Monday, 30 September 2013

Book Club: Orpheus and Eurydice

When Orpheus' bride Eurydice is killed by a snakebite on their wedding day, Orphues' world is shattered. The young widower must journey to the underworld to negotiate with Hades himself to win his bride back. Can love trump over the dark and powerful underworld

Orpheus and Eurydice was the first of our chosen books for our new monthly book club at Big You, Little You. Aimed at children aged 8+, this book is a great introduction to the Greek classics, with a tale that allows for different depths of understanding for different ages. Book club was new to all of the children in the group and they were all excited to attend something new, with a one child saying her parents attend book clubs so they can now be part of a club! I chose a Greek classic as our first book, partly because I just love the new additions to the Barefoot Books Greek series; with great illustrations and end notes they are an excellent educational tool and are definitely favourites amongst home educators. However, the main reason that I picked a classic was to inspire debate and encourage the children's imaginations. Book clubs are not simply about literal interpretations of the text, they are platforms to explore you own feelings that arise from the book and to hear about different interpretations. With a little encouragement and open questioning, all of the children were confident in telling of what they book meant to them, what did and did not make sense and how they can relate the story to everyday life. It was so refreshing to here the children denounce the jealousy and anger that arises in the story; all wanting the collective goal of being with the people they love without the need to constantly look behind themselves. Of course, children being children, amongst all of the deep conversation was a definite liking for a bit of blood, gore and beasts! The illustrations in the book jump out of the pages and inspire creativity within the reader. We spent a lot of time observing and commenting on the artwork and each took turns to read some of the key passages and individual highlights.

After we had finished talking about the book and reading our favourite passages, we all tried our hand at a Greek inspired word search, whilst nibbling on some traditional Greek snacks. The word search was a great idea to invite more discussion about Greece and it's traditions, I think we all went home with a new fact or two. It was great to hear the children talking in detail about what they liked and disliked about the book and what books they have been inspired to read next. When I asked if they had enjoyed the session, there was a definite "YES" from them all. Here's just a few quotes about why

" It's good to be able to read books outside of school, some of the ones the teachers don't read with us "

" I liked that I could talk to people the same age because my brothers are too little and don't understand"

" I liked talking about all of the pictures together "

"I can't wait for the next one "

I can't wait for the next one either.If you like the sound of this and are looking to start your own book club, in a community space near you, get in touch and we can  provide books, fact sheets and guides plus if you are in the North West of England we may be able to  facilitate for you.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Gruffalo Hunt

" A Gruffalo ? What's a Gruffalo ?"

" A Gruffalo! Why, didn't you know? He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws. "

If like me, you love ' The Gruffalo ' you would have loved Nature to Nurture's Gruffalo hunt, that we attended at the weekend.  Nature to Nurture's mission statement is to ' aim to care and encourage the growth and development of a person's wellbeing by fostering positive relationships with the outdoors '. With forest school sessions , early years den making and birthday parties, if you are in or near Liverpool, you should contact Julie and the team to hear more about what they can offer your family.

We first came across Nature to Nurture when we heard about their ' Gruffalo hunt ' at a local country park. The Gruffalo is fantastic lyrical tale, that all the family can enjoy. Both the book and the film adaptation provide laughs for both adults and children alike, so it was safe to say that I was as excited as my daughter, for our very own Grufflalo hunt. The story begins with a little mouse in search of a special nut, so what better way to start our gruffalo hunt with our very own little mouse!

With a scavenger hunt tick sheet, featuring all of the things we were about to see, we all marched off into the woods, in search of our furry friend. The scavenger hunt was a great way of keeping the children entertained as we waited to watch each part of the story. With a list of leaves, nuts and feathers to collect as well as looking out for characters from the book, it was an educational journey too.

Sofia is just coming up to two so was one of the youngest in the group but this did not stop her enjoyment, the delivery of the story catered for all ages. Some would think that a story about a giant ' monster ' that features scrambled snake and owl ice cream would be too scary for toddlers but I love the way the story allows for playful exploration of our fears and anxieties about the unknown. The descriptions of The Gruffalo, with his big claws and purple spike, are playful and the rhyming text adds a fun element to a story about overcoming fears. Each of the characters stayed true to the book but with an added extras that brought the actors take on the animals personalities. I loved the simplicity of the story and I can see how our walk could be adapted to a family walk through the woods.

After lots of ' he's behind you ' shouts and singing along the way, we all cheered and clapped as the quick witted little mouse found his all important nut and there ended a bright and  cheerful interactive journey that really brightened up or Sunday afternoon. We are already looking forward to the next instalment.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Rhyme Time

When children arrive for our storytelling sessions they are usually excited for the session, displaying lots of energy whilst exploring their new surroundings. For this reason, I always like to begin my sessions with a few lively songs to bring the children together and release a bit of their energy before settling down to our stories. Bookstart have a great little CD full of traditional songs to sing aloud, including a great ' hello' song to get everybody in the mood. After a few songs from the rhyme times CD it is time to settle down on out storytelling blankets and cushions and dip into the nursery rhyme sack!

The nursery rhyme sack consists of these great finger puppets by The Puppet Company, placed in a simple drawstring tote bag. The bag is a great way to ensure that all children are actively involved in storytelling sessions, with each child taking a turn to take a puppet out of the bag.  Having puppets to choose and hold on to is a great way of drawing children back into a storytelling session, if their attention has been lost. It is lovely to see the surprise on each child's face as they discover what puppet they have and what songs they can sing.

The puppets in The Puppet Company set  come with a book of old favourites;  ' Twinkle Twinkle ', 'Humpty Dumpty', 'Hickory Dickory Dock', 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', ' Incy Wincy spider ' and ' once I caught a fish alive '. I have added extra puppets to cater for a large group and to add a bit of variety. You can either buy extra puppets or just use dolls or toys that you have around the house, as long as you can think of a song to match the item.

It is great to see children interacting with the puppets, chatting away to them to involve them in the session. If the child's is distracted or starts to wander, then you can encourage her to come back into the story by by speaking to the puppet and asking her to question the puppet, i.e " what does the mouse want to do next " or " does Incy Wincy want to come and sit on the Mat ".  Of course, if a child really wants to roam about then that is fine, they can jump in and out when they can, if they are curious about checking out their surroundings. If there are a lot of children up on their feet and wanting to have a little wiggle about, I like to play a few action songs, such as ' If you are happy and you know it ' or ' The Hokey Cokey '. Once all of our voices are exercised and the little legs are ready for a rest, it is time to settle down for a story and prepare for other surprises!

Pictures are courtesy of Lisa Green Photography, a wonderful family friendly photographer based in the North West, from her shots taken at the fabulous Big You, Little You open day in Liverpool.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

International Literacy Day 2013

Today is International Literacy Day. UNESCO have been celebrating literacy on 8th September for the past 40 years to remind the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation for all learning. This year's International Literacy day is dedicated to " literacies for the 21st century " to highlight the need to realise " basic literacy skills for all " as well as equip everyone with more advanced literacy skills as part of lifelong learning.

Here at Little Scribbles, we are passionate about supporting literacy in our own community but also about giving back to communities around the world. We are are always keen to fundraise for various charities and are great supporters of Book Aid international, a charity that increases access to book and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Sharan Africa. To celebrate International Literacy Day, for every book that is bought over at Little Scribbles' Stories or our Barefoot Books store today and tomorrow, we will donate £1 to Book Aid International. With lots of great stories to choose from, including some lovely African stories, your little one can enjoy a book themselves whilst helping support others.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Barefoot Book of the month: September

As you know, Little Scribbles is an ambassador for Barefoot Books . Barefoot have lots of amazing books for children and I will be highlighting one as book of the month, that I think you and your little ones would love. As September is Organic Month, I have chosen a book that enable children to learn about how food grows and healthier food options.  'Grandpa's Garden' is a beautifully told story, following Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!

Written by Stella Fry and illustrated by Sheila Moxley, this book is a very popular for Grandparents wanting to pass on their love of gardening to their grandchildren. With great end notes on the vegetable featured in the book and ideas on how you can grow your own, this is a fun way to get to know vegetables and encourage healthy eating.

To learn more about how you can make a small difference this Organic September, and for some great organic check out The Soil Association

Like the look of this ? Take a further look at Barefoot Books and get 20% off your order using the code GIRAFFE13 at checkout.