It’s time for the end of the month recipe! And a book, of course!
I love breakfast foods any time of day. Because it’s easy, my go-to weekday breakfast is cold cereal, but on the weekends or at a restaurant I love waffles, pancakes, omelets, biscuits, French toast, eggs benedict and whatever else might look interesting.
So I loved this book! Doesn’t everyone want a waffle?
Wood Pecker Wants a Waffle By Steve Breen HarperCollins 2016
Benny the woodpecker wakes to the delicious smell of waffles coming from the grand opening of Moe’s-Home of the Waffle Breakfast. He tries various funny ways to gain entrance into the Moe’s, but they all fail. The animals gather as he is wishing for waffles. They think it’s silly for a woodpecker to eat waffles. But Benny replies, “why not?” At first the animals don’t have an answer, but finally Bunny said, “because I said so.” To which Benny replies, “I really don’t have time for this ‘said so’ nonsense.” Don’t all kids feel that way sometimes! Benny shares an elaborate plan to get the waffles involving, cannons, juggling and fireworks. But when the animals show up at Moe’s to see Benny in action he isn’t there. Or is he? When the people in the dinner come out to see the animals, Benny sneaks in and finds some “sweet” waffles!
Yesterday was Father’s Day. A day to reflect on and celebrate the men in our lives that had a positive impact on us or those we love.
I was lucky to have my father in my life until he passed away at the age of 79. I was born in the late 1950s when fathers were not often seen doing the inside household chores and that was true of my father. Although he did flip the Sunday morning pancakes!
But Dad was very much a part of our lives. He was strict. One look and you know you’d done something wrong. But he was interested in all we did. We ate dinner together as a family. He helped with homework, attended extracurricular activities, chauffeured us, interacted with our friends and always had LOTS of advice!
Dad and Mom had a huge impact on my love of reading. Both of them encouraged us by doing. Mom always had a book going (as do I)! Dad was not a fiction reader, but read the newspaper every night (as do I) and read magazines (as do I). I have memories of reading the comics in the newspaper with Dad, of him reading to us at bedtime or sometimes telling us stories. Trips to the library were frequent and books were given as presents.
As an adult, I began writing because my mom suggested I take an aptitude test for a children’s writing course. When I was accepted Mom and Dad supported me by giving me a state of the art (then!) word processor which save me time as I squeezed writing in around raising two toddlers. And of course they always LOVED my stories.
Even at my age I trace my love of reading and writing all the way back to my parents. Think about that…If your children were asked, at the age of 60+, why do you like to read or why don’t you like to read; will they mention you in their answer?
An educator friend of mine shared the idea of a Writer’s Notebook with me and I love it! I talk with students about collecting words, but I hadn’t considered all the possibilities a Writer’s Notebook could hold.
As an author I have used notebooks or word documents to keep track of ideas, names, titles that pop into my head and the evolving versions of a story.
I am a list maker in my personal and writing life, and for that I love steno pads. The middle division allows me to have more than one type of list on a page.
I have a notebook where I did exercises from books on writing. Sometimes I flip through to see if an idea for a story might emerge.
For the teachers reading this I’m probably preaching to the choir, but parents or other caregivers think about introducing the Writer’s Notebook over the summer. It will keep writing interest and skills alive!
A child (or adult) with a notebook dedicated to writing will start to see themselves as a writer. A nice writing utensil helps too! And writers will tell you they don’t just write on certain days and times. So that notebook should always be handy.
So how might a child use the notebook?
To write thoughts or feelings
React to things they see or hear or that happen to them
T0 play with writing and with language
To keep a list of words
To invent new words
To list names they like
To write down things that inspire them
song lyrics, poems, quotes from a book, movie or TV show
To describe things using all 5 senses
Remember this notebook is the writers. It is not for some else to correct or question. It is a place to experiment, where mistakes can be made. Think of it as a safe. It holds beautiful things that the owner can keep for themselves or choose to share with others.
As you may have gathered I love the Peanuts comic strip. I’ve been reading it since I was a child and was sad when it ended. Shulz had recurring storylines and one I’ve always enjoyed was Charlie Brown writing to his pen pal. Sometimes the humor was about Charlie Brown’s use of pen vs pencil, but sometimes Shulz conveyed profound thoughts.
I think Charlie Brown was on to something. A back and forth of letters allows us to learn about each other, to share things we might not be comfortable saying out loud. And the more we know about someone the easier it is to understand them-to not hate them.
Charlie Brown’s pen pal was in another country, but pen pals in our own country might help us overcome our differences. I love the idea of students writing to other students. It works on writing skills, communication and social skills. It could be in the same district, town, state or different state or region of the country. Sometimes we forget how much we have in common.
I’m thinking adults need pen pals too. After all children are more likely to do as we do! To that end I write a letter to my grandkids each week. At age 2 and 5 months they don’t write back yet, but I hope someday. I know we’ll learn a lot about each other that way.
Here’s a book showing the benefits of a school-to-school pen pal project.
Dear Dragon By Josh Funk Illustrated by Rodolfo Motalvo 2016 Viking
Two teachers announce, in their respective schools, a pen pal poetry project. Students write to each other all year . In June there will be a picnic where they will meet. George is a human and Blaise is a dragon, but they don’t know that. When each receives their letter they picture what is happening from their perspective. So when the dragon mentions skydiving the human pictures himself with a parachute. Before the picnic they decide to keep writing to each other. At first they are surprised they are different species, but then friends. That was the teachers plan all along!
If you start a pen pal project I’d love to hear about it-and you!