Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: Ways of Seeing: Impossible Possibilities: “The Fascinating World of Escher—Art and Illusion” April Fools!


Ways of Seeing: Impossible Possibilities:
“The Fascinating World of Escher—Art and Illusion”

Kindergarten through 5th grade.

“Get a head start on April Fool’s Day. Explore ways your eyes can be fooled using optical illusions, distortions in perspective and the artwork of M.C. Escher. Then we will make and play with kaleidoscopes, thaumatropes, and other optical illusion toys and create some illusory art of our own.”

· Open by showing kids pictures from assorted Escher “coffee table” books, talk about the artist.

· View “Trompe l’oil” segment from Reading Rainbow: Opt, An Illusionary Tale.and/or read Palazzo Inverso by D.B. Johnson, or Imagine a Place, Imagine a Day, or Imagine a Night -- all by Sarah L. Thomson and Rob Gonsalves. 

· Have half the tables with stations: assorted optical illusion toys from 101 Science Tricks by Richard Roy and 101 Science Surprises by Richard Roy (both J507.8 RIC), Look-alikes (Picture Book Steiner), Magic Eye books, Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks (J152.148 WIC).

· Other tables are art tables for “impossible pictures” – stairs that go nowhere, etc. (Supplies: 11x17” paper, pencils, markers, construction paper, glue sticks)

· Resources: Do you see what I see? : the art of illusion -- Angela Wenzel (Adventures in Art Series),, Escher books


Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “All the World’s A Stage with Julie Taymor Theatrical Masks and Puppets” Women’s History Month

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids:

“All the World’s A Stage with Julie Taymor Theatrical Masks and Puppets” Women’s History Month

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Come see how Julie Taymor (director of The Lion King on Broadway)
uses masks and puppets in her productions
and see what spectacular masks and puppets we can create. 
We’re only limited by our imaginations!”

· Open by having kids browse books: A Day at the New Amsterdam Theatre (J792.09747 AME), Lion King – Pride Rock on Broadway (A782.14 TAY), Artists at Work (J700.922 BUR), African Masks: Can you Spot the Leopard? (Adventures in Art) (J731.75 STE), Playing with Fire (J792.0233 BLU), Masks Tell Stories (J391.434 GEL), & others mask books. Ask who’s seen The Lion King on Broadway.

· View video Behind the Scenes with Julie Taymor (& show her books)

· Create masks and puppets (supplies: die-cut masks, construction paper, glue & scissors, paper fasteners, chopsticks & tape, feathers, glitter, sequins, etc.)

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “Dragons and Dreams – The Amazing Art of Ancient China”

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “Dragons and Dreams – The Amazing Art of Ancient China”

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Help us celebrate the Year of the … as we hear tales from ancient China and then make our own Chinese Paper Scroll Calligraphy Painting.”

· Read this year’s sign from Animals in the Stars: Chinese Astrology for Children (J133.5 CRA), The Animals of the Chinese Zodiac (J133.5 WHI) (alternates: Cat and Rat (J133.5 YOU) and/or The Paper Dragon (Davol))

· Show Reading Rainbow video/DVD Liang and the Magic Paintbrush (or read book by Demi)

· Photocopy signs from Chinese Calligraphy (745.619551 QU) pp. 6, 56, 71,114-120

· Make paper scroll paintings (Supplies: paper, brushes, black paint—kids got excited about calligraphy – ended up painting characters rather than figurative painting, so we didn’t use colored paint.)

Another possible book: Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look.

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: A Trip to “Uncle Andy’s”

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: A Trip to “Uncle Andy’s”
Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Get the New Year off to a rollicking start as we discover the faabbbulous art of Andy Warhol and let loose our own creative juices on everyday objects to create some Pop Art of our own.”
· Open by having kids browse through Andy Warhol art books

· Read aloud: Uncle Andy’s (J759.13 WAR) & Andy Warhol (J759.13VEN)

· Discuss art ideas—Resources: Andy Warhol : Pop Art Painter (J759.13 WAR) Pop Artists (759.13 MAS), Andy Warhol: Paintings for Children (WGL J709.2 WAR), & others – compare covers

· Create paintings based on newspaper food ads, Pop Art (J709.04 BOL) p. 10ff., iconic figures (Elmo, etc.), animals or self-portraits with unusual colors, blotted line drawings (paint then place another piece of paper to make an impression). (Supplies: paper, paint, brushes, water cups, tablecloths & smocks, food ads, video covers, etc.)

· Play music: Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Symphonies (J734 PERL) in tribute to Warhol’s wig!
· Addl. Resource (next time): Make It Pop!: Activities and Adventures in Pop Art by Joyce Raimondo

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “Eric Carle: Picture Writer”

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “Eric Carle: Picture Writer”

Kindergarten through 5th grade. 
“Help us celebrate Children’s Book Week by exploring the work
of acclaimed author/illustrator Eric Carle.
We’ll take a virtual visit into his studio and then create our own brilliant tissue paper collages.”

· Open by having kids browse through assorted Eric Carle books

· Show first 10-12 minutes of video Eric Carle: Picture Writer where he shows how he makes his tissue papers, creates his collage illustrations, and where he gets his ideas…

· Create multimedia collages (Supplies: 11x17 paper, interesting papers, scissors, glue sticks, markers)

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: Dreams, Fantasies, and Memories: The Amazing Art of Marc Chagall

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: Dreams, Fantasies, and Memories:
The Amazing Art of Marc Chagall

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Come explore the life and works of this whimsical artist,
then create your own multimedia fantasies.”

· Show pictures of Marc Chagall paintings in various books, notice common elements (e.g. the fiddler on the roof).

· Read aloud: I am Marc Chagall (J759.7 LAN)

· Resources: Dreamer from the Village (J759.7 MAR) Chagall: My Sad & Joyous Village (J759.7 LOU), Who is the artist? [videocassette] : Chagall, Klee, Magritte, books with large prints of his paintings.

· Create multimedia collage paintings in the style of I am Marc Chagall (supplies: 11x17 paper, scissors, glue sticks, glue, fabric scraps, cardboard, markers, ribbon etc.)


Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “Frozen in Time: Exploring Prehistoric Art”

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids: “Frozen in Time: Exploring Prehistoric Art”

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Join us as we travel back in time 32,000 years to see
some of the earliest examples of art ever created!
Then help us create our very own cave paintings.”

· Open with atmospheric music (and play this while kids cave painting): Dream Catcher by Kevin Locke (616 LOCK) or other Native American instrumentals. 
Kids browse:  Mystery of the Lascaux Cave (J709.01 PAT), Dawn of Art (A759.0112 CHA), Prehistoric Art ( J709.01 HOD) plus the ones below, The Mud Family (Picture Book James)

· Read aloud: First Painter (Picture book Lasky) atmospheric imagining of a young girl cave painter trying to bring rain to her people.

· Show pictures from Painters of the Caves (J759.01 LAU) Point out how difficult the caves would be to spot on cliffs under overhanging vegetation – so that new caves with paintings are still being discovered (the most recent in 1994). Mention that the first cave paintings were discovered around 130 years ago by an eight year old Maria De Sautuola (JBiog Sautola).

· Read aloud: Quennu & the Cave Bear (Picture Book Day)  (2016, planned to substitute The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux by Emily Arnold McCully J709.01 MCC, but kids eager to start art – next time start with this book)

· Hang brown Kraft paper on the walls (we used a dim stage area) and have kids use chalk, crayons, &/or pastels to create “cave paintings.” (I found the chalk pastels at Michaels -- $4.99 for a pkg.of 48 – worked great but are somewhat messy – left a chalk residue on carpet when kids were coloring enthusiastically!)  Also cut out brown paper “bison hides” for who wanted to color individually (offered both chalk pastels & markers for this.) Resource: Animal Magic My Art Book (DK) (J745.5 MY) p.6-11

9.06, 6.16 

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Fractured Perspective – The Cubist Vision of Pablo Picasso”

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Fractured Perspective – The Cubist Vision of Pablo Picasso”

 Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Ever draw a picture and think about what it would look like if you cut it up and rearranged the pieces? Pablo Picasso did. We’ll hear his story, then create our own modern masterpieces!”

· Show DVD The Dot  – great score & idea of creativity  - new way of seeing things

· Read Picasso & the Girl With the Ponytail (Picture Book Anholt)

· Read The Life and Work of Pablo Picasso (J759.6 BEN)

· Share some examples of Picasso’s cubist & collage paintings from some “coffee table” books

· Create “Fractured Friend” portraitdraw picture of a face (friend, family member –mom, “self-portrait”), color with markers & crayons, cut up with scissors, mount mixed-up pieces on larger piece of paper, add assorted collage items (e.g. paper shapes, foam pieces, buttons, feathers). (Supplies: 11x17 paper, 8 1/2x11 paper, markers, crayons, scissors, glue sticks) What’s the Big Idea (J709.04 RAI) pp.8-13 (Feeling Faces, Mix it Up.)

· Additional resources: The Usborne Art Treasury (J750.11 DIC) p. 20-23 (Clown collage), A day with Picasso -- Pfleger (J709.2 PFL) (Adventures in Art Series)

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Drawing with Scissors: Exploring the Art of Henri Matisse”

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Drawing with Scissors: Exploring the Art of Henri Matisse”

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Ever think of making a painting without a paintbrush?
Henri Matisse did. We’ll hear his story, then see what we can design using just a pair of scissors!”

· As children arrive, share pictures from Famous Artists: Matisse (J759.4 MAS) & other of his art books.

· Open with discussion of previous months – helping them remember artists we had already explored.

· Read  Matisse's Garden by Samantha Friedman (J759.4 FRI) Love this!! -- this book produced in conjunction with the 2014 MOMA exhibition combines cut paper illustrations with gate-fold illustrations of 8 of Matisse's works.  (other possibilities: Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter (JB Matisse), Matisse: The King of Color J759.4 ANH,  When Pigasso met Mootisse (Picture Book Laden)Colorful Dreamer: the Story of Artist Henri Matisse by Marjorie Blain Parker (759.4 MAT) Best for age 7+, The Iridescence of Birds (JB Matisse) More a mood piece than an informative biography, illustrations got a lot of buzz for Caldecott. 

  Share Oooh! Matisse by Mil Niepold (759.4 NIE) Great cut-out guessing game.

· Share  a Power Point of some of his cut outs -- very effective seeing his works at full scale or share some pages of Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors (J759.4 OCO) & Meet Matisse (J709.24 MUN).

· Create collages in the style of Matisse –Supplies: 11x17” paper, scissors, construction paper, glue sticks. (could also use handprints)  (2015: created card versions instead - for Valentine's Day)

· Addl. resources: Appelmondo's Dreams (Picture Book Polacco), The Usborne Art Treasury (J750.11 DIC) p. 40-43 What’s the Big Idea (J709.04 RAI) pp. 20-25. (Powerpoint for Matisse.)

2.2015  Matisse at MOMA: Valentine's Day Craft (ages 4-10) Learn about this artist and make Valentine's Day cards for your family and friends inspired by his wonderful collages.  (would do ages 5-10 next time)

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Flowers & Bones & Sky: Exploring the Art of Georgia O’Keeffe” Women’s History Month

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Flowers & Bones & Sky: Exploring the Art of Georgia O’Keeffe” Women’s History Month

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“We’ll celebrate Women’s History Month with a look at this amazing artist,
 then create our own paintings emulating her bold use of color and shape.
(We will be using paint so please dress appropriately.)”

· As kids are arriving, let them look through the pictures in Georgia O’Keeffe by Ruth Thomson (JB O’Keeffe) other O'Keeffe juvenile biographies and  Georgia O’Keefe art books

· Read Through Georia's Eyes by Rachel Rodriguez or My Name is Georgia by Jeanette Winter (JB O’Keeffe) or Georgia O’Keeffe by Linda Lowery (JB O’Keeffe)  and/or  Georgia O’Keeffe by Mike Venezia (759.13 VEN).
Optional: Share "Have I told you you are creative? ... -- Georgia O'Keeffe page from Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama.
Discussion questions: What’s the Big Idea? (J709.04 RAI) pp. 32-37.

· Encourage kids to do big close-ups in the style of O’Keefe. (Supplies: artificial flowers and skulls & bones (available from the Environmental Education Center – contact Kathy 908 766-2489 x324), cardboard “frames” to look through, garden magazines, 11x17” paper, pencils, tempra paints, paintbrushes, water cups, paper towels.)

Music playing while painting: Charlie Daniels' By the Light of the Moon: Campfire Songs & Cowboy Tunes. (Alt. Riders in the Sky by Saddle Pals)

· Addl. Resources: Through Georgia’s Eyes (JB O’Keeffe),  Inspirations: Stories About Women Artists – J759.13 SIL, The Usborne Art Treasury (J750.11 DIC) p. 76-79 Petal Collage


School Age Storytime: Rainforest


K-3: Virtual Field Trip to the Rainforest -- Environmentally-based program incorporating fact-based imaginative fiction, stories and music plus a bilingual story set in Costa Rica, and the true story of a boy who struggled with stuttering and grew up to be a wildlife biologist and conservationist.
(This is a long program, I use different parts with different groups.)

Opened by asking – how can we go on a field trip with no buses outside?  -- through books & our own imaginations! 

Fernando’s Gift/El Regalo de Fernando -- 460 Kei  (this book set  is a wonderful bilingual fictionalized photo essay about a boy in Costa Rica who replants a tree near his home in the rain forest after a large tree is taken down -- great multicultural resource introduces both the value of the rain forest and a child's life in another country.   If not available, use  The Great Kapok Tree – Lynne Cherry Booktalk her Shaman’s Apprentice.)

Welcome to the Green House –  Jane Yolen (lyrical introduction to this environment -- if short for time, can just read the first couple of pages to "enter" this green house and point out the metaphor, Yolen also uses wonderful descriptive language “”the lunch of waking lizards” “the plunge of silver fish”.”a slide of coral snake through leaves” “a glide of butterflies through air”…)
Action: Rainstorm (see below) -- use when kids need a movement break

Book/song:  The Rainforest Grew all Around – Susan K. Mitchell (This variant on the echo & response song "The Green Grass Grew All Around" provides a wonderful complement to The Great Kapok Tree  (It also works very well alone) It depicts the life cycle from kapok seed to tree through many of the creatures who depend on that tree then full circle round to the seed pod that releases the seed for new growth. Discussed “circle of life” “eco-system” “conservation.”  Lots of additional information in the side panels -- including a great image depicting the size of a kapok tree relative to a 15 story building!  Booktalked: Verdi by Janell Cannon (A young python does not want to grow slow and boring like the older snakes in the jungle.)

Guessing Game Book: Looking Closely in the Rain Forest (578.734 SERAFINI) (picture windows reveal a small section of each rain forest animal and plant, turning the page reveals the whole along with fascinating facts about each one.)

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz  Based on a true story (Stuttering boy grows up to be a naturalist who helps set up a jaguar preserve in Belize – outstanding personal look at how it feels to have an isolating a disability and how his disability enabled his understanding of and empathy with animals.)  
Some classes/booktalk: Jaguar in the Rain Forest: A Just for a Day Book  – Joanne Ryder (child “morphs” into jaguar – great inspiration for a writing project, kids research animal but instead of regurgitating facts, they write a fiction story imagining what it would be like to be that animal.)
Movement interlude: Song/flannel/puppet: “Deep in the Jungle” by Joe Scruggs (from album of the same name)  (fun musical variant of the song about the croc-provoking monkeys) – no time 2016


Chameleon, Chameleon (597.966 COWLEY) (fabulous photos by Nic Bishop -- if you don't have time to show whole book, show the photo-spread of the chameleon's extended tongue!  -- and point out that if your tongue was the same length relative to your body, you could flick the nose of a child in the back row!)

Yikes! – Robert Florczak (everyone read together fluently with expression the words -- quick, wild, and funny conclusion celebrating the power of reading to transport you anywhere!)

Other possibilities:
Over in the Jungle – Marianne Collins Berkes (wonderful clay collage pictures illustrate this musical variation of "Over in the Meadow") – used with Kindergarten.
Where the Forest Meets the Sea – Jeannie Baker (thoughtful story of a young boy on a camping trip in an Australian rain forest imagines the creatures living there and the future when the rain forest might be gone.)
Selections from Looking for Jaguar and other Rainforest Poems – Susan Katz 811.54 (great poems celebrating the animals in the rainforest)

Create the Sounds of a Thunderstorm in the Classroom Submitted by Virginia in Idaho

When the entire class performs the actions in unison, the effect is the sound of a thunder and rain storm as it builds then dissipates. Create a thunderstorm.
The order is:
  1. rub your hands together
  2. snap your fingers
  3. clap your hands together in an irregular cadence
  4. slap your hands on your legs (at this time a student flicks a light switch on and off to represent lightning, while another beats a drum to symbolize thunder)
  5. stomp your feet
  6. slap your hands on your legs and stomp your feet (represents height of the storm)
  7. stomp your feet
  8. slap our hands on your legs
  9. clap your hands together in an irregular cadence
  10. snap your fingers
  11. rub your hands together
  12. open palms (quiet)

Have fun!
optional DVD: Reading Rainbow: The Salamander Room

5/12 Bedm
5/14 Bedm
5/15 Bedm: opened with "The Rainforest Grew All Around" (didn't do all the repetition), then shared "A Butterfly is Patient" because it had arrived too late for last week's storytime, pointed out long tongue illustration in "Chameleon, Chameleon," patience needed by animal researchers --> "A Boy and a Jaguar," (-->some classes: boy turns into a jaguar in "Jaguar in the Rain Forest"), action "rainstorm" and/or participation song/puppets "Deep in the Jungle..three little monkeys..."
5/16 Bedm  

5/18 Bedm  
Opened with sound of the rainstick – going on a field trip
Read: The Great Kapok Tree (Kdg) or Fernando’s Gift (1st & 2nd – since they already read Kapok)
Book/Song (lots of NF details/vocabulary/fact): The Rainforest Grew All Around (omitted some repetition with older classes)
Booktalked & showed some pages from: Chameleon, Chameleon (oh that tongue!), Verdi, The Boy & the Jaguar, and the poetry books
Read (1st & 2nd grades): Jaguar in the Rainforest – mentioned this is a way to take their animal research and make a story where a kid “morphs” into the animal
Guessing Game Book (K & 1st): Look Closely
No time for anything else – left books for teachers to share.

School Age Storytime: Houses Homes & Habitats

A program combining fiction & non-fiction, folk stories,
and reader’s theater.
Whose House Is This? -- A Look at Animal Homes -- Webs, Nests, and Shells -- 591.564 GREGOIRE (guessing game book & fun facts)
A Squash and a Squeeze – Julia Donaldson (folktale retelling of story about a complaining woman who, after she first brings in and then lets out 4 farm animals, discovers her little house isn't so crowded after all...)
Flannel/Song  -- "A Squirrel Lives in a Tree" (source unknown)  (Kdg. only)
Tune: The Farmer in the Dell”

A Squirrel Lives in the Tree (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)
A squirrel lives in a tree.  A squirrel lives in a tree
He’s as cozy as he can be -- A squirrel lives in a tree.
Continue with:
A snail lives in a shell…Oh, yes it suits him very well.
A bear lives in a cave…He comes out to give a wave.
A fish lives in the sea…We will all just let him be.
A bird lives in a nest…That’s where she goes to take a rest.

Flannel:  abridged version of Mr. Pine's Purple House – Leonard Kessler (stresses value of individuality) -- mentioned it was a childhood favorite, 2-color printing...lead in to:
Round Trip -- Ann Jonas (B&W printing deliberately chosen to enable the magical, reversible illustrations...compared with the work of artist M.C.Escher - here are some of his amazing pictures  and his official website : )

Moving House -- Mark Siegel  (fantasy about a house that gets up and moves to escape the fog (actually factory smog) that has engulfed the city, children's delight in seeing the real stars at last...lead in to...)Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust -- 551.511 SAYRE  (fascinating non-fiction) (omitted for Kdg.)

...and one more look under the bed
The Monster Bed -- Jeanne Willis (humorous story - role reversal - monster is frightened by the boy in his bedroom!)  (omitted for some groups - no time)

Additional possibilities (no time): Puppets/Reader's Theater "The 3 Little Pigs"; The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs - Scieszka; Falling for Rapunzel -- Wilcox; Blue Rabbit and Friends - Wormell; Book/Song/Flannel:  A House is a House for Me - Penner/Hoberman; My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me -- Maya Angelou; My House (Poems) -- Lisa Desimini; You and Me and Home Sweet Home -- Lyon (Habitat for Humanity House)
S.T.E.A.M. idea:

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Celebrating Black Artists” -- Faith Ringgold

“We’ll share Faith Ringgold’s book Tar Beach,
then create our own story-quilts.”
Kindergarten through 5th grade.

As kids arrive – let them browse books illustrated by Faith Ringgold

Read: Tar Beach (Picture Book Ringgold) (Also available as Reading Rainbow Video/DVD)   Share parts of Faith Ringgold (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series) by Mike Venizia (JBiog Ringgold)

Talk about dreams & imagination – what they would “fly over” if they could?

Create “Tar Beach” drawings surrounded by quilt squares made from 1”x1” papers cut from magazine pages (Supplies: 11x17 paper, markers, crayons, magazine squares, glue),

Play jazz music while children are making their pictures.

Resource: Inspirations: Stories About Women Artists (J759.13 SIL), Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House by Faith Ringgold, Harlem Renaissance Party by Faith Ringgold (Picture Book Ringgold), Faith Ringgold (Portraits of Women Artists for Children) by Robyn Montana Turner

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “Now You See It, Now You Don’t”

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“What is real and what is not? We’ll share Michael Garland’s book Dinner at Magritte’s and then explore the art of Surrealism.”

As children enter, have them browse books on Surrealism, Magritte, Dali, plus general art picture books & Greg Tang’s Math-terpieces: the Art of Problem-Solving (Picture Book Tang), Imagine a Day, Imagine a Night, Imagine a Place (all Picture Book Gonsalves)

· Read Changes (Picture Book Browne)

· Share nonsense/surreal poem: One fine day in the middle of the night / Two dead boys got up to fight / Back to back they faced each other / Drew their swords and shot each other / A deaf policeman heard the noise / Came up and shot those two dead boys / If you don’t believe this tale is true / Ask the blind man, he saw it too!

· Read Magritte’s Marvelous Hat (Picture Book Johnson)

· Read Dinner at Magritte’s (Picture Book Garland)

· Share pages from Now You See It—Now You Don’t: Rene Magritte (J759.9493 WEN) & The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Salvadore Dali (J759.6 WEN), The Art Book for Children v. 2 p.40 “Camembert clocks (J709 REN)

· Show pages 8-10, 14-17 from Imagine That! Activities and Adventures in Surrealism (J709.04 RAI) to inspire kids to create Surrealist collages using pictures cut from magazines and markers to create pictures in the style of Magritte & Dali (dream-scapes, things out of scale, day/night transposition, faces made of other things, melting clocks, etc.…) Supplies: 11 x 17 paper, markers, scissors, glue, magazines & wallpaper scraps

· Resource Book: Salvador Dali & the Surrealists (J759.6 ROS)

· Music playing while making pictures “Hey Picasso” album by Jessica Harper

School Age Storytime -- Flutterby Butterfly!

A celebration of individual differences, life-cycle, nature and change.
(Combines fiction and non-fiction, a sensitive look at disability and also provides an introduction to a fascinating Renaissance artist.)
School Age Storytime (Kdg-4th grade)

(Note: for Kdg, sometmes omit some titles and use some of the songs
from the Pre-School Storytime:
Bob and Otto – Nick Bruel (Kdg-2) - (Otto the worm is saddened when his friend Bob the caterpillar becomes a butterfly until Bob reassures him that his role in digging through the earth is critical in this story which beautifully combines earth science and the power of friendship.) Longer but equally beautiful story with similar theme: Bubba & Trixie – Lisa Campbell Ernst(An adventuresome ladybug with a damaged wing who cannot fly befriends an apprehensive caterpillar and helps him learn to enjoy life and be happy with what he is and what he becomes.)

A Butterfly is Patient 595.789 AST (wonderful book in the An Egg is Quiet and A Seed is Sleepy series).great info. – this middle-aged librarian learned a lot (e.g. the difference between a chrysalis and a cocoon - the latter is spun of silk, the former is a kind of exoskeleton formed from the caterpillar's skin; also that butterflies can fly a mile in 3 minutes (faster than a human can run).some classes are going to research speed of animals and graph this.)  Booktalked: Steve Jenkins'  book Just a Second; A Different Way to Look at Time  529 JEN. (omitted 2017, no time)

"Ultraviolet" (Butterfly Poem) from Butterfly Eyes & Other Secrets of the Meadow 811.54 SID (a "guess the answer" poem collection, also shared page on milkweed & butterflies - introduced vocabulary/science: toxin, predator, pollination, ultraviolet) omitted 2017, no time
Here's an article on why butterflies may have evolved UV vision:
and some UV pictures of flowers:

If at First You Do Not See - Ruth Brown (clever turn upside down book -- vegetation becomes faces...inspired by the works of the 16th c. Italian painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo

Showed book Hello Fruit Face 759.5 STR  -- kids will adore seeing his amazing paintings -- images online at:  or go to for more links and info.) more info on a related program:

Butterfly Boy – Steven Kroll (A boy and his disabled grandfather eagerly await the return of the butterflies in this gorgeous & moving story from Mexico) and/or Butterfly House – Eve Bunting  (A girl and her grandfather hatch butterflies, whose annual return continue to bring joy to her, even after her grandfather is gone.) 

Pop-up book or flannel/puppet: Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle (Kdg only)

Sign Language Song: Look up Look Down (alt: Let's Take a Little Walk) -from Pick Me Up: Fun Songs for Learning Signs – Robert Berg, et. all 419 PIC 

DVD: Waiting for Wings (on Weston Woods PPR DVD "Spring Science” -- a beautiful musical version of Lois Ehlert’s story)

5.17 K-2:
Butterfly Boy – Steven Kroll  or  Butterfly House – Eve Bunting
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle (Pop Up with flannel chrysalis and puppet)
A Butterfly is Patient 595.789 AST
Sign Language Song: Look up Look Down
If at First You Do Not See - Ruth Brown (clever turn upside down book -- vegetation becomes faces...inspired by the works of the 16th c. Italian painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo - showed book Hello Fruit Face 759.5 STR) 
Bubba & Trixie – Lisa Campbell Ernst

We’re all Wonders – R.J. Palacio (a young spinoff on the amazing chapter book Wonder) expresses the hope that maybe "people can change the way they see"


5.13, 5.15, 4.16  Bedm. (varied which titles being used)
Additional possibilities:
The Secret Life of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar 595.87139 PRINGLE
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey 595.789 BURNS Depicts a butterfly farm in Costa Rica.
Questions, Questions – Marcus Pfister – (beautiful book asks questions about natural phenomena)

Picture This – Art Exploration for Kids “The Dot”

Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“What can you do with a dot? Many things indeed! We’ll share Peter Reynold’s book The Dot, look at a style of art called pointillism, and then create our own paintings entirely from dots!”
(We will be using paint so please dress appropriately.)

· Tom Chapin CD track 11 “Flowers are Red” (by Harry Chapin) playing as kids enter.

· Let kids browse books on Impressionism, Pointillism, Monet, Seurat, Pisarro

· Read The Dot (Picture Book Reynolds)

· Talk about Impressionism (smears of color), science of color blending by eye led to Pointillism – show color cards (cards with dots of different colors – what does eye do when looked at from afar?)

· Read Katie’s Sunday Afternoon (Picture Book Mayhew)

· Show pages of impressionist & pointillism paintings, esp. Seurat and La Grande Jatte (J759.4 BUR)
· Show pointillist & impressionist pages from Picture This! Activities & Adventures in Impressionism (J759.054 RAI) p.8-9 (mention Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ), p.16-17

· Have kids paint using QTIPS to make dots – supplies: paper, paint, paint cups, QTIPS, paper towels

· Photograph the art & artists. (We do this at each program & then display a collage of their photos)

· Resources: Monet & the Impressionists for Kids (J759.054 SAB), The Usborne Art Treasury (J750.11 DIC) p.48-51, Start with Art: People (J704.942 LAC), The Art Book for Children v.2 (J709 REN) Seurat “Spots” p.72-75 (Additional books: Press Here – Tullet, The Book with a Hole- Tullet, Dot – Intriago)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

School Age Storytime: Big Dreamers

School visit promo for 2012 Summer Reading Club "Dream Big - READ!"
Each one of these books could also be used with the 2014 SRC theme : Fizz, Boom, Read!  and as a lead in to a STEM project
(see my other Inventors & Inventions posts).

Book: Wizard from the Start: the Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison by Don Brown (B Edison) info. about visit to Edison Labs: amazingly industrious boy/man, New Jersey labs earned over 1000 patents in his lifetime.

Book: In the Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps it Up by Monica Kulling (B Knight) -- the story of a 19th c. woman inventor and her struggle to get a patent on her invention of the flat-bottomed paper bag.

Book: The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont by Victoria Griffith (B Santos-Dumont) incredible story of man who rode his dirigible around Paris to do errands and ended up designing the one of the first self-propelled airplanes in the world in 1906 (his took off on wheels, the Wright Bros. 1904 plane required a launching rail or catapult -- here's a discussion of the controversy over "firsts"

Book: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba et. al (B Kamkw) Autobiography of a 14 year old young man from Malawi who , faced with a drought in 2001, educated himself using the books from an American-supplied village library and learn to make a windmill. His windmills now power electric lights and water irrigation for his village. Your kids might enjoy seeing the 6 min. TED talk where he spoke:   He is now studying to be an engineer at Dartmouth college.   Here's another interesting article about clever developing country solutions: solar lighting from soda bottles

Book: Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama (179 OBA) presents a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America's children. 
I ended the program with the hope that the students would use this summer (and the future) to pursue their dreams, mentioning that the library has many books to help them learn about more dreamers and discover their dreams.   I hope someday that I will read (or even write) their biographies because they have followed their dreams!


Pursue your dreams!
Firebird – Misty Copland (2014)
Little Melba and her Big Trombone – Katheryn Russell-Brown (2014)

Incredible Adventures: Flight School

Take Flight! Grades K-6. We’ll hear the amazing stories of some early aviators -- including Elinor Smith’s daring flight under the bridges of New York City, then make our own paper airplanes and see how far they soar!

This is a school aged program introducing children to some early flyers along with techniques for building some simple paper airplanes.  It could be done as a one hour program one day or be stretched out into a multi-session program with one book read each meeting and progressively more difficult airplanes made and tested.  It is also a perfect school-aged for the 2014 Summer Reading Theme “Fizz, Boom, Read.”

When when children arrive: Have books on early flyers (biographies), airplanes (629.13), and paper airplanes (745.592) available for browsing.  A bibliography on some overlooked female flyers is here:

Begin with Bernoulli Principle experiment:
Depending on the ages and interest of those attending, read 1-3 books, interspersing books with building and test-flying paper airplanes (We had kids sit on rug for reading then had them build planes in the same location using cardboards for flat surfaces.  This way we easily modeled how to build the planes and saw who needed help.)

Suggested books to read:
  • The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont – Victoria Griffith (introduces this little-known inventor famous for his personal flying dirigible and considered by some the inventor of the first powered airplane that took off by itself (Wright Bros. required a rail system and wind to get it off the ground.))
  • Flight – Robert Burleigh (blow-by-blow account of Lindbergh’s solo non-stop flight)
  • Soar Elinor! – Tami Lewis Brown (tells the story of Elinor Smith and her extraordinary flight under the four bridges of NYC) Could also just read one book and then make and race planes. Kids line up to see which goes the farthest, highest, etc. No need for prizes, the race part just gives everyone a chance to stand and fly their planes.

Paper Airplanes:
Classic paper airplane:

Flying Saucer airplane: (This site is no longer working, but the plane is really cool and quite simple.   Cut an 8.5x11 piece of paper in half so you have a 4.25x11 piece.  Fold  the 11” edge over about 1cm., then fold that edge over again and again for a total of 5 folds (you should have a thick folded side and about 2-3 inches of unfolded paper left.)  Bring the two ends together with the folded part facing inside. Lap the ends and tape together.  To fly, hold in your hand like a “C” and throw with a twisting motion.)  Here are scans from the original site – I have a request in for permission, but haven’t heard back yet. 


Here’s another interesting airplane from the same site that I have found nowhere else:

Assorted other designs (with video instructions)


Smithsonian Maker Lab p. 44ff. – Dashing Dart, Super Stunt, Graceful Glider

School Age Storytime: Something Special For the Holidays

Storytimes emphasizing the commonalities of the winter holidays -- lights in the darkest part of the year and how the actions of some people can bring light to others

12.16 (after an electrical blackout this week in Bedminster
& an upsurge in religious intolerance following the election.)
Holiday Lights

Opened by asking about who experienced the electrical blackout this week. How they felt, how candles and flashlights provided welcome light. This time of year, lots of darkness – many holidays push back the darkness with lights – Diwali, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa)
Book: Lights for Gita – Rachna Gilmore

Song: This Little Light of Mine (traditional) …Heart…Won’t let anyone blow it out…I’m going to let it shine!
Poems: “Star Catcher” and “Holiday Magic” from Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts – Ann Grossnickle Hines 811.54 HIN 
Book: All the Lights in the Night by Arthur A. Levine (two young boys travel by themselves to Palestine to escape Russian anti-semitism – mentioned my own mother and her eight year old (older) brother escaped Germany by train without their parents along)
Glove/Song: One Little, Two Little, Three Little Candles
Poems: “One Little Candle” & “Small Miracles” from Winter Lights
The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate – Janice Cohn (Describes how the people in America --Billings Montana-- joined together to fight a series of hate crimes against a Jewish family. This is a long story.  My abridgment is below.)  
Book: Dusk by Uri Shulevitz
Poem: “Lights Out” from Winter Lights
(Mentioned when I was their age I would go into my closet after “lights out” and read!)
Looking for other special books for the holidays? Check out the great lists here:


Holiday Lights

Poem: “Solstice” and/or   “A Sight to See” from Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts – Ann Grossnickle Hines 811.54 HIN 

Book: Lights for Gita – Rachna Gilmore (When an ice storm threatens her Divali celebrations, a girl discovers that the love of family and friends is what is really important) or Welcome Back Sun -- Michael Emberly (people in a Norwegian town cut off from the sun from November to March eagerly await its return -- nice tie in to solstice.)  Another possibility: Holiday Lights -- Jeron Ashford (a small lumpy candle gets passed from neighbor to neighbor as each needs it to light up their celebration).
Poems: “Star Catcher” & “Holiday Magic” from Winter Lights
Song: This Little Light of Mine (traditional)

Book: The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes – Linda Glasser (Girl figures out a way to include her lonely but stubborn neighbor in their Chanukah Celebration wonderful figurative language like: "
Mrs. Greenberg's house was always clean and tidy, like its face was just scrubbed and its blouse was tucked in, while Rachel's house always looked like it was still in its pajamas and needed to brush its hair yet.")  or  Hanukkah at Valley Forge --Stephen Krensky (based on a true story -- George Washington came upon a soldier celebrating Chanukah and makes the comparison between the Maccabees and colonists own struggle.) or The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate – Janice Cohn (Describes how the people in Billings Montana joined together to fight a series of hate crimes against a Jewish family. This is a long story.  My abridgment is below.)  
Song/Flannel: “I Had a Little Dreidel” with many funny verses (see below)
Poems: “One Little Candle” & “Small Miracles” from Winter Lights

 Olive the Other Reindeer-- J. Otto Seibold or Too Many Tamales – Gary Soto or Welcome Comfort -- Patrica Polacco or Elijah's Angel -- Michael Rosen
Poems: “Christmas Path” & “Morning Light” & “Kwanzaa” from Winter Lights 

Song: We wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Merry Kwanzaa

Poem: “Lights Out” from Winter Lights

Looking for additional special holiday titles?  Check out this bibliography:

Holiday Lights: Divali & Chanukah Stories
A program celebrating the “early” winter holidays this year – Divali & Chanukah
(Christmas/Kwanzaa another week) 

(developing empathy -- including coat/food/toy drives, working together to make a difference, anti-bullying)
Open by asking if anyone has noticed what has been happening to daylight – shorter time after school before darkness falls – why? (daylight savings ended, earth tilt)…many religions have festivals celebrating light at this time of year: Divali, Chanukah, Christmas, Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Year’s…
Book: Lights for Gita – Rachna Gilmore (Gita’s family has recently emigrated from India and she is eagerly anticipating celebrating Divali with her new friends, but when an ice storm threatens her Divali celebrations, Gita discovers that the love of family and friends is what is really important)
Stand up & sing with hand motions: This Little Light of Mine(traditional)  (heart/dream/won’t let anyone blow it out)
Discussion How do we make light in our communities?– helping needy with food/coat/toy drives…outgrown coats, what it would feel like if they had no presents this holiday?
Hanukkah Bear -- Eric A. Kimmel (nearly blind "Bubba" mistakes a bear for the rabbi) (K-1 only)
“In India fireworks on Divali like 4th of July --- Now travel back 200 & 2000 years in this book based on a true story – ask -- anyone ever heard of “Valley Forge”?”
Book: Hanukkah at Valley Forge – Stephen Krensky (based on true story in which George Washington witnessed a Jewish soldier’s chanukah candle lighting)
--author’s note fascinating.  Discussion of local National Park Jockey Hollow, where troops spent a subsequent winter.
Song/glove puppets (or fingers): One Little Two Little Three Little Candles.
This is another book based on a true story that happened around 20 years ago:
Book: The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate by Janice Cohen –305.8934 COH  -- showed pictures but used my own abridgement below.  (1st-3rd grade)
Discussion: Have kids remember what happened (rock, policeman, mom-reporter, town meeting…led to community action.  Relate to their own lives…”whether someone not allowed to practice their religion, teased about where they come from, what they look like (tall, short, fat, thin, glasses, crutches, blue eyes, green nose!)…what should they do…one person helped if many people stand up!) true for communities as well – e.g.pollution

Book: The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes – Linda Glasser (Girl figures out a way to include her lonely but stubborn neighbor in their Chanukah Celebration) Kindergarten
Song/Flannel:  "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah, Come Light the Menorah"
Song/Flannel:  I Had a Little Dreidel (with myriad variations --source unknown -- students encouraged to make up new verses!)  
New verse today:
”I had a little dreidel, I made it out of cheese, but when I went to spin it, I had a great big sneeze!!”
More song lyrics:

12.12 Bedm:

Holiday Lights: Divali & Chanukah Stories
A program celebrating the “early” winter holidays this year –
Divali & Chanukah

Book: Lights for Gita - Rachna Gilmore (When an ice storm threatens the Divali holiday plans of a new immigrant girl, she learns that the lights inside her are more important than fireworks and festivities.)

Song: This Little Light of Mine (traditional)

Book: The Magic Dreidels -- Eric A. Kimmel (Chanukah retelling of folktale "The tablecloth, the donkey and the stick" in which a tricky "fruma" tries to steal the magical dreidels given to a young boy by a goblin in a well.)

Song/Flannel:  I Had a Little Dreidel (with myriad variations --source unknown -- students encouraged to make up new verses!)   Lyric for this and other songs can be found here:

Book: The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes --Linda Glaser (When unexpected guests are due, a girl borrows more potatoes and eggs from Mrs. Greenberg, the lonely but stubborn older woman next door, and finally figures out a way to convince her to join in the celebration.  This book has delicious examples of figurative language, e.g. "Mrs. Greenberg's house was always clean and tidy, like its face was just scrubbed and its blouse was tucked in, while Rachel's house always looked like it was still in its pajamas and needed to brush its hair yet."

Song/Flannel:  "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah, Come Light the Menorah"

(where time): The Ugly Menorah -- Marissa Moss (On the first Chanukah after her grandfather's death, his granddaughter learns to appreciate the handmade menorah he made from scraps during the Depression.)
Song/glove puppets (or fingers): One Little Two Little Three Little Candles.

Consider: Oscar and the Eight Blessings by Tanya Simon and Richard Simon, illustrated by Mark Siegel. In 1938 Jewish refugee makes his way up Manhattan on Christmas Eve.

12.13 Bedm

      Something Special for the Holidays (gifts of kindness, light, anti-bullying)

Hanukkah Bear -- Eric A. Kimmel (nearly blind "Bubba" mistakes a bear for the rabbi) (K-1)
Hanukkah at Valley Forge – Stephen Krensky (based on true story in which George Washington witnessed a Jewish soldier’s chanukah candle lighting) (2nd)

Flannel/Song: "Hanukkah, O Hanukkah, Come Light the Menorah"

Welcome Comfort -- Patricia Polacco (mention Patricia didn't learn to read until 5th grade when a special teacher helped her (her book Thank You Mr. Falker tells this story) (overweight foster child teased by other children finds a friend in the school custodian, and discovers the custodian has a second job every Christmas).  Booktalked her other miraculous holiday tales: The Christmas Tapestry and The Trees of The Dancing Goats.

Flannel/Song:  "He’ll be Flying on the Northwind"

Winter Candle -- Jeron Ashford (a lumpy candle provides essential light at five different holiday celebrations) (K-1), Welcome Back, Sun --Michael Emberley (After a long winter, Anna and her Norwegian family climb up the mountain in their eagerness to finally see the sun again.) (2nd grade)

Song/Book: This Little Light of Mine -- E.B.Lewis

Some groups (when time): Song:  I have a little dreidel (with additional verses - encourage kids to make up new ones)

12.14 Bedm

Other possibilities/booktalked in some groups: Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat -- Naomi Howland (magic frying pan makes latkes -- good comparison story to Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola), , One Candle -- Eve Bunting (older classes only -- grandmother recalls how she and her sister commemorated Chanukah in a concentration camp with a stolen potato and a scrap of margarine), Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins -- Eric Kimmel (ingenious trickster outwits the goblins who have been terrorizing a village.) 

Something Special for the Holidays
Book: Lights for Gita (Divali) – Rachma Gilmore
  Song/Action:  This Little Light of Mine (heart, dream)
Book:  The Magic Dreidels – Kimmel
  Song:  I have a little dreidel (sand, ice addl. Verses)
Book:  Silver Packages – Cynthia Rylant or  December – Eve Bunting
  Song:  Jingle Bells
Book:  Olive the Other Reindeer – J. Otto Seibold
  Song:  He’ll be Flying on the Northwind

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"Expect the Unexpected"

Book: The Chanukkah Guest -- Eric Kimmel
Book: The Magic Dreidels -- Eric Kimmel
Song: "I Have a Little Dreidel"
Book: The Trouble with Trolls --Jan Brett (mentioned that students should check
out Brett's books to look at the details in the edge illustrations)

Book: Sofie's Role -- Amy Heath (discussed homophones & figurative language)
Book: December -- Eve Bunting (a beautiful story about a homeless mother and child and a holiday miracle?)
(great tie-in to food & coat drives)

If anyone wants to make those cinnamon stars or gingerbread sleigh's in Sofie's Role, here are some good recipes:
The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate 
Adaption/abridgement by Carol Simon Levin from the book by Janice Cohn.
I show the pictures from the book while telling the story something like this:
Not too many years ago, a boy named Isaac Schnitzer lived with his mother and father in the town of Billings Montana (might show location on a map so kids understand this is in the USA).
On the third night of Chanukah -- just as they did every night of Chanukah --Isaac's family lit their menorahs and placed them in the windows of their house.    A little while later, Isaac heard a crash.  Heading upstairs toward the sound, he discovered that the window to his bedroom was shattered and a rock lay on the floor.
His parents came upstairs then called the police.
When Chief Inman arrived, he suggested that it might be safer if they took down their menorahs.
But his mom replied, “We’re not taking down the Chanukah decorations.  Being Jewish is who we are—we are not going to hide it.”
“You shouldn’t have to,” responded the chief, “but there is a small group of people in Billings who have been causing a lot of trouble.   They’ve  sent out leaflets saying hateful things about Jews.  They’ve spray-painted threats and insults on a Native American home and tried to frighten African-Americans in their church.  Just last week they damaged a synagogue – now they are throwing rocks at menorahs.”
“Let’s put our menorahs away,” said Isaac.  “Then maybe they won’t bother us again.”
His dad put his arm around him. “I know how you feel.  It’s frightening.  But celebrating Chanukah is part of being Jewish.  It is what we believe in.  We’re not about to let some bullies keep us from celebrating our holiday.”
“But what can we do?” asked Isaac.
“Isaac,” said his mom, “A lot of people in this town—all kinds of people—are really angry at what these haters have been doing.  I’m going to be interviewed on TV and tell  everyone in Billings what happened to us and ask people to help.”
“Yes,” agreed the Chief, “If the whole town takes a stand, we can stand up to these bullies.”
Many people in Billings saw Mrs. Schnitzer on TV.  Afterwards, a special meeting was called by Chief Inman and a friend of their family named Ms. McDonald.
“The police are doing everything they can to catch these people,” Chief Inman told the crowd.  “But it’s important to show that an act of hate against even one person in Billings is an act against all of us.”
“I have an idea,” said Ms. McDonald.  “I remember a story my parents told me. When the Nazis invaded Denmark during World War 2, they ordered all Jews to wear a yellow star on their clothes so that they could be easily identified.  The courageous King of Denmark believed that the lives of all the Danish people were precious.  According to legend, King Christian said that if the Jews had to wear stars, then he would too. The next morning, riding his horse out of the palace, he did.   Soon many other Danes also wore stars -- even though the enemy threatened to punish them.  Because of their courage, the lives of many Jews were saved.”
“The Schnitzers have been told it would be safer for them to take down their menorahs,” she continued, “but that is not the answer.  What if the rest of us were told to take down our Christmas trees and lights because people might throw rocks at us for being Christians?  I say, let’s take a stand like the Danish people – let’s all put up menorahs!”
And that is just what happened.   Some citizens in Billings cut menorahs out of construction paper and taped them to their windows.   Then the newspaper published a picture of a menorah and even more people taped them to their windows.  Soon menorahs appeared in houses on almost every street in the town.
Isaac’s friend Teresa Hanley had never seen a menorah -- so Isaac explained about the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil.  His teacher pointed out that Chanukah celebrates the fight for religious freedom.
A few days later, Isaac was driving in the car with  his mom.  “Mom, remember last year when I told you I wanted to bring some of my Chanukah presents to school to show the other guys?”
“Uh-huh,” his mom answered.
“Well…now don’t be mad…but I didn’t tell them they were Chanukah presents.  I felt funny.  Nobody else gets Chanukah presents.  And I didn’t want to be different.  I just wanted to be like the rest of the class so I told them they were Christmas presents.  But this year I’m going to say I got them for Chanukah.”
“I’m glad, Isaac,” his mom answered.
“Mom, stop!”
“What is it?”
Ahead was a house with a big picture window. Taped to the window was a large picture of a beautiful menorah drawn with many brightly colored crayons.  Over the menorah was the message.  “For our friend Isaac – with love from Teresa and the rest of the Hanley family.”  Underneath was a picture of a Jewish star and a Christian cross.
“She never told me she was doing this…” Isaac said.
“You know, honey,” his mom replied.  “Hate can make a lot of noise.  Love and courage are usually quieter.  But in the end, they’re the strongest.”
As Chanukah passed and Christmas grew nearer, more and more menorahs could be seen throughout Billings.  The town continued to fight against the acts of hatred, and slowly but surely those acts began to stop.  The townspeople told each other this was a gift they had given to themselves.  And that it was their best holiday gift, ever.
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