Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chocolate Lily Book Awards: Singing Away the Dark

This week's Chocolate Lily Book Award picture nominee was Singing Away the Dark by Caroline Woodward. The primary classes all really enjoyed the book. They appreciated the illustrations and the rhyming storyline.

Before reading the story, I felt the students needed to understand the context a little as it is so different from where the students live. I told them a bit about the author's childhood and described rural settings in British Columbia. Because our school is in a city and we are surrounded by neighbourhoods of houses, the log cabin home isolated from other homes was hard for the students to understand. I also needed to describe the weather of northern BC to them to help them understand the daily snow and cold in the winter which is so very different from what we experience in the Lower Mainland. I had the student recall what it was like walking to school in the snow last week (and they all have 5 minute walks or less or their parents drive them!) in order to help them understand the story better.

Comments from the students included:
The pictures were the best. -Zoe, div 11
It was a good idea for a book. - Julia, div 11
I liked the part when she is singing and the day comes out. - Tyler G., div 10
It looked so cold in the pictures. -Mia, div 10
The pictures are lovely. -Mya, div 9
The pictures are realistic. -Kylie, div 9
I learned that not all homes are in neighbourhoods. -Areej, div 9
I like how she got her "freaks" out. -Emily, div 9
It should win because it captures real life. We learned about a different part of BC. -Ifrah, div 8
It reminds you not to be scared of the dark and to do something to make you feel better. -Cathy, div 8
It reminds you of the old-fashioned days. -Evan, div 8
I like the style and details in the illustrations. -Victor, div 7
I like the silhouettes of the animals. - Sharon, div 7
There are lots of extra details in the illustrations. -Stuart, div 7
The story was good. -Calvin, div 7

I think this picture book opened the children's eyes to a different way of living. I think they could really relate to the six year old main character and her feelings.
~Ms Novakowski

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