Elmer the Elephant packs his trunk!

Yesterday, in order to make the most of their delayed return to Italia, I drove Francesco and Nicoletta to Oxford. It was an enchanting sight , bathed in the warm glow of the  early spring sunshine.

Whilst they spent their time tracking down Harry Potter in Christchurch College and buying the obligatory Oxford University sweatshirts, I spent a couple of hours browsing in my favourite book shop, Blackwell’s.

Much of this time was spent in the children’s section, choosing  picture books for  Zambia. These will form the  basis of my reading sessions and then be donated to the Book Bus library.  

We have been told to expect a very wide ability range in the children’s grasp of English. Their only previous experience of books is likely to have been old-fashioned, black and white school texts.

Normal class sizes, anything from 40 to 100 children, cater for a range of ages. As volunteers we will be working, with small groups of up to 8 children, for a series of four x 1 hour sessions per day.  Our role, as volunteers, is “to bridge the gap between an inanimate book and a living, breathing, leaping story”. 

Regardless of their ages, the children will have no preconceptions and therefore the  older teenagers are just as likely to be captivated and enthralled, by colourful picture books and fairy stories, as the younger children.

With that in mind I have chosen to introduce them to two modern-day children’s classics: Elmer, and the Gruffalo.

Elmer seemed an obvious choice as I guess the children will be familiar with elephants, although maybe not the patchwork variety! I have also managed to get an Elmer (soft toy) to keep Monkey company, and he is packing his trunk as we speak!  Elmer also provides plenty of scope for follow-up art and craft activities.  

The Gruffalo, in his  forest setting, will hopefully appeal as well, and the story lends itself to role play!   

If all else fails  I’ve also stocked up on a range of football magazines, with loads of pictures, which the children can cut out to make their own information book, about the game.

2 Responses

  1. I will be posting some Manchester United magazines, I’m sure they have fans in Africa. I like Elmer and I’m very fond of Babar, but his green suit could be too warm for Africa.

    • Thanks Eve – I’ll look out for them. I guess you are not very keen on the Gruffalo because of the rather mean looking snake!

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