Life on the Refrigerator Door: By Alice Kuipers

I read this book today. It is written in an unusual style and had me hooked right away. The story is told entirely through notes left on the refrigerator door by a mother and her daughter. They both lead busy lives and the notes are one of the main ways they communicate. These notes and letters run the gamut of light items (like “Please give me my allowance!”) to far more serious issues.

I don’t want to tell you what happens and give the whole thing away, but I will say that it is a thought provoking, short novel that will make you appreciate what you have in life. I personally enjoy these types of stories. We have the book here at the CFL library, and I wish I had taken our librarian Colleen’s advice and read it sooner. It may not change your life, but I do hope you take the time to read it. It will be time well spent.

The Ooey Gooey Lady

This past weekend, three of us from the Centre for Family Literacy made the long trek from Edmonton to Medicine Hat to go see the Lisa Murphy, also known as the Ooey Gooey Lady. The Medicine Hat and District Child Care Association invited Lisa to present to an enthusiastic audience in celebration of National Child Day.

It was a jam-packed, daylong session with lots of useful tips, funny anecdotes, encouragement and affirmation, all backed by sound research that supports the importance of a play-based, hands-on and child-centered learning environments.

Some of the points that really resonated with me were:

1. For young children the focus of play should be on the process, not on the product. We need to value and respect what children do, and resist turning it into a parent pleasing craft (such as turning coffee filter art into flowers!).

2. It is important to develop understanding versus rote learning (memorizing through repetition).

3. Every day children need to:

  • Create
  • Move
  • Sing
  • Discuss
  • Observe
  • Read
  • Play

Overall, a really great day!  I’m sure that every one of the participants walked away with several new ideas that they are excited to try, as well as a deeper understanding of the hows and whys of creating engaging play based, hands-on, child-centered experiences for the little people in their lives.

For more information on the Ooey Gooey Lady check it out here:

http://www.ooeygooey.com/

A New Font to Help with Dyslexia:

A new, free font has been created to help people with dyslexia read online content. The font, called OpenDyslexic, contains characters with “heavy-weighted bottoms” that prevent the letters from flipping and moving around for the dyslexic reader.

OpenDyslexic, created by Abelardo Gonzalez, has recently been built into a word processor, an ebook reader, and has been installed on school computers.  Similar fonts had been previously available, but their high cost made them relatively inaccessible.

Gonzalez has stated, “The response has been great. I’ve had people emailing saying this is the first time they could read text without it looking wiggly or it has helped with other symptoms of dyslexia.”

You can download the font and learn more at www.dyslexicfonts.com/

Remembering

It’s hard to believe that November is here. I always feel that our beautiful fall days have gone by just a little too quickly. The days are getting shorter and the air more chilly. For me, it is a bit of a quiet time before the busyness of the Christmas season.

Of course, it is also a time for remembrance. Remembrance Day was always an important day in our house. My grandfather had served during WWII, but it is only as I have gotten older that I have come to appreciate more fully the sacrifices that were made by many Canadian families when their loved ones went off to war.

For many children, Remembrance Day can be hard to understand.  Sometimes the right book can help build that understanding. Two books worth reading to children are A Bear in War and In Flanders Field: The story of the poem by John McCrae.

A Bear in War, written by Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat and illustrated by Brian Deines, is a touching story told from the viewpoint of a small teddy bear. The bear belongs to a young Canadian girl, Aileen, who sends her beloved teddy to her father who is on the front lines during World War I.  The book was inspired by the true story of “Teddy” who traveled from the family farm in East Farnham, Quebec, across the Atlantic to Europe to be with Lieutenant Lawrence Browning Rogers.

In Flanders Fields: The story of the poem by John McCrae is written by Linda Granfield and illustrated by Janet Wilson.  In Flanders Field is a poem that many Canadians are familiar with, recited during Remembrance Day services throughout the country on November 11.  John McCrae was a medical officer during WWI and wrote the poem after experiencing the death of a close friend.  The book describes details of McCrae’s life and the first World War.

Cooking Up Some New Ideas

The library at the Centre for Family Literacy needs some new cookbooks, so I am looking for suggestions.  They can be old favourites, practical recipes for busy families, or the newest thing in cuisine.  For me personally, when it comes to cookbooks, it is what else is in the cookbook that interests me – I don’t always want just recipes! I want to hear about other countries, thrilling travels, all of the different cuisines the traveller encounters and the history behind their dishes.

One of my favourite cookbooks is Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey, by Najmieh Batmanglij. The “Silk Road” was an ancient trade route that meandered west out of China, across Asia and Northern India, to Persia, Arabia, Byzantium and all the way to Italy.  This book is filled with songs, stories and poems – ancient and new. There are beautiful pictures, drawings, maps, and recipes!  Some of the recipes go back 1200 years. I just love this book.

What kind of cookbooks do you like?  Do you have any favourites, any recommendations?