If you'd like to hear me sound even more Australian than usual because of a wicked cold, and learn about a wonderful picture book that you may not have heard about, do watch this short video. For writers, it shows one way of writing for children about an historical event that is both creative and soulful with dramatic pacing. The story is about intergenerational love, history and the founding of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra all with a light and fun touch. Written by Tami Shem-Tov & Rachel Sandbank and illustrated by Avi Ofer, it's two thumbs up from me, Dr. Mira Reisberg!
Hullo dear readers, I hate to do this but after years of regular blogging, I'm taking an away day to work on my own projects and take care of other things. I hope you understand. Meanwhile, have a read of Mandy's excellent post below, be generous and share it with others, and leave a comment for her.
Sending much creative love xoxox Mira
Author Corey Rosen Schwartz blogged about her STEM experience with the book.
She writes, "The featured book was WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? which is about a bossy Moose who is a building a tree house with friends. Moose appoints himself foreman and is so busy giving orders that he does not realize that he is getting himself into a pickle. His friends try to warn him, but he insists that the walls go up and it is only after the roof goes on that Moose realizes he is stuck inside. Luckily his friends do some creative thinking and come to his rescue. Since this story is about building, planning, teamwork, and problem-solving, it seemed like a perfect fit for some engineering challenges."
During her event she had the students choose from an engineering activity.
4 ENGINEERING CHALLENGES FOR KIDS (CUPS, CRAFT STICKS< AND CUBES
MARSHMALLOW TOWERS (MARSHMALLOWS AND TOOTHPICKS)
The event was a success and the children had some amazing creations by the end.
Her co-author Becky Gomez created her own list of STEM related activities to try with students.
Check out Corey's full blog post about the event here.
Here is a list of other amazing STEM themed picture books. What other books have you used?
Not too long ago I made this Mondays with Mira post and video of one of my favorite books, Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis. But it didn't get much love or attention, so I decided to bring it back with a little addition exploring the underlying universal themes. So here it goes with a wee peak at some of the underlying themes or truths.
Just about all good stories have some kind of underlying theme or truth that taps into children''s universal experiences. In this case the main universal theme is:
Friendship complete with it's ups and downs
Dealing with conflict
The pleasures of decoding language, and
For those of you who are writing kid's books, see if you can unearth what your underlying themes are, it will help you stay on track as to what your story is really about so you can amplify those themes and edit out what doesn't help that story move forward.
And now for my review of this truly delightful book.
Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis is a fabulously humorous book that best friends of any age will enjoy. Best frints Yelfred and Omek know how best friendship works on planet Boborp (not like here on planet Earth), and they’re going to tell you all about it.
One of the wonderful things about this book is the language—Antoinette fearlessly makes up her own words, which are similar enough to English for the reader to have fun guessing what they mean (can you guess what a spossip is?), which only adds to the hilarity of Yelfred and Omek’s frintship showcasing pointed parallels between Earth and Boborp relationships.
Some of these relationship road bumps are demonstrated through dialogue examples, which all friends have likely said to each other at some point. Reading them from a third point of view is especially fun to read. Occasionally these situations have little comments in parentheses to let the reader know whether or not they also happen on planet Earth, which only makes the story more charming.
Antoinette's art is just as reflective of Yelfred and Omek's vibrant frintship with her use of bright, bold colors and geometric shapes. She very cleverly uses a dotted pattern to imply shadows, shading, and depth, which allows the pictures to remain light and fun without a lot of heavy dark lines.
Antoinette demonstrates her expert knowledge of frintship with this cleverly engaging book, and it’s safe to say that all of use can use a trip to Boborp to remind us of the trials of our own best friendships (right here on planet Earth!). This book is a great example of how to creatively engage with one of the core universal themes in children's lives and literature - friendship.
Here's a wee video that will show even more and goes a little deeper into Antoinette's writing and illustrating techniques. If you know anyone who might enjoy this, please share it. And if you are up for some kind words, please share them below in the comments section. <3
Mondays with Mandy or Mira consists of Mandy Yates and Mira Reisberg. Mira is the founder of the Children's Book Academy and was so impressed with Mandy when she was a student in one of the interactive courses, that she invited Mandy to share the blog. Mandy has as an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University and has been published multiple times in Highlights Magazine. We hope you enjoy and find our offerings helpful.
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