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Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.
People to meet and things to do when stuck inside
I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a feeling I’m not alone. My cabin fever is getting worse the longer I’m staying home. The only thing keeping me sane is a pile of books that stimulate lots of ideas and inspire various activities.
I’ve just gone through some recent books for kids and thought I’d share a few thoughts about how books can encourage creativity and help build a sense of community, right there at home.
It’s impossible to go on exotic trips these days, but kids can still write letters. Maisy the mouse and her friends go on vacation and write each other about what they see in the cleverly designed book Letters from Maisy by Lucy Cousins (Candlewick). The letters are presented in envelopes that actually open up in the pages of the book. Letters can be about real or imagined trips or people — and real or imagined people can be the recipients. Letters can be illustrated or decorated, and can even be created just with pictures and no words.
I Love Us! A Book About Family (HMH) shows a range of families doing everyday things. Who’s in your family? What does your family enjoy doing together? Write or draw about your family in a letter to give to someone in your home. It may be possible to mail it, too.
Want to take a trip right from your living room? From Oman to Antarctica, we have One World Many Colors (Words & Pictures). Explore colors from around the globe in richly-hued ill, lyrical text, and just a bit of information about where in the world you’re visiting on each double-page spread.
It’s even possible to meet “84 kids from around the globe” in This Is My World (Lonely Planet Kids) though photographs and brief text. Find out what kids from around the world eat, what they like to do, who is in their families — without leaving your own home. What do all kids have in common? Who would you most like to visit? Find out how you would get there! What else you’d like to see in that country? Write a letter to one of the kids or make up a story about your friendship. Let your imagination soar!
You can write poems to share and act out. Poems Aloud by Joseph Coelho and Daniel Gray-Barnett (Wide-Eyed Editions) presents a wonderful collection of poems that are intended to be performed — with a suggestions to do just that.
Remember, even if we’re stuck inside, imaginations are not limited and neither is the ability to explore. So, read, discover, engage!
Note: If the doors to your public library are closed, try borrowing digital books online (all you need is your library card) or browse the free and low-cost audiobook and ebook services. Look here for sources >