Friday, December 4, 2009

Freaky Friday

I've been trying to get through all of books for review courtesy of publishers before the year's end, so it's time for another Freaky Friday! Big selection today - hopefully you'll find something your family/classroom can enjoy!

The first two reviews today are both part of Sleeping Bear Press' new series, Tales of the World.
From ancient Japan to West Africa, this series brings the world home to young readers. Fictional tales from diverse cultures feature young characters and shared dreams.
-Audrey Mitnick, Sleeping Bear Press
Whelan, Gloria.
Waiting for the Owl's Call.
September 2009.
Review Copy provided courtesy of: Sleeping Bear Press

After reading Waiting for the Owl's Call children (especially those in America) will begin to realize how just how blessed and lucky they are in their lives. Here, eight-year old Zulviya introduces readers to her family (especially her sister, Aqbika and cousin, Aghabil) and their way of life as Turkmen, people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, northern Iraq and northeast Iran. For years, the women of Zulviya's family has earned money weaving rugs - these young girls who belong in school, instead belong to the loom, spending their days from sun-up waiting for the owl's call, which tells them they are finished with the loom for the day.

This book is incredibly moving, alerting children to the different lifestyles that Afghani children lead. While they may not understand what is "wrong" about children being prisoners of the loom with little time for school or play, they will certainly be able to tell that these children are leading an entirely different lifestyle and are not able to be "children." If you're looking to teach children about sympathizing with different cultures, this book is definitely one that you should consider adding to your reading list!

Ulmer, Mike.
The Gift of the Inuksuk.
September 2004.
Review Copy provided courtesy of: Sleeping Bear Press

Stone figures (Inuksuk) have played a huge role in the lives of the Inuit people of Nunavut, Canada for hundreds of years. The relationship between the "stone people" and the Inuit is shared with children through the eyes of Ukaliq, a young girl nicknamed by her father after the Artic hare, due to her small, inquisitive, always on-the-move personality. Much information about the culture of the Inuit people lead to the story that develops, in which, Ukaliq ends up building "friends" from stone in order to lead her father and brothers home after a big storm while they are hunting caribou.

This is a story, wonderfully written, that allows children to see the eyes of another child growing up in a very different world than their own! The story is also inspiring for children as it shows the how simple symbols in your life can represent great things - in Ukaliq's case, leadership, interdependence and friendship. This would make for a wonderful wintertime read aloud and discussion and will easily keep childrens' interest!

Sleeping Bear Press has also put out Teaching Guides for both of these titles, which can be downloaded below:

Waiting for the Owl's Call Teacher's Guide
The Gift of the Inuksuk Teacher's Guide

The next two titles, Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What are Similies and Metaphors? and Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky: More About Adjectives, came to me courtesy of Lerner Publishing Group and are just two of the wonderful titles in the Words are CATegorical series.

Cleary, Brian P.
Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk.
September 2009.
Review Copy provided courtesy of: Lerner Publishing Group

Similies and metaphors have always been some of my favorites parts of speech! For whatever reason (that I can't really put a name to), I loved working with them as a child and even today, as an adult. So... that being said, I'm glad to have this book to add to my collection - as it's a simple way to introduce children to the idea of using both similies and metaphors to spruce up their writing and descriptions! Because the book itself and the story is so simple, it will definitely be an appropriate introduction to these two different types of figurative language.

Learning Activity:
  • Make up several sentences - some containing similies, some containing metaphors. Read the sentences aloud to your child(ren) and instruct them that when they hear a SIMILIE they are to clap their hands, when they hear a METAPHOR, they should snap their fingers.
  • To extend this activity throughout the year, encourage children to continue with this practice during random read-aloud times, to ensure that they are staying familiar with the concept of both usages.
Cleary, Brian P.
Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky.
September 2009 (Paperback).
Review Copy provided courtesy of: Lerner Publishing Group

Brian P. Cleary returns after his adjective debut, Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What's an Adjective? in Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky: More about Adjectives, allowing readers to once again connect and familiarize themselves with the use of adjectives as a part of speech. I've always found adjectives to be seemingly endless - there are so many descriptive words out there available for use... not to mention the way in which adjectives spruce up writing! I'll definitely find a way to incorporate this book into writing assignments!

Learning Activity:
  • To show children just how many adjectives exist in the world, have each of them take out a sheet of paper and write a noun on the top (sun, snow, tree, dog, etc.). Then, ask them to pass the paper to the student at their right. The papers with nouns will make their way around the classroom while each child adds to the paper an adjective that describes the given noun. Each child will eventually end up with their own noun, full of many, many adjectives that describe it!
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to