Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reading List 2014

Here's an archived copy of my reading list for this year. I'll be keeping up the new list here:

I would recommend the bolded titles with enthusiasm, and I enjoyed the italicized titles but probably wouldn't read them again.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Read Aloud Roundup: December 2014

It can be hard to find winter holiday books that are appropriate for public school. Naturally, many of them are explicitly religious. Our community foundation is the arm of a church (admittedly one that recognizes many faith paths), and I'm sensitive to the appearance that we're preaching to the classroom. At the same time, most of the students are African-American or Latino and celebrate Christmas with their families, which I want to acknowledge. Additionally, some of the winter-themed stories focus a lot on snow... which San Francisco kids just don't have. So I usually use the December Read Aloud to introduce diverse or interfaith/intercultural holiday traditions. This year it falls in the middle of Hanukkah, and several of the books are about that celebration. Discussion usually centers on family traditions and what the children will do over their winter break.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Read Aloud Roundup: February 2014

Black History Month came again, with a new round of children's books! Some favorite authors and illustrators made their appearance -- Jacqueline Woodson, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Kadir Nelson are always excellent choices. My wife reminds me that I should seek out biographies of activists like Bayard Rustin (watched this documentary today) and Malcolm X (for kids? maybe middle school) for next year. I had an overflow of books about African-American women, so a couple will be featured in March for Women's History Month.

I had some trouble finding accurate and thoughtful books suitable for our youngest students, so both kindergarten classes were assigned poetry -- one short poem per book, which was closer to the usual picturebook experience than the anthologies I'd tried earlier this year. Still, the big ideas behind the little words means more work for the volunteer reader leading the discussion. If I'd had unlimited time and funds, I would have tried to find something better for kindergarten.