Hi Everyone! I’m sorry this post is a couple of days late – “Mondays with Maryellen” is on Wednesday this week ☺. We just returned from a whirlwind series of workshops in both San Antonio, Texas and Billings, Montana. We had great audiences, fabulous times with colleagues, and of course the San Antonio RiverWalk, the Alamo and the Big Sky Sunsets were marvelous to visit. Sheila’s 20-month-old daughter Casey and our friend Mary accompanied us on this trip — below are some photos!
San Antonio was 95 degrees – wow! Billings was comfortable in the 70s. However, when we returned to Massachusetts, it was to a 19-degree morning! Alas, Fall, the prelude to snow in New England!
The trip to Billings and the return to the 19-degree morning prompt me to relate a new invitation we’ve received: A visit to Alaska upon the invitation of AKSHA—Alaska Speech Language and Hearing Association 2016 Convention next October. In Billings, I was relating narrative text to expository text and modeling each within a book called Winston of Churchill, written by Jean Davis Okimoto and illustrated by Jeremiah Trummell. It is about the polar bear’s plight in Churchill, Manatoba, Canada (download a FREE Winston of Churchill lesson plan). The text is narrative but contains passages referring to the science of climate change as well as references to the historical Sir Winston Churchill. Please see the analysis of the book on our website. It was interesting to note that within the picture book was a reference to the tourists who come yearly to Churchill to see the polar bears feed. I could not resist using the book to end my workshop in Billings since “a lady from Billings, Montana” was on the Tundra Buggy tour and when the tour was not to her expectations, she demanded her money back!!
The cold in Massachusetts, the Lady from Billings and the invitation to Alaska in 2016 reminded me of two other books about polar bears. Several years ago a colleague in Palmer, Alaska, sent me a signed copy of Alaska’s Three Bears, written by Shelly Gill and illustrated by Shannon Cartwright. The picture book is both a story and also information contrasting the habitat and habits of the brown bear, black bear and polar bear…all native to Alaska. Upon reading the story of these “three bears” one also finds out much information about them by reading the short expository text paragraphs at the bottom of each page. Finally, Polar Bears by Gail Gibbons supplies strictly expository (information) text about polar bears via illustrations and text. Although there is no story, per se, the information in the book would give would be nature writers lots of information to include as story details. How about a cub that gets lost?
Once upon a time…