Monday, September 5, 2016

Guest Blogger - Picture Books that Promote Curiosity, Imagination and General Wondering

 Today's blog is contributed by Paula Hollohan, writer of the Doucette Ed Tech blog. Here at the Doucette Library, she's responsible for being conversant on all things related to technology in the classroom but sometimes her passion for children's literature gets the better of her and she has just gotta share. The following list is a terrific collection of titles mostly for elementary students that promotes deeper thinking in conjunction with curiosity.

And before I let you delve into Paula’s list I would highly recommend a book I read over this summer, Curious : the desire to know and why your future depends on it by Ian Leslie. It, too, outlines the importance of being curious for children and adults about wide-ranging topics for one's entire life. It touches on many facets of human development some of which have implications for the field of education. As Paula says, "Igniting curiosity is a game changer."

Now, here's Paula:

In a departure from the usual technology analysis, I will spend today looking at some new picture books that can be resources and browsers in a K-4 classroom to get kids wondering about the world around them. 

These picks are from some recent arrivals in the library and are chosen for high interest and engagement.

What Do You Do With an Idea? and What Do You Do With a Problem? Both by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom.  Interesting juxtaposition of two great concepts – things you need to wonder about. An idea looks like an egg with a crown.  A problem looks like a big swirly, dark cloud.  Is an idea good? Does a problem present an opportunity?

Ideas Are All Around? by Philip C. Stead. How do you begin to write something? Taking a walk with your dog gives you many experiences. Are they worth writing about? What do you notice? Stop War – now there is a good idea.

The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Matthew Cordell.  “Know this: there is magic around but it hides.” “Be open to it.” Hone your powers of observation, around you, above you, near you.  Allow your feet to determine where you may journey and notice all there is to explore.

City Shapes by Diana Murray, illustrated by Bryan Collier.  Notice all that is around you and tie it to some of your knowledge.  Recognize shapes in your environment as a beginning understanding of your world. This book would be a great provocation for a grade 1 photography project.  A way for students to study their community through the lens of a camera or an iPad.

Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrated by Brian Won.  S.A.M. (get it?) has a unique view of the world and all the adventures that are to be had.  Discover a unique perspective on shoe shopping by one imaginative boy.

Use Your Imagination (but be careful what you wish for!) by Nicola O’Bryne.  A typical fairy tale re-telling becomes a whole new story with a little imagination.  Can you change other stories? What would be a more unexpected twist or turn in the stories you are reading?

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael Lopez.  True to life, people in a grey neighbourhood re-imagine it with colourful murals and paintings.  The entire neighbourhood joins in and life is forever changed.  Art changes people.  One person can change a neighbourhood or their school or city or country or the world.

These are a few picks to invigorate your current classroom library and to engage students in a deeper thinking process.  Igniting curiosity is a game changer.


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