Friday, January 21, 2011

January Book Club

I've been starting my day reading from a book by Madeleine L'Engle called Glimpses of Grace.  They are clips of her writing for each day of the year.  Today's reading was titled, "Refuse Not The Questions."  I thought this part in the reading applied to why I like to read and do Book Club with my girls:

"In our fear of the unprovable we mustn't forget that they can learn from The Tempest as well as social studies; that they can learn from Aesop as well as the new math; that The Ugly Duckling need not be discarded in favor of driver education.  There is a violent kind of truth in the most primitive myths, a truth we need today, because probably the most important thing those first storytellers did for listeners back in the dim past in their tales of gods and giants and fabulous beasts was to affirm that the gods are not irrational, that there is structure and meaning in the universe, that God is responsible to his creation."

When I plan my little Book Clubs, I think about doing some story comprehension, or maybe some word recognition, but what I really hope for is that the kids who come over to read a story, hang out with that "violent kind of truth," and maybe take it home with them. 

This morning, we read The Snow Day by Komako SakaiNot to be confused with The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, although both stories take place in a city.  My favorite picture in Sakai's story is the picture with the main character standing on his balcony in his apartment building watching the snow fall.  It reminded me of the last page in Keats' story, when the main character calls for his friend "across the hall."  I love it when authors take urban settings and show that childhood happens here, too.

The girls started out creating a "winter scene" like the ones in the book.  They drew pictures on blue sheets of cardstock.

I encouraged the kids to draw buildings, houses, trees, etc. for their snowy scene. 

Harper's drawing Diego.
After they drew their pictures, they used shaving cream and paint brushes to make the pictures "snowy."

In the story, the mother didn't want her child to go outside while it was still snowing, so they played card games together instead.  To coordinate with this part in the story, I planned a kind of snowflake matching game that the girls could play next. I taped ten snowflakes on the wall with a different number of dots on each flake.  Then the girls took a snowflake with a number 1-10 from a bag I was holding  The object of the game was to match the number with the correct number of dots on the snowflake. 

That's about as advanced math as you'll get out of me.

The last part of the story, the child and mother go outside in the snow just before bedtime.  Sadly, it wasn't snowing this morning, otherwise I thought that would've been the thing to do.  Instead, we dressed up snowmen in hats and scarves as if they were the ones going outside.

I like the title of L'Engle's reading today. "Refuse Not The Questions" seems appropriate thinking for spending one's day with little kids.  And while the level of conversation was as profound as one would expect when talking with 2-4 year olds, I think everyone enjoyed the story.  On whatever level we were on.


  1. Cute! I really want to join your book club! I wish someone near us had something as cute as this for Hannah to do! So, would you like to move to Arizona? Please? I promise the winters would be LOVELY. . .but you'd really resent me once summer came and you were baking cookies in your car and frying eggs on your driveway ;) LOL

  2. "I love it when authors take urban settings and show that childhood happens here, too." I'm with you there!

  3. This is a great project! You have great photos here too.

  4. The line in Keats' The Snowy Day about meeting his friend from across the hall is my favorite, too!