Thursday, December 29, 2011

How do you keep up?

I love using the Internet to connect with a wider PLN and share my learning. I am a big fan of blogs, wikis, Diigo, only2clicks and other Web 2.0 tools. Whenever I discover something new, I can spend hours exploring, experimenting and creating. But it seems I am never able to keep up with it, especially posting on my blog and reading other blogs regularly. While I constantly write blog posts and comments in my head, I usually don’t get to publish them. Lately, I have even fallen behind updating my Shelfari. So often it’s only during the holidays that I get to catch up a bit. I admire others who constantly post, comment, create and share: John Schu, Shannon Miller, Edna Sackson, and Dianne McKenzie, just to mention a few (and forgetting so many other great educators I should mention… my apologies).

Fortunately, there is Twitter, which allows me to stay connected and feel in touch with what is going on, no matter how busy I am. I catch up on tweets through my phone whenever I have a few minutes. With messages never longer than 140 characters that’s not a big deal. When I find something of interest, a resource or tool I want to explore further, I email it to myself (I don’t like reading longer articles on my phone, my eyes aren’t that great anymore…). On my computer I can easily bookmark it and share it with others who might not be on Twitter yet. I am also never behind in sharing on Twitter what I am reading or discovering. Writing 140 characters take just a moment - that is what makes Twitter so great.

Nevertheless, I hope to do a better job in blogging next year and would love to hear your advice. What helps you in posting regularly? Any tips and tricks you can share are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Children's Literature from/about Ghana

I recently shared on Twitter, that Golden Baobab has invited me to be one of their judges for the junior category of this year’s Golden Baobab Prize. This literary award, which was established in 2008, aims at promoting and inspiring the writing of African children’s literature. The organization’s stated dream is “in ten years to see bookstores all over the world overflowing with beautifully written and illustrated African books for children and young adults”. It’s an amazing experience to be part of their judging team and I feel honored to be working alongside Brenda Randolph and Meshack Asare for such a worthy cause.

In this context, one of my Twitter friends, ACob, a PYP and MYP teacher librarian, asked me for suggestions of African children’s literature. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of my (and my students’) favorite titles through my blog (which I have badly neglected for far too long). This is just a selection, with mainly titles from and about Ghana for elementary students. Let me know, if you are interested in more. If you have a favorite title why not share it in a comment to this post. Thanks!

Some great fiction titles:

Picture books

Asare, Meshack. Tawia goes to sea. Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2007.

Daly, Niki. Pretty Salma : a Little Red Riding Hood story from Africa. New York: Clarion Books, 2007.

Milway, Katie S. One hen : how one small loan made a big difference. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.

Chapter books:

Asare, Meshack. The cross drums. Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2008.

Jarman, Julia. The magic backpack. New York: Crabtree Pub., 2004.

Johnson, Anthony K. Bamboo girl. Oxford: Macmillan Education, 2004.

Mussi, Sarah. The door of no return. London: Holder's Children's Books, 2007.

Some great folktales:

Aardema, Verna. Anansi does the impossible! : an Ashanti tale. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2000.

Asare, Meshack. Kwajo and the brassman's secret : a tale of old Ashanti wisdom and gold. Legon, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2002.

Badoe, Adwoa, and Baba W. Diakite. The pot of wisdom : Ananse stories. Accra: EPP Books Services, 2005.

Gregorowski, Christopher, and Niki Daly. Fly, eagle, fly! : a Ghanaian fable. Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2007.

Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the moss-covered rock. New York: Holiday House, 1988.

Musgrove, Margaret. The spider weaver : a legend of Kente cloth. New York: Blue Sky Press, 2001.

Souhami, Jessica. The leopard's drum : an Asante tale from West Africa. Accra: EPP Books Services, 2005.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock.

Some great nonfiction titles:

Ahiagble, Gilbert B., and Louise Meyer. Master weaver from Ghana. Seattle, Wash.: Open Hand Publishing, 1998.

Angelou, Maya. Kofi and his magic. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1996.

Blauer, Ettagale, and Jason Lauré. Ghana. New York: Children's Press, 2010.

Currie-McGhee, L K. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah : champion for Ghana's disabled. Detroit, MI: KidHaven Press, 2007.

Knowles, Kathy. A is for ampe : an alphabet book from Ghana. Winnipeg: Osu Children's Library Fund, 2006. (There are many other great titles by Kathy Knowles, e.g. The Yellow Book, One Little Crab, Otu Goes To Sea.)

Larson, Lyn. Ghana. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2011.

Onyefulu, Ifeoma. Deron goes to nursery school. London: Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2010.

Onyefulu, Ifeoma. Welcome Dede! : An African naming ceremony. London: Frances Lincoln, 2005.

Provencal, Francis, and Catherine McNamara. Nii Kwei's day : from dawn to dusk in a Ghanaian city. London: Frances Lincoln, 2003.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Book-A-Day Challenge - Part 2

Tomorrow school re-opens and while I am looking forward to be back in the library, seeing students and colleagues, I am sad that reading will again have to take second (or third, fourth...?) place. After a long working day, getting dinner ready, spending some time with my family, reading is usually pushed and limited to the last moments of a long day. However, having participated in Donalyn Miller's Book-a-Day challenge during the break, helped me to enjoy some wonderful reading time. While I haven't been as successful as she and other Twitter friends, I am excited to look back on 18 titles - even more that there was hardly any disappointment in the selection of the books I had picked. Inspired by the experience as well as reading through Donalyn's last blog post, I am considering to join The Centurions of 2011 - a group on Facebook, aiming at reading 111 books during the year 2011, to have a new reading challenge to work on and enjoy. Maybe you feel like joining too?

Here the list of books I read during the December break - in the order of reading (find above on my Shelfari shelf my reviews):

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

Born to Fly by Michael Ferrari

Secrets of a Lab Rat: No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay) by Trudi Trueit

Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Sunny Side Up by Marion Roberts

Chang and the Bamboo Flute by Elizabeth Starr Hill

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes

Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

Swindle by Gordan Korman

The Seer of Shadows by Avi

Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder

Northward to the Moon by Polly Horvath

Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus by Kristen Tracy

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

Best Foot Forward by Joan Bauer