Posts Tagged ‘literature’

By creating an Avenue of Literature from unused lockers, teachers at Biloxi Junior High School in Mississippi hope to inspire their students.   Over the summer vacation, this dedicated group of teachers, parents and volunteers, have been working hard to transform a drab area into something exciting and inspirational.  And they have certainly succeeded!!

With a belief in what Dr Seuss once said: “The more you read the more things you know.” teachers at the school hope that by immersing students in literature they will open the floodgates to a love of reading.  With the intention of incorporating a focus on the various genres represented on the book spine illustrations of the 189 old lockers, teachers are looking forward to an exciting and innovative program.

An absolutely awesome way to excite an interest in literature and a joy of reading!

Check out more pictures and news articles saved on the Biloxi Junior High School website.

Avenue of Literature - lockers

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It’s taken a couple of weeks, but finally I’ve got my feet back on the ground after returning from an awesome vacation!

While I admit to not having time to open the covers of a book even once while away, literature kept finding me – sometimes in the most unexpected of places!

For those of you who’ve had the pleasure of cruising, you’ll know that a library on a ship is as anticipated as the numerous eateries that are to be found on board.  Without a doubt, the libraries I’ve seen on the high seas each have a beauty and character all of their own.  They are inviting and peaceful, gently coaxing you to ‘come visit’.


Celebrity Silhouette Library (left) Royal Princess Library (right)

Celebrity Silhouette Library (left) Royal Princess Library (right)

Working in a secondary library as I have for some years now, I tend to lose track of those adorable characters that I used to love sharing with my young readers.  So when I discovered that Dick Bruna’s Miffy turned 60 this year, I was over the moon to see a beautiful collection of stuffed toys hidden in a gift shop in Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands


and then equally enamoured when I spotted a magical display of Miffy collectables on show in the beautiful Royal Delft Shop located in Delft in the Netherlands, to honour her 60th!



Soon after another adorable character popped up in a shop window in Helsinki.  Moomin and his family of white, roundish, fairy tale characters which have been immortalized by Swedish speaking Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson in books and comics, are today brought to life in an incredible array of soft, cuddly toys and ‘must have’ paraphernalia.




Then, I literally walked into another very distinguished find!

Look down this bustling canal fronted street in Copenhagen to the cream coloured building next to a brown building  – exactly nine buildings from the left:



to see none other than a building with a most notable name!


Even if it is just a cafe nowadays


I really got a kick out of standing outside of a building that was once the home (or in the vicinity of the home) of none other than Hans Christian Anderson!

A similar shiver went through me as I viewed this hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland


It was here, we were told, that Mark Twain used to stay for extended visits where he contemplated or perhaps wrote some of his classics while enjoying the beauty of Lake Lucerne which lies right opposite the hotel.


Not far from here, is the valley where the legend of William Tell originated.  Today, just a short distance away, a lively restaurant cashes in on this belief!


Literature continued to engulf us as we traversed the streets of Zurich.  While tempted by this poster to sign up to Zurich’s Literature Festival while we were in town


I knew that my mastery of neither French nor German would let me enjoy much!  So instead, I had to make do enjoying the beautiful window displays in the very large English branch of the beautiful Orell Fussli Bookshop which we just happened upon while strolling along Zurich’s elegant Bahnhofstrasse.



The prominent value of literature even followed us on our way home!  As we wandered along Orchard Street in Singapore, this gigantic statue of busy shoppers managed to include someone reading a newspaper!

And so it was, that our journey has now concluded.

Back in Melbourne, I’ve returned to the shelves of books that surround me in our school library and where I will aim to continue to inspire students to read, read, and read some more!

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I read a great article over the summer by Brian Johns in the Sydney Morning Herald: Our great stories need a place in the classroom  (January 20, 2015) in which a case was built for the promotion of Australian literature in the school curriculum.

With concern that Australian literature had become ‘forgotten’ a team of people got together to create resources for teachers to bring Australian stories back into the classroom.  New classics  such as Oscar-winner Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Jeannie Baker’s Mirror, as well as old favourites such as Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career and Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow are among the many books that have been included.

An impressive list of titles, for which interesting and challenging Teacher Resources have been developed, has been selected by the Australian Society of Authors’ (ASA) Council.  The aim of this project is best summed up on the Reading Australia website:

The ASA’s Council were asked to select works they thought students and others should encounter, to give a view of Australia’s rich cultural identity: works that would tell Australia’s history and also how we are currently developing as a nation. The ASA Council are adamant that this list should be merely the beginning, and it should be built upon with other works that have already been published, as well as the great new works that continue to be published in Australia.

Aiming to inspire interest in both Australian schools and schools worldwide, it is well worth spending some time checking out these books and resources on Reading Australia.

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What a brilliant way to promote literature: create book illustrations on park benches!

That’s exactly what’s happening in London where the National Literacy Trust is commissioning artists to illustrate books on benches as a way of encouraging the public to engage with literature.  In a call for sponsorship for this undertaking, the very innovative National Literacy Trust writes:

‘Books about Town’ will feature a series of BookBenches, individually designed by top international and local artists to celebrate stories linked to London, and to promote reading for enjoyment. The benches, shaped as open books, will be unveiled in various locations across the capital from next July 2014 and visitors will have the chance to discover them by following literary trails around London.

With the hope of creating 50-70 “BookBenches” around London, one can only hope that the idea will be picked up by other municipal councils around the world!   Given that much reading occurs on park benches, the idea really is very cool!

The vivid colours depicting The Wind in the Willows noted in a recent article in The Guardian is just one of the appealing benches set to be put on display in 2014.

Wind in the Willows bench for NLT

Wind in Willows bench back

I can’t wait to see the illustration of one of my all time favourite picture story books – Michael Rosen’s “We’re going on a bear hunt”

But if you think this is the first time that someone has come up with the idea of promoting literature on park benches, you’re wrong.   Check out this Pinterest site to see some very cool benches!

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How coincidental it is when one has an idea that is the same as someone else on the other side of the world ’cause that’s  kind of what happened to me just recently!

A few weeks ago, I noticed a post on FaceBook by the NYOR team promoting a Swap Box which had been established by someone or some organization somewhere in Australia.  Regrettably I didn’t jot down the name of the person behind the idea.  I did however keep a picture of it to share with my colleagues in our school library.   The picture I saved was this:

Needless to say ….. it didn’t take too long to create a very similar box which now sits on display on our circulation desk.  Filled with a starter bundle of books which library staff cobbled together, the Swap Box has been a source of interest since and is a really great way to promote an interest in that wonderful feeling of holding, reading and owning a book!

Soon after getting our box up and running, someone sent me a link to a newly established website: “Little Free Library”.  Begun just a short while ago, these pop up libraries, first begun in Wisconsin in the USA, can be found in more than 40 states across the US as well as in 20+ countries around the world.  Found predominantly decorating the front yards of homes or residential neighbourhoods, the Little Free Library looks like a box on a short post, much like a letter box.  With the motto “Give a book ….. Return a book” the Little Free Library is a new way of inspiring and promoting a love of reading while building a sense of community.

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