Friday, September 28, 2012

Kauai Children’s Authors Celebrate National Book Month

“Pledge Allegiance to Knowledge” is the year’s theme of National Book Month. Kauai’s Children’s Authors are doing just that, sharing knowledge. As a group, Kauai Authors Guild members gather to share knowledge with one another, passing on useful information about the publishing industry.

As individuals, they share their stories, and some pretty interesting non-fiction and science with their young readers. To celebrate National Book Month, the authors will be gathering for book readings, activities and book signings at the annual Princess Ka’iulani Keiki Festival in October. They chose this venue because the festival has a long history of promoting literacy and was once known as the Kauai Keiki Story Fest.

Kauai author, Monika Mira has been particularly busy sharing knowledge. This year alone, she has released three new non-fiction titles for the Amazon Kindle, all of which are part of the ongoing Science and Nature Series for Young Readers. Amazon bestseller, SPIDERS, teaches children all about the mysterious world of these creepy crawlies, including everything from web building to anatomy. HAWAII’S GREEN SEA TURTLES and FUN FISH FACTS FOR KIDS allow children to discover the wonders of underwater world.

As with all of Mira’s books, she takes the time to make sure that children understand human and environmental threats to wildlife and the importance of conservation. She will be offering a coral reef coloring activity for children at the festival in conjunction with her award-winning title, The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book.

Mark Jeffers of Storybook Theatre is the newest member of the Guild. However, his newly released book, The Eye of the Lion, The Story of my First Hurricane was written over twenty years ago. The book recounts the story of Hurricane ‘Iniki as it passes over the island of Kauaʻi leaving a wake of destruction in its path. He shows how one Hawaiian family prepares for the hurricane and supports each other while the storm passes over their home. Jeffers is also one of the organizers of the Princess Ka’iulani Keiki Fest.

Authors Carol Peacock, Susan Dierker and Wendy Lewis will be at the festival to share their stories with children as will. Benny the Beetle is classic bedtime story that was illustrated by Peacock’s mother many years prior to the release of the book. Susan Dierker will be reading her title, Knuckles the Hound of Hanalei. The story is about transition and love as one family adopts a pet from the humane society.

Wendy Lewis not only promotes literacy, but has toured to dozens of schools to talk about what’s new in science and technology. Her book, Sabrina, The Girl with a Hole in her Heart is based on a true story about a 10-year-old girl from Africa who has a heart defect that leaves her weak and tired. Doctors in her village can't help so Sabrina must decide if she can fly alone to a faraway place to receive the surgery she needs. This story teaches children about the spirit and the anatomy of the human heart while tying in science and technology.

All of the authors will be on-hand at the Princess Ka'iulani Keiki Festival to celebrate literacy and talk story with Kauai’s Keiki. The festival will be held on October 20th, 2012 in Hanapepe town from 10-4.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Build a coral reef lesson plan for your classroom

A unit on coral reefs is common in elementary school, so why not make a coral reef mural part of the lesson. All you need is a copy of The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book by Kauai author, Monika Mira and a bunch of willing hands (literally). Every fish you could possibly need is in the book.

You will want to prep the wall where you will put your mural the day before you begin this unit. You can do this by covering a large space with blue butcher paper.

To start the unit, open the book to the section on fishes and describe one of the fish by reading the text, which includes its common, scientific and Hawaiian name. Ask your students, “who wants to color in this fish?” Tear it out of the book and repeat with the next fish until all of your students have a fish. During the process, your students will learn about many different fish on the reef.

Allow the students to color in the fish however they like. Let the creativity flow. They do no need to color the fish exactly how it appears in nature unless they wish to do so. Once all the fish are colored in, have your students cut them out. Then set them aside.

Set out some construction paper and have your students trace their hands and cut them out. While you are doing this, you can describe what a coral is, and how coral reefs are built. Don’t worry, all this information is included in the beginning sections of The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book. Pass around a piece of coral if you have one.

It is now time to build the reef. Glue the hands, fingers pointing up on the bottom of the butcher paper. Overlapping hands look really nice. This is your coral reef. Now, it is time to glue the fish onto your reef.

What a great project. You incorporated Science, reading, and art all into one fun assignment.