Friday, April 17, 2009

Crazy Hair Day

Yesterday, Please Touch Museum celebrated Crazy Hair Day!

In our Program Room, visitors checked out our Crazy Hair Salon where they tried on funky wigs, hair clips, ties, and other materials to design their own contorted coif!

Crazy Hair Day is based around the book by the same name, by author and illustrator Barney Saltzberg. In Crazy Hair Day, Stanley Birdbaum wakes up early one fine morning because he can’t wait for Bald Eagle Elementary School’s Crazy Hair Day celebration. With some hair gel and rubber bands and coloring spray, Stanley makes himself into a living work of art. Stanley is so excited when he gets to class and his teacher announces to everyone that Crazy Hair Day is officially…scheduled for next week! And today is actually school picture day! Stanley is so embarrassed that he retreats into the boy’s bathroom and refuses to come out. That is, until his best friend Larry Finchfeather convinces him that the rest of the class has a surprise for him that may make this the best Crazy Hair Day yet.

Crazy Hair Days are commonly hosted by schools across the country as special events to galvanize school spirit and display community among the student body. For young children, it is a great way to foster creativity by allowing children to experiment with manipulating their self-image in a fun way.

There are also plenty of ways to celebrate Crazy Hair Day at home. Use any materials you can think of, from pipe cleaners and combs to aluminum foil and egg crates. Allow your child to be completely free and creative with their decorating and even join in and have fun cracking up together in front of a mirror. Reading Barney Saltzberg’s book and making your own crazy hair fun is a unique way to create a special reading experience for a child.

You can find more about Crazy Hair Day at Barney Saltzberg’s website.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

24th Annual Book Award Winners Announced!

A cookie dough mystery and a haiku-speaking panda are at the heart of the two children's books chosen to receive the 2009 Please Touch Museum Book Award. It's the only award of its kind to honor the publication of quality books for young children, and is given annually to two books in categories based on the age of the museum's visitors (kids ages seven and younger).

Ages 3 and Younger Category:

Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?

by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

In Who Ate All the Cookie?, Dough Karen Beaumont starts with a well-known rhyme and adds her own twist to create an engaging reading experience. The book cycles through a variety of animals, whom all profess their innocence, leading to a repeating refrain. The repetition, combined with Beaumont's fluid and fluent rhyming pattern, make this a fun read-aloud book sure to invite enthusiastic audience participation. And of course, any child reading this story won't be able to help calling out the names of the animals they recognize, which are rendered in Eugene Yelchin's colorful and vibrant designs.

Ages 4 to 7 Category:

n Ties
by Jon J. Muth

Zen Ties
is Jon J. Muth's follow-up to his 2006 Caldecott Honor book Zen Shorts. In Zen Shorts, Muth used a variety of artistic and storytelling styles to tell three parable-like stories, culled from traditional Zen and Taoist literature. In Zen Ties, however, Muth tells a single, original story about friendship, community, and Stillwater the panda returns, with his pint-sized nephew Koo in tow, to make new friends, Addy, Karl, and Michael. The book tells an important story about compassion as the children make a new friend in old Miss Whitaker. Muth's lush watercolor illustrations are beautiful and the characters are wonderfully animated.

Why does Please Touch Museum honor children's books?

Helping a child discover the joys of reading is one of the ways we hope to start our young visitors onto the path of learning. The winning books are imaginative, exceptionally illustrated, and help foster a child’s life-long love of reading. Language learning and literacy skills begin to develop in children very early, before they can even hold a book on their own! This is why it is important to begin reading to children at a very young age to help develop and nurture these skills as they grow. It's never too early to start!

We believe that by honoring unique and innovative children's books, parents will be introduced to great educational reads for their little ones. Plus, the award winning books are a great addition to storytelling at home. Families reading together is one of the ways the museum's "learning through play" philosophy comes to life, as it encourages adult-child interaction, imagination, and discovery.

The 2009 winners will be honored at the annual Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) Early Childhood Conference on Friday, April 17, 2009.

Visit the museum's Kids Store for a selection of current and past Book Award winners.

For more information about literacy and family reading explore these helpful websites:
National Center for Family Literacy
National Institute for Literacy -- Early Childhood Literacy
Zero to Early Language and Literacy

We're all about learning through play.

Join Pinky, one of Please Touch Museum's resident puppets, on an inside look into all the fun, educational things happening at Philly's Children's Museum. This blog is not just about what we do at the museum, but about the educational philosophy behind why we do what we do.