Library Day: A Nature-Inspired Book Fiesta!

by Wendy Paulas and Sofi De La Mora

It’s finally here… Library Day! After countless hours of virtual planning, our resident Colorado girls, Wendy and Sofi, led a nature-inspired book fiesta program for the K-3rd grade students at Miguel Angel Asturias. 

The program started off with a puppet/live action play adapted from the book, The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. With help from other LWB volunteers, the play conveyed the importance of preserving trees for animals and people.  Guatemala is currently facing a severe deforestation crisis.  The story was a fun way to engage students in real environmental issues that concern them through the love of reading.  It was rewarding to hear kids laugh and observe them struggling to keep themselves seated during the play (they were so engaged that they stood up at times). They giggled when Jorge, the lumberjack, took four swings at the tree without being able to cut it down.  They burst into even more laughter, when he gasped for air profusely as he snored his way through scenes.  The added sound effects, the artwork construction and the jungle animal masks, gave students a truly immersive storytelling experience.

Following the play, Sofi used the tree artwork to share with the children that reading under trees is one of her favourite things to do.  She described that this was a pleasure that she earned.  She started small by first reading and caring for books in the library.  Then when she was prepared enough, she took them home and read books in clean spaces away from any potential spills or damage.  It was soon after that she was able to trust herself in reading her favourite books underneath a tree.

Following the library etiquette piece, Wendy led the students in an interactive song and dance to the popular song, La Iguana y El Peresozo. The students got on their feet, jumped and sang their way through the song.  The lyrics to the song were blown up, to encourage students and teachers to read, sing and move to the uppity beat.

The last activity of the program was a literacy cube game.  Students were divided into small groups.  Each group received eight six-sided cubes containing words from The Great Kapok Tree. The children then used the cubes to create nature-themed sentences inspired from the story.  The teachers were so impressed.  It was the first time they experienced an activity that was playful and literacy-based at the same time.   The best part of it all is that words on the cubes could be erased and rewritten for new book activities.  All cubes and markers are staying with the library to encourage book literacy activities.  We also created a recommended book list to support future reading.

Volunteers had the best time working with the children, teachers, and Señora Dorita, the school librarian at Miguel Angel Asturias, to instil a love of reading, build literacy skills and develop a respect for nature.  It was a rewarding experience for us all. 

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