I’m in heaven… Thank you @edbookfest

I’m in heaven… Thank you @edbookfest

My reading material is watching me… #weird

My reading material is watching me… #weird

Tags: weird

I’ve been thinking about play, in particular play parks. Ever since I visited one recently with my God son and also since I watched Project Wild Thing - a feature length film highlighting the importance of getting children outside. This film emphasises the rich experiences waiting to be had in nature; running through long grass, climbing trees, oh and licking frogs. So this got me thinking, within this free natural playground, where does the manufactured playground fit in?
Playgrounds are popular, and in my experience a lot of my childhood was spent in them. This is where I developed the courage to stand on a rectangular piece of rubber while swinging high in the air or climb to the top of a structure 3 times the height of me, but wait a minute these experiences can be achieved in the great outdoors, what a great playground! 
Of course the advantage of playgrounds is that they are packaged and prepared for children and contain recognised pieces of equipment placed there for the soul purpose of play. They (mostly) have soft surfaces that cushion a child’s fall and of course they are widely available, especially in built up and residential areas.
I am all for playgrounds, they are invaluable to communities and often one of the few times parents meet other parents and children meet other children. Alongside this, I advocate that natural environments provide all of the same experiences and more while encouraging children to develop a love for the outdoors and nature amongst many other things. 
Although many newer playgrounds encourage use of the imagination, like pretending to be a pirate for example I believe that gazing at tall trees, stepping on cracking branches underfoot and brushing long tickly grass sparks children’s imagination even more (see "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen).
In areas that have less natural features for example in the centre of cities and in vast residential areas there are still many ‘naturally occuring’ playgrounds. Remember bouncing a ball off a wall as a kid? How about jumping off of a wall or playing hopskotch on cracked paving slabs?
One of my favourite picture books is “How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his hired Sportsmen” by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake. It tells the story of young Tom, a boy who is able to save himself from the threat of his uptight aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong and her strange acquaintance, Captain Najork, purely through his ability to play, and see opportunities for play in the most unlikely places - how wonderful!
Wouldn’t it be great if our children were able to climb, jump, swing, splash, leap, balance, hop, squelch, fall and laugh whenever the opportunity presented itself, whether in a playground or not? 
This post was also inspired by the arrival of Play Day 2014 on Wed 6th August 2014. Read more about this wonderful event here.

I’ve been thinking about play, in particular play parks. Ever since I visited one recently with my God son and also since I watched Project Wild Thing - a feature length film highlighting the importance of getting children outside. This film emphasises the rich experiences waiting to be had in nature; running through long grass, climbing trees, oh and licking frogs. So this got me thinking, within this free natural playground, where does the manufactured playground fit in?

Playgrounds are popular, and in my experience a lot of my childhood was spent in them. This is where I developed the courage to stand on a rectangular piece of rubber while swinging high in the air or climb to the top of a structure 3 times the height of me, but wait a minute these experiences can be achieved in the great outdoors, what a great playground! 

Of course the advantage of playgrounds is that they are packaged and prepared for children and contain recognised pieces of equipment placed there for the soul purpose of play. They (mostly) have soft surfaces that cushion a child’s fall and of course they are widely available, especially in built up and residential areas.

I am all for playgrounds, they are invaluable to communities and often one of the few times parents meet other parents and children meet other children. Alongside this, I advocate that natural environments provide all of the same experiences and more while encouraging children to develop a love for the outdoors and nature amongst many other things. 

Although many newer playgrounds encourage use of the imagination, like pretending to be a pirate for example I believe that gazing at tall trees, stepping on cracking branches underfoot and brushing long tickly grass sparks children’s imagination even more (see "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen).

In areas that have less natural features for example in the centre of cities and in vast residential areas there are still many ‘naturally occuring’ playgrounds. Remember bouncing a ball off a wall as a kid? How about jumping off of a wall or playing hopskotch on cracked paving slabs?

One of my favourite picture books is “How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his hired Sportsmen” by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake. It tells the story of young Tom, a boy who is able to save himself from the threat of his uptight aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong and her strange acquaintance, Captain Najork, purely through his ability to play, and see opportunities for play in the most unlikely places - how wonderful!

Wouldn’t it be great if our children were able to climb, jump, swing, splash, leap, balance, hop, squelch, fall and laugh whenever the opportunity presented itself, whether in a playground or not? 

This post was also inspired by the arrival of Play Day 2014 on Wed 6th August 2014. Read more about this wonderful event here.

Review of “Millions” by Frank Cottrell Boyce
I first saw Frank speaking at a Kilbrandon lecture in Strathclyde university a few months ago, he was promoting ‘reading for pleasure’. It was a fantastic lecture and it prompted me to read one of his books and it was indeed a pleasure.
This book explores the question “what would you do with a million pounds?” and looks at how what we imagine we would do contrasts with the moral practicalities of this once in a lifetime scenario. The main character Damien is quite a unique child of his age. He has a strong moral compass and uses religion to help him choose his path in life. This is in contrast with his older brother Anthony, who is a little more imaginative and adventurous and more child like in his decisions. Boyce presents both sides well and as a reader I found myself wanting them to do what was right in the eyes of society but also to have fun, be creative and do what children do best. Afterall, as an adult this is no longer an option.
I recently finished Enid Blyton’s biography. When her books for children were reviewed it was always said that she has a unique ability to write in a way that children understood, she naturally understood the ways that they think. Like Blyton, Frank was able to share the innermost thoughts of a child in “Millions” and it made a great read.

Review of “Millions” by Frank Cottrell Boyce

I first saw Frank speaking at a Kilbrandon lecture in Strathclyde university a few months ago, he was promoting ‘reading for pleasure’. It was a fantastic lecture and it prompted me to read one of his books and it was indeed a pleasure.

This book explores the question “what would you do with a million pounds?” and looks at how what we imagine we would do contrasts with the moral practicalities of this once in a lifetime scenario. The main character Damien is quite a unique child of his age. He has a strong moral compass and uses religion to help him choose his path in life. This is in contrast with his older brother Anthony, who is a little more imaginative and adventurous and more child like in his decisions. Boyce presents both sides well and as a reader I found myself wanting them to do what was right in the eyes of society but also to have fun, be creative and do what children do best. Afterall, as an adult this is no longer an option.

I recently finished Enid Blyton’s biography. When her books for children were reviewed it was always said that she has a unique ability to write in a way that children understood, she naturally understood the ways that they think. Like Blyton, Frank was able to share the innermost thoughts of a child in “Millions” and it made a great read.

Review of: “The Boy who Swam with Piranhas” by David Almond and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

A story of kindness, bravery and belonging, celebrating the partnership between; Almond and Jeffers and their characters Stanley Potts and Pancho Pirelli.

My first love is children’s picturebooks, Oliver Jeffers books in particular. I love the way in which pictures and text interact. As my curiosity for children’s literature as a whole widens I am also witnessing a change in the way that illustrations are used in books for children and young adults. In the same way that we now recognise that play and creativity should continue into adulthood; children’s literature reflects the fact that pictorial texts should also continue to be read as we grow older. 

David Almond’s unique writing style partnered with Oliver Jeffers’ quirky illustrations made this a real pleasure to read and explore. Their partnership is quite wonderful. Almond invites the reader to imagine what else is going on in the world within which the story takes place; while Jeffers enhances the experience with his simple and expressive drawings.

As a storyteller, Almond uses words in quite a remarkable way. The text is not always comfortable sitting between the lines above and below, sometimes it is out on its own, in a different font or as handwriting, sometimes as part of a drawing. Almond also gives the spoken word a life of its own by writing it phonetically, quite humorously prompting the reader to take on the role of the character.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more illustrated novels as well as books by David Almond. I am also going to recommend this book to my school, what a great prompt for writing and characterisation for younger children ready to take a leap.

aformofhealing:

Voltaire and Rousseau 
12-14 Otago Ln, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G12 8PB, United Kingdom

(via teachingliteracy)

What one will I read next? @yalc_uk #holidays @GlasgowLib

What one will I read next? @yalc_uk #holidays @GlasgowLib

Tags: holidays

This is the first blog post in a long daisy chain of posts that I plan to share with you. My train of thinking started when my lovely friend invited me to watch a special screening of “Project Wild Thing” - a film exploring the impact of swapping ‘screen time’ for ‘wild time’ or ‘time spent in the outdoors’ and the positive impact this can have on children and their families.

The film got me thinking about a number of things:

1. children’s books that celebrate the outdoors and children’s love of adventure.

2. how children actually play and what the outdoor environment has to offer to meet these needs.

3. availability of public spaces.

4. the psychology of public spaces…

Watch this space (but only for a short while so you have time to go outside…)

Fruitful trip to @GlasgowLib: @DamianDibben @Patrick_Ness #FrankCottrellBoyce #EnidBlyton @MacmillanKidsUK @WalkerBooksUK @randomhouse

Fruitful trip to @GlasgowLib: @DamianDibben @Patrick_Ness #FrankCottrellBoyce #EnidBlyton @MacmillanKidsUK @WalkerBooksUK @randomhouse

Unexpected literary bonus on my trip to Tesco today #Bambi #Disney #Tesco

Unexpected literary bonus on my trip to Tesco today #Bambi #Disney #Tesco