Thursday, February 26, 2009

Children as Writers

Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President ObamaWhen I found this book at our wonderful Columbus Metropolitan Library, I felt like I found a little treasure. The cover of the book caught my attention right away: on the cover there is a picture of a smiling man and in bright big yellow letters it reads, Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country, Kids Letters to President Obama. I have to take this book home with me. And I did. I sat on this cloudy rainy afternoon on my couch and started reading the many letters that children ranging from age 6 to 14 wrote to President Obama. As a reader and as a teacher who loves loves to teach writing, I felt so proud and happy because these children were given a chance for their voices to be heard. Let me give you a little bit of background on this project. It all started at a tutoring center, 826 Valencia, where the editor of this book, Jory John serves as the programs director. The tutoring center runs every day for three hours after school, out of which one of those hours is dedicated to writing. Editor Jory John explained in the introduction that a week after the election, he had the idea of putting the kids' thoughts to President Obama down on paper, bind them and send it to the White House. And the result of such a great idea is this book. 
These children had a purpose and audience in mind when each of them wrote a letter. They had something important to say and they wrote from their heart. The sum of all these ingredients will make your heart melts. I don't have enough words to describe how incredible it is when we give our children a chance to have a voice in our society. These children knew about the terrible economic crisis, about the war, about pollution and taxes. These children are citizen of our dear Nation and my dear friends, they have something important to say. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two things that make me smile on this day...

 Number 1. I've introduced all of you to Capucine yesterday. If you missed it, that's OK. Just click here to find out all about her. She is an amazing, natural storyteller who, at such a young age, is already helping literacy grows in this world. Please take a minute and read her story and the project she has started.  It is worth it. A couple of days ago, Katie, over at Creative Literacy, talked about "literacy being about writing, listening and telling stories". In her post, she is inviting all of us to "embrace our students' storytelling abilities." And with that thought in mind, I would love to share with you one more video of Capucine's storytelling abilities.  

And please, please, help me spread the word about Capucine's Library by posting about her on your blog! Remember, they're raising money to buy books! We, bloggers, can totally understand how important this cause is!

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Number 2. My World/Mi Mundo has received very kind words on this post at  Thank You friends! I am very proud of being part of this challenge. Thanks for starting this wonderful initiative!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

An opportunity to help...

Capucine for Edurelief in Mongolia from Capucha on Vimeo.

How can anyone resist this? Please take a minute to listen and watch Capucine, a 4 year-old who is a natural storyteller. You don't need to understand French to appreciate Capucine's talent as a storyteller. Her videos are becoming very popular over the Internet.But you know what is the be st part of all this? Capucine's gift as a storyteller is being used for a good cause. Capucine and her mom are decided to put fantastic project together: Capucine's library, a project whose goal is to raise money for an organization called Edurelief that provides books to Mongolian kids.  You can support this project in different ways, please visit for more information. 
You can help by purchasing t-shirts, buttons or magnets. Anything helps. Can you imagine the children in Mongolia how thankful and happy they will be when they are able to enjoy books as much as we do? This project ends in June, 2009 so I believe we have enough time to help. If you would like to help spread the word about this amazing project that will make many children happy, please leave a comment with a link to your blog if you decide to post about Capucine's Library project. I will do a follow up post on all the bloggers supporting this campain.  The more people we have blogging about this project, the more people will become aware. As a person who loves books so much, I can't imagine a world without books. I will like the same blessing that we have for all those children as well. 
Valentine 2009 - A brand new version of "Le probleme, c'est que je t'aime". Happy Valentine's day !

Brilliant Work by Latino Writers & Artists

You know that a good book is going to take you places, but an extraordinary book will not only take you places but will also wake up all your 5 senses creating a unique sensation. That's what I felt when I held the book The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria. Two creative artists combined their talents to make a book that will help you understand how a blinded person makes sense of their world and the colors through the use of their four senses. What makes this book unique and extraordinary is not only the use of strong beautiful language to describe the colors, but also the powerful raised illustrations encouraging and inviting readers to run their fingers through them. 
From beginning to end, this book is perfect. Each page is translated into Braille, and the full Braille Alphabet is found at the end of the book. The Black Book of Colors is an exquisite book. 
This book was originally written in Spanish but translated into English by Elisa Amada, who is also a writer living in Toronto. 

This book was also reviewed by my dear friends at A Year of Reading. You can also find more information about this book right here

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh I wish I could be there....

This made my heart skip a beat...

Read all about this amazing initiative in You can also read more about this event here
Some people definitely know how to spread the literacy love! There would be some very happy blessed children somewhere in New England today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My First Poetry Friday

My World/Mi Mundo is slowly but surely joining the huge world of Kidlitosphere by joining in the different projects and postings created by the truly amazing society of bloggers in children's and young adult literature. Before sharing a poem on this beautiful Friday morning, I would like to officially congratulate the board of Kidlitosphere Central for the stunning work they have done by creating an official page with a compilation of all the members in this society. This was a huge task that they took upon themselves in order to solidify and strengthen this society of bloggers. My admiration and congratulations to a job well done. I am proud to be a member and part of this world of bloggers. Please head over to read the introduction written by Mother Reader. And also, Melissa Wiley, have you ever thought when you invented the word Kidlitosphere that it would become a word that represents a group of people with a passion for books? Brilliant! Congratulations to all....
This is a poem I wrote to my godson Fabrizio whose love I share miles and miles away...

There are no words 
coming out of my mouth
to describe the feeling
that tickles inside
every time I touch
your innocent face.
My world was lost
without your smile.
My world was incomplete
without your eyes 
to contemplate. 
My world shines
My world makes sense
My word has meaning
because of you...

The round up this week is at Big A Little A.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Books I Have Fallen In Love With...

So here is my Valentine's Day Special... a list of books that I have simply fallen in love with, books that are part of my life, and that I read them over and over again. Some of them are new, some of them are oldies but goodies, and some are just classic. Spread the love for book, it is worth the journey!
 My Top 25...
  1. Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell
  2. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  3. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
  4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  5. My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
  6. My Very Own Room/Mi Propio Cuartito by Amada Irma Perez
  7. My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
  8. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  9. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  10. Click Clack Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  11. Yo?Yes? Chris Raschka
  12. Goldi Socks and the Three Libearians by Jackie M. Hopkins
  13. Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
  14. Miss Rhumphius by Barbara Cooney
  15. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
  16. A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant
  17. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  18. The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
  19. THe Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  20. Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
  21. Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis
  22. My Diary from Here to There by Amada Irma Perez
  23. The Peace Book by Todd Parr
  24. I Will Surprise My Friend by Mo Willems
  25. Martin's Big Words:  The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm back...

Oh dear! I owe you a big, juicy post for the lack of one on these past two weeks! Let's not even bother with all the reasons why I have been "absent" from blogging, let's just keep on enjoying life, shall we? here is my Super Mega Gonzo (yes, I am stealing Roscoe's favorite line!) post at My World/Mi Mundo with a little bit of everything.

Professional Reading
I think this is the first time during the school year that I am doing so much professional reading. In the past, I was always taking classes for my Masters and didn't have the time to do much more than that. But now that that OSU Masters Program is completed, I found myself devouring all these great books during the school year. I don't have to wait until summer anymore, now I can read during the school year AND apply or try the new learning as I discover them.
After I finished reading (and loving) this book, I started reading Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller. I only have great things to say about this teacher and writer. She is truly amazing, calm, refreshing and inspiring. I know that I couldn't be any luckier that I am reading her book and I also got to listen to her speak during the Annual Reading Recovery Conference on Sunday Feb. 9. I left her session feeling very refreshed about teaching. She always talk about taking a time after school to reflect on the day, on the lessons, on how the students did, and what needs to happen next. She encourages all of us to pause at one point in our hectic day to look back to what just happened in the room that day. It is during those reflective moments that we learn the most about our students and of course about ourselves. Our school day is very busy as it is with schedules, meetings, follow-ups, photocopies, and grades. But it is in  those quiet reflective moments that modifies our teaching and strengthens our philosophies. 

School Projects

So our insipiring and amazing Peace Mural created in December is coming off after two months of displaying it proudly. I was surprised to see so many people STILL reading the mural. So, now my dear ESL writers and I are embarking in another reflective piece. I found this book at the library and literally "fell in love" with it. The title is such a simple question but with so many different and unique answers. 
What's Love? So writer Deborah  Carlin asks this simple but meaningful question: What's Love? and photographer Shelly Rotner  captures black and white images to answer this question. I love the potential of this book, I know that I can read this book to children in Kindergarten or in Fifth grade and we are going to have a conversation. And that's what I want to know...What's  Love in the eyes of a 5 years old? What's Love in the eyes of a ten years old? what does it look like? what does it sound like? I am reading this book this week with all my students in grades K-5, we are talking about it, and then we will be posting our reflections on our school murals (yes, I heart murals!). Every time I ask my students to create a piece of writing, I create one myself not only to model it, but also because I believe in my role as a writer. 

Memoir Reading
The Middle Place
I know many of you are already familiar with this extraordinary book but I have just now finally had the time to get my hands on this book. In The Middle by Kelly Corrigan, the writer had me crying, laughing, pondering, thinking, praying, contemplating in so many ways. Her memoir on how she battled breast cancer, her endless and admiring love for her father, and her own personal battle as she is realizing she could be losing  her dad any moment, makes this book a breath-taking one. Kelly has a way with words that is very complicated for me to define, but she grabbed me right away, she had me after that first page, and I couldn't let go of her book even though there were painful moments. Kelly Corrigan is a woman of strength and courage. She is a woman I admire and respect because her honesty and determination are two traits difficult to find in people nowadays. 

Book & Documentary

Do you remember this book?

The Man Who Walked Between the TowersYes, the title says it all.  The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordical Gerstein describes the true story of Philippe Petit who walked on a tight rope he tied between Manhattan's World Trade Center towers in 1974. Children of all ages found this story truly amazing and fascinating, especially when the illustrations seem so real. I watched the trailer Man on Wire, based on Philippe Petit's life and was delighted to see that it won Best Documentary of 2008 on the Sundance Festival.  You can watch the trailer here