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Volunteering and Philanthropy

Multimedia Bibliography on Volunteering and Philanthropy

While many children’s fiction books feature philanthropy as a theme, non-fiction materials are more difficult to find. Much of the non-fiction focuses on the environment, so this bibliography should help teachers and caregivers develop a more well-rounded selection when teaching about philanthropy. These items are suitable for a range of ages, from 3 to 12, as noted below. I used library catalogs, WorldCat.org, audible.com, and A to Zoo by Caroline Lima to find these items.

Phone and Tablet Apps

Bee Kind. Available from the Apple App Store. Free version.
A cartoon bumblebee teaches you to be kind to yourself and to others. Spin a wheel to generate ideas for good deeds. This creates an interactive To Do List that allows you to check off tasks and add your own. This is a very simple app that has a bright kid-friendly interface. Some tasks may be better suited for parents like “Give money to a charity,” but it works well overall for ages 6 and up.

Dr. Duncan Dog on Duty. By Lisa Dunn-Dern. Illustrated by Andrea Yomtub. E-book app available from the Apple App Store. $0.99.
With charming watercolor illustrations, this interactive e-book demonstrates the power of service. The little girl tells us that even the family pet has a job to do: he is a therapy dog. Readers are introduced to the idea that everyone has talents to share, and one important talent of dogs is their therapeutic presence. Features include read-to-me audio narrated by the pleasant voice of a young girl, auto play, and personalization of narration.

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help. Oceanhouse Media. Available from the Apple App Store. $3.99.
The Bear Scouts are earning their Good Deeds Merit Badge in this interactive e-book featuring Christian-oriented themes of philanthropy. The app features professional narration, background audio, and enlarged illustrations. Read to me, read it myself, and auto play.

Doing Good Deeds. Available from the Apple App Store. Written by Umm Ilhaam. $1.99.
Part of Darul Kitab’s Learn About Islam Series, this e-book app for the iPad introduces young children to a variety of good deeds that are in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. Engaging narration accompanies beautiful illustrations.

Mitzvah Hunt. Available from the Apple App Store. Free.
This game app for the iPad features Jewish-oriented philanthropic lessons. Learn to observe the good rather than the bad by tracking the good deeds of others.


Franklin. / Franklin helps out
Author: Paulette Bourgeois; Brenda Clark; Nelvana (Firm); Family Channel (U.S.); Canadian Television Fund.; All authors
Publisher: [Toronto, Ont.] : Visual Education Centre Ltd., [2009]
Edition/Format: eVideo : Animation : Juvenile audience : English
Summary from WorldCat.org:
Mr. Owl sends his class out into the community to learn first hand, the benefits of volunteer work. By day’s end, Franklin has found jobs for everyone except himself and feels he hasn’t accomplished his goal.

Two Bobbies : a true story of Hurricane Katrina, friendship, and survival
Author: Kirby Larson; Mary Nethery; Jean Cassels; Nutmeg Media (Firm)
Publisher: [S.l.] : Nutmeg Media, [2010]
Edition/Format: DVD video : Juvenile audience : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary from WorldCat.org:
Based on a true story, Two Bobbies takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when many pets were lost or abandoned. A dog and cat wander together through the devastated city and miraculously survive hunger, floods and other dangers. When they are finally taken to an animal shelter, the volunteers discover that the cat is blind and could not have survived without the dog’s help. Although their owner or owners are never found, the two friends, re-named Bob Cat and Bobbi, find a new home and a happy ending to their ordeal. The story includes an authors’ note and a photograph of the real Bob Cat and Bobbi. Includes a conversation with the authors.

We all contribute & make a difference
Author: Noon E. Productions.; Clearvue & SVE, Inc.
Publisher: [United States] : Clearvue & SVE, [2007], ©2003.
Series: Government & citizenship collection.
Edition/Format: DVD video : Juvenile audience : English
Summary from WorldCat.org:
Illustrates the ways we all can make differences in others’ lives and in our country, and stresses the importance of participating, volunteering, and leading.

Winnie the Pooh: Helping Others. 1988. VHS Video. Also available in four parts on YouTube.
Four classic episodes of the 1990s television series are brought together in this compilation that features the theme of helping friends. The friends help Owl learn to sing, Piglet learn that his small size doesn’t make him any less important, etc. Read more…

Multimedia Bibliography – Classical Music

This multimedia bibliography is primarily for teachers (classroom teachers and music specialists) who want to introduce classical music to children in lower and upper elementary school. These resources would also be useful to parents or anyone else interested in the topic, and a few of the resources have elements specifically for children (games, etc.). I have compiled a variety of resources including books, websites and electronic apps, educational programming resources within Austin, and educational and entertaining videos. For the user’s ease, resources are organized by medium. My goal was to create a bibliography that would help teachers plan, implement, and present lessons, and also provide opportunities for students to continue the study on their own. While the items listed vary a great deal in format and content, I believe that they will all be useful in introducing children to classical music and have the potential to inspire a life-long love of beautiful music.


1. Ganeri, Anita. The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Harcourt Brace & Company, 1996.

Medium: book (informational) and CD

Ages: 8 and up

Benjamin Britten’s orchestral piece, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, has been the classic introduction to the symphony orchestra for the past 65 years. Written to highlight individual sections of the orchestra and then weave them together, this piece not only has beautiful music, but also features narration that takes the listener on a tour through the entire orchestra. Anita Ganeri’s book is the perfect complement to the CD of Britten’s music, providing background information, and pictures of, each instrument along with historical background on the orchestra, musical periods, and famous composers. Ganeri also shares examples of different kinds of instruments used in orchestras around the world, gives the reader a peek into the day-to-day life of a professional musician, and includes a glossary of musical terms. The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is the quintessential introduction to classical music and is an excellent resource best used for children in middle to late elementary school.

2. Lach, William. Can You Hear It? Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Medium: book and CD

Ages: 4 and up

Music often evokes vivid pictures in the mind of the listener, and Can You Hear It? pairs classical works with paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, using art to bring the music to life in a new way. Each musical selection on the CD is accompanied by a full-page image in the book, a brief explanation of the connection between the music and the art, and notes indicating specific things to listen for in the piece. At the end of the book there are notes about the works of art and the artists, as well as the composers. The book also contains descriptions of each instrument in the orchestra and pictures or works of art showing the reader what the instrument looks like. Can You Hear It? is a great tool for expanding on a basic knowledge of classical music and teaching children about the use of imagery.

3. Moss. Lloyd. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1995.

Medium: book (counting)

Ages: 4 and up

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin is a counting book in which readers learn about instruments in the orchestra. The story begins with one trombone playing a solo, then a trumpet joins in and they play a duet, and soon there is an orchestra of ten instruments all playing beautiful music together. The text is both creative, using adjectives that mimic the sounds of the instruments, and informative, using musical terms and telling the reader about different parts of the instruments. Colorful illustrations and clever text make this book an enjoyable lesson about instruments.

 4. Ryan, Pam Munoz. Illus. by Brian Selznick. When Marian Sang. Scholastic Press, 2002.

Medium: book (biographical)

Ages: 4 and up

When Marian Sang is the story of Marian Anderson, an African-American contralto widely considered to be one of the most celebrated vocalists of the twentieth century. From singing in church as a child to her historic concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 to her debut with the Metropolitan Opera, Marian Anderson’s story is one of perseverance, triumph, and a remarkable talent and spirit. Pam Munoz Ryan’s text is captivating and moving, and Brian Selznick’s illustrations are rich and emotive. In addition to the story, the book also has notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of Marian Anderson’s life, and a selected discography of her works. This book would be a wonderful complement to any lesson about classical music in the early and mid-twentieth century, lending a personal and historical element to the subject.

 5. Snicket, Lemony. Illus. by Carson Ellis. The Composer is Dead. Harper Collins Publishers, 2009.

Medium: book (fictional story) and CD

Ages: 4 and up

The Composer is Dead is a silly, yet informative, introduction to the orchestra. In this story, a composer dies and the investigating Inspector goes to the orchestra to find the murderer. He talks to each section – strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion – but they all have alibis. Will he ever solve this musical mystery? In his interrogations, the Inspector learns about the instruments and the role each plays in the symphony, along with other useful information such as musical terminology and a long list of already-dead composers. In classic Lemony Snicket style, the text of The Composer is Dead is clever and fast-paced. Carson Ellis’ watercolor illustrations are fun and full of quirky details. The accompanying CD features a dramatic reading by the author with orchestral accompaniment. With its combination of whimsy and educational information, this book would be a terrific addition to any young music-lover’s library. Read more…

Day of the Dead Multimedia Bibliography

by Julia Casas

Day of the Dead Art / Photo Credit: Craig Allen

Day of the Dead Art – Craig Allen 

This collection of print and non-print materials is meant to introduce children to the Mexican celebration known as the Day of the Dead. Also known as Día de los Muertos, this celebration takes place on November 1st and November 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. This holiday can be traced back all the way to the Aztecs and is now celebrated all over the world and in many cultures.

The Day of the Dead is a time for families to gather and celebrate their loved ones who have died. Mexican culture has a different view on death and chooses to celebrate it. During this celebration, families will visit the gravesides of loved ones or build altars in their memory. The dead are honored with their favorite foods and other offerings.

These materials are meant for use in the classroom and can be used to expand the holdings of a school library. The intended age group for these materials is for children between the ages of 8 and 10. These resources are intended to introduce children to Mexican folk culture and the Day of the Dead. Children who have had limited exposure to the Day of the Dead will learn the history of the holiday. Children will also learn how people celebrate the Day of the Dead and the activities here will give children the chance to take part in the festivities themselves.  I have compiled resources from several different mediums — books, videos, PDFs, and DIYs. Several of these resources were found using ALSCs Great Websites for Kids and others were found through educational institutions.



* Ancona, George. Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1993. Print.

“Around the time of our Halloween, people in Mexico are preparing for their own celebration, the Fiesta of the Day of the Dead. During this three-day celebration, families go to great lengths to honor the spirits of their deceased relatives. Ancona personalizes his photo-essay by introducing young Pablo, who lost his grandmother two years earlier, and shows how the boy and his family will celebrate this special day. Among the holiday traditions are skulls spun from sugar, special bread, altars inviting the spirits to return to a household, bells, fireworks, and visits from relatives. Kids not familiar with the tradition will no doubt find it fascinating; and for Mexican children living in the U.S., the book can be an important link to their heritage. Unfortunately, the holiday’s origins are best explained in the author’s note that appears at the end of the book, which most kids will probably skip. It’s too bad that the information couldn’t have been incorporated into the text; still, the book is handsomely designed, and the color photos are intriguing. Both the English and the well-translated Spanish edition should find an audience.” — Ilene Cooper (From Booklist)


* Barragan, Elisa Garcia. “Jose Guadalupe Posada: About This Artist.” MoMA.org. Oxford University Press, 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Jose Guadalupe Posada was a Mexican artist who died in the early1900s. His illustrations and cartoon work have greatly influenced many Latin American artists and cartoonists. His satirical cartoons were celebrated for their political subject matter. Posada liked to use calacas, or skeletons, to portray his subjects and his work has come to be associated with Day of the Dead. Calacas are often shown laughing or smiling which is meant to remind us not to mourn or fear death too much. MoMA keeps several of Posada’s works in their permanent collection. They can be viewed online along with a short biography of the artist.

* “Dia De Los Muertos.” Azcentral. The Arizona Republic, 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

The Arizona Republic is the main news source for Phoenix and surrounding cities. Azcentral, together with Kathy Cano-Murillo, a blogger and crafter of Chicano-pop art, have created a resource to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Some links are area-specific, like events and happenings around Arizona, but other information can be adapted for classrooms anywhere. There are several wonderful craft ideas, such as how to create a matchbook shrine or papercut flowers. There is also a handy glossary of terms in English and Spanish and several education guides for teachers. Also included is a link to a photo album depicting art exhibits, altars, traditional mexican folk dances, and Day of the Dead sculptures. This site can be used to generate craft ideas or to show students how other people have celebrated the holiday.

* Pomade, Rita. “Mexican Lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada: Past and Present.” MexConnext, 2006. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

This look at the past and present of the great artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada, provides great information about the artist and his influence. Posada mastered the craft of lithography while he was young and by 1895 he was highly skilled at engraving in metal and etching in zinc. At this time, Posada was the only one working in these mediums; it was actually Posada who introduced these techniques to Mexico. This article would be a good companion to MoMA’s website, which includes images. The text may be a bit advanced for some readers, but it could be read before class by the teacher and then presented to the students in an easier to digest form. Quotes from the article could also be picked out and used as part of a display or included on an information sheet. Read more…

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