catastrophes – in words and illustrations!

Mr Archimedes’ Bath by Pamela Allen (1980) is a funny story that makes children think, wonder and try to solve the water problem. It’s a good book to include in any unit of work or study on ‘Water’. The animals in the illustrations keep their skin/fur on but Mr Archimedes is naked, which adds to children’s guffawing and laughter. A literary book for ‘integration across the curriculum’.

Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor (1974) is a favourite of mine – although a bit long for some children. Baylor gives ten apt and often amusing rules for finding your own special rock. The poetic words are accompanied by Peter Parnall’s sparse, expressive illustrations that perfectly depict the rule. An absolute joy!

On reflection, I see that many of these books are ‘old’ favourites – but still exciting and memorable picture books to enjoy with young children. Maybe you can find some of them to enjoy too!

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