CLiF would like to introduce or re-introduce you to Jan Reynolds of Stowe, VT. Jan travels the world, living with people of different cultures, and uses her photographs to illustrates books about people, their culture and traditions. CLiF created the outline below to help students of all ages think about her books.

Jan grew up in Vermont, skiing and exploring locally. She competed internationally as a cross country skier and biathlete while exploring the far reaches of the world on skis and on foot. She discovered a love of photography, and has documented many of her adventures. She brings her love of learning about places and people with photography into her books for kids and adults.

Watch a clip of Jan’s presentation from CLiF’s Virtual Author’s Series here.

Things to think about:

  • Jan’s motto is “Always Explore.” What does that mean to you?
  • Jan’s favorite thing to do is “to escape to an extreme environment.” What is an example of an extreme environment? Look into Jan’s book series called Vanishing Cultures.
  • Jan loves to ski – she was on the US Biathlon Team, was part of the first team to circumnavigate Everest, and set a women’s world skiing record. How do you bring the activities you love to reading, writing, and art?
  • Jan has researched sustainable agriculture. What does that mean in New England and in more remote regions world-wide?
  • Do you start a book with photographs or with text?

Here are a few ways to get to know Jan’s work better:

  • Follow her book project Loving Kindness in Nepal. See the book here.
    Anyone who would like to photograph “how they show kindness” can send it to the hashtag #howdoyoushowkindness. If they send the photo to Jan, with an address and permission to use it, there will be a collage of photos from students around the world showing kindness in the book she is making.
  • Look at her YouTube channel to learn more about her travels and research on sustainable agriculture.
  • Teachers and parents: use Jan’s Vanishing Culture series to geo-literacy (activities using Google maps and standards available). Use Jan’s Research Guide to Vanishing Cultures.
  • Look at some of Jan’s photographs.
  • Many of Jan’s books have Teachers’ Guides and interviews with Jan, produced by the publisher Lee and Low. Check out the options.

CLiF has created literacy activities for students of all ages here. Here are some that would go nicely with Jan’s work:

For younger kids:

  • Question Board – use this idea to learn more about new places. Help children research aspects of different regions, or countries.
  • Wonder Wall – what questions do you have about other places in the world?

For older kids:

  • Get Out! – go outside and observe your community. What do you observe about your neighborhood? How does it change with the seasons?
  • Grab a Word – alter this one and make it about geography. Pick some countries you are unfamiliar with and learn about them!

For families:

  • Reading Bingo – create a Bingo card to encourage your family to read more non-fiction.
  • Where Have You Been? – start keeping a map and marking settings of books your family reads.

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