Wednesday, February 8, 2017

CLEL Bell Award Winners

The Bell Awards were created in 2012 to recognize picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children. The shortlists can be accessed and the information sheets can be downloaded for free at the CLEL website:

The five winning books consist of one title in each of five categories representing an early literacy practice: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play. The books, in their content, theme, or design, support caregivers’ interaction with their children through early literacy practices. Research has shown that engaging children in these practices builds language skills and prepares children to become successful readers.

The winning titles are:

READ: The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley
; illustrated by Kate Berube (New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2016)
Nick loves spending time with his cats, except when he wants to read: his cats lay on the pages of the books and make nuisances of themselves! Nick decides to teach his cats to read, so they can all enjoy books together. Just like Nick’s cats, some children will be enthusiastic learners and others will struggle. This book describes a wonderful variety of activities that will support all children on their learning journeys.

WRITE: Alphonse, That is Not OK to Do! by Daisy Hirst (Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick, 2016)
Natalie loves to create art with her little brother, Alphonse. When she catches him eating her book, however, Natalie is mad and channels her anger into her art, drawing beasts and a tornado chasing Alphonse! Drawing and scribbling allows children to tell stories and express their feelings before they learn how to write words and sentences.

SING: Rock-a-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016)
This bedtime romp starts with the familiar lines of "Rock-a-Bye, baby, in the treetop" only to head off on an adventure, taking baby into a bird's nest, through a farmyard, over a waterfall, and onto the back of a flying hawk. All the words of the book can be sung to the tune of Rock-a-Bye Baby. Changing the words to a familiar song is a fun way introduce a child to new vocabulary and to make children laugh.

TALK: Puddle by Hyewon Yum (New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)
Stuck inside on a rainy day, a mother coaxes her son to enjoy the day inside by drawing a picture of the rainy day together. After drawing and talking, they decide to go outside and splash in the puddles. The entire story is told through the conversation between mother and son and models how to engage children in the rich conversations that develop language skills.

PLAY: Box by Min Flye
; illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw (New York: Abrams Appleseed, 2015)
A box can contain a fun new toy, but even more fun is what you can do with the box after you open it! With lift-the-flaps and fold-out pages, this book is just as much fun to play with as it is to read. The dramatic play and imagination that an ordinary box inspires develops language, vocabulary, and narrative skills as children act out their own stories.

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