Monday, 24 March 2014

Day 1 to Day 5 - 30 books in 30 days Challenge


I wish to begin our activities on the blog with not a book review, but with our experiences at an online book challenge that we participated in. The month of March 2014 saw mommy and baby being an active part of the ’30 books in 30 days Challenge’ hosted by Bubble Ink, a blog created to share book reviews and spread the sheer joy of reading to your child, even introduce it to many, in the process. The basic purpose of the challenge was to help introduce the habit of reading everyday to your child, taking inspiration from this post here, backed by their love for children’s books. The hosts would introduce a reading prompt for each day and some delightful picks of their own to help understand and adopt the prompt, though they would always reassure the participants that reading any other book was fine, as long as we were reading everyday.

We were already chronic book-readers. So with that, we were off to a comfortable start. It was the idea of the daily prompt that excited me a lot. It was an avenue to learn about new books, authors, ideas and genres. And so it was. Other than the suggestions put up by the hosts, the participants also wrote about their picks and that opened up another goldmine of books! There were privileged participants - authors, story-tellers, bloggers and avid, frenzied mommies who loved picture books! And as at today, Day 23 of the challenge, it has been a most wonderful journey! We are richer by some brilliant books already purchased and still have almost 50+ books in shopping carts across Amazon and Ebay and Flipkart!

Here, I present a short summary of the daily prompts, our reading experience and the books that were read and discussed. I have tried to copy quotes, mine as well as those of others, from the challenge as much as possible.

March 1, 2014 - Day 1 -  Reading Prompt - Hugs and Kisses

Bubble Ink Picks - 
Huggy Kissy            - Leslie Patricelli
Counting Kisses      - Karen Katz
Love and Kisses      - Sarah Wilson

The first day was a bummer! We did not have any books relating to the prompt! So we read out of the theme and our reads were - The Gingerbread Man, the original author of which is unknown -an all-time favourite at home. The second book we read was 'The Wizard of Oz' by Frank Baum. This is not a personal favourite, but my 4 year old is fascinated! 

We later ended up buying a book shared by another participant, ‘Where do kisses come from?’ It’s a book that beautifully depicts the many reasons the kiss is given - 'I missed you kisses', 'thank-you kisses', 'feel-better kisses' and 'kisses just because…'  The end line is especially endearing which goes like this -  'No matter what kind of kiss it is, ALL kisses come from love.’

March 2, 2014 - Day 2 -  Reading Prompt – Dr. Seuss
Bubble Ink Picks –
Cat in the Hat
Ten apples up on top!

The prompt was a tribute to the author’s birth anniversary, which is also celebrated across America as National ‘Read Across America’ Day.

Again, we had no books from the Dr Seuss collection in our library. We read 'Roaring Rockets' by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. It's a crisp read about rockets and what they do, with fantastic crayons' style illustrations and writing. We also read 'Mala's Silver Anklets' by Annie Besant (Tulika books, a refreshing welcome entry to children's literature in India). It's a delightful book about a little girl playing pranks on everyone till her mom decides to put anklets on her little feet to forewarn her victims.

I must admit, I have been biased in my perception of Dr Seuss till this prompt came up. That is, till I actually ever picked up a book of his’ and read it. Today, we own a 20-book collection, thanks to this challenge! And my daughter loves him – his wild lines ( Zizzer, Zazzer Zuzz, fiffer-feffer-feff ) keeps her in splits and I am dazzled by the sheer exuberance of his literature. A serious check to myself at the end of this exercise was – don’t saddle your personal biases when choosing books for your little one! Give her the book and let her decide!

A book shared on this day that we ended up buying was ‘Don’t be so nosy, Posy!’ by Nicola Grant. This is a story of a piglet who is very nosy and how she saves the day!

March 3, 2014 - Day 3 -  Reading Prompt – Jungle / Zoo
Bubble Ink Picks –
The Gruffalo                                            - Julia Donaldson
Hide and Seek                                          - Jez Alborough
Endangered Animals of India                   - Praba Ram and Meera Sriram

We struck gold this time! Yay!

What better book for this theme than 'The Gruffalo' and 'The Gruffalo's Child' (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) ... an absolute favourite at our place between Appa, Amma and baby! In fact, the reading part is mostly done by my little one, what with both stories being literally imprinted on her little mind!  We also read ' We're Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. These stories are also special to us because we have also seen the theatre plays - our first experience at live plays!

Our purchase from this day’s recommendation by participants was Eric Carle's 'Slowly, slowly, slowly said the sloth’. We also learnt about a new genre of books called ‘porquoi stories’ ( fictional narratives that explain why something is the way it is ) and we ended up buying ‘ How the elephant got its trunk?’ by Tinga Tinga Tales.

March 4, 2014 - Day 4 -  Reading Prompt – 1, 2, 3 / Numbers
Bubble Ink Picks –
Ten Black Dots                        - Donald Crews
Ten in the Bed                         - Penny Dale
9 to 1 - Thumb Print book       - Nivedita Subramaniam Tulika Publishers

Let’s see what we could find in our library!  We read another favourite today - 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle. Then we read 'Dosa' by Sandhya Rao - its a bi-lingual (Tamil and English), an amusing tale of disappearing number of dosas dished out by Amma for Bapa! We completed our reading for the day with a book, 'Space' that we picked up from the Science museum. It is like an introduction about space to kids and I basically connected the number of planets to our theme for today! My kiddo was quite sad to know scientists do not think of Pluto as a planet anymore! Ha!

Our purchases from this day’s recommendation was 'Dad! I can't sleep' by Michael Foreman. A tale about a little panda who ends up counting all possible animals and numbers at bedtime because he cannot got to sleep. It goes on to have a comical end with all animals ending up on bed with him, still wide awake! We also bought ‘Ten in the Bed’ by Penny Dale as suggested in the prompt and Over in the meadow by "Olive. A. Wadsworth – This is a classic song about a meadow which filled with loving animal families. One can find and count not only the animal babies, but background details that also correspond to the numbers in the classic song. A you tube link to an awesome sing-along of this book that you can listen to is pasted here – Over in the Meadow - Sing Along

March 5, 2014 - Day 5 -  Reading Prompt – Wordless Wednesday
Bubble Ink Picks –
HUG                                        - Jez Alborough
Good night, Gorilla                  - Peggy Rathman
Round and Round Books          - Deepa Balsavar, Tulika Publishers

Now this one totally blew us away! We never knew about wordless books! Ohh, thank providence for the joy of sharing ideas! Basically wordless books are, as the name suggests, picture books without any words. 100% visually effective, they invite the little readers to run wild with their imagination and conjure up their own ideas of the story in front of them! Though we did not have any books at that time, we did buy Flotsam by David Wiesner ( I have become a big fan of this multiple award winning author – many of his books lie in my shopping lists, to be bought gradually, but surely). It’s an awesome book, a must have for any library!

What we ultimately did was this – I picked up a Jataka Tale story from an Amar Chitra Katha publication as my 4 year old is only now attempting to read. The story was called 'True Friendship' and I asked A to try if she could make out the story through pictures. It took a while for us to make the journey till the last page, but it was hilarious! I later read the story to her and it was her turn to laugh! The good part was she got the moral right at the end. That we should be the good kind of friends!

Another purchase that we bought from the books discussed was, ‘That's not a good idea’ by Mo Willams, though the book isn’t delivered yet.

So that chronicled the first 5 days of the challenge. The challenge started off as interesting and a real eye-opener. Though we have been reading every day since a long time now, we had no books in our library on 3 of the 5 topics covered till now – one of them, unheard of! Now that’s some learning! And turned out, there will be a lot more to learn in the days to come!

Happy reading!

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