Happy New Year! Last week we celebrated our return to school with the announcement of our new cohort of Year 2 Junior Librarians, all of whom have already been heavily involved the running of our library.
This week, Annie from 2AM, shares with us some of her favourite books. She kindly donated a beautifully written and illustrated story about the power and longevity of friendship, ‘The Girls’ by Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie. It is a text that is unfamiliar to me – so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read a new author and discover another talented illustrator! I strongly support Annie’s choice of book – the all-encompassing message it brings about the importance of friendship deeply resonates with our Grimsdell ethos.
Annie’s explanation for her choice:
“This is one of my favourite stories because it shows the importance and power of friendship.”
This book flew off the shelf as soon as it appeared! The beautiful illustrations (which resulted in the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prise Illustrated Book of the Year in 2019) convey the close and enduring friendship of four friends. The story celebrates difference and individuality in a friendship that last a lifetime. The story follows four friends from childhood into adulthood. As different as they are the same, each girl takes her individual path whilst always staying part of the others’ lives, wherever their journey takes them.
Annie also recommends some other titles, which I felt I should also share with you. She has an eclectic taste – reading a variety of genres really helps to embed a genuine love of reading. Her other choices include:
‘The Gruffle’ – a series of stories which Annie’s mummy really enjoyed when she was young and has since shared with Annie.
‘Love Is My Favourite Thing’ by Emma Chichester Clark. The story’s main character is a dog whose joy, optimism and love knows no bounds. This lively picture book is based on the author’s own dog and joyfully celebrates unconditional love.
Annie particularly likes this story as the dog reminds her of her own dog, Rex!
Annie’s final choice is by the renowned author, Julia Donaldson: ‘Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book.’
Charlie Cook has a favourite book. It’s about a pirate, who also has a favourite book . . . about Goldilocks, who also has a favourite book . . . about a knight, who also has a favourite book. . . . This hilarious pattern continues throughout the story, right to the surprising conclusion. Told in rollicking rhyme, this tale is sure to please the read-aloud crowd.
Annie’s reason for her choice: “I like all the different stories that are in this book and how they link to each other. I really enjoy the rhyming text.”
Mrs Harvey would also support Annie’s choice of this lesser known Julia Donaldson story. It encourages children to link their own knowledge of traditional tales to those depicted in the story.
Julia Donaldson books are a regular favourite amongst the Grimsdell children, who are drawn in by not only her story lines but the rhyming style of the text. The repetitive and rhyming style of the text has many benefits to literacy development. The repetition of a phrase/phrases encourages participation and engages children’s minds. It also encourages them to make predictions by successfully anticipating the next word or sentence. In addition, repetition is a powerful force in fiction – it encourages us to explore the author’s intent: repetition can emphasise setting, highlight a character trait or draw attention to a seemingly minor detail.
I have already written in previous newsletters about the importance of rhyme in early literacy development and its crucial role in helping children to read. Rhyming teaches children how language works; helping them notice and work with the sounds within words and to experience the rhythm of language. As they recite rhymes, they learn to speak with animated voices – this is the precursor to reading with expression. When children are familiar with a rhyming book or nursery rhyme, they learn to anticipate the rhyming word. This prepares them to make predictions when they read, another important reading skill.
Mrs Harvey and Annie