Knots on a Counting Rope…

This is far more than a story; it is a tender dialogue between a weathered, aged Indian grandfather and his grandson around a cozy campfire as the sun is setting and darkness is quickly falling.  They sit cross-legged, facing one other, each holding onto a rope with small knots along the length of it.

“Tell me the story again, Grandfather. Tell me who I am.”

“I have told you many times, Boy.  You know the story by heart.”

Yet once again patiently and gently Grandfather relays the story of the night the child was born.  The child was not strong, but born weak and frail, and  been born with a dark curtain in front of his eyes.

Grandfather shares how he’d carried his infant grandson outside to the horses and that the boy raised his tiny arms up to touch them. With each retelling, another knot is tied in the rope.  As the boy grows, he gains strength, and Grandfather teaches the boy to ride his own pony. Every day along a trail, he follows his grandfather on his pony until he can ride holding his own reins.

One day his Grandfather tells him, “You have raced the darkness and won! You now can see with your heart,  feel a part of all that  surrounds you. Your courage lights the way.”

Far more than a story; this is a lesson in love and trust between generations that will warm your heart. You may even feel yourself lingering over the exquisitely beautiful illustrations.

Mary Byrne Kline

Review by Publisher Weekly

Gathered near a campfire under a canopy of stars, a Navaho Indian boy hears the tale of his birth from his grandfather. Born on a windy night, the child was weak and frail. In the early morning, Grandfather brought him out to meet the morning. Two blue horses galloped by, stopped and looked at him; the baby raised his arms to them. Grandfather said, “”This boy child will not die. The great blue horses have given him the strength to live.” Named Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses, the child later needs that well of strength to deal with the fact that he is blind. Rand’s atmospheric, vivid paintings evoke the tale’s sensibility as they move it along. The beauty and vastness of the Western sky and the intimacy of two loving figures by a campfire are portrayed with equal fluidity. A rich tale of intergenerational love and respect, this is bittersweet and unsentimental. It is a moving collaborative effort that reverberates long after the book is closed. Ages 5-8.

An absolutely fabulous read aloud VIDEO is available at Storyline Online  – The SAG Foundation.   Enjoy and then consider purchasing a copy for your home library!

A Nest is Noisy!

Our next theme is for the birds – literally!

Birds & Feathers

We begin with our focus book, A Nest is Noisy by one of our favorite author/illustrator teams when it comes to informational books.  Each page is brimming with pure visual delight which will prompt exactly the conversations you want your child to have about the amazing world God has created.  Climb into the world of birds and their nests and (learn) enjoy!

PS Do you have a story about a bird or nest from your childhood?  If so – then you are all set for your next H2L adventure!

From the Publisher
“Fans will rejoice at the first sight of A Nest Is Noisy,” promises School Library Journal, and they’re right. From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, A Rock Is Lively, and A Beetle Is Shy comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests, from those of tiny bee hummingbirds to those of orangutans high in the rainforest canopy. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Download this TeacherGuide , a gift from the author & illustrator, and file it away to use next year with one of their award-winning books.

 

Baseball Memories Collage

Memories are precious gifts from God.  Memories made with our children, even more endearing.  Engaging your little one’s skills with cutting and coloring, you can also save his/her hand print and their “signature” as well with this sweet memory-making project.

In my last post we looked at the watercolor masterpiece of my 16-year-old daughter, Amber, who loves baseball and balancing spoons on her nose.  Now you will meet my son in the photo above.  Seven years ago, he played baseball, and his toothless smile and tough-as-nails stance in the photo above still melt my heart.  Since we’re traveling down memory lane and talking about baseball, I decided it’s time for a fun collage that’s great for engaging students and building memories.

You will need for each child: a copy of the coloring page baseball mitt template (emailed FREE to you upon request), a SOLO cup to trace the proper circle size for the baseball, a plastic grocery bag to stuff the ball and glove if desired, scissors, stapler, markers, plain white paper, a sheet of colored paper, and a squirt of washable tempera on a paper plate.

First, have your child/student color the mitt in whatever colors they wish!  Next the student will cut out the mitt.  It is an easy shape for little ones to practice on.  (If you wish to stuff your mitt to make it dimensional, like a real mitt, cut out two at a time.)  Staple the two mitts together around the perimeter and leave an opening to stuff the mitt with a plastic grocery bag cut up into pieces and then staple shut.  Trace a SOLO cup on a piece of white paper and, again, cut out two at a time.  Again using the SOLO cup, trace half circles on each side of the ball in red marker to create the red stitching.  Now the student can write their “John Hancock” on the ball and staple around the perimeter so it can be stuffed if you wish.  Finally it’s time for the hand print!  If you have a photo, that, too, may be added to your collage.

My neighbor Naomi wanted to get in on the fun so she colored her mitt with pink and purple picked out purple paint.  She also added a fingerprint on the ball.  I’d say she’s officially made her mark on this project!

This is my neighbor Naomi who loves art!
Squishy-squashy fun!
Naomi’s masterpiece!

Now it’s time to mat, frame, or place into a shadow box your beautiful memory collage!  Enjoy and happy memories!

By Laura Bird Miller

Casey at the Bat

Author:  Ernest Lawrence Thayer

9781929766000_p0_v1_s260x420What better way to wrap up our monthly theme on baseball than with the classic poem which symbolizes America’s favorite pastime – baseball.   And there is no better way to enjoy this tongue-in-cheek melodrama than to “ham it up” with a few of your favorite little baseball fans and perform a reader’s theater.  I can almost hear those excited little fans now…

Fan #1 – Then from the gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell.

Fan #2 – It rumbled in the mountaintops, it rattled in the dell.

Fan #3 – It struck upon the hillside and rebounded on the flat – 

Fan #1 – For Casey,

Fan #2 – mighty Casey,

Fan #3 – was advancing to the bat.

Put on your baseball caps, switch parts around and put on a show for your friends and neighbors! Reading this poem together will bring enjoyment, laughter, and the realization that reading aloud can be a learning experience while providing a lot of fun! So, let’s get started.

It looked extremely  rocky for the Mudville nine that day…

Mary Byrne Kline
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