Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in November. Dickens in December.

    December marks the publication of our second literary classic after The Wizard of Oz. And it marks as well our first cooperative publication with one of America's leading academic libraries.
    The classic
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was first published in a British newspaper, in a serialized format, in 1843. Republished here just in time for Christmas – again in a "serialized," five-part format – our special edition of of the story was carefully prepared by scholars at the University of Virginia Library and has been made available to KBN with their kind permission.
   Teachers not familiar with
A Christmas Carol may wonder if a work with such a religious-oriented title is appropriate for the public classroom. The simple answer is yes, and with its vivid dialog it's a wonderful work to bring to the classroom and share in the form of "readers theater."

    It might come as something of a surprise, but the work is completely focused on the personal moral behaviors of the characters during a traditional holiday season of goodwill, and except for the title does not actually mention anything about religion except, perhaps, the universal principle of charity and caring shared by all of humanity.

   As 2009 moves to a close, more and more registered users are coming to the KBN website as more and more parents, kids, teachers and other educators learn about KBN. And they're giving us some very helpful feedback and new ideas, too.
    For example, beginning in January teachers – and everyone else – will also be able to download many of our books in a convenient powerpoint show format for dramatic classroom projection, so a whole class can enjoy reading together at the same time. The teacher can pace the "page-turning" to the next page just like any on-paper book, to match the readiness of her class to move forward to the next idea in the story.
    And finally, we're beginning to see more and more institutional support as teachers themselves are telling other teachers about our website, and the new opportunities for enhancing literacy and learning in the classroom using the completely free books and materials on the Kids' Book Network.
    Every teacher and educator who has visited and discovered KBN seems to be as excited as we are about our mission – to bring free books to every child in the world.
    And at this special moment of Thanksgiving we wish to thank you all. Thank you for your enthusiasm, ideas and continuing encouragement.