In spite of all its concrete and glass the UCL IOE Library is a remarkably cosy place to be at this time of year, but when it came to sourcing materials on the chilly subject of Winter and Cold Weather for our current display of Curriculum Resources, the choice was overwhelming.
If stories are your preference we have wonderful fiction and picture books. For older readers there’s Marcus Sedgwick’s snow-filled vampire tale My Swordhand is Singing and steeped in East European folktales, the gripping novel about the Russian Revolution, Blood Red, Snow White. In fact the ingenious plot of Sedgwick’s Revolver, set in 1910 north of the Arctic Circle, hinges on a particularly expert knowledge of the properties of cold and snow. Then again, you might want to remind yourself of those chilliest of children’s classics, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tale of an American pioneer family in The Long Winter or Joan Aitken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And don’t overlook the great folktales from our large selection, including at least four versions of The Snow Queen.
Snow scenes seem to provide endless inspiration for picture book writers and illustrators, and we have some terrific examples, see for example Jackie Morris’ stunning watercolours in The Ice Bear. If cuddly penguins are already the theme of Christmas 2014 for you, check out Mick Inkpen’s Penguin Small or the poignant story of friendship by Oliver Jeffers, Lost and Found. There are even books of exclusively wintery poetry.
But the frosty theme isn’t confined to fiction. The Curriculum Resources collection provides many different avenues for exploring the idea of Cold. There is material on polar explorers like Matthew Henson (Dewey no 910.9) and books on seasonal crafts (see 745.5). There’s By Truck to the North (919.8, guaranteed hit for fans of TV’s ‘Ice Road Truckers’) and books on seasonal changes in weather (551.6), cold habitats (591.99) and the science of winter (525).
So whatever approach you want to take, there will be something in the Curriculum Resources collection to support your teaching, and many of the items mentioned here are currently on display (and available for loan) on the display shelves on Level 4 near the foot of the stairs. Curriculum Resources books can be borrowed for 8 weeks and renewed 10 times if no one has requested them.