Tornadoes, The Caldecott Medal, and Girl Scouts…

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Spring at last…..as I look out the Library window, the sun is shining and one of our parents is outside without a coat on!  There were days this past winter when we were doubtful we could ever return our coats to the closet.

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As wonderful as spring is, there are a few aspects of the season that are less pleasant – mild inconveniences like allergies and larger threats like tornadoes, particularly in the midwest. Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the Super Tornado Outbreak of 1974. More than 140 tornadoes touched down in 13 states over two destructive days. 330 people were killed, 30 of them in Xenia, Ohio, where over 1000 homes were destroyed. One of them was mine. My family lost our house and pretty much everything in it, but we lived through the F5 storm – unlike two of our neighbors. Every so often, there’s an Inly student who is particularly interested in noteworthy weather events, and I will pull a few “tornado books” off the library shelf to tell them about the 1974 storm.  If you know kids who want to read about tornadoes, suggest one of these books:

Tornadoes by Seymour Simon

Do Tornadoes Really Twist? by Melvin and Glida Berger

Tornado! The 1974 Super Outbreak by Jacqueline A. Ball

Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons (for younger children)

Tornado!: The Story Behind These Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms by Judy Fradin

Inside Tornadoes by Mary Kay Carson

On a cheerier note, our third grade students presented their Caldecott Award projects today. The result of a five-week study of the Caldecott Award, each of them selected an award-winning book, learned about the illustrator, and prepared a short presentation. It was awesome to hear the kids use their new picture book vocabulary – gutter and landscape format and endpapers.  The best part of the project was to see how the enthusiasm grew as the weeks passed. Initially, some of the kids thought they were “too old” for picture books, but as they learned to look at them more deeply and appreciate the illustrator’s decisions and talents, they became more engaged. The student in this picture is telling us what she liked best about Eric Rohmann’s book, My Friend Rabbit:

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And one group’s celebration at the end of their presentations:

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Here Come the Girl Scouts! a new picture book biography of Juliette Low by Shana Corey is one of my favorite spring books. The green reminds me of my old girl scout uniform  and the “retro” feel of the book captures the early days of the Girl Scouts perfectly. Juliette Low seems like someone we should know more about, Girl Scouts or not!  Her story is inspiring….”She rode elephants in India, visited the Great Pyramids in Egypt, went fishing during fancy dinner parties, and even flew in a monoplane,” Corey writes. I didn’t know any of that, but now I’m curious to learn more about the founder of the Girl Scouts and, of course, to buy more Girl Scout Cookies!

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