April 2nd: International Children’s Book Day

When we read, our minds grow wings; when we write, our fingers sing.” – Margarita Engle

There’s nothing better to escape reality than a good book, for adults and children alike. Books let us lose ourselves in worlds different from our own and are vital for children’s imaginations. This year’s motto for International Children’s Book Day is “The Music of Words”. So, in honour of today, here are some of my favourite picks for young readers! The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne transports its readers into a world full of history and magic, putting a spin on some of history’s major events. If you’re looking for something more “science-y”, The Magic School Bus is the one for you! This series unravels the magic of the human body and the world around us, magical anthropomorphic school bus and all! But just as books let us learn about ourselves, they can also bridge the gap between us and cultures unfamiliar to us. Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard gives insight into Native American culture and the meaning traditional food can hold, complete with a recipe and heartwarming illustrations. The eco-critical picture books Clean Up!, The Boy Who Grew a Forest and Greta and The Giants remind us that no one is too small to make a differernce. Books can teach a multitude of things, but at times the most important part is the reading experience itself. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse features beautiful illustrations along with a story all about friendship that will make you fall in love with reading all over again. But watch out, or you’ll turn out like The Incredible Book Eating Boy! 

Check out our previous post for some books that are ideal for story-telling and reading aloud in the classroom!

What are some of your favourite nostalgic children’s books? Let us know!

Sarah


Just for Fun!

English · 16 March 2021

A book doesn’t always have to have academic value to be worth reading. I’ve compiled some of my favourite novels, movies and shows to read or watch outside of the classroom – just for fun!

Novels:

  • In case you loved The Hunger Games, you should take a look at the recently published prequel! A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes tells the story of soon to be villain Coriolanus Snow and his rise to power.
  • If you enjoy morally grey characters, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has a lot to offer. This novel tells the same story from multiple perspectives. Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of Amsterdam, five outsiders set out on a journey to stop the spread of a drug lethal to humans and addictive to Grisha, people with magical abilities.
  • Moving from fantasy to science fiction, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is the first novel in a trilogy all about aliens, conspiracies and survival. Each wave comes in a different form of attack, from power outages and tsunamis to lethal viruses. The story follows 16-year-old Cassie’s fight for survival after a devastating loss.
  • The award-winning Flavia de Luce Mystery Series by Alan Bradley has captured the attention of teens and adults worldwide. The novels follow 11-year-old Flavia, a budding chemist, who finds herself solving one murder mystery after another. For an introduction to the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the way to go.

Movies:

  • Mean Girls is seen as one of the most iconic comedies about “the high school experience”. The film covers everything from cliques and popularity to manipulation and self-image. 16-year-old Cady has never attended a public school. So when she enters high school, she feels like fresh meat being thrown to the wolves. Although she finds friends quickly, she gets wrapped up in the Mean Girls clique. Before she knows it, Cady finds herself in the middle of a convoluted plan to take down the queen bee, Regina George. And as much as she hates Regina George, Cady’s actions seem more and more in line with what a mean girl would do.
  • Mrs Doubtfire is an example of a comedy that hasn’t aged and is still relevant today. The film shows the life of a family following a hard divorce, after which the mother, Miranda, is granted sole custody. Unable to cope with the absence of his children, the father, Daniel, decides to pose as a nanny to be close to them. And so “Mrs. Doubtfire” is born.
  • The award-winning film The Devil Wears Prada features multiple famous actors and is definitely not just for fashion lovers. Andy is an aspiring journalist who hasn’t found the right job yet. Although she has no interest in fashion, she applies at “Runway Fashion Magazine” and intrigues chief editor Miranda Priestley enough to land the job as a junior assistant. Miranda’s ridiculous demands and expectations start to destroy Andy’s social life, but spark her ambition and, unexpectedly, her love for fashion.

TV Shows:

  • The 100 is a post-apocalyptic science fiction show with a straightforward concept. Following earth’s destruction via atomic bombs, humans fled to space to wait for the radiation levels to be survivable. The rules on board the Ark are tough, any adult who breaks them is sentenced to death and “floated” into space. But when their space ship starts running out of oxygen, the leaders send 100 teen delinquents to the ground as a last resort before mass population reduction. They thought the teenagers’ main struggle would be surviving radiation, but no one could foresee what (or who) was in store for them. The show features 7 seasons, specializing in morally grey characters and impossible situations. When does someone stop being the good guy? How far can one go before they are no longer worthy of redemption?
  • Staying in the realm of science fiction TV shows, Westworld also provokes analyzing and pondering. Set around 40 years into the future, amusement parks are all the rage. However, these aren’t ordinary amusement parks. Robots have been perfected to the point of being indistinguishable from humans, which makes them the perfect attraction. They don’t feel pain, and you can do whatever you want to them without being judged. This shouldn’t be a problem as they’re just machines, right? Or are they? The show explores the idea of where consciousness begins.
  • It should be noted that both shows mentioned are ages 16 and up, mainly due to violence and gore.

Also, we do feature the new category “Beyond the Classroom”, which is meant for an advanced audience of English literature, movies, audiobooks, plays etc. The new cluster features literature and media that do not fit the topicalities of the curricula or that, due to their length and complexity, do not match the teaching environment of the EFL classroom. Exploring this section will provide you with several classic and contemporary suggestions beyond the classroom for your reading, viewing or listening list. 

I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy checking out some of my suggestions! Do you have any favourite novels that you read “just for fun”? Let us know!

Sarah


Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find.” – Neil Gaiman 

As Neil Gaiman points out in the introductory quote: literature is an exciting adventure to embark on, a journey, which will take us to the most unusual places, which makes us connect to different ways of living and offers paradigm shifts for younger and older readers. The World Book Day or International Day of the Book was founded on April 23rd 1995 by the UNESCO to encourage young people to discover literature or as its founder, Baroness Gail Rebuck, outlines: “We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.” Today, on March 4th 2021, we celebrate (re-)discovering literature, reading for pleasure and book enthusiasm all around the globe for the 24th time.

On this occasion, we would like to announce our EFL Special: “Literature in the Classroom”, which will explore different genres and works – from all-time-favourites to more current and topical examples of literature featured on Lit4School. Our EFL Special will provide you with a shortcut of didactic hints, methods and resources you can use when teaching literature in the EFL classroom.

Stay tuned and safe!

Simon


When in doubt go to the library.” – J. K. Rowling

Founded once in Australia, the #LibraryLoversDay and #LibraryLoversMonth celebrate reading, book enthusiasm and the rich tradition of libraries all around the world: The first libraries, a word derived from Ancient Greek originally meaning ‘bookcase’, date bake to 2600 BC. Today, their collection also includes video games, newspapers, films, prints, CDs and many other forms of media. This year’s theme for the Library Lover’s Day was ‘Make a date with your library‘ – which reminds us that library services were and are available even during a pandemic situation via digital resources and distant loans.

On Lit4School we do feature quite a variety of texts that explore libraries and the passion for reading. These texts are suitable for a cross-curricular teaching project in cooperation with your local library or book store: The New LiBEARianLittle Red Reading HoodLibrary LionThe Incredible Book Eating BoyIt’s a Book and I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf.

Share your love and passion for reading with your pupils, stay safe and have a beautiful Library Lover’s Day!

Simon