Christian the lion

christianThis week, Grade 1-5 students have recounted the true story of Christian the lion from the book by Ace Bourke and John Rendall. This book created a lot of discussion in classes about the ethics of releasing tame animals into the wild and other animal rights topics. We also learned about the work of George Adamson and the book and film, Born Free.

We then watched the video on youtube which made the story so popular, and you can watch it here:


Classic Corduroy

corduroyThis week, ELC students have read the timeless story of Corduroy by Don Freeman. We’ll be reading several Don Freeman stories over the next few weeks.

We loved it how Lisa liked Corduroy just the way he was, but she sewed on his button to make him feel more comfortable.

Learning about Dr. Jane Goodall

the watcherThis past week Grade 1-5 library classes have learned about the life of Dr. Jane Goodall. The Watcher by Jeanette Winter is a very simplified version of Dr Goodall’s life, but gave us much to discuss about what distinguishes humans from animals, animal intelligence and emotion, and the importance of preserving natural habitat for wild animals.

We learned about her famous chimp greeting by watching this video:

And some classes learned a bit more about her work from this 60 minutes documentary:

Little dog lost

little dog lostThis past week, ELC classes have read a delightful true story from Poland. Little dog lost, by Monica Carnesi, tells the story of a dog that was rescued from an ice flow in January 2010. We discussed how the dog was feeling and appreciated that the crew of the ship that rescued him showed empathy toward another creature.

Thanks to the generous people at we can read this fascinating book online:

Username: bifslibrary

Password: read

Fascinating non-fiction!

owen and mzeeThis past week, most grade 1-5 classes have looked at a series of very interesting non-fiction books written by the Hatkoff family. These stories captured our attention and showed some really amazing true stories:

winterOwen & Mzee : the true story of a remarkable friendship, Owen & Mzee : the language of friendship, Leo the snow leopard : the true story of an amazing rescue, Knut : how one little polar bear captivated the world, Looking for Miza : the true story of the mountain gorilla family who rescued one of their own, Winter’s tail : how one little dolphin learned to swim again.
We also enjoyed watching some more of the excellent BBC Super Smart Animals show, and you can watch part two here:

“Slowly, slowly, slowly,” said the Sloth

slothThis past week, most ELC classes have looked at several Eric Carle books and then read his book, “Slowly, slowly, slowly,” said the Sloth. We learned a lot about sloths, many other less-known animals, and also several new words from this clever book. We learned about appreciation of differences and how some animals move fast and some move slowly!

We also watched a video clip about sloths and you can watch it here:

16 years in 16 seconds!

sammyThis past week, Grade 4 & 5 have read another fascinating biography, this time about diving legend Dr Sammy Lee. Sixteen years in sixteen seconds by Paula Yoo and Dom Lee tells how Dr Lee grew up in California, at a time when non-white people could only use the public swimming pool one day a week. But Sammy Lee, son of Korean immigrants, wanted to become a Olympic diver, so he had to practice in a sand pit in his coach’s back yard!

Despite discrimination and unbelievable challenges he fulfilled his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and he also became a medical doctor. You can watch a documentary about his life here: