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Sunday, January 10, 2010

And Yet Still More Free Resources from Children's Publishers

This is my fourth, but probably not the last, post focusing on free resources from children's publishers. If you're just arriving, you'll want to check out the older posts to see parts one, two, and three. If you know of a publisher I've missed, drop me a line!

Salariya is the UK publisher of the immensely popular Scholastic "You Wouldn't Want..." series which I discussed in a previous blog. They've put four of their more popular titles online for direct viewing, with a little bit of interactivity and related links to boot. Check out the online versions of You Wouldn't Want to be a Roman Gladiator, You Wouldn't Want to be an Egyptian Mummy, You Wouldn't Want to be a Polar Explorer, and You Wouldn't Want to Sail on a 19th Century Whaling Ship. Some of the links which appear at the end of each book are equally worth exploring.

I don't know how I mentioned Candlewick in my previous post without noting their very cool Ology World site. While this is topic of a post on this site, I'll leave it to you if you wish to sneak a peek. Your boys especially will like the interactive approach to nonfiction.

I also mentioned the Walker US site and the Walker Australia site, only to find out that there's an equally impressive Walker UK site. The Kids Den presents the user with the option to explore several minisites devoted to specific titles and characters (such as Judy Moody, Alex Rider, and Anthony Horowitz's Power of Five). A page for grown-ups features short yet comprehensive articles on topics such as Learning at Home, Reading Aloud, and Rereading. One resource I highly recommend you download right now is a poster titled The Rights of the Reader (see thumbnail to the right), written by Daniel Pennac and illustrated by the quirky Quentin Blake. A must-have for any classroom or library. Other cool resources they offer directly (posters, teaching guides, podcasts, videos, etc.) are available from a single page where they're organized by age group. Additional literacy links which will take you off the Walker site are also provided at Links We Like.

Abrams' most famous titles for children come from their Amulet Books imprint. Leading the way is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, now a best-selling series (visit the minisite here). Gaining ground, however, is the The Sisters Grimm, which appeals to a slightly different demographic. This title has its own minisite where teachers can download a teaching guide, allowing them to make natural connections to the fairy tale genre. Coming in third place is NERDS (National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society), also by Michael Buckley, author of The Sisters Grimm. This site, again, features its own minisite, author video, and first chapter online preview.

Abdo Publishing Group incorporates a number of imprints at its site, and it's worth a look. The printable activities change often, and offer seasonal connections to many of its titles. One handout which teachers might find useful is the Create Your Own Superhero Handout. This is a terrific page to accompany the Hero Factory online activity which appeared in one of my previous posts on heroes in picture books (you can also check out Marvel Comic's cool Create Your Own Superhero interactive site). Teachers interested in making a case for using comics and graphic novels in the classroom may also appreciate the two page pdf Comic Books and Literacy Studies (also required reading if you need some convincing yourself). In that document some notable folks, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu and Jim Trelease, make a case for reading comics as a part of their own character development.

While we're briefly on the topic of graphic novels, another terrific resource for librarians and teachers is a pdf created by Scholastic and Bone series author Jeff Smith. Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom is a straight forward guide written in Q and A format which answers many questions and counters many arguments about comics in school curriculum and libraries.

Kane/Miller Book Publishers shares ideas (teacher to teacher) in single page Teaching Tips sheets (they download as Word documents). You'll find a decent list here to many favorites, including one of mine: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (see my dedicated post for this book). The Fun Page features printable games, coloring pages, bookmarks, etc.

Nomad Press seems to specialize in nonfiction books, particularly those focused on history and the people who made it. Their Activity Pages contain crafts and explorations from their titles, and you'll find about four or five dozen to explore (all available as pdfs from Scribd). Each featured book also has a full-page layout, featuring not only a summary, list of references, and information about the authors and illustrators, but also web links, downloadable Facts and Q and A sheets, plus a link to the activity sheet for that title (see Tools of Ancient Romans for a sample). Pictured activity is Make Your Own Tabletop Victory Garden from Great World War II Projects You Can Build Yourself.

Peachtree Publishers allows you to see all teacher's guides on a single page, and they're accessible by clicking on any book's cover (this one page includes picture books, middle school novels, and YA lit). I was pleased to see a teaching guide for The Yellow Star: The Legend of Christian X of Denmark, one of my favorite picture books for discussing the Holocaust (see others at a previous post). Peachtree is also creating a collection of story kits, meant for teachers of lower grades, which contain many more activities, templates, and picture resources than the above teaching guides.

Although I mentioned Harper Collins in the first installment of this Resources series, a reader suggested I also point teachers and students to the Harper Collins Children's Video Player, which offers snippets and full video versions of books from this publisher.

Are there more resources out there available from publishers? Absolutely! Let's find them together. Email me or leave a comment below if I've neglected to mention some great resources available from a publisher, not only here in the states but anywhere in the world!


BookChook said...

There are more great resources here, Keith. I think it's so useful when publishers add value to a book by providing learning activities to accompany it. Thanks for doing all the research!

Roberta said...

Wow, this is a great resource for not only educators, but also those interested in children's literature as writers.

Excellent series of posts!

Anonymous said...

This is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

gina said...

What a fabulous collection of resources. You are quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs!

Thanks for sharing!