New Feedback on our WaterBridge Outreach Site from Laguna BelAir School, Santa Rosa City, Philippines

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

New on our WaterBridge Outreach site (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach) feedback from Laguna BelAir School in Santa Rosa City, Philippines. Laguna BelAir School has participated in our Outreach program for the past two years and and recently sent us their feedback  on the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set which was comprised of the following three books:

Biblioburro, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane Books, 2010);

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Walker Books/Candlewick Press, 2009);

Rain School, written and illustrated by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010).

Head Librarian Ms. Vin Del Rosario wrote:

I am pleased to inform you of our on-going library reading program using the PaperTigers books you have donated to our school. This reading program involves the students from 2nd grade to 6th grade.

I initiated the PaperTigers reading program to create an avenue to encourage our students to read the books in a fun way. It is also the library’s way of helping the English subject teachers to get feedback on the PaperTigers books.

This reading program is a class effort. It encourages class participation. The more these students read in a class, the faster they can reach their reading goal. Reading points were assigned to different PaperTigers books. Class advisers and Reading teachers encourage students to participate in the reading program.

The students visit the library to read the PaperTigers books during their snacks and lunch break. After reading a book, the student is given a “book completion form”, which is a small piece of paper with two or three questions about the book. Students earn points for each form they complete and are awarded a “mini book certificate”.

Originally, I had intended to run the reading program up to November 2012. However, due to the overwhelming responses of the students, we completed it by the end of September!

For our teachers, you will be pleased to know that our Academic Team Head has given the instruction that each one must choose a PaperTigers book for integration in their lessons within this school year.

To learn more about the WaterBridge Outreach program and to read feedback from the participants, click here.

Highlighting Feedback from 2011 WaterBridge Outreach Participant: Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library, Sri Lanka

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Our WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water Nourishing the Mind and Body program (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach)  seeks to further the overall goals of the PaperTigers Program: bridging cultures and opening minds, promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. More specifically, WBOutreach works to advance education through books and reading, and development through clean and accessible water.

Today on the blog we are highlighting feedback from WBOutreach participant Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library located in the Dharma Chakkra Children’s Home in Weedagama, Sri Lanka. Established in 1998, the home provides housing and education for approximately 100 orphaned boys as well as for boys from unstable homes. In 2008 a second children’s home was opened exclusively for girls. Nia Murphy was instrumental in getting a 2011 Book Set to the Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library and  for providing us with this feedback:

The books were put in the children’s shared library. Dharma Chakkra has two hostels, one for the girls and then another, about 200 metres away and behind a wall, for the boys. The library is in the boys’ hostel. When I was last at the home the library was open in the evenings for the boys to use freely. Since then they’ve decided to shut it except at weekends when they have library time and English classes. I was told the books were used by the English teacher during these classes. However it was felt the books were a bit difficult for some of the children at the home, many of whom are still struggling with Sinhala, the local language. This is mostly true of the boys but the girls, who unfortunately have less access to the library, are at a higher standard. In hindsight I think a donation only for the girls’ hostel might have been a good idea. This was my mistake.

The overriding feedback was actually about the visuals: that the books showed children things they don’t normally see in ‘normal’ (read affordable) English or Sinhala books. Many of the books they have in the library are very old and extremely out of date. The affordable English books on the market in Sri Lanka are often things like The Radiant Way, which is a very dated old English sort of publication with smiling white children in high socks. Very simply, seeing children in picture books with brown skin is a rarity. So they were particularly excited about this, and the fact the children were seeing worlds not too dissimilar to their own but ones not normally presented in children’s books.

Click here to read the rest of Nia’s report.

Highlighting 2011 Book Set Feedback from Talisay School in the Philippines!

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

It’s been a busy month here at PaperTigers with our 10th Anniversary celebrations in full swing as well as receiving lots of feedback  from  schools involved in our WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water Nourishing the Mind and Body (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach). It’s always exciting to receive a package in the mail or open an email and see images of students involved with the Book Sets and to read their thoughts and comments on the books.

Today we are highlighting feedback from Talisay Elementary School. Talisay Elementary School is located in a barrio in Barangay Talisay in the Northern Mindanao Area of the Philippines. A significant number of students at this school have parents who are unemployed and the school’s mission is to provide “the best quality education to everyone who enters the gates.”  Talisay has participated in our Outreach program for the past two years and when reflecting on the 2011 Book Set, teacher Brenda Abao commented:

When my pupils saw the pictures in the books, they were so attracted with the color presentation. Some laughed at the illustrations. Most of them enjoyed best the story Biblioburro.

The books you sent me were a big help in my class especially during the “DEAR” (Drop Everything And Read) period. The students took turns reading since I had 29 pupils and there were only 15 books. They felt for the children in the countries mentioned in the stories but they couldn’t search for more about these countries since only a few of them have access to the internet.

After all of my pupils were able to read the 3 stories, I discussed each story with the whole class. One pupil commented that they were so lucky since their schools are not made of mud and that they do not need to build their school every year. That’s after we talked about the story Rain School.

To read all the feedback from Talisay School and to see more photos click here. To learn more about the 2012 Book Set, click here.

New 2011 Feedback from Mount View School in India!

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Mount View School, administered by Mr Hotoshe Sema, is a Nursery to Class 10 school located in rural Suruhuto, in Nagaland, India. This school has participated in our WaterBridge  Outreach: Books + Water project for the past two year and we recently received students’ and administrators’ reactions on the 2011 Book Set.  Here is a brief selection; click here to read all.

Selected students’ feedback:

P:  Rain School – This is the first time I have heard of students and teachers building a school and I admire they way they did it. The language is quite simple and easy to understand. The main character Thomas’s eagerness to learn and read and his aim to have a new school was very inspiring as he had many obstacles but succeeded in overcoming all these with great determination.

A: Biblioburro – Through this book I come to know that without education, even a rich man is nothing. This is a good lesson for me in life.

K: A Child’s Garden teaches us not to give up in anything, especially when it is for good.

Selected teachers’ feedback:

Mr. Mughaka:
Biblioburro – Pleasant and inspiring, with sweet, little pictures.
Rain School – Rumford’s Rain School is an encouraging story which will bring smiles to the readers and listeners. Appropriate for kids of any age.
A Child’s Garden – It is a heartening story. It reminds us that hope and determination, and even little things, can do wonders.

Mr. Abenito:
A Child’s Garden – An appreciable illustration about a never ending (undying) hope and concern for that which matures in a person’s mind and soul for a better living and freedom.
Biblioburro – An inspiring and well illustrated story that imparts the significance an individual can play through books.
Rain School – Rumford’s depictions emphasizing a teacher in inspiring and molding a child are quite amazing and interesting.

New Feedback On Our Outreach Site From Shanghai, China

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

New on our Outreach site….photos from Pingliang Road No. 3 Elementary School in Shanghai, China. This school has participated in our Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set project for the past two years. Their latest feedback consists of photos of students’ work based on books in the 2011 Book SetA Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman; Rain School, written and illustrated by James Rumford; and Biblioburro, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.

Here’s a sneak peek… here to see all the photos.



New Spirit of PaperTigers feedback: Agape School, Kiphire, Nagaland, India

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Agape School has participated in our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach Program for the past two years and recently sent us their feedback (including some lovely photos!) on the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set which was comprised of the following three books:

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Walker Books/Candlewick Press, 2009)

Rain School, written and illustrated by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010)

 Biblioburro, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane Books, 2010)

Agape School was established by Lipichem Sangtam, a former journalist who gave up his career to start his own school, and serves 180 primary students ages 4-11. In his 2011 feedback letter to us, Mr. Sangtam writes:

The students are doing well and have been greatly enriched by the story books that you have sent. The students composed illustrated stories in response to reading the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set. The beautiful pictures supporting the stories motivated them and they started small paintings with the few colours they have; and they started displaying in the school campus, which is encouraging. The students enjoy reading the books and the quality of the material, which is excellent.

English teacher Jevili Achumi comments:

The stories are filled with images and fanciful layers of illustration which attract the readers. The children were fascinated with the stories, the fanciful characters and the pictures which really take them to the roots. I also appreciate it if the illustrations and stories end up with a best moral.

Here is a sneak peek of the impressive artwork submitted to us. Do take the time to visit Agape School‘s page on our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach site to see more photos! Click here to be taken there.

Reading the World Challenge 2011 – Update 3

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Since my last update on this year’s PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge, we have added some great books to our list.

Together, we have read two new autobiographical picture books: Allen Say’s Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011) and Ed Young’s The House Baba Built (Little, Brown and Company, 2011) – both wonderful, and I’m not going to say much more about them here as we will be featuring both of them more fully on PaperTigers soon. Those are our reading-together non-fiction books for the Challenge.

As our local book, we tried reading a book of folk tales from the North York Moors, where we live in the UK, but discovered the stories formed part of a tourist guide, including instructions for getting around… we extracted what we could but it wasn’t a very satisfactory read. It has made us not take beautifully illustrated and retold folk tales for granted!

Older Brother has read Rainbow World: Poems from Many Cultures edited by Bashabi Fraser and Debjani Chatterjee , and illustrated by Kelly Waldek (Hodder Children’s Books, 2003).  He dipped in and out of it through the summer break and we had to renew it from the library several times…

Older Brother has also been totally captivated by A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness. After reading the story of Sadako for the Reading Challenge way back in its first year, he’s wanted to know how to make the cranes but I have two left hands when it comes to origami – or at least I thought I did, until I received a review copy of A Thousand Cranes from Stone Bridge Press.  Recently revised and expanded from the original book by renowned origami expert Florence Temko, it’s a super little book, with good clear instructions for beginners like us, and giving background about both the offering of a thousand origami cranes as a symbol of longevity, and specifically the story of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes.  Older Brother, now that he is older, (more…)

Jeanette Winter Gallery new on PaperTigers – and a Biblioburro video to watch…

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Enjoy illustrations from 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers book Biblioburro and other books by Jeanette Winter in our online Gallery. The majority of Jeanette’s books are inspired by real people and events: in her recent interview with us, Jeanette said:

I am drawn to true-life stories, and true stories that relate to world events. Stories about brave and courageous individuals are personally so inspiring to me, and I want children to know about these people. I feel that children have the capacity to understand the big issues of our lives, if in a simplified way.

Her books certainly succeed in drawing out the essence of the people and situations she profiles, in a way that makes them memorable and inspiring for children. For example, I love her book (included in our Gallery) Mama: A True Story, in Which a Baby Hippo Loses His Mama During a Tsunami, But Finds a New Home, and a New Mama (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007) because really the story is told in the title. With only a few speech bubbles calling “Mama!” among the visually stimulating illustrations, the turmoil and ultimate reassurance are conveyed without over-frightening small readers.

A vibrant illustration from Biblioburro fronts Jeanette’s Gallery. It tells the true story of Colombian teacher and literacy advocate Luis Soriano, who founded his donkey library to take books out to remote villages and ensure that children have access to help with their schoolwork. Read this post from True Tales and a Cherry on the Top for a beautiful anecdote that exemplifies why he got started; and watch this video:

Thank you, Wangari Maathai

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Today we pay tribute to Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Wangari Maathai, scientist, activist and environmentalist, who died yesterday.

Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 following her return to her native Kenya, after pursuing university studies in the US: she was concerned not only about the detrimental changes in the landscape caused by deforestation, but also about how these were affecting women’s lives especially. Through the Green Belt Movement, more than 47 million trees have been planted, and with them, many families have been able to take active control of their own food production and become involved in promoting sustainable development.

Three inspirational children’s books that relate this aspect of Wangari Maathai’s life are Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) and Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter (Harcourt Books, 2008) and Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler (Lee & Low Books, 2010). Wangari’s story helps children to recognise that small actions can lead to big actions, and that through putting many people’s small actions together, they can be the instrument for momentous change.

You can read more about Wangari Maathai’s incredible life on the Green Belt Movement’s website, including her advocacy for freedom and peace; and her own words about some of the issues close to her heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with Wangari’s family: may the knowledge that Wangari’s name and influence will live on be of consolation to them in their time of grief. An online condolence book is available on Wangari’s Facebook page.

Poetry Friday: Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

With Jeanette Winter‘s Biblioburro selected as one of our new 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set, I have had a great time exploring more of her work. One little book that has delighted me is Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World (Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002)

It tells the story of the poet’s life through her sister, and begins with, “My sister Emily was buried today.” We are shown Emily’s room, and get a glimpse of her reclusive lifestyle – and then, in the course of the up to now rather sad narration, make the wonderful discovery alongside the sister, of the drawers full of poetry that nobody knew about while Emily was alive. Beginning with “This is my letter to the world”, it is a delightful way for young readers to be introduced to her poetry ,both for the poems themselves and their context.

The final two thirds of the book are given over to extracts from Dickinson’s poetry, ending with her sister’s avowal that “the world will read your letter – your poems.”  And the whole book is a treat for anyone who loves Jeanette Winter’s illustrations. The poet’s voice is emphasised, with Emily Dickinson in her trademark white dress depicted in some way on almost every page.

Here’s the whole of one of those special poems:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day – head on over…