Monday, July 26, 2010

Coming Home From Vacation

I am back from Costa Rica. A week of bliss truly! I was staying in a beautiful little-itty- bitty town, Santa Teresa. As I was getting ready to go I was thinking, how will I share this with my nephew? What can I bring him? There were no bookstores here to find a book on Costa Rica. I thought that the airport might have a little, 'recuerdo', that I wold be able to bring back. As I walked along the shores with my friend B we were picking up and noticing the wonderful rocks and beautiful shells.
We found many sand dollars! That of course sparked another line of questions, what exactly is a sand dollar!?
They are so beautiful and have such precision and beauty in their design. We found so many of them on the beach, they looked unreal.

So I decided to bring my nephew back a sand dollar. We started to discuss, what is a sand dollar? "A sea urchin", I began. "It is like the left over skeleton of a sea urchin."

"What's a sea urchin?" my nephew replied. And so the conversation has started. We got the computer open to start searching for the different kinds of sea urchins and what they look like and how they move. "How do they move on it's spine? What do they eat? Why do they look like that?"

Gifts come in all shape and sizes. How you talk about them and let the gifts grow into something larger is all up to you! Hope you are enjoying your summer and reading!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


So, the nephew and I and his day care- all went raspberry picking yesterday in the Canadian heat! Mama R doused us in natural lavender bug spray and off we went to pick. Mama R taught us to pick the truly red berries, not the pink ones. My nephew quickly became an expert! He filled his bucket and his tummy at the same time.

Today they are making, confiture. Mama R wanted all the kids to know the process it takes to make jam! So, all the kids picked the berries, and today they will make the jam. They will have been a part of each and every step of the process. The farm also had goats, sheep and lambs, a llama, chickens, ponies and rabbits. My nephew quickly fell in love. He loves feeding the animals.

These kinds of experiences, visiting a farm, going picking berries, and cooking help to build knowledge and love for the world we live. It also sparks a new reading interest. Books can introduce you to places, new people, and great new activities! Experiences, out in the world, help to introduce you to new passions and interests to continue researching in books! Field trips, outings, exploring the natural are all entry points into new content and new books.

Bobbie Kalman has some beautiful books about the natural world that have inviting photo and wonderful text and information to read. She also does a nice job with diagrams, charts, and maps that help kids put together the information.

My nephew recently went to Orlando with his grandparents and visited Sea World. He is sure that he wants to be a diver. He wants to study whales. The interest has sparked a lot of 'play acting' and reading about orcas and dolphins and all things ocean. It has also helped to introduce him to a whole new vocabulary.

Going to the farm, has done the same thing! It has sparked an interest in plants and in farm animals. It has triggered interest, new reading material and a whole set of questions that he now wants to pursue.

Today he is making raspberry jam. He will make it and eat it! Later he will retell the whole process to the family! Then we will look up the raspberry plants and we will open our plant books to think about plants and how they are important to us and the world.

Here is a recipe for jam to make some at your house. If Mama R gives us her recipe, we will pass it on to you!

Enjoy the world! Get out and explore! Maybe it will just be your back yard or a patch of sidewalk, maybe even mountain. Enjoy the read.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Viva Espana

We did. We watched soccer all afternoon. We went over to our friends' giant loft, J and C, to see the match. It was perfect for us. My nephew lasted the whole game, reenacting much of the 'drama' in the game. After seeing player after player 'dive' for the ball, he too then (with me) would act out the scene of how it happened. We are glad we stayed to watched the entire game- to even see Spain finally make the winning gooooooal!

We came ready. We brought all of my nephew's soccer books, including a couple of new ones. They came in handy, especially at half time. We brought our biography of Pele. We also brought Let's Play Soccer.

His new book, Goal! is a story about young boys playing soccer in South Africa. His other new one is a simple Hello Reader, Soccer Game! about kids playing the game as well.

After the game, we drove the park, where the cars kept streaming by with the flags and a lot of honking! I hope you all enjoyed the world cup as much as we did and learned a lot about the world like we did as well! It happens once every 4 years. Next WC, my nephew will be 7!

Enjoy the read! Enjoy your summer!