Staff picks for March

We hope you enjoy our staff picks, which are our most recent favorite multimedia resources on TeachingBooks. Do you have a recent favorite resource or a resource you love to use again and again? Post a comment to let other educators know about your selection and how you use/d it in the classroom.

The Cricket in Times Square (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1960) is one book I repeatedly read as a child. Maybe because I grew up in NYC and intimately relate to the setting. Maybe because I love subways. Maybe because the Chinatown scenes are perfectly reminiscent of journeys I often took. But listening to this Book Reading is a favorite of mine because I’m magically transported back to the ridiculously bright orange and green 1970s arm chairs that I sat in to read this book. I’m even able to recall the smell of my paperback version of this book. Fun how multimedia impacts our senses!

– Nick Glass, Founder & Principal

I’m a fan of Mary Ann Hoberman’s Original Author Program. Specifically, Mary Ann reading an excerpt of You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You (Little, Brown and Company, 2001) with her husband. This book is meant to be read aloud by two readers. Hoberman speaks about how this book works well for family literacy. As I read some of the playlettes from the book, I imagine a parent and child taking great pleasure in reading these aloud together. I like that Hoberman is encouraging young readers to develop an interest in language by showing that through rhythmic delivery, rhyme, and other wordplay, language can be really fun.

– Bret Hoffman, Accounts Manager

One of the reasons I love the Chris Raschka Original Author Program is his incorporation of literature into a discussion of other content areas. Raschka speaks about concrete poetry and how words can meld with pictures to illustrate a moment or a feeling. I love to imagine all the wonderful concrete poems that students could produce after watching this program and reading A Poke in the I (Candewick Press, 2001). Raschka also takes the combination of pictures and words to a new level in his jazz books. Raschka’s use of color to illustrate sound is not something I had been aware of before viewing this Original Author Program.

– Alyssa Yokota-Lewis, Educational Outreach Coordinator

One of the best things about this Book Reading of James and the Giant Peach (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961) is how it ends: ” … and terrible punishments” are the last words we hear. After dispatching of the parents at the start, we know James has fallen on hard times, but this last ominous phrase of the excerpt leaves one wondering just how bad it might get. In addition to the hook the excerpt provides with its ending, the reading also sets a fast pace, introduces the sneering tone of the aunts, and presents the stark imagery at the beginning of the novel.

This Book Reading accomplishes what I think of as the main purpose of a reading excerpt—it draws me into the book enough to motivate me to pick it up on my own.

– Brian Wulff, Educational Outreach Coordinator

With so much talk of change in our federal government—and the collaboration that is required when trying to work “across the aisle”—I often marvel at the trust and patience that is required when trying to do things in a new and different way. The Original Author Program with Leo and Diane Dillon shows how they are living examples of this collaborative process as they share their most precious expressions of themselves: their art. It’s extraordinary to witness their “Third Artist” creating images for the book Earth Mother (Walker, 2005)! I love imagining how high school art students would respond to this video and an assignment to collaborate similarly.

– Carin Bringelson, MLS, Information Manager

This Original Author Program video with Saxton Freymann is my choice.  You can see the author/illustrator demonstrating and talking about his process for creating edible art, found in such books as How Are You Peeling (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 1999). For example, he makes a suspicious looking character from a Red Delicious apple. My sister owns an organic farm, and I always thought it would be fun to actually try to make different characters from the fruits and vegetables she grows.

– John H. Moore, Operations Manager

These Book Readings in English and Spanish feature author Monica Brown reading from her book My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz (Luna Rising, 2004). These particular Book Readings are some of my very favorite, because they illustrate the power of audio resources.  First, one hears the author sharing why she wrote this book. Next, Monica reads (and sings!) so educators and students can hear the beautiful pace and rhythm of her words and gain insight into how to really perform this book when reading it. Finally, how exciting is it to have the reading available in both English and Spanish?!!

– Danika Morphew-Tarbuck, MLS, Web 2.0 Content Producer

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One Response to Staff picks for March

  1. Virginia March 6, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    This is a great idea, everyone. Way to go!

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