Conservative estimate of my time still available to me: 3 hours a day. That's A LOT of time, yet somehow I feel like I have no time.
Which is a shame, because I have all these great ideas that I want to share with you.
This semester I am taking a class that is going to Bologna, Italy for the Children's International Book Fair (where rights to books get bought and sold.) The Fair at Bologna is kind of a big deal--it's where Scholastic bought the rights to print and distribute Harry Potter. As prep for the trip we are reading books that were originally published outside of the United States. I am a lover of picture books and can spot an international picture book from 50 paces--the art and narrative sensibility are different than American published books (and, confession: I love the slightly off-kilter feeling of reading a book from elsewhere). So far I am halfway through the reading list, and I cannot pick a favorite. The trouble with being a bibliophile is that the books I dislike are few and far between.
Here are is what I have read so far and how I think you could use them in your classroom or in the library!
The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Oliver Tallec, Enchanted Lion, 2013. France.
Eight year old Ronnie is off to spend a week in the country with his grandparents and older cousins while his parents move house. It's his first vacation without mom and he is nervous as all get-out. He is worried his cousins will pick on him like his older brother, he is slightly afraid of Grandpa, and to top it all off he is expected to jump off the high-dive like every eight year old in his family has done before him. To make matters worse, he has to wear his older brothers' swimsuit, "which is way too big for me. Suddenly the swimming pool was transformed into my worst nightmare. I had to hold on to my suit the entire time because everyone kept trying to pull it off."
The book is told through Ronnie's voice, interspersed with a letter he is writing home to his mother. Over the course of seven days Ronnie bonds with his cousins, gets over his fear of Grandpa, and loses a tooth.
The pencil and watercolor illustrations are child-like which allows the reader to further step into Ronnie's world.