Welcome to the ever changing, yet ever the same, environment of virtual school. It is hard for us, the librarians, not to be in school giving books to students. I imagine it is harder still for students not to have access to their regular stories. To help students with the reading drought, I am going to highlight 5 children’s books from 5 different free websites that I hope will become a regular part of your digital journeys.
1. Gutenberg.org is Google’s attempt to digitize all the world’s knowledge. They stick to books out of copyright or where the copyright holder seems to have abandoned the title. My suggestion for a bedtime story is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, which is rendered in full color at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14838. This sweet story has been entertaining people for decades, and since the action takes place in a garden with many animal leads, it has aged pretty well.
2. GetEpic is an educational website that encourages children reading through their free educator sign ups. If your child does not have one from their teacher, you can use the Library class code of vzq9748 to sign up for free.
Considering how much at-home learning we are all doing in art these days, I suggest reading the non-fiction story of the creators of the Crayola company for students in Year 3 and up. Titled Crayola Creators, this book can be found by using the search bar at the top of Epic. These kinds of books can spark a non-fiction interest in reading in your child. The key is keeping them engaged in the topic.
3. Just about any book from the International Children's Digital Library is going to be classic. It is their specialty. With the help of volunteer translators (something to do during this mad time?), many of these books have been translated into multiple languages, including a stack of recent Korean additions. Take a look at the Legends of the Maori. The cover may be scary, but inside these fables are rich in culture with line art to help illustrate concepts.
4. Partially hosted on her own site and partially on YouTube, Mrs. P's Magic Library has a nice group of stories. One my favourites is The Velveteen Rabbit, the story of a stuffed, plush rabbit who is loved through a Scarlet Fever epidemic and then has the chance to become Real when his service is done. Mrs.P's stories include the words on screen which is a lovely addition for new readers.
5. Lastly, take a look over at the Library of Congress for your children and also for you. "Mother Goose Finger Plays" includes both rhymes and finger actions you and the littles can try to imitate.
Enjoy and stay healthy!
Kat Trowbridge, Librarian