Books of the Week
Joshua from 2JB, has selected a non-fiction book – Food Like Mine by Carrie Love.
Joshua’s reason for his choice:
“I like to try different foods from all over the world. My favourite is Greek Salad and Tacos. What’s yours?”
Mrs Harvey would support Joshua’s choice. Food Like Mine offers recipes from around the globe and teaches children about the varying ingredients. It is a touching celebration of children from all over the world and the food they eat.
Featuring more than 20 easy-to-follow recipes and beautiful photography throughout, Food Like Mine is part of DK’s ground-breaking series on children of the world and features children from Botswana to the USA. Perfect for children in key stage 1 & 2, this book explores staple ingredients, see where they’re eaten and discover how they’re grown. The reader can then use these staples in more than 20 delicious, international dishes to make at home.
Non-fiction is such an integral part of every child’s reading repertoire. Even if you can’t remember back to when you were 3 or 4, you may have experienced (perhaps with tinge of exasperation) a small child asking you, “But why? Why is it like that? Why does it do that?”
We start out life immensely hungry for understanding. We want to work out how things work; we’re full of questions and insatiably curious about the world. When we discover an answer to our questioning, the world seems to make a little more sense and we feel braver and bolder than before. To be curious is not only natural, but it also helps us lead rich and wonderful lives. This is why I’m a passionate advocate for doing whatever possible to enable children and young people to keep asking “Why?” Non-fiction books are my tools of choice for this; once opened, not only do they feed enthusiasm, foster wonder and put wind beneath wings, they enable readers by delivering knowledge and feeding passion.
Like me, you probably want your child to fall in love with books – perhaps because you know that all the research points to frequent readers being more successful in life, or perhaps simply because you know how enjoyable reading is and want others to experience that warmth, delight and pleasure. In order to fall in love with reading, children have to find books they love. Making their own choices about what they read is an important aspect of this.
Our second book of the week forms part of our Year 2 Reading for Pleasure initiative and has been chosen by Francesca, from 2SD. Not That Pet! is written by Smriti Halls and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw.
Francesca tells us:
“I know that lots of children will enjoy this story, as who doesn’t want to have a pet? The pets in this book are VERY unusual!”
Mrs Harvey endorses Francesca’s choice. This is a really humorous text which fully engages the reader.
Mabel and her family are getting a pet! There’s no time to lose BUT which kind of animal should they choose? Given free rein over the family’s choice of pet, Mabel selects an elephant! At first, all is well as Mabel enjoys the best elephantine hugs, rides and down-the-trunk slides. However, after an elephant sits on Mabel’s mummy, the verdict is clear: “NOT THAT PET!”
A succession of failed pets follows—ants, a skunk, a snake, worms, and several more—each wreaking their own unique brand of havoc. Wising up, Mabel assesses the traits that would make for a good pet and makes an unexpected yet clearly perfect choice. With its bouncy, rhyming text and cheeky humour, this playful ode to animal companions makes for a delightful read-aloud. Mabel shows compassion and resilience as she makes attempt after attempt to find a pet that will be beloved by her entire multigenerational family. The relationship between Mabel and her doting little brother who trails her everywhere is charming.
From a literacy perspective, 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.