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REVIEWS


Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox is a captivating book with an important message. Métis au- thor and illustrator Danielle Daniel introduces readers to the significance of totem animals, part of the dynamic and diverse Anishinaabe culture. Each page shows a different animal and the words that describe the characteristics and feelings associated with it. The words have a poetic feeling and the illustrations are soft and gentle. This combination helps deliver the message of the book in an age-appropriate way for students. This book is versatile and will be appreci-


SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A FOX Danielle Daniel Groundwood Books, 2017 40 pages, $9.95 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Reviewed by Rabia Khokhar


ated by primary and junior students. Students will be able to identify the animals and think about the characteristics and feelings they rep- resent. For example, the bear is “strong and confident” and the deer is “sensitive and kind.” Through this exploration, students will be able to engage in self-reflection and learn emotion- al literacy. Each page starts with “Sometimes I feel like a …” and opens space for classroom conversations that deal with naming and nor- malizing all feelings. Students will learn to identify and respect their own feelings and those of others.


This book is cross-curricular and can be


used creatively in all subject areas. In Language Arts, it can be used as a read-aloud and men- tor text to initiate writing about feelings and research into different poetry styles. In Visual Arts, students can experiment with different art styles and techniques. In Drama and Dance, students can act to represent the animals and their characteristics. In Social Studies, students can begin to learn about their own identities. In Science, students can learn about the differ- ent animals and their habitats and think criti- cally about the environment. This is a great book with an important


message that centres mental health and well- ness. The author’s note and list of totem ani- mals at the back is helpful because it gives a context and more information. Furthermore, as we work towards Truth and Reconciliation, this book can be a springboard to learn about important Anishinaabe traditions.


Rabia Khokhar is a member of the Toronto Occasional Teacher Local.


In her book, Invitations to Play: Using Play to Build Literacy Skills in Young Learners, Anne Burke explores why it is important that chil- dren are encouraged and supported in their play in primary classrooms. Burke begins with oral language development and then moves to reading and writing, digital literacy, music, ELL, creating citizenship in the classroom and briefly touches on mathematics. Invitations to Play is well-researched and


INVITATIONS TO PLAY: USING PLAY TO BUILD LITERACY SKILLS IN YOUNG LEARNERS Anne Burke Pembroke Publishers Limited, 2019 128 pages, $24.95 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Reviewed By Marlene Sutton


46 ETFO VOICE | WINTER 2020


cites many psychologists and early child- hood researchers. Burke explains why play is the most natural way children learn, as well as being the basis on which children acquire language. As she explains, “Seeing the rightful placement of play as a pedagogy that responds to and addresses early literacy and numeracy skills is a return to the natural way in which young children learn.” (p. 12) Although most of this book is focused


on the philosophical connection between play and learning, Burke has also included practical examples you can immediately put in place in your classroom, as well as stories directly from teachers and her own observa- tions of children at play.


I would recommend this book to anyone


who is new to teaching Kindergarten or who is returning to Kindergarten after teaching else- where for a number of years, as the approach in this book aligns with almost everything in the Kindergarten program. As the Kindergar- ten program does, Burke recognizes that chil- dren learn language through play. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is inter- ested in trying to incorporate a greater number of playful, hands-on learning experiences in Grades 1 and 2. The foundational principles in this book would help the teacher tie together the purposeful, hands-on learning in art, mu- sic, science and physical education with greater development in oral language development and early literacy.


Marlene Sutton is a member of the Hastings and Prince Edward Teacher Local.


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