Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Keep Your Ears On and Your Mind Alert for Great Book Ideas by Susie Kralovansky

As a librarian, my favorite way to teach research was to cover the material and follow up with a game or activity to reinforce learning. The day I was teaching the kids how to use a Thesaurus, we used a Ven Diagram to cover the similarities and differences between a thesaurus and a dictionary. Next, we changed a boring letter into something amazing with the new words we were learning. Finally, I handed each child a thesaurus to play That’s My Word (I call out a word. They look it up and call out a better word.) They said, “We do what?” Throughout the day, I got the same reaction: interesting lesson, fun activity, and then totally confused. That’s when I began searching for a book to help explain how to use a thesaurus. When I didn’t find one, the lightbulb went off – I’ll write it myself!” What Do You Do with a Thesaurus, was based on my students and their questions. I shared my construction paper version of What Do You Do with a Thesaurus with my students, and something clicked. Now they knew exactly what to do! When teachers began asking to borrow my manuscript, I knew it could succeed as a published book.



Something similar happened with This or That? Whale or Fish? The idea and the first page came from a second-grader who needed help finding the fish books. She said, “I’m doing my report on whales!” I turned and said, “Is a whale a fish?” She gave me a look that said, ‘You are crazy!’ and said, “Yes, Mrs. K! Whales live in the ocean like fish. They swim like fish. They look like fish.” And I said, “But, a whale is not a fish.” That night I knew I had a great idea for a series and began Whales or Fish? using our words for the opening.

Even though I no longer teach, I still notice the things that make me say, Why? Who? How did that happen? Like the day I was bitten by a fire ant, and I wondered why their sting was so fiery. And that led to my upcoming book, How Fire Ants Got Their Fire.

14 comments:

  1. Great post. Asking simple questions certainly opens the doors to great ideas!

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  2. Looking forward to How Fire Ants Got Their Fire! Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. I can't wait for it to be released.

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  3. Curiosity leads to fascinating books--can't wait to read about fire ants (and hope I'm never bitten)!

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  4. Great post — I am totally intrigued by a construction paper version of what to do with thesaurus!

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    1. Thanks, Susan. The kids loved it. I
      f you're interested, email me an I'll send you a couple of photos.

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  5. Isn't it great to be curious? ♥ And we have the best job...sharing what we learn with kids!

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    1. Thanks, Annette. You're right, we do have the best job ever!

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  6. Fantastic post. These books look like treasures that teach kids to think. How satisfying is it to write these kinds of jewels?!!?

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  7. I love books that impart knowledge in such a fun and interesting way! Congrats!

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  8. Thanks, Judy. I have to say it was a thrill to have the publisher say yes to that series!

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