Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Lynne Cherry - January 5

Happy Birthday Lynne Cherry - Born January 5, 1952

In The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry a child in the Yanomamo tribe whispers to a man who had fallen asleep while taking a break from cutting down a tree, "When you awake, please look upon us all with new eyes, " While he slept the animals of the Amazon rainforest took turns giving him all the reasons why he shouldn't continue to cut down the tree. I felt this quote was appropriate for this time of year when many of us look at our lives "with new eyes" through New Year's resolutions.  I have been thinking about possible resolutions and after reading Lynne Cherry's books this week I have a few more ideas.

This week my family enjoyed reading The Shaman's Apprentice: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest, Flute's Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush, and The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle.  In addition to writing and illustrating these books Lynne Cherry embarked on another project after publishing the book How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate, a book that presents climate change appropriately for children. This book motivated her to produce movies that tell inspirational stories of young people making a difference in their communities to improve the environment.  The movies are available at Young Voices on Climate Change along with ways to replicate the projects in your own community. Here was my favorite movie about a group of high school students that helped lead the way to banning plastic bags in the city of Santa Monica:



I ask the same questions of my children before leaving them to fall asleep each night; What was your favorite thing you did today?  What was your favorite thing you ate today? What was your favorite thing you did at school? (I guess this is our way of reflecting on the day.) However last night I also asked, "What could you do to keep the Earth healthy?" We had just read Making a Difference in the World, an autobiography by Lynne Cherry as one of our 3 bed time books.  My son and daughter agreed that the best thing they could do was "plant a tree".  This would have been a great way to celebrate Lynne Cherry's birthday but it is hard to plant a tree right now in Ohio.  Therefore, we decided to make a poster to promote their important idea for keeping the Earth healthy.


After the painting activity we watched the video below from Young Voices about a young boy who is responsible for motivating people in Germany to plant 500,000 trees. We then finished our celebration by reading The Great Kapok Tree.



In closing, my daughter strolled up to me while I was cooking dinner and said, "Dad, you know what would be cool?"  I said, "What would be cool?" She replied, "It would be cool if Lynne Cherry's birthday was Earth Day."

I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to 2011 and good luck with your New Year's resolutions.

Links:

1. Lynne Cherry's Website
2. Young Voices on Climate Change Website
3. The Shaman's Apprentice Reading Rainbow Episode on Vimeo
4. Lynne Cherry Reads 5 of her books on Living on Earth - MP3 downloads!
5. The Great Kapok Tree - Reader's Theatre from ReadingLady.com
6. Video Interview on Denver Public Schools Access Channel
7. Text Interview - Generation Green
8. How We Know What We Know About Climate Change - Website
9. The Great Kapok Tree - Lesson Plan Unit from San Diego County Education
10. Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch on BBC News discussing teaching Climate Change to Kids
11. Audio Interview - NPR Radio

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