In our school library, we’re back at it–creating new shoebox rooms to go with our favorite stories. Last year we made a fairy-tale themed high-rise. This spring we used a mishmash of recyclables to make a crypt (and aboveground graveyard!) for the Ink Drinker, Eric Sanvoisin’s ink-slurping, book-swilling vampire.
The Ink Drinker, a book about discovering an appetite for books, is beloved in our school. The kids supplied the crypt with coffins for the Ink Drinker (and a couple guests), books for guzzling, wallpaper made from words, and plenty of headstones.
If you haven’t encountered it yet, this skinny early-chapter book is well-pitched for a third-grade read-aloud. (Read it to second graders at your own peril. Those littles tend to FREAK OUT about the vampire element.) Because it’s slight, you can read the whole thing aloud in about 30 minutes.
If you find your audience is hooked, follow up with the next three stories in the series (A Straw for Two, The City of Ink Drinkers, and Little Red Ink Drinker). The stories are translated from the French somewhat choppily but I choose to believe that the bumpy translation adds to its charm.
Here is the shoebox house the kids made in my library from scraps and bits last year. We are back in school (as of yesterday) and ready to resume construction. Each room represents a different fairy tale. You may be able to discern these tell-tale details:
Jack’s room (from his beanstalk)
The candy-laden gingerbread kitchen that lured Hansel and Gretel
Little Red’s bedroom complete with her hoodie hanging in the wardrobe
The three bears’ pudding cooling on their table and their well-made beds upstairs (pre-Goldilocks rampage)
I’m not sure where we go from here, but surely my students will let me know . . . stay tuned.
I recently opened a “maker space” in the school library where I work. In some libraries, maker space refers to a spot for a 3-D printer; in mine, it means something more basic: recyclables, masking tape, glue sticks and scissors.
The kids (grades 3-5) decided to make a shoebox house for a library elf–a mythical creature they hope to lure to our library with some luxe real estate. The project is collaborative, with each group of kids adding to what the others started. I’ve been amazed, watching as the structure grew and grew–the pad even has a pool and barbecue. Although I’ve only had a light hand in the project, I do occasionally get out my glue gun to solidify the foundation.
Our maker space rules are simple: share the space; build, don’t break; and when class is over, clean up the blizzard of little bits of paper scattered all over the carpet.