February 1st is World Read Aloud Day!
LitWorld.org shares some wonderful information, resources, and tips for this day:
Every year, on World Read Aloud Day, people all around the globe read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people. Create your own special one-on-one read aloud moment or a school-wide event using our resources below. Use #WorldReadAloudDay to share your ideas, plans, and pictures from the day on social media. Find out more here: http://www.litworld.org/wrad/
Below are some resources that our Reviewers have suggested are perfect for read alouds, featured in recent issues of Canadian Teacher Magazine! To check out more book reviews, visit the Book Reviews tab on our homepage!
The Flying Squirrel Stowaways: From Nova Scotia to Boston
by Marijke Simons
Nimbus Publishing, 2017
$22.95 (hc), 29 pp, ages 6 – 10
A spruce tree with two sleeping squirrels travels from Cape Breton to Boston as a Christmas gift. The journey brings them through Halifax by ship to Saint John Harbour, then by transport truck into the United States. Undiscovered at customs, the squirrels stay with their tree for the long journey until the truck stops in Boston. They begin to explore the city in search of a new tree to call home, arriving in Boston Commons just as their spruce tree is lit for Christmas. (Editor’s Note: The people of Halifax gift a Christmas tree to the city of Boston each year as a thank you for the help they received after the Halifax explosion of 1917).
Curriculum Connections: Teachers can use this picture book in countless ways: to discuss human interactions with natural habitats; to investigate cultures, traditions, ceremonies, and celebrations; to introduce Canadian and American history and icons, and to explore trees’ varied roles in our lives. Great for: read aloud, mapping (setting), discussion of habitats, cultures and traditions, travel. Reading Comprehension Strategies: Predicting, Questioning, Making Connections.
by Loretta Seto
illustrations by Renné Benoit
Orca Book Publishers, 2013
$10.95, 32 pp, ages 4 – 10
We all have traditions—familial, cultural, community, etc.—which makes connecting to this rich narrative easy for children of all ages. Told from the point of view of a young girl on the night of the Chinese Moon Festival (the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar), the reader is treated to detailed illustrations and graceful text about celebrating this special night with family. After lighting paper lanterns, the girl and her Mama and Baba sit together in the backyard and eat mooncakes and drink tea. Mama and Baba tell the girl stories about Chang-E, a woman; Wu-Gang, a woodcutter; and Jade Rabbit who all live on the moon. This text connects the importance of family, tradition and stories to one festival, but is a great jumping off point for classroom discussions about celebrations, traditions and families.
Classroom Connections: Great for read alouds, independent reading, comparing with similar stories. Reading Comprehension Strategies: Making Connections, Asking Questions, Visualizing.
The Spirit of the Sea
by Rebecca Hainnu
illustrations by Hwei Lim
Inhabit Media, 2014
ISBN 978-1-927095-75-1 (hc)
$16.95, 32 pp, ages 4 – 8
This is a beautifully illustrated version of the Inuit story about the spirit of the sea and northern fulmars (Arctic seabirds). It starts “long ago, when animals were able to speak with humans.” In this version, a fulmar (a powerful shaman) convinces a young woman (who does not wish to wed) to marry him and return with him to his home. None of his promises are true and the woman is unhappy in her new home. Her father visits her but sees his daughter unhappy so he takes her away in his little boat. The fulmar is furious and causes the winds to blow and the sea to rock the boat. To save himself, the father throws his daughter overboard, back to the fulmar. The daughter doesn’t want to return and hangs onto the boat, so the father cuts off the daughter’s fingers. The pieces become whales and seals and she sinks to the bottom of the sea surrounded by the mammals which developed from her body. Now, as the spirit of the sea, she protects the sea and the mammals from humans; and fulmars cry their regret, no longer being able to talk to humans.
Classroom Connections: The Spirit of the Sea would be great for reading aloud, independent reading and comparing to other indigenous legends. Reading Comprehension Strategies: Making Connections, Asking Questions, Visualizing, Transforming.
The Way to School
by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International
Second Story Press, 2015
$18.98, 32 pp, ages 6 – 9
As thousands of children across Canada walk, bus, or bike to school this fall, The Way to School reminds us that this is a long, and even dangerous, daily trek for many students. Washed out bridges, high mountain trails, cliffs and severe weather conditions are just some of the daunting obstacles that some children have to overcome as they make their way to school. With simple text and full-page illustrations, The Way to School describes many of the amazing ways that children around the world gain access to an education.
The author, Rosemary McCarney is President and CEO of Plan Canada, a charity that is committed to improving the lives of children. She is the author of Every Day is Malala Day and Because I Am a Girl: I Can Change the World.
Classroom Connections: Although this book is accessible to young readers, it would also make a wonderful read aloud for a primary class at the beginning of the school year. It could be used as a springboard for discussion and as a focus for practising reading comprehension strategies: making connections, asking questions and inferring.
My Wounded Island
by Jacques Pasquet and Marion Arbona
Orca Book Publishers, 2017
$19.95 (hc), 32 pp, glossary, ages 5 – 8
My Wounded Island is a beautifully illustrated picture book that relates the impact of climate change on the tiny island of Sarichef, near the Arctic Circle, between Russia and Alaska. The story is narrated by a young girl named Imarvaluk,“the song of the waves.” She tells us about the challenges that her community faces in attempting to take refuge from the rising sea levels. In her family’s case, this involves towing their house further inland. Knowing that this is just a temporary solution, the villagers are faced with the inevitability of relocation.
Classroom Connections: My Wounded Island takes a look at a very real threat from the unique perspective of a child. It would make an excellent introduction to the topic of climate change and climate refugees and would be a great read-aloud book for primary classes.