Making Curriculum Pop

QUESTION: The Canon (and Kooky Cool New & Diverse Books) for Little Girls

Hello Everyone,

As I mentioned last week, Nicole and I just found out the gender of our baby on Monday evening.

As the ultrasound tech was moving around checking things out Nicole said, "oh, are those the girl bits?" I couldn't stop laughing as "girl bits" is a great phrase - a bit odd, but not entirely offensive. Nicole has clearly read more books about pregnancy than I have as it all looked fuzzy to me. When we actually found out it would be a little girl I was super excited. I also realized that if she decides to rock a band it will have to be called "Girl Bits" - totally awesome name.

I'm already getting paranoid about drowning our pending girl in pink and have been driving people nuts with my "no pink - or at least only as an accent" crusade.

So here's the thing. This is our first child and as you know I'm way more in touch with the 5th-12th grade set than the little ones but I'm excited to go "media" shopping.

From when I was a little kid I remember loving Richard Scary, Dr. Seuss, and the Berinstain Bears - I recall Clifford, Pat the Bunny and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book but beyond that I can't say I have a feel for the canon of 0-5 kid lit.

I know that Pippi Longstocking is a big little girl book and the Madeline books - but what other things are "essential" in your opinion. I'm especially interested in learning about books that portray strong little girls and diverse groups of kids - not princess heavy stuff - although I'm sure it will be unavoidable.

Also, any recs for awesome off the grid kid tunes (like the They Might Be Giants and Medinski Martin and Wood) would be cool too.

I put this question in a blog instead of the elementary group because I thought all kinds of people might have ideas (instead of limiting it to elementary teachers).

Would love your suggestions - they will all be greatly appreciated!

Ryan

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Comment by Danielle Horne on October 27, 2010 at 9:10pm
Forgot to add: Current HUGE favourite is "the pop up jungle" . terrible from a story point of view - but Miss S loves the pop up animals.
Comment by Danielle Horne on October 27, 2010 at 9:09pm
Hi Ryan - thanks for the warm welcome! Found your ning via the English Companion Ning. Congrats on the birth of your little girl! (mine is 2.5 now and loves books and reading - but no princesses or fairies in sight here). We also planned on "no pink," but it was very hard to find clothes that aren't pink (except for black last season - even worse than pink for an infant or toddler!) Regardless, your little girl will be her own person and make her own decisions... if the princess storm hits, you may just have to weather it! (to give you hope - shortly after her 2nd birthday my little girl said "when I am bigger and bigger, I will not have a car. I will have a ute - a BIG ute." (she also wants a tool set, a trampoline and a new doll for christmas - very balanced!)
Our fav books are
* The Way I Love You (although at times this is my fav rather than hers!)
* anything and everything Dr Suess
* *anything* about Hairy Maclary or Slinky Malinky
*almost anything Eric Carle
*"we're going on a bear hunt and Bear in a Cave both by Michael Rosen

Music - Miss S LOVES "the elephant song" - it's on youtube if you want to check it out. The Wiggles also have some good songs... and some earworms! Would def agree with TMBG.
Finally, a toy suggestion - Australian Girl dolls have a doll named Emily that wears pants & shirt rather than a dress - looks a bit like she's based on Bindy Irwin if you remember the Crocodile Hunter...

having read other people's comments, I also remember Tatterhood and will look for that when Miss S is bigger - will go now and look for Mo Willems also (bookdepository.com here I come!)
thanks again,
Danielle
Comment by j ide on October 21, 2010 at 6:01am
definitely get "Eloise" very independent delightful young lady and my daughter's role model :-)
Comment by Pamela Foster on July 19, 2010 at 9:40pm
Congrats on the baby! You will be ever blessed by her!

Oh, and since you are living in Aurora, IL, "Party on Garth! Party on Wayne!"
Comment by Kelley Cusmano on July 12, 2010 at 7:46am
Having been raised by an uber feminist mom and a biker dad I got the crash course in women's empowerment from a young age...although I definitely also read anything with a princess and had a collection of barbies. sigh :) Anyway, one great story book is called Tatterhood and Other Tales (I can't remember the author). Anyway, it features tales from around the world with strong female characters. I loved it as a little girl.
Comment by Michele Vogt-Schuller on June 29, 2010 at 9:11pm
The absolutely best movies ever are Miyazaki's - usually the protagonist is a girl, and they are always agents of their own change - very powerful and important stuff. The best? Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa Valley of the Wind - but all of them are very, very good. Also his earlier short films - Panda go Panda are excellent for young children. Books? Dr. Seuss - of course, of course. Oh - other books - Kevin Henkes children's books are great, especially featuring the powerful Lily character.
Comment by Jean Maxstadt on June 23, 2010 at 9:57pm
Thanks for the link for Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land...ordered it already!

As far as ideas for baby things, we love Word World (PBS cartoon). Everything revolves around using language and vocabulary to solve problems in a non gender specific way. Of course, the Fancy Nancy books are great for the imagination, creativity and of course the girly accessories type stuff. It is like the Wordly Wise series (part of my middle school's curriculum) for the toddler and little kid set. The illustrator for the series did a book talk with my daughter's school and it was awesome. I think you and Nicole would love it. It's very creative. My gold, math intelligence brain loves it:).

Parenting is the greatest thing ever, but you will never completely have it figured out - ha, ha!
Comment by Ryan Goble on May 27, 2010 at 9:40am
Comment by Anne Gaspers on May 26, 2010 at 12:04pm
Congrats! I'm getting another new niece in September too and it's so much fun to think outside the pink box for them. If you want non-pink clothing items...I suggest shopping at children's stores in Canada or Argentina (or fancy stores like that here :) otherwise...my niece has multiple pink items but recently turned four and picked out a Cars tshirt at the store (thanks to her older brother I think).

Book ideas:

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus (another Mo Willems book) These are great and you will read them enough that the little one will be able to "read" it to you

Princesses wear hiking boots: there are actually three books in the series and it's all about breaking gender stereotypes

Goodnight moon...always a favorite of parents and kids
The Rainbow Fish...pretty and about multiculturalism
Walter the Farting Dog...hilarious and always makes my niece and nephew laugh (although my sister was skeptical)

Eventually...Anne of Green Gables (my personal favorite...how does it get any better than a redhead breaking her slate over a boy's head?)...the Magic School Bus (and of course the videos to go with-also a favorite selection of my Spanish students)...Ally Finkel's Rules for Girls
Comment by Andrea Brown on May 26, 2010 at 8:03am
I love the Doreen Cronin books (Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type and Giggle Giggle Quack are my favorites!). Another favorite is Dear Mili by Wilhem Grimm, illustrated by Maurice Sendak - it might be hard to find, it was published in 88, but its worth it! And everyone should own a copy of the Teddy Bear's Picnic!

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