Rikki Tikki Tavi

rikkiDuring this last week of the school year, Elementary library classes read Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling. This version is retold and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. This story is so exciting and we understand now why Rudyard Kipling is famous for his Jungle Book stories.

We also watched a Mongoose and Cobra on this National Geographic video clip:


Pale Male

pale maleThis week grade 1-4 students learned about a hawk that lives in New York City. Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City written by Janet Schulman and illustrated by Meilo So, is the astonishing true story of a red tailed hawk that has lived in New York since 1991. We learned how, when his nest was torn down, many people protested and since then his home on a building on Fifth Avenue has been undisturbed.

We then watched the trailer of the documentary made about his life so far and you can watch it here:

You can also keep up to date with what is happening in his nest from this site, palemale.com.

Mercedes and the chocolate pilot

mercedesThis week Grade 1-5 library classes have read the intriguing true story of Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot: a true story of the Berlin airlift and the candy that dropped from the sky by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.

This story is not only about the history of the end of WWII and the start of the Cold War in Europe, but also a story of hope and dreams achieved. This book is an excellent example of visualising using our sense of smell! We even learned what an ‘epilogue’ is.

To find out more about the remarkable Gail Halvorsen and the Berlin Airlift we watched this video clip:

Correction required about the origin of the use of the name ‘Mercedes’ by the Mercedes-Benz company. You can read more about Mercedes Jellinek here.

Ten little caterpillars

10This week ELC library classes read Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. We learned what a ‘bower’ is (and that it rhymes with ‘flower’), and were amazed at how many different types of caterpillars there are and how they change into different types of butterflies and moths.

We then watched this delightful video clip of a butterfly life cycle:

Making our own (some very long) paper-chain caterpillars using these ideas proved to be quite creative!

Beatrice’s Dream

beatriceThis week the book Grades 1-5 read was set in Kenya. Beatrice’s Dream: A story of Kibera slum by Karen Lynn Williams is a powerful reminder of how privileged we are. We learned a little bit about life in a slum and how difficult it is for children who live there.

We were also really impressed with the work of Kennedy Odede & Jessica Posner who set up a school for girls in Kibera. We are inspired by their work and the enthusiasm that the girls show when singing this song is contagious!

We talked about the difficulties faced by people living in poverty and how some have come up with creative solutions to improve their quality of life. A Liter of Light project is a perfect example:


biblioburroDue to popular demand, we read another biography this week! Many of our students love true stories about remarkable people and this short week many of our classes read Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter. This inspiring true story from Colombia shows how each of us can make a difference in our part of the world.

We really enjoy the simplicity of Jeanette Winter’s stories and how they encourage us to find out more about the topic. To learn more about Luis Soriano’s work, we watched this video:

If the world were a village

world villageThis past week Grade 1-5 classes have watched the animated version of the story If the World were a Village by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong. We found the DVD version entertaining and easier to understand. It is difficult to imagine 7 billion people on the planet and we really liked the way the animated version helped us to understand world statistics by reducing the population to 100 people. We learned about world languages, religions, schooling and resources such as food, water and electricity. Learning about this helped us to appreciate what we have.

Here’s a short clip of the 20 minute animated story: