13 Comments

[Monday Reading] Welcome to Faeryland

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Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

I have also written a post about my thoughts on the Accelerated Reader Program.

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I am inviting fellow teachers, teacher educators, writers, librarians, authors, artists, parents, fellow book enthusiasts to share their own experiences and ideas about the AR program.

Does the Accelerated Reader Program help develop Lifelong Readers?

Widget courtesy of the ever-talented Iphigene.

In keeping with our theme, here are two beautifully illustrated picture books that welcome the wide-eyed to faeryland. I would have loved these two books had I known about them when I was much younger.

IMG_9752A Practical Guide to Faeries

Text by: Susan J. Morris Edited by: Nina Hess
Published by: Wizards, 2009.
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

As the title clearly says, this “practical guide” has absolutely everything that a child (or a child-at-heart) needs to navigate through what our tour-guide calls Feywild. The Faerie Guide Emeritus that provides such a highly-detailed collection of facts is named Pip Puddlejump Impirae Pioneer Playful Prankster Panishee (now I dare you to say that five times as quickly as you can, and just maybe you’d see her hanging over your shoulders in all her pixie glory).

I would not call this a picture book as each of the seemingly-handmade pages (it has a parchment-like, sepia look to it) is chock-full of little-known-but-life-changing information such as Feywild Essentials (what exactly you need to bring with you in Faeland):

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.. and for budding developmental psychologists out there or young anthropologists, there is detailed information about faerie development  from being faerie hatchlings to becoming faerie elders. Then there is a detailed description of Faerie Society and their homes, games, and their mode of transportation – next time you see a raven, be on the lookout for shimmering lights, that just might be a fairy astride the raven.

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I especially loved reading what is inside the feywild, especially after seeing such a beautiful map (beats a GPS any time of the day):

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Imagine getting lost in places such as The Nameless Mountains or River of Secrets and The Forever Court, and for those of you with sweet tooth, I have a feeling Citadel of Spun Sugar would be the perfect place for you. Each place in this map is described in painstaking detail alongside their many inhabitants. If you think that there is only one kind of fairy, you are gravely mistaken.

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The Sun King, for instance is said to be a “special kind of noble faerie” who reminded me a little bit of Galadriel or Lady of Lorien in the LOTR series. Then, of course, the book would not be complete without a thorough discussion of magic and enchantment as well as how to ward off mischievous faeries who are intent on harming a poor, unsuspecting child. The book ends with helpful hints and suggestions on how to find the fae in you. Perfect for awe-inspired children who would undoubtedly perceive this as a definitive guide to feywild.

Fairyland MagicIMG_9731

Written By: Alison Maloney Illustrated by: Patricia Moffett
Published by: Carlton Books, 2010
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

In contrast to the first book I just shared, this one is better-suited for younger kids. Especially those who have a deep passion for the color pink and purple. While it took me quite awhile to finish reading A Practical Guide to Faeries, it only took me a few minutes to read through Fairyland Magic.

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One of this book’s strengths is its interactive nature as it comes with a software installation disc to make the reader experience what is called an augmented reality that would allow a few of the fairies in this book come alive (such as the one shown above for example) if certain pages are placed in front of a webcam. Since I borrowed this book from the library, the CD is not included, and so I was not able to experience its multimodal features. I suspect, though that this is something a lot of young kids would enjoy and appreciate.

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Unlike the first book that has a more sociological-anthropological vibe to it which I enjoyed greatly, with all the detailed facts and information concerning feywild and its varied inhabitants, Fairyland Magic relied more on faeries that most children (and adults) are familiar with. It is primarily anchored to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with Queen Titania as the queen of faeries and Oberon the fairy king.

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While it also covered aspects such as fairy homes and descriptions of woodland fairies, and water nymphs, and the very famous tooth fairy -

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- it was a little too sugary and sweet and too-pink-hued for my taste. What I especially liked in the first book is that faeries were shown to have their own foibles and evil streaks; and how they are not always beautiful, tiny, and good. Their diversity was clearly more represented in the first book. However, for young kids who may not have as much appetite for lengthy, drawn-out text, Fairyland Magic might prove to be a good primer before graduating to Practical Guide to Faeries.

Currently Reading…

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I am enraptured reading this beautiful book by Donalyn Miller, the sequel to The Book Whisperer which I also loved dearly: Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits.

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First chapter into the book and I already have my heart in my throat. These lines spoke to me like no other, particularly the last sentence: “Reading centers me.”

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I read avidly using a night light with the rains outside my windows and the glimmer from our beautiful Christmas tree. I had to stop reading though for the past few days as I am currently attending a four-day intensive professional development workshop on emotion-focused therapy training as part of my practice here as clinical psychologist. Our speaker is Dr. Rhonda Goldman, core faculty member in the Clinical Psychology program of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Schaumburg. And so I read during lunch breaks or brief 15-minute tea breaks. This is my 3rd day attending the workshop.

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I also brought this beautiful book with me during my training workshop days: You Alone are Real to Me: Remembering Rainer Maria Rilke by Lou Andreas-Salome and translated by Angela von der Lippe.

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Rilke’s Love Song written for his muse Lou Andreas-Salomé which I read before attending the second day of the training workshop on a Saturday! This was enough to provide me with zen-like calm to last me through a full day of analyzing sample counseling videotapes in connection to emotion focused therapy.

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Lou Andreas-Salome’s elusive but beautiful words in response to Rilke’s declarations of affection.

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Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 250, 251 (150)

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13 comments on “[Monday Reading] Welcome to Faeryland

  1. The two Fairy books are gorgeous! Beautiful post!

  2. Gorgeous illustrations in the two fairy books! Love the drawing of the inside of the tree house.

    Take a look at what I’m reading this week.

  3. Looking forward to making quality time to enjoy Reading in the Wild. :) Lovely fairy book pictures, interesting to read your opinion of them…

  4. The interior art to a Practical Guide to Faeries is gorgeous! I can picture kids becoming very immersed in pouring over those pictures. I love the passage you shared from Reading in the Wild. I also love that you read by the light of your Christmas tree, because that is one of the best parts of this season to me! :)

  5. Well, the Rilke book looks wonderful. I have a daily dose courtesy of a dear friend who gave me a book with poems for every day from Rilke. And the Practical Guide to Faeries sounds just fantastic to savor, Myra. Also, Donalyn’s book. I won’t get to it soon, but will! Thanks for all, & happiest of holidays!

  6. Beautiful fairy books! How I wish there’s a copy available in our libraries here. I thought of starting my own collection as soon as cash begins to flow. =)

  7. So glad you’re reading and enjoying Reading in the Wild. I also love The Book Whisperer and I thought Reading in the Wild really added something to what workshop teachers can do to develop lifelong readers. I’m going to use a bunch of her ideas in my Children’s and Adolescent Lit classes next semester–in the hopes that my students will then go off and use those strategies in their own classroom.

  8. Reading in the Wild is on my Christmas wish list (with several stars beside it!) Hopefully Santa will get the hint! The fairy books look beautiful! For younger students – have you seen the Imagine You’re A.. series by Lucy and Meg Clibbon? There is one called “Imagine You’re a Fairy”. Lots of fairy facts with a little bit of British humor thrown in! (sister authors are from the UK) Thanks for posting sample poems and passages! Have a great week, Myra!

  9. I bought Reading in the Wild and plan to dive into it this holiday! Can’t wait. Loved your post and looking at all of these gorgeous fairy images.

  10. I was always skeptical about the long term impact of AR. It seemed to me the kids that read anyway always participated. Kids that don’t read normally at least try to read enough to make points for prizes. Anyway, as a school librarian, I tried a variety of tactics to get my kids to read that incorporated AR. It was just one tool I used.

  11. What is it about fairies? :D

    And I bought Donalyn’s book for my daughter-in-law’s birthday. I hear nothing but good about it. I hope she enjoys it, and assuming you are, too :)

  12. That field guide to faeries looks amazing! That’s exactly the kind of book my students love.

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