Having discovered a number of wonderful Board Books, that don't really fit within #PPBF, but which definitely deserve to be highlighted, I decided to give them their own day. #BBT.
To start this off,
Author: Sarvinder Naberhaus
Illustrator: Melinda Beck
Publisher: Little Simon (Simon & Schuster) 2017
Form, perspective, and geometry of lines all around us.
Synopsis (from Simon & Schuster):
This beautifully illustrated board book shows readers how lines make up a whole: a whole square, house, town, city, and universe!
Think beyond shapes. Beyond colors. Beyond letters and numbers. With poetic text and beautiful illustrations, this board book shows us how individual pieces make up a whole. And not just a whole house or a whole town, or a whole city, but a whole universe. This book celebrates both the simplicity and complexity of the world around us!
What I like about this book:
Board books could be viewed as merely simple books for babies. But they are quite complex and often contain either or both STEM and STEAM aspects, helping young readers decipher the world around them.
Sarvinder, in our interview below, summed it up so nicely. This book is about "building bigger, while simultaneously zooming out smaller."
(These pictures don't do the book justice; the colors are so much brighter and vivid. But they do offer a teaser.)
Starting with a line, the book examines other shapes, connecting them to a child's life and to the universe. Opening the discussion of the diversity of lines (or "what is a line"?), by including a circle, Sarvinder not only sets the stage for a discussion about math and geometric shapes, but discussing the differences and diversity in life.
Sarvinder and Melinda have created both a beautifully simple and amazingly complex book.
- Sarvinder has activities on Pinterest for LiNES, Blue Sky White Stars, and Boom Boom. The ones for Boom Boom are very fun because of the current changing seasons. Just hit the "Visit" or "Read it" button if you are interested in the activity, and it will take you to the instructions.
- She is also editing a video on my author talk to the Children's Lit class at the university, to be posted YouTube soon, as an example of how teachers, parents, or anyone can teach with LiNES! (She's also hoping to post a Breakout lesson from one of her students).
- play with lines & circles in concrete shapes and drawings and follow physical and drawn mazes.
- go outside and find all kinds of shapes. Draw what you see as collections of shapes or lines.
**Be sure to comment on this post for an opportunity to receive an autographed copy of LiNES from Sarvinder. **
NOW - For an extra special treat, Sarvinder Naberhaus has joined us to answer a few questions:
ME: Thank you Sarvinder for chatting with us. Did you always intend for LiNES to be a board book?
Sarvinder: I actually intended LiNES to be a picture book. Usually when I write, I have a specific audience or genre that I have in mind when writing it. To me, LiNES is just as complex as Perfect Square or the new Triangle book. I feel it is perfect for teachers to use in the classroom either way.
How different was the submission process for LiNES, compared to your picture book Blue Sky White Stars?
LiNES was the first thing my agent submitted. The editor was interested immediately but couldn't convince the upper staff. He then moved to a different publisher and picked it up there, so it took longer to finally get picked up, but the publishing process was much faster. Blue Sky White Stars took about 4 years to come out.
How different is your dummy from the final book? Did you have input on the actual illustrations? Did Melinda Beck see your dummy?
All three of my books are short, and are concept books. Most of them had very little editing. LiNES is almost exactly like my original manuscript. I created my own illustrations for it on the computer. I don't think you can understand any of my manuscripts without the illustration notes. They are a must, and usually a much higher word count than the number of words in the story! I sent the dummy book to Joan, who sent it to the editors, who I believe sent it to Melinda that way. I did not get input on the art in any of my books AFTER they were picked up. But I had my say beforehand in the dummy or illustration notes. That way, I share my vision, but also give room for the artist to share theirs.
You mentioned to me that you use LiNES when teaching college students, what class/subject are you teaching?
I teach computer applications in the classroom (lab), for future teachers. Whenever I'm asked to be a guest speaker in the Children's Lit class, I always talk about LiNES and Einstein's theory of relativity and the implications it has on things that are linear (time, light, etc.). If time is linear and you can bend it (Einstein states gravity bends time) then what if you bent time 180 degrees? Would you see yourself coming and going? And since black holes have so much gravity that even light can't escape, does that mean they bend time into a circle, or go to a different era in time or a different universe? And what happens if you bend light 360 degrees? The answer is, you get a circle of colors, which we only see half of, after it rains.
Wow, great questions. I imagine your students have fun trying to answer them. When I opened LiNES, I marveled at the simplicity of taking the concept that lines make up our world and breaking it into a simple "flow chart," if you will, for a child. What was your inspiration for this?
When I first started in the field of computers in the classroom, there was a program called LOGO in which you programmed the turtle to move in lines and angles. I think that is one of the reasons I was able to come up with this idea and build on it. Because I built with Lines for years. Now we call it coding.
You can see how I would program the turtle to make lines as well as angles to draw shapes. Here are some graphics that show the LOGO turtle and the coding behind the command, To Square:
I recommend doing this and Hour of Code to learn how to get started: https://code.org/learn
I have taught LiNES with younger kids, using these same concepts, and guess what? They got it! I find that young kids "get" coding much faster and easier than adults. Computer programming is a language, and as with other languages, the earlier you learn them, the better.
When you do presentations with kids, do you ask them to draw (or describe) a line? Many adults (unless maybe mathematicians, architects, and artists?) would describe or draw a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. Not a curve or a circle. What a good way to introduce parents and teachers to "the diversity of lines." (hehe) How many kids mention/draw a curve or a circle?
Most kids and adults do not think of bending a line into a circle. In fact I don't think they see any relation. I don't think I would have either, but since I worked with moving and turning in degrees, and drawing lines that turned in relation to 360 degrees, I saw the relationship. It occurred to me that if you take a line and divide it 360 times (like on a ruler), and bend each line 1 degree, you would get a circle.
The definition of a line (in geometry) is that it goes on forever in both directions. And a circle goes on forever, just like a straight line. My question is, did a circle come first or the straight line (what came first, the chicken or the egg)? In my opinion, since a straight line's 180 degrees is based on half of the 360 degrees of a circle, and since we use the circle as our basis for all angles, I think the circle came first. Plus pi goes on forever, which reflects the definition of a line. So when talking to kids, I use a pipe cleaner, and bend that as an example of how to make a straight line into a circle. But the young kids are the ones that yell at me, YES, a circle is a line!
Awesome! Imagine all the parents learning/expanding their knowledge of geometry from a board book! If a circle is a line, is a triangle one too? Why are triangles only in the illustrations and not in the text?
Since a line is that it goes on forever in both directions, yes, a circle is a line. Triangles are actually half of a square, and we included the square. We debated about putting triangles in, only because I anticipated the editor wanting to, but I'm glad we didn't. I don't think they fit in the text. I think they fit in the illustrations and have their place there. Because the text is really about building bigger, while simultaneously zooming out smaller.
Thank you Sarvinder for creating such a fun, thoughtful book and joining us today.
This was fun diving into the book & doing a bit of research on "circles as lines." Thanks Maria!
To find out more about Sarvinder Naberhaus, or get in touch with her:
Interview on The Picture Book Buzz: (https://www.mariacmarshall.com/single-post/2017/06/12/The-Picture-Book-Buzz--Interview-with-Sarvinder-Naberhaus)