Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry Friday 4/30/10

Poetry Speaks Who I Am with CD: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else It is impossible that a book cover like this one does not get your attention right away! Poetry Speaks Who I Am Poems of discovery, inspiration, independence, and everything else... Edited by Elise Paschen. This book is a collection of the work of some of the most amazing poets and writers of all times. The range of poets found in this book knows no limits when it comes down to timeline. We have the work of William Shakespeare and Walt Witman but also of Carl Sandburg, Julia Alvarez, Naomi Shihab Nye, Marilyn Nelson, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, among others.

Besides holding an awesome collection of poems for middle grade & high school students, this book comes with a CD where over 30 poems are being read aloud. Most of you know what a big fan I am of poetry books with an audio version or files available. This simple but powerful addition to the book allow all readers to have a role model for fluency, reading with rhythm and intonation. All part of learning to read, reading to learn.

Don't miss a chance to sit outside on a spring afternoon and let the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Christina Rosetti and Sandra Cisneros (among so many others!) keep you company for rest of the day.

Poetry Roundup today: Great Kid Book.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My World/Mi Mundo -New Features

On April 11 2010, My World/Mi Mundo celebrated two years of blogging, of learning and of joining a community of children's book lovers, well known as Kidlitosphere. Writing and keeping a blog is definitely  a commitment and I'm so glad I have started this. The journey has been nothing but a bliss.

Now, as part of growing and challenging myself, I would like to incorporate a little bit more in this blog.

I'm starting a new feature in this blog entitled Visit to My World/Mi Mundo @ the ESL Cafe. Everytime you see this picture:
 It means I'm virtually letting you in on our literacy journeys as readers and writers. Teaching Literacy to English Language learners is what I do with all my passion and my heart. They have taught me so much and I would love to share these things with you through this blog.
Some of  you are already familiar with the physical setting of the classroom which looks like this:

Yes, I love colors and I'm not ashamed to admit it. :)

And books are at the heart of my daily instruction so you'll see books everywhere:

There are a couple of basic facts that I would like to share with you before we start these visual visits to the ESL Cafe so that it helps you better understand some of the things that are going on in the classroom.

1. I teach English Language Learners in grades K-5. I serve 75 students in my school. They come from all over the world: Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Ethiopia, Laos, Bangladesh, among others.
2. Ohio Language Arts Standards guide my teaching as well as the TESOL standards. In other words, I teach Literacy as the core of my instruction.
3. The ELL population keeps growing in our district. As of right now, it constitutes 15% of the total student population.

As I share with you our literacy journey, you'll notice that oral language is a big, important component in my daily teaching instruction. For me, it is a MUST that I grant students time to talk about their thinking, their writing, their ideas, their wonders, their connections. So please keep in mind as we go through this journey together.

Looking forward to have you in my classroom (virtually), and letting the learning and growing keep on happening!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I heart Amy Krouse Rosenthal's books!

Oh yes, you know exactly who I am talking about! The talented Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a new book out, and once again it is FUN FUN FUN!
So, most bedtime stories we read are about how a mom, dad or grandpa, or big sister puts a little one to bed. Always sweet. Always tender. But what would it look like if we reverse roles and the little one is the one that puts mom away to bed? Ahhh! That's what Bedtime for Mommy is all about. Bedtime for Mommy  In this adorable twist and reverse of roles, Mom is the one asking for five more minutes! The little one is the one gathering mom's bath toys (which includes lotions, soaps, and bubbles). And my favorite scene is the one where the little girl reads Mom a book. I always tell my students that I am always the one reading the stories aloud. Saying this always guarantees me a story time provided by my students. :-)

And when you think the book is over, here is the little girl coming down the stairs saying, "Okay. One down, one to go." And when you turn the page, who do you believe you'll find?

Exactly. :-)

Thank you Amy for another wonderful book. I wonder how's The Beckoning of Lovely coming?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't Lick the Dog

Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs Wendy Wahman wrote a book that our young readers will absolutely love. Don't Lick the Dog Making Friends with Dogs shows children how to interact and treat unfamiliar dogs. Written in a how-to manual kind of way, this book provides all kinds of great advices for kids for example...

Stand still and let dogs come to you to smell your hand or sniff your shoe.
Gently stroke his chin or chest or rub his cheek
Before you give a treat to Kate, make your hand into a plate.

This is Wendy Wahman's first book and I believe she did a tremendous job keeping the writing alive and accessible to children. I believe our readers will truly understand, learn and appreciate the tips and advices on how to treat new dogs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poetry Friday-Muu, Moo!

Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)
For Poetry Friday today, I would like to share with you a fantastic book of Animal Nursery Rhymes. This bilingual collection of rhymes were selected by Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy. I loved loved this book for many reasons. First of all, Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy know poetry! Their knowledege put together is a guaranteed sucess. Alma Flor Ada has been one of our biggest advocates for promoting cross-cultural understanding. She values languages, cultures, traditions. Her values are shown in her work, in her publications. F. Isabel Campoy is a poet, a storyteller, and researcher of Hispanic Culture.  Both of them are big advocates for language learning. It is not surprising at all that when I read the introduction to this new book, they wrote, "During the extraordinary process of acquiring our first language, we learn to play with sounds, delighting in rhymes and alliteration." Clearly, they understand the power of words.

One thing that I'm always careful when I read bilingual books (English/Spanish) is that the translation of the work in either language does not lose its sense of rhymes, and the author's intention. I was happily surprised to see how beautifully these animal rhymes have been translated. The rhythm, rhyme and author's message was kept beautiful in each poem. To illustrate what I mean, let me share with you, one of the poems in the book:

La Lechuza                                          The Owl
F. Isabel Campoy                                  F. Isabel Campoy

U, u, u                                                   Boo, hoo, hoo
oigo en la noche un revuelo                  In the night I hear a cry
U, u, u                                                   Boo, hoo, hoo
una lechuza en su vuelo                        It's an owl fluttering by
U, u, u                                                   Boo, hoo, hoo
me da mucho miedo                              The eerie sound gives me a fright!
U, u, u                                                   Boo, hoo, hoo
-Mamá, enciende la luz!                        Mom! please turn on the light!

If you read this poem in either language, you'll notice that the message and the rhythm were kept in both poems. The translator or adapter for this book was Rosalma Zubizarreta. I enjoyed reading the note about her at the end of the book because it explains, "want to help people understand each other better, and when I am translating a story or poem, I want to make it possible for readers to enjoy the grace and spirit of the author's original work." As I was reading each poem in this book, I can confidently say that she definitely "kept the spirit of the author's original work."

I hope you and  your students or children enjoy this book as much as I had. Please stop by Anastasia's blog Picture Book of the Day to enjoy  more of Poetry Friday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The EARTH Book
For the past 40 years, we have been celebrating Earth Day. I can't think of a better book to share with my early primary ELL students than Todd Parr's newest book: The Earth Book. This is his latest publication and the timing is just perfect. I have blogged about Todd Parr's books before because I believe he is such an amazing writer for our little ones. Our younger ELL students have learned so much from  him because as a writer he keeps his language structure predictable for students to feel successful. He keeps a good rhythm and his sentences are not too long. The amazing illustrations support his messages so beautifully. With just one fantastic books, my ELL students learned different things that they can do to take care of our planet Earth. And of course, the super poster at the end of the book sums up everything you learned throughout the book.

Todd Parr, you never disappoint us!  Your newest book is fantastic and my ELLs are already devouring!
Enjoy the journey and Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Red Scarf

The Red ScarfThe Red Scarf by Anne Villeneuve is the story of a taxi driver Turpin who was having an ordinary day until...someone left behind a red scarf on the passenger seat of his taxicab. Turpin knows the right thing to do is give the scarf back to its owner. So he follows the red scarf owner without knowing in all the adventures he will be crossing and experiencing at the circus. The illustrations in this book says it all. That's right because there is hardly any text in the story keeping the reader absolutely engaged and participating all the way. This creative book has won the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration.

I fall in love with books like this. I love to watch my ELL students tell the story in their own words, at their own level of understanding as they construct meaning. I love watching them pay attention to the smallest details in order to help them construct their story. And while I listen to them, it gives me a very good idea of where they are in the process of language acquisition. I invite you to give your students a wordless picture book and watch the magic unfolds right in front of you. It's pretty amazing. Enjoy the Journey.

P.S Adding new small features to my blog soon as part of my growing & learning changes after my two years blog celebration. Time for some changes. Soon. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lights on Broadway

If you have been following My World-Mi Mundo then you know how much I enjoy Broadway Shows. Last year, I wrote about the amazing Broadway Show In The Heights which luckily came to Columbus last November. So you can picture my excitement when I found this new book Lights on Broadway A Theatrical Tour from A to Z. This colorful and creative book was written by Harriet Ziefert and the responsible person for the amazing cover and illustration is Elliot Kreloff. Brian Stokes Mitchell also contributed to the success of this book.

Lights on Broadway: A Theatrical Tour from A to Z

Once you open this book, be ready to find amazing little facts, definitions, and even quotes by famous actors/actresses. For example, on the first page you will find....

A is for Audition
There is a quote by David Alvarez, who played Billy Elliot and his experience, thoughts and feelings the first time he auditioned for a play.
On the left hand side you'll find an brief paragraph that explain what is an audition.
And at the bottom of the page you'll also find two more side notes: what is a headshot and what is the role of the director in an audition.

That was only page number 1. Whether you are a Broadway fan or not, this is a book that explains and teaches so much about the "behind-the-scene" happenings. I don't know how many other books are out there that teaches about Broadway shows to children in such an accessible manner but I sure LOVE this one.

At the end of the book, you'll find three cool extras: a poem written by Brian Stokes Mitchell. You'll also learn about the Actors Fund whose mission is to "help all professionals in performing arts and entertainment." You will be happy to know that a portion of the book sales will be donated to The Actors Fund. And last, but not least, the book includes CD "I Was Here" by Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty performed by Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy Blog Birthday! It's the Magic 2!

Two years ago, My World-Mi Mundo was born. When I started writing on April 11, 2008 I had no idea the amazing journey that creating a blog would be. I am still in awe of all the extraordinary gifts that came after My World-Mi Mundo was born. You may  be wondering what kind of gifts am I talking about? Well, I'm talking about the one you can't buy with money. The kind of gift that fills your heart with nothing else but happiness and gratitude. Let me show you what I mean. Come with me to a  journey of these last two years of being part of the Kidlitbloggers World.

*After spending a great deal of time reading on the web, I  was inspired by these bloggers and their work. Some of these blogs are for educators. Others are related to the visual arts, design and creativity. Regardless of what the topics on these blogs are, I was amazed at the amount of information I was learning from those blogs. There was so much learning and sharing going on that I also wanted to be part of this great experience.

* I joined and learned from the amazing Poetry Challenges that Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers created. So much fun!

*I was happy to share with all of you my special Annual event at my school: The Cultural Festival. A festival that I started 5 years ago and welcomes around 500 people each year.

* I met the extraordinary Columbus Bloggers. We met, got together, and got along beautifully! Together we embraced the Reading Challenge posed by Mother Reader (a favorite of ours!)

* Sharing some of my  Summer Projects at home gave my friends at  A Year of Reading the idea of sharing with each other our classroom spaces. It was a lot of fun to have a peek at each other's daily world.

*Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with all of you has definitely become one of my favorite moments of the year. And of course, hosting Book Giveaways is always fun!

*Joining Poetry Friday has helped me feel stronger about being in a community of bloggers. I look forward to Fridays, to Poetry, to sharing, to inspiration all around! 
* Celebrating Jon Scieszka was just spectacular. My friends at A Year of Reading had this amazing idea to celebrate our first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. And the fact that Jon Scieszka himself stopped by the blog to visit was just EXTRAORDINARY. 

I'm humbled and thankful for the experience of creating a blog, making a commitment to sharing with others. I'm proud of my  fellow bloggers who inspire me every day with their endless ideas, powerful thinking and deep reflections. I have learned so much in these last two years. I feel honored to be part of the Society of Bloggers in Children's and Young Adult Literature,  our amazing Kidlitosphere Central.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Gracias, Muchas Gracias for being part of My World-Mi Mundo.

Stella Villalba

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Brother Charlie

My Brother Charlie As many of you already know, April is Autism Awareness Month. As an educator, I feel like my journey on understanding and learning about Autism has just started. I have long ways to go. But I want to learn how to teach and how help a child with autism learn and be successful. Today I read  My Brother is Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete. This story is very different since it is told from a twin sister's point of view. Callie and Charlie are twins and they adore each other. But each sibling has its own unique way of showing that love for each other. Charlie has autism so he shows his love in unconventional ways because his words get locked inside him, and sometimes he seems so far away.  But Charlie has so many other great wonderful qualities that Callie just loves and appreciates. This story is just beautiful because it is a celebration of hope, understanding and tolerance. Both authors (mother & daughter) joined their understandings and personal experiences on autism in order to create this story. Holly's son (which is Ryan's brother) has autism and their journey, of course, represented many challenges. However, through this book they transmit this sense of hope, charm and patience to all individuals who have a loved one with Autism. Like Ryan Elizabeth shared on a note at the end of the book,

People with autism are exceptionally smart, but their brains are wired differently. It can take them longer to process information. Please be patient. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mirror Mirror-Poetry Friday

Product DetailsWhen I picked up the book Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer at our Columbus Metropolitan Library, I had no idea how much I would have reading this book. Why? You may wonder. Well, this book is like no other, it offers readers the possibility of exploring two sides of every fairy tale. How is that possible? You may wonder. Marilyn Singer wrote a unique collection of reversible verse. That's right...First you read the poem from top to bottom like you would anyways. But if your curious to know the "other side of the story" then you must read the poem but this time from bottom to top.

Let me share with you the example from the author's first reverso inspired by her cat:

A cat Incomplete:
without A chair
a chair: without
Incomplete a cat.

Isn't that sweet? I can imagine our young readers in grades (2-5) enjoying it, reading these verses over and over again.
A round of applause goes to the illustrator Josee Masse that recreated a wonderful "fairy tale" fun with the illustrations in this book.

My World/Mi Mundo will be celebrating its 2nd B-day this Sunday April 11. What an amazing two years of learning and growing! Stay tuned next week for a fantastic book giveaway coming to celebrate our two years together.

And please stop by Paper Tigers to check out the round up on Poetry Friday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Classic Story. Always Fun. Always Great

I just finished reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Emma Chichester Clark. And yes, like so many of you, already know and love the story. So how am I going to share this book with my darling English language learners? Well, here is my thinking. This is a story known and loved by so many of my students. But Emma Clark's version of this story is filled with great choice of words, words that bring dramatization and emphasis to the story. Here are a list of words I found that the author has used that are perfect example of a brilliant writer's work.

swallowed an enormous mouthful


she dipped a spoon in the middle-sized bow.

She plunged a spoon ...

after nosing through the shelves...

It's so stiflingly, smotheringly! suffocatingly soft!

This book is filled with examples of great, exquisite vocabulary that can enrich a story so much! I definitely read this book as a writer, paying close attention to the craft. And I'm not disappointed! What a great resource for children, for writing workshop, for tunning into great words. I highly recommend this version of a classic story loved by so many.

P.S. The word is stupid is used in this book. I always explain and talk to my students about words like this before I read the book. I thought I would give you a heads up on that particular example.