Wednesday, November 24, 2010
December's Theme - Author Study
When we return back to school from Thanksgiving break, we will head right into a brand new theme. I have to admit, as much as I love science and history themes, I have a particular fondness for our author or literary genre studies months! For me, the only difficult piece is deciding on an author. This year, I picked a very special writer, Eve Bunting.
Eve Bunting is the author of more than 100 books for young readers, She was born in Northern Ireland and emigrated to the United States in 1958. She has written picture books, novels, and even some nonfiction. I like Bunting's picture books because she never shies away from addressing difficult issues, including death, troubled families, homelessness, racial prejudice and war. However, her books are not dark - the reader aways comes away with the message of hope and beauty.
With so many different types of books, I thought it would be best to narrow our focus to one overriding theme. And because December is rife with family events and traditions, I am focusing on Bunting's books that deal with those themes. Some of the books I've checked out from the library so far are A Day's Work, Anna's Table, Pop's Bridge, The Memory String, Fly Away Home, Walking to School, Jin Woo, My Mom's Wedding, My Red Balloon, I Have an Olive Tree, and Night Tree.
Night Tree is one of my favorites for this time of year. It is about a family that goes into a moonlit forest on the night before Christmas to decorate a living tree for the birds and animals who live there. This is much like a tradition that my family does each year. After we decorate and enjoy our tree, we take down the ornaments and RE-decorate it for the animals. Popcorn and cranberry strings, cereal ornaments and birdseed covered pinecones are placed on the tree, and then it gets a second life outside in our yard. We love looking at the animals who visit "their" tree.
I would like to invite all parents to PLEASE consider coming to the classroom to share a holiday tradition with us this month (or any month, really, but it would fit beautifully with our theme in December). In the past, I've had families come and teach us to play the dreidel game and make latkes, teach us about Chinese New Year and read us stories about Kwanzaa. We've made candles to celebrate the Winter Solstice, and had a Saint Lucia procession. So many different traditions have been shared with our children! It can be as small as reading a special story or as big as a baking project. Let me know if you would like to do something like this, and I will find a time that would fit with your schedule.