The Book Report: February is for Love, Friendship & Compassion

Hey hey beautiful people! So it's not overstating things to say I like books. A LOT. They inform a lot of how I go about teaching. Kid's books I find especially wonderful resources, as well as reminders, when I turn into too much of an adult, to calm the heck down. Kid's books give me easy to swallow, bite sized reminders of what's REALLY important (spoiler alert, it's never the things I'm in a tizzy over: my to-do list, number of Twitter followers, or the number of steps on my FitBit).

 Every Ballerina Birthday party I do starts with a story time. It's a great way to get everyone focused and ready for the fun to come!

Every Ballerina Birthday party I do starts with a story time. It's a great way to get everyone focused and ready for the fun to come!

Over on The Ballerina Birthday blog, I did Read of the Week blogs, and you'd be crazy to think I wouldn't do something similar here. The Dancing Words blog series will be a chance to talk books, and when I say 'talk books', what I mean is I'll tell you about some superawesome books that have caught my eye and that I'm going to tell you you HAVE to read. Hey, it's my blog. I do what I want. Butofcourse I totally want your feedback and contributions :) so be sure to comment here or hit me up on the social medias and let me know what you think!

 In My Heart, A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, illustrations by Christine Roussey

In My Heart, A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, illustrations by Christine Roussey

In My Heart

I found this gem back in December and thought to myself, "what a GREAT way to talk to kids about big feelings". I knew then and there that I'd want to revisit this book during February, and Valentine's Day, and it was my go-to book last week during my creative movement and ballet classes; my students loved it! The language is simple but meaningful, illustrations perfectly tuned with the feelings, and leaves plenty of space for discussion on feelings (which, let's be honest, a lot of us adults are having with the current state of the country). I paired this reading with activities like dividing our room up with electrical tape and deeming one side "happy land", and the other side "sad land", or "giant land" and "fairy land", then we explored moving according to our feelings. I have some great suggestions for music to accompany this exercise over on my Spotify account if you want to check it out. 

The Pet Dragon

Whenever I can, I try to incorporate language learning into my classes - with ballet it's fairly easy since the vocabulary is French, and I'm plotting a way to incorporate Christoph Niemann's The Pet Dragon into some of my classes, not only because it's a fun adventure story about a young girl and her dragon, but because I'm obsessed with how smartly it teaches Chinese characters within illustrations. I can totally see this being a fun lesson on shapes with a really cool artwork component. It's also a great opportunity for teamwork in my classroom. Dancing with a partner can be a challenge, especially for young movers. Capitalizing on the theme of friendship and teamwork in this book is a great way to get students to work together. Games of follow the leader, miming, and identifying similar and opposite shapes, movements, and dynamics with a partner is always engaging, playful, and meaningful for students. Teachers: if you've used this in your lessons please share your experiences; I'd love to hear them!

 The Pet Dragon tells the story of Lin and her pet dragon while also teaching the reader Chinese characters. So cool!

The Pet Dragon tells the story of Lin and her pet dragon while also teaching the reader Chinese characters. So cool!

Jacob's New Dress

A co-worker introduced me to Jacob's Purple Dress, and my heart did a cheer, because I'd been thinking how I hadn't seen a picture book that addressed traditional gender roles in a way that felt modern. Sarah and Ian Hoffmann wrote the book for their own child, and it's beautifully done. The story of Jacob, a boy who prefers wearing dresses, and his trials being accepted at school, is honest, open, and compassionate, and reads in a way that doesn't feel dumbed down or condescending. With its relatable, bright, and friendly characters, it's a great introduction for kids who may be experiencing similar feelings, and for kids who need help understanding non-binary behaviors. 

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book. - Dr. Seuss

What's on your bookshelves this month bookworms? Any theme or specific type of books you'd like to see in this series? Speak up and let me know, and Happy Reading!