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PUBLISHED: 1:20 PM on Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Get ready to bundle up for 'Recess at 20 Below'

Courtesy Photo
Ask any group of children, "What do you like most about school?" and a majority will answer, "Recess!"

Whether students live in hot or cold weather, they all enjoy going outside to explore their environment with friends.

But what happens when the temperature drops below zero?

Curious questions about living and playing in Alaska such as "When does winter start?," "How do you get dressed to go outside?," "What does that cold feel like at 20 below?" and "Will your tongue really freeze to metal?" are answered in the new children's book "Recess at 20 Below," by author and photographer Cindy Lou Aillaud.

Aillaud, an elementary physical education teacher, took pictures of the children and worked with them on this show-and-tell project. Students are shown going sledding, swinging and running outside with frosted-up eyelashes and face masks. Photographs also capture views of a moose on the playground, the subdued light of midwinter in the subarctic and close-ups of frosty windowpanes.

Aillaud grew up in western Washington with rainy winters. She always longed to play in the snow.

Shortly after graduating from Washington State University, she headed to Alaska to teach school north of the Arctic Circle in Arctic Village.

Since 1979 she has been living in Delta Junction where she has taught elementary students at nearly every grade, including special education.

She currently teaches physical education and has every child in the school as one of her students.

It was during a year that she was teaching kindergarten and playing outside on a very cold, 20-below day during recess in November that she was inspired to begin the project of her first book.

Aillaud's teaching accolades include being chosen as one of 39 Disney Teachers of the Year for 2004, selected from 150,000 nominees.

As a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar, she traveled to Japan learning about the culture so she could share that new understanding with her school and community.


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