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Sandie kicks of off our January PEPELT activity with a live presentation of ‘My Daddy is a Pretzel’ by the yoga guru Baron Baptiste and illustrated by Sophie Fatus (Barefoot Books, 2004)

‘My Daddy is a Pretzel’ is an informational picturebook created to help children train their hearts, minds and bodies. If you don’t know the picturebook you can take a peek at a Barefoot Books blog post:…/my-daddy-is…

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Gail continues with our January theme and her choice is:

Nina: a story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd and illustrated by Christian Robinson (Penguin Random House 2021).

“When I die, I’m going to know that I left something for my people to build on. That is my reward”. This is a quote from Nina Simone in 1969 which appears before the title page in the picturebook biography of Nina. Nina links well to the subjects of music and social history, in particular the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Nina is the story of Eunice who grew up to become the famous singer Nina Simone. It does not hide the fact that Nina encountered racism from a very early age and shows how she used her voice, words and music to speak out against racism, hate and prejudice.

Christian Robinson’s illustrations convey mood, themes and characters and also depict historical events during the Civil Rights Movement within Nina’s piano which enhance the narrative by providing information that is not in the story and which impacted on Nina’s music.

Nina is quite text-heavy so is best suited for upper primary/lower secondary children who may be learning in a bilingual/content-based setting. As a point of entry, children could watch the picturebook trailer and listen to a couple of Nina’s best-known songs or read along and listen to Traci N. Todd talking with TeachingBooks about creating Nina. It is also possible for children to listen and translate the text into their own language. And there is a short audiobook excerpt from Nina they can listen to and a read-aloud on YouTube.

The last line of the story is particularly powerful: “And when she sang of Black children—you lovely, precious dreams—her voice sounded like hope”.

Nina is timely in today’s climate and will support children to respond appropriately and to take action. We would love to hear how you use Nina with your classes.

Read Aloud :

Traci N. Todd talking about creating Nina.Read More
Audio book excerptRead More
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Tatia’s choice for this month is the award-winning picturebook, Shh! We Have a Plan, written & illustrated by Chris Haughton , published by Walker Books in 2015.

This title is one of my favourites when I want to introduce student teachers to picturebooks in PELT and drama. Here are my 6 reasons why:

  • Some of my student teachers can be a bit nervous when they hear the words ‘English’ and ‘Drama’. This picturebook is text-light and includes repetition of words gestures and settings which quickly help to create a sense of familiarity. Shh! We Have a Plan! helps to keep children and their teachers in their comfort zone as it depicts how the reader / listener can actively join in.
  • The book has a very engaging 36s, wordless trailer which can be used as a point of entry and to set the scene. When viewing, the focus can lie on practising movements such as tiptoeing and on gestures such as indicating ‘stop’ and ‘shh’.
  • The trailer offers a great opportunity to discuss emotions triggered by the music, sound effects, colours and movement. It also gives the opportunity to predict the story and thus offers a natural transition to English language learning, via vocabulary and drama activities.
  • This picturebook offers a way to introduce student teachers and children to using props in PELT with Drama without too much fuss. I usually ask them to simply bring in their favourite hats and dark scarfs.
  • During the read-aloud children or student teachers can easily be encouraged to act along in small groups, some might even volunteer to perform in front of the class. Children or student teachers also quickly feel comfortable reading along.
  • This picturebook is an excellent base to create a class play which children and / or student teachers can act out using words, movement and gestures.
  • I hope you find these ideas useful and here some more links:

    The story behind the story:

    The making of: Shh! We have a planRead More
    The story behind the story:Read More
    ResourcesRead More

    Author Read Aloud:

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    In our final post for January 2022 watch Anneta Sadowska talk about ‘Walter the Baker’ by Eric Carle (Simon Schuster Books, 1995) and learn about using this picturebook in a CLIL context for science, involving bread making and calculating how much bread costs.

    Also there are ideas for developing an intercultural competence by discovering and reflecting on the different types of bread made around the world … and so much more. Anneta at her best with one of her favorite, well-used picturebooks. Thank you Anneta for sharing your wisdom with us 🙂