Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Librarian of Basra

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq

This week fifth graders heard The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter. First I presented a Keynote with some actual pictures of the Central Library of Basra which was destroyed during the invasion of Iraq in April of 2003. Then, using Google Earth we started at our own school library and traveled to Basra, Iraq. The difference between our locations was sobering.

This interesting picture book tells the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker who saved over 70% of the books in the Central Library of Iraq by removing them night after night in her car and hiding them in her house and the houses of friends. Even though the library was destroyed by bombs, Alia managed to save over 30,000 books.

Books "are more precious than mountains of gold" says Alia, and the message of this book is both the great importance of books in our lives and the terrible effects of war on everyone. A portion of the book's sales will go toward helping rebuild Basra's library and if you are interested in helping this worthy effort you can do so by contributing to a fund administered by the American Library Association. Make checks payable to ALA with "Basra Book Fund" on the memo line, and send them to International Relations Office, ALA, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. (For more information, contact the ALA's International Relations Department at 1-800-545-2433 x 3201.)

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--What happens when you forget to wear green on St. Patrick's Day? Jeremy Bean finds out in Alice Schertle's delightful book Jeremy Bean's St. Patrick's Day. Even though Jeremy plans to wear his green sweater on the morning of March 17, it ends up in a lump in his bed and when it's too late to go back for it he has to endure the taunts of his schoolmates. Fortunately Mr. Dudley, the kind principal (who has an uncanny similarity to our own principal, Dr. McCabe) helps Jeremy by sharing some of his own green.

First Grade--Jack, the cat, would love to make an omelette for dinner so he decides to build The Perfect Nest. But when first a chicken (who speaks Spanish), and then a duck (who speaks French) and then a goose (who speaks...well, American) all vie for the nest and lay their eggs, Jack has a problem. He gets rid of the birds but not soon enough and all three eggs hatch, dashing his hopes of an omelette or two or three, but giving him three new friends instead. This charming book
by Catherine Friend and John Manders has delightful full page illustrations and it was a big hit with first graders.

Second Grade--We played "Name That Book" this week and second graders got very good at figuring out the characteristics of reference books in our library. Using a Keynote, we play the game by identifying books after clues are shown on the screen. After the game, each child was given a real life "research scenario" and they had to tell in which book he or she would find the answer. The books were the encyclopedia, the thesaurus, the dictionary, the atlas and the almanac.

Third Grade--What's great about our state? Third graders learned how to use a U.S. Atlas this week to find out interesting facts about our state. After learning how the atlas was organized, students filled out a questionnaire about our state including our nickname, our motto, our total population, our area in square miles, and other interesting facts. Two students had so much fun doing this they filled out questionnaires about other states as well!

Fourth Grade--This week we started a multi-session unit on American Tall Tales. After viewing a Keynote about the characteristics of a tall tale, I showed the two tall tales that were composed by last year's fourth grade classes. These were done by the students using Keynote complete with illustrations and music. This year, students are going to make actual hardbound books using iPhoto and the books will be cataloged and put in our library for students to check out! We watched a video of one of my favorite tall tales, Swamp Angel by
Anne Isaacs, and illustrated in an award winning way by Paul O. Zelinsky. In future weeks were are going to read more tall tales and after Spring Break we'll start our books.

Fifth Grade--see opening post.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders continued their research for their blog posting about civil rights leaders. Next week, we'll begin composing our blog posts.

Stay tuned next week for the results of our voting for the California Young Readers Medal.....


fbcjohn said...

I love the idea of using Google Earth to switch from your location to the library in Bosza.

Great book :)

Anonymous said...

As a new librarian, I love your blog and borrow some of your ideas. Thanks for creating such inspiration! One question, what is a Keynote?

janet pedersen said...

Thanks for your kind words. To answer your question...a Keynote is like a PowerPoint presentation. It's an Apple program and is wonderful. Very elegant. Easy to use. I've been using it instead of PowerPoint for several years. You can import PowerPoint presentations into it if you need to. As you can see, I like it!