Please join us on Thursday for the last Thursday Night Live of the year. TLN is always a great event, showcasing our students’ many talents, but this Thursday it’s an even more special night as it will honor John Fortin, a well-loved science teacher at IST. Mr. Fortin taught here from 2008 to 2011, and moved in August to a new international posting at the International School of Ventiane, in Laos.
Mr. Fortin is undergoing treatment for cancer and to show our support during April is Poetry Month, we encouraged his old students to write to him with encouragement. Mr. Fortin received the first batch of postcards this week and was extremely pleased.
The school will be collecting donations for Mr. Fortin on the evening of Thursday Night Live. We will continue to receive postcards for posting to him and his family. Mr. Fortin said via email, “Your support has been amazing and has played a large role in helping me get through all this.”
We hope you will come to Thursday Night Live. It promises to be a delightful evening for a good cause.
We had our final meeting of the IST Library Parent Book Club yesterday. We had a lively discussion of the book, Please Look After Mom, by Korean author Kyung Sook Shin. We agreed that the book was certainly distinctive because of its second person narrative and that we see our parents more in their role as parents and less as individuals.
Here’s a list of the books we read in the 2012-2013 school year. The photo above features our book club members with several of the books, but most of them are currently checked out so we couldn’t include them all. I’m not surprised they’re checked out. They’re all great reads!
August 2012 – The Illuminator, by Brenda Rickman Varese
September 2012 – The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton
October 2012 – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
November 2012 – Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner
January 2013 – Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh, by Mo Yan
February 2013 – The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai, by Riuyan Xu
March 2013 – Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gouda
April 2013 – Man from Beijing, by Henning Mankell
May 2013 – Please Look After Mom, by Kyung Sook Shin
What a great list! As I look over it, I am delighted to see how it reflects the international flavor of our members. While I enjoyed reading all of the books, my favorite part was always the discussions when one of our members could take the lead in explaining cultural references about the setting and/or characters.
We are sad to bid farewell to several of our members in June: Carla Pamfilio, Brenda Didelot and Angela Woods. Thanks for the wonderful discussions and the great book recommendations. We hope you’ll stay in touch. I’m on Goodreads if you’d like to join me there. My username is fitziane.
Our first meeting in August will be on Wednesday, the 14th. We will be discussing Bad Karma, by German author Eric Safier. This is a humorous book about a man who reincarnates in several different animals before finally returning to life as a human. It is available on Amazon.com, but not yet on a Kindle version as it’s a very recent title.
The IST Library Parent Book Club is open to all expats in Tianjin who love to read. Please register via the sidebar widget.
The IST Library Parent Book Club will be meeting next Wednesday, 15 May, to discuss the book Please Look After Mom, by Kyung Sook Shin. Ms. Shin is a best-selling Korean author. This particular novel is about a family who loses their elderly mother at a busy Seoul subway station. It is told in the second person, which makes it a very interesting read. We really have to exercise our inference skills to distinguish which character the narrator is addressing in each section of the book.
If you would like to join our IST Library Parent Book Club, please register via the link on the left sidebar or contact us via email: library at istianjin.net. Our book club is open to all Tianjin expats who love to read. While this will be our last book club meeting for the 2012-2013 school year, we are looking forward to resuming our discussions in August after our summer holiday.
To our current members, please bring your recommendations for our summer reading. See you on Wednesday. Cross your fingers for good weather so we can sit outside.
Trickster tales are a special type of folk tales in which weaker characters get the best of stronger characters. These are some of my particularly favorite stories. They’re perfect for a first library session with grade 1 who are starting to inquire into the ways we tell stories.
I read aloud the first two of the titles in this list with grade 1 and the others were checked out by grade 1 students.
From left to right and top to bottom.
Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile, by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert. In this tale from the Dan people in Liberia, Mrs. Chicken convinces a hungry crocodile that they are sisters. Our first graders loved the clever Mrs. Chicken and the bold illustrations by Julie Paschki.
Monkey, by Gerald McDermott. Monkey gets the best of Crocodile when he crosses the river to eat mangoes. The illustrations by Gerald McDermott are a collage of boldly colored papers which perfectly capture Monkey’s cheeky courage and Crocodile’s surly frustration in this trickster tale from India.
Coyote, by Gerald McDermott. Another trickster tale retold by Gerald McDermott, this one from the Southwest of the United States. Coyote wants to learn to fly and the crows trick him into thinking he can with disastrous consequences.
Conejito: A Folktale from Panama, retold by Margaret Read MacDonald and illustrated by Geraldo Valerio. Conejito is my hands-down favorite folktale to read aloud. This version by Margaret Read MacDonald is an absolute delight. Follow Conejito as he goes up and down the mountain evading the lion, the fox and the tiger.
Little Rooster’s Diamond Button, retold by Margaret Read MacDonald and illustrated by Will Terry. A favorite with IST students, Little Rooster gives as good as he gets when the King’s servants capture him. Another great retelling by Margaret Read MacDonald, this one appears in versions from many countries, but here Will Terry’s illustrations sets this version in Turkish occupied Hungary.
Here is a slideshow with spine poems that the grades 3 and 4 created. There were many more poems, but unfortunately the photos didn’t come out well so I only included the photos where you could read the poems.
Also, the slides go by rather quickly so if you can’t read the poems, come to the library. We have a better slideshow on the large screen TV.
Our students enjoy graphic novels and comics. They’re fun to read. They’re also excellent practice for inference skills that all readers need to comprehend text. In fact, they rely even more on inference than regular prose because readers have to take the visual cues from the illustrations and the text cues from the speech bubbles and labels, and weave them into a full narrative. Readers of graphic novels have to fill in all the gaps that the author leaves because there’s only so much space in a comic panel. This means that their brains might be working even harder to read graphic novels than other types of books.
We have several excellent series in our graphic novel collection for elementary students. Here are a few favorites.
Squish and Babymouse, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.
Ever wonder what the lunch ladies do when they’re not working at the cafeteria? The one in this graphic novel series is a super hero by night and school cook by day. Armed with superhero kitchen gadgets like a lunch tray laptop and a spatu-copter, this lunch lady will save the day over with a little help from 5 plucky students.
Owly series, by Andy Runton.
This series is almost wordless. A few sound effects are written down, but the action takes place in pictures. Dialog is rendered in symbols. Readers need to supply their own narration and figure out the meaning of the symbols. Owly is an lonely little owl who is always looking for new friends. It’s a sweet, fun read.
Amelia Rulesseries, by Jimmy Gownley
Amelia used to live in New York City, but after her parents’ divorce, she’s moved to a small town to live with her mother and aunt. She has had to adjust to a new life, a new school and make new friends too. The series start when she’s in fourth grade and follow her up middle school. Perfect for our own fourth and fifth graders.
While the graphic novels I’ve featured above are all series, there are also lots of good standalone titles as well. Come by the library and let us recommend a few to you. Better yet, recommend some favorite titles or series of your own. We’ll do our best to try to include them in our collection.
Squish is the story of an amoeba who, inspired by his favorite comic strip super hero, always tries to do what’s right. In this first installment of the series, Squish has to face up to the school bully and save his friend Peggy from being eaten. Our students love Squish and are eagerly awaiting books 2 and 3, which will arrive in time for the new school year.
Jennifer and Matthew Holm also write Babymouse, a very successful graphic novel series about a mouse girl with a lot of different interests.
Our grade 3 students were able to watch the interview live and ask questions. When asked how they felt about winning the Panda Books Award, they replied that they were thrilled to be read by children on the other side of the planet from them.
The interview was recorded by the organizers and will be made available next week for other classes to watch.
We shared this Skype interview with International School of Beijing and Tianjin International School, who also participate in the Panda Book Awards, a reading initiative for international schools in China.
Congratulations to Rohan who celebrates his birthday with us for the third year since he arrived at IST. Rohan and his family have been great supporters of the IST library and we are delighted to receive his latest birthday donation, Mask of the Sensei, book 2 of the very popular Lego Ninjago series. We will be getting more next year with next year’s budget, so it was great to be able to purchase one more copy this year thanks to Rohan.
Post a Poem is a new activity we’re trying out this year for Poetry Month. Ms. Surridge made lovely postcards inspired by the National Poetry Month 2013 poster and they are available for free at the library. There will be a cost for delivery.
The post cards feature 4 different poetry related illustration and space on the back for a poem and an address. Everyone is invited to send poems to family and friends. You can choose to mail/deliver the postcards yourself or use our delivery options.
1 rmb for delivery within the IST campus
1 rmb for delivery by ChinaPost within China
5 rmb for delivery by ChinaPost outside of China
Proceeds from the sale will offset the cost of printing the postcards and any profit will be used to purchase library furnishings.
Important note about addresses:
If delivery to someone at IST, please write his/her full name and class, e.g., Jun Wo Smith, 7K.
If delivery to an address in China, it is best to write the address in Chinese
If delivery to an address outside of China, please write full name and address clearly, and include the country name in capital letters.
The Chinese teachers in the elementary school will be teaching and reviewing how to write country names in Chinese. The Chinese speaking library staff will also be able to assist in the writing of Chinese addresses.