Feed Me Books Friday: Hip Hip Hooray For Teachers!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week: May 2-6

I can tell you from experience, being appreciated by a student or her parent feels almost as spectacular as being appreciated by a child or spouse. I firmly believe our appreciation for the educators in our children’s lives should not be limited to one celebrated week, but expressed all year long. However, teacher appreciation week is a fun reminder to let that person who is shaping your child’s development know how grateful you are.

A Poem of Honor
Mrs. Cole on an Onion Roll (Aladdin Picture Books)B and I have been brainstorming ideas to show our appreciation to his preschool teacher next week. So far, we’ve considered painting her a picture, taking her some flowers from our garden, baking cookies for her, and getting her a new book. (any other suggestions?) For some inspiration (and to squeeze a few more poems into the last days of poetry month) we read some selections from Kalli Dakos’ Mrs. Cole on an Onion Roll and Other School Poems. Most of the poems in this book are more suited to the elementary set, who can appreciate the humor and relate to the experiences better than my preschooler. However, he enjoyed plenty of them and enjoying the rhyme and rhythm of poetry builds language and cognitive muscle. Our favorite was titled, “Hip Hip Hooray.” Each stanza identifies a student and a gift bestowed upon the teacher (Sally brings flowers, Byron brings an apple) and the teacher responds to each gift by yelling, “Hip Hip Hooray!” until the Ben brings a radish, and the teacher queries, “Why a radish?

And Ben said,
“Because I love radishes!”
Ben brought a radish

For the teacher today,

And the teacher yelled,

“Hip Hip Hooray!”

I love the message that Ben shares a gift that he really loves, and the message that the teacher is grateful for Ben sharing something important to him. It’s simple text but rich with meaning given a little consideration.

Appropriate for: preschoolers, primary grades

If you’re enjoying poetry with your child this month, or if you want some ideas to squeeze in a little before month’s end, head over to Brimful Curiosities poetry challenge or Poetry Friday hosted by Tabatha Yeatts.

photos courtesy www.freefoto.com and www.capl.washjeff.edu


Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Earth-Friendly Ways to Make Some Space on Your Bookshelves:

Photo credit: woodley wonderworks via flickr.
5 Earth-Friendly Ways to Feed a Book-Lover
  • Visit your local library for a never ending supply!
  • Host a book exchange among friends or participate in paperback swap.
  • Shop library book sales or thrift stores for gently used books.
  • If you shop on-line (like me) be sure to recycle packaging!
  • Add Earth-friendly titles like I Love Our Earth! by Bill Martin Jr. and Recycle by Gail Gibbons to help your child understand why being earth-minded matters.
I Love Our EarthRecycle!: A Handbook for Kids 

Bonus: The text of I Love Our Earth is a free verse poem with some beautiful illustrations – so it fits right in with our celebration of poetry month.
I have yet to find an Easter book that I’m really in love with – we have come across a few that are ok or even entertaining, but not great – can you help? There must be some egg-cellent ones out there! (sorry – couldn’t help the pun…)


Feed Me Books Friday: April is National Poetry Month

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Poem is More than a Rhyme

Lots of children’s books are full of rhymes, but that doesn’t really mean they are all poetry. From where I stand, a book written in rhyme may or may not be a poem, and a poem may or may not be a rhyme. I adore poetry – reading it, writing it, sharing it – so how do I define it? I really like this definition:

Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. […] The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define. (From about.com)
If poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience, then exposure to that awareness could certainly promote growth in any of the developmental domains, depending on the experience! I keep a section on B’s book shelf reserved for poetry books, and I’ve been trying to give them a little extra attention this month, but unfortunately haven’t gotten any up to post yet – hopefully this will be only the first of at least a few special features.

Couplets on Common Characters
Beast Feast : Poems
One poetry book that B has enjoyed enough to request repeat performances is Douglas Florian’s Beast Feast. Florian is known for his accessible and often humorous children’s poetry, but he refrains from downright slapstick jokes and imbues his poems with a quietly curious quality. I especially like this excerpt from “The Ants,”

While down below

Beneath the mound
They’re building tunnels
And so it’s been –
And it will be –
Since greatest
Ant antiquity.
Simple and yet profound. Also love that much of Florian’s work includes really meaty language that is just the ticket to passively building vocabulary. Florian also illustrates his poetry with very kid-friendly paintings. They are colorful and attractive without being cartoonish or immature. Beast Feast, as you might guess, is a collection of animal poems. Besides “The Ants,” you’ll also find “The Walrus,” “The Armadillo,” “The Camel,” and “The Sloth,” among others. Florian has several other themed poetry collections, many of which are living on my wish list right now!
Appropriate for: everyone!

Kids’ Poetry Challenge

Janelle at Brimful Curiosities is hosting a Kids’ Poetry Challenge for the Month of April. The first two weeks got away from me, but I’m excited to be able to join in this week. Even if you don’t have a poem to share (try next week!) you should check out her explanation post – she’s got a ton of great poetry resources and links listed there! Janelle’s post also reminded me that there’s more great poetry to be found (some kids some not) each week at the Poetry Friday Round-up, hosted this week at Random Noodling.

Do you have a favorite poem book to read with kids? Even if you don’t have a post about it for this week, I’d love to hear suggestions in the comments! Don’t forget: There are a couple days left in library appreciation week – check out our activity if you haven’t already!

[*Poetry Month Logo from poets.org*]


Feed Me Books Friday: Library Appreciation Week

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Little Goes a Long Way

As a former public school teacher, and as a mom, I can attest to the fact that it only takes a few words of gratitude to make someone’s day. At our public library branch, National Library Week comes and goes without much hoopla. I have to imagine the drastic budget cuts and short-staffing don’t leave much room for celebration, but I don’t want the caring staffers who entertain, motivate, and instruct to go unnoticed. Last year, we made a poster with a short “thank-you” verse highlighted by some strategically placed candies. (If you’re interested in the full text of the verse, leave me a comment and I’ll email it to you.) This time, our project is a combination of this year’s theme (Create Your Own Story @ Your Library) and an extension of a library-themed book we recently found – where else? – at the library!

An Alphabetic Introduction:
"L" Is for Library
When I came across L is for Library during one of our weekly visits, my first thought was “yikes! I hope I didn’t miss library appreciation week!” My second thought was, “If I didn’t, I’ve got to do something fun with this book!” Sonya Terry’s rhyming tour of the library functions both as a review of the letters of the alphabet and a introduction to library vocabulary for young listeners. A is for author, D is for Dewey decimal system, F is for fiction, and while the couplet on for each letter gives a brief explanation, opportunities abound for extended explanation of the vocabulary presented. The illustrations include lots of humorous details that invite close and repeated readings. While the bouncy rhymes (April is poetry month, after all) and funny illustrations are enough to keep listeners entertained, the language begs for expansion and cognitive development.
Appropriate for: Toddlers, Preschoolers, Primary Grades

Our Story:

Letters and beginning sounds are the topic of conversations, questions, and games more and more often lately. So I decided to use L is for Library as a jumping off point for our appreciation project. We are actively building our list of alphabetic words that B associates with the library and his activities there. So far, we have B is for book, F is for friends, and S is for songs, among others. My plan is to have B illustrate each word on a square of paper, then assemble the squares quilt-style for presentation to our children’s library staff. I’ll add a picture once we complete the project this weekend.

A Couple Worthwhile Links:


What’s Your Party Style?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011
Are you a mingler? Do you hover at the buffet? Mix the cocktails? A wallflower? First to arrive or fashionably late? I’m usually still prepping at the last minute (‘cause I have one. more. thing. to do) whether I’m a host or a guest. I am not a wallflower, but I’m more likely to stick with a friend rather than striking out on my own to meet new people. Thankfully, both of these traits fit in just fine at the Ultimate Blog Party! I can join anytime, all week! And, I can meet lots of interesting new people from the comfort of my computer screen!

Nice to Meet You!


If you haven’t been here before, welcome! I’m Anne. I’m a stay-at-home mom to two boys, 1 and 4 years old. I loved the years I spent teaching public school, but feel blessed to take a career-hiatus and enjoy these formative years at home. Want to know more about my start as a blogger? Visit my background page.

At Little Sprout Books, you’ll find book reviews and recommendations (along with the occasional supplementary craft or activity) that are not only entertaining but also have the potential to spur children’s development in the cognitive, social-emotional, or physical domains. Want to know more about developmental milestones? Check out these references. For a more thorough description of how I select books, read my first post.

Feed Me Books Friday is a weekly link-up celebrating great children’s books. I love celebrating holidays with books, remembering vacations with books, and I’m a sucker for a great bedtime book.

Enough About Me…

I’m so excited to start hopping all the amazing links already up at 5 minutes 4 mom. If you’re a blogger and not linked up yet – it’s not too late to join the party and enter for some awesome prizes. If you’re visiting from the party – thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll stick around! Become a fan on facebook if you like your updates there, follow via Google Friend Connect, or subscribe in your favorite RSS reader or email!

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