Three years ago she started blogging about picture books with her sister Kim Baise at Bees Knees Reads and around the same time they developed a start-up press, Bees Knees Books to collaborate with author/illustrators and publish picture books. They released two books in 2009: Maybelle, Bunny of the North by Keith Patterson and A Wonderful Week by Marjolein Varekamp. If all this weren’t enough to keep Nancy busy she also runs a bookstore – Coastside Books! I’m sure Nancy has bad days like the rest of us, but her existence sounds quite idyllic to me
Nancy’s theme this week is “shifting perspectives”. Of selecting these books Nancy wrote “Although two of the stories have characters with disabilities (blind and deaf) the stories are really more about looking at the world (or one’s own experience) from a different viewpoint. And I think the story, I Feel A Foot, which is a retelling of a Sufi fable illustrates that theme perhaps most obviously. One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t believe everything you think!” And these three books playfully challenge the reader to shift her perspective many times.”
The author and illustrator are from Venezuela and the book was first published in Spanish. It is beautiful in it’s conception and production. The pages are black with embossed illustrations and Braille underneath the lettering so the reader must touch the pages, shifting one’s senses from sight to touch. The narrator is guided by Thomas who is blind and he describes color by how he feels or experiences color. There is a great excerpt and review here. After reading this book together you can ask children to close their eyes and imagine/describe what different colors look like. Is Thomas’ world black or is it rich with color?
Pete Seeger is a lyrical storyteller, probably because he is a musician. He dedicated this story to his deaf father and knew that deaf people still enjoy music even without hearing. It’s possible to learn a new way of communicating through music and in this case through music and sign language. This story is about a jazz musician who loses his hearing and has to learn sign language. He starts a new band whose members are also deaf and now sign their music. This story is a really fun jazzy read-aloud. A longer review can be found at Bees Knees Reads.
I (Zoe) have not yet read it, but I just came across a review of The Seeing Stick over at Planet Esme – this lovely sounding book (by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka) sounds like it would go perfectly with the three books suggested by Nancy today.
As to some music to enjoy today you could try:
Some activities which could go with today’s books include:
It was a bit of challenge for me today to come up with music and activity suggestions so if you have any that would work well with these books, please do let me know via the comments!
Thanks once again to Nancy for our great list of books today. Please do pop over to Bees Knees Reads and say hi to her and her sister!