Students at Emerson Elementary in Elmhurst, IL – under the direction of awesome librarian Lauren Blanford – were the first to try this fun activity. And it’s a perfect STEAM project to try at home.
While it’s based on my book Truman, illustrated by the amazing Lucy Ruth Cummins, you don’t need the book in front of you to give it a try. But it’s always a bonus if you do. And you can buy it right here.
Maybe begin by making a Play-Do or paper Truman to track through the course. Then what obstacles will you use? Blocks? Tubes? Shoes? Couch cushions? The options are endless. Will Truman make it? Or will you trick him into a wrong turn? Send me photos and I’ll post them on my blog.
In the middle of this global crisis, parents, teachers, caregivers, librarians, publishers, authors and illustrators are all rising to the challenge of at-home learning. I’ve been trying to do my part by supplying links to my FREE Curriculum, Activity and Storytime Guides linked to learning standards for all my books.
But I also know that many of you are overwhelmed with resources. So I thought it might be helpful to post some of my favorite activities individually right here. I’ll try to do so daily. And for added benefit, I’ll try to pick from the low-tech learning options first.
So, to kick it off, we have Onomatopoeia Poems inspired by my book When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall … which today, in Colorado, it most certainly is. You don’t need the book to do this activity, but it certainly more fun if you do. And you can buy it right here.
So, here you go (below)! Feel free to post your kids’ poems in the comments or e-mail them to me and maybe I’ll include them in a guest poet post.
With the grand ALA award celebrations swiftly approaching (and yes, I’ll be rising early to tune into the live stream of excitement) other awards sometimes get overlooked. One of those is the Charlotte Zolotow Award – it is one of the only major awards given for picture book text. Here’s the description from the award website:
The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the United States in the preceding year. Established in 1998, the award is named to honor the work of Charlotte Zolotow, a distinguished children’s book editor for 38 years with Harper Junior Books, and author of more than 70 picture books, including such classic works as Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (Harper, 1962) and William’s Doll (Harper, 1972). Ms. Zolotow attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison on a writing scholarship from 1933-36 where she studied with Professor Helen C. White.
The award is administered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a children’s literature library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each year a committee of children’s literature experts selects the winner from the books published in the preceding year. The winner is announced in January each year. A bronze medallion is formally presented to the winning author in the spring during an annual public event that honors the career of Charlotte Zolotow.
With all of that said, I’m overwhelmed with emotion and very, VERY honored, to have TRUMAN recognized as a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book.
This makes my heart soar!
Thank you to the committee and to the fabulous team of Lucy Ruth Cummins, Emma Ledbetter, Alexa Pastor, Erin Murphy and all my friends at Atheneum/Simon & Schuster!
There’s something magical about snow – whether you’re rolling it, stomping it, or watching it from your window. I happen to LOVE snow. That’s why I’m so excited to reveal my latest book – out today.
And I’m loving this Kirkus review!
“… this snow ballad (with repeated and expanding chorus and onomatopoeic exclamations) sings: “And my nose drip, drips, / and my wet cheeks freeze, / and the drifts, oh they drift / to the tops of my knees, / and my feet get soaked, / toes one and all, / because the snow is deeper— / it’s really so much deeper— / the snow is deeper than my boots are tall.” It’s just waiting for a performer and a young audience eager to participate. This celebration of the first day of snowy play hits the right notes.”
Would you like Autographed Book Stickers? E-mail me.
Teachers and Librarians see my FREE resources including Skype Visits and the WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER THAN MY BOOTS ARE TALL Curriculum Guide and Storytime Kit. Or how about a school visit? Just e-mail me.
If you’re as excited about WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER as I am, please help me spread the word. Here are some sample tweets to get you started:
BRRRR! Just in time for chilly winter days. WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER THAN MY BOOTS ARE TALL a new picture book by @jeanreidy and illustrated by @joeychouart. https://tinyurl.com/yyn9ptvv
Chilly days are the perfect time to cozy up with a good book. How about WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER THAN MY BOOTS ARE TALL – a new picture book by @jeanreidy and illustrated by @joeychouart? https://tinyurl.com/yyn9ptvv
Here’s a perfect picture book for the snow-loving young readers in your life. WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER THAN MY BOOTS ARE TALL – a new book by @jeanreidy and illustrated by @joeychouart. https://tinyurl.com/yyn9ptvv
And if you simply can’t wait until you get your copy, here’s a sneak peek at a few of my favorite pages!
A couple of years ago, a new character popped into my imagination – a small spider who hung outside an apartment building. I immediately knew that sweet spider would be altruistic and humble with a unique perspective on the people who lived inside. But as the spider’s story developed, I also discovered the stories of four people – and one brave tortoise making a cameo appearance – who would be the heart of this spider’s world.
I can’t wait for you all to meet SYLVIE! I’m thrilled to be paired up with Lucy Ruth Cummins again. 2022 can’t come fast enough! Here’s the announcement:
Alexa Pastor at Atheneum has bought world rights to a new picture book by Truman author and illustrator Jean Reidy (l.) and Lucy Ruth Cummins: Sylvie, about a surreptitious spider who gathers the courage to help the neighbors she has watched over from afar. Publication is slated for spring 2022; Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management represented the illustrator.
In the “treats” category today – TRUMAN has been selected as a Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner! Lucy Ruth Cummins and I are so VERY honored. No celebratory donuts handy. But then again, all that Halloween candy is just sitting there … hmmmmm.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Truman is a very small tortoise, the size of a small doughnut. He lives with his Sarah and keeps her company when she quietly plays. Sarah keeps him in an aquarium in a window where can watch and hear the traffic far below. One day, he is given extra green beans and observes Sarah getting on the number eleven bus and leaving. When she doesn’t return quickly, Truman waits patiently. And he waits and he waits. And then, he climbs out of his aquarium to find her. The world turns out to be bigger and more ominous than Truman anticipated.
With soft black outlines and a flat cartoon style, Truman’s story of bravery and devotion is interspersed with numbered objects to be counted. It is well paced and perfectly suited for the very young and tender-hearted.”
I love when a reviewer so completely understands a book.
Horn Book captures an element that many miss – that Truman’s journey parallels “a child’s own first journey into the unknown that is school.”
Thank you, Julie Danielson for this lovely review!
“Most picture books chronicling the first day of school focus on the small humans experiencing that rite of passage, but here the star is one such child’s intrepid pet tortoise. Truman lives in the big city with ‘his Sarah,’ who leaves one day with a backpack. She also places two extra green beans (uh-oh) in his tank and tells him to be brave. When, from the window, Truman sees her board the #11 bus going south, he knows he will have to go after her. Thus begins his slow-moving journey…across the living room, the pink floor rug being the most daunting obstacle: ‘Without Sarah, their home seemed vast and uncharted and unsettling.’ Just as he’s about to slip under the front door, Sarah returns, touched by his bravery and determination. At the heart of this story, paralleling a child’s own first journey into the unknown that is school, is the affectionate relationship between Sarah and Truman (Sarah regularly kisses her finger and touches it to his shell), and there’s much humor and drama in Truman’s exertions. Cummins’s relaxed-line, mixed-media illustrations bring the family’s cozy world to life, and the occasional use of a larger, bolder font emphasizes the heroics needed for Truman’s journey. This little creature has big courage, something to which small humans can relate.”
Walking to the store reminds me of my once “big city” life. And while today I heard no honking taxis or growling trash trucks or shrieking cars, I did buy a big city newspaper and a donut … because it’s not every day that a tiny urban tortoise makes his New York Times debut.
Here’s the review!
“A girl. Her pet turtle. Her first day of school. From these simple elements Reidy (‘Pup 681’) and Cummins (‘Stumpkin’) spin an enchanting tale of bravery, heroism and undying devotion. Little Sarah lives in an apartment, and Truman’s tank is perched on a windowsill. When she leaves on a bus after some unusual preparations — ‘that backpack was particularly big,’ he thinks — he decides to make a break and find her. He makes it to the rug, but ‘without Sarah, their home seemed vast and uncharted and unsettling.’ Cummins’s delectable art captures the warm, witty heart of the story.”
Would you like Autographed Book Stickers? E-mail me.
Teachers and Librarians see my FREE resources including Skype Visits and the TRUMAN Curriculum Guide and Storytime Kit. Or how about a school visit? Just e-mail me.
Finally, if you’re as excited about TRUMAN as I am, please help me spread the word. Here are some sample tweets to get you started:
TRUMAN “charms; there’s just something uplifting and wonderful about the whole package.” (Kirkus STARRED review) And it’s now available from author @jeanreidy, illustrator @lucyruth, and @SimonKids.http://tinyurl.com/y3czrqjg
TRUMAN “will have readers of all ages falling in love” (Booklist). And it’s now available from author @jeanreidy, illustrator @lucyruth, and @SimonKids.http://tinyurl.com/y3czrqjg
A charming first-day-of-school story for the young animal lovers in your life, TRUMAN is now available from author @jeanreidy, illustrator @lucyruth, and @SimonKids.http://tinyurl.com/y3czrqjg