I recently had two encounters at the local library that stuck with me.
The first: Seth and I were looking through the audiobooks and playaways for him, and a mom approached me and asked for audiobook recommendations for her son, age 7. This is my dream encounter. Usually I overhear people debating what books to get their kids and am dying to put my two cents in; this lady flatout asked for my input! If you have ever asked me for suggestions, you know that you might get more than you bargained for. I gave her several suggestions, based on her son’s age and interests.
This leads me to my first summer reading tip: Let the kids listen to audiobooks.Continue reading →
The very best book I read this summer was It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas. It’s a semi-autobiographical, but fictional story about a preteen Iranian girl in the late ’70s. Zomorod (her name) has moved with her family to Newport Beach, CA, from Iran, for her father’s work. They actually had lived in the US briefly once before, and this time Zomorod has decided she will make friends and be “normal”–as normal as she can be with whom she thinks are two of the strangest people for parents (everyone can relate to that, right??). Zomorod goes through normal growing up and friendship difficulties, but eventually lands with a group of sweet, intelligent friends. Things are good! But how long will it last, as Iran starts popping up all over the news with protests, revolution and then the taking of American hostages? This books is so relevant in our world today, and I loved the message Dumas allows to shine through: that a few kind people can make all the difference in someone’s life, especially when times get tough. For this book, Amazon says grades 5-7. I really think this is one of those books that reads so smart, it would still hold appeal through high school (and adults!). Continue reading →
I have read quite a bit this summer and will share my favorites in a couple posts, along with age groups they are intended for. Picture books and easier chapter books in this first post.
So, I am a little behind on this one, but maybe others are too. I like Jan Brett a lot–Gingerbread Baby, The Mitten, The Three Snow Bears, Annie and the Wild Animals, many others–all cute. But when I met Cinders, I was completely and totally charmed. If I was crazy and kept chickens in my backyard like some of my friends, I would be even more crazy over this one than I am. Seriously, y’all. Cinderella with chicken characters. Enough said. My new favorite Jan Brett book. Continue reading →
When was the last time you chose to do something you’re not good at and that makes you feel dumb? (If you can’t think of anything that makes you feel dumb and crummy when you try it, maybe you haven’t tried anything new in awhile.)
It’s humbling to remember what that feels like, and then to connect that to how our children may feel in certain situations, whether it’s trying a new sport, starting a new school year with harder classes, or picking up a book to read.
I’ve talked with a lot of parents lately who are concerned about their children’s reading habits. The problem I hear most often is the child is struggling, maybe behind, and therefore doesn’t enjoy reading. It makes perfect sense when you think about that feeling. Do you ever choose to do something you stink at? Maybe grudgingly, maybe only when forced. Continue reading →
Still waiting on that hard-working husband to report on middle grade graphic novels. I would do it, but he knows so much more!
First a photo from our travels this summer–yes, both kids reading at the same time. Yay!
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a lot for pleasure. Because my young adult literature class started last week, a lot of my summer reading was young adult fare. I would be happy to share my thoughts on any and all these (listed at the end), but really, what I kept coming back to was that I’VE BEEN READING. For pleasure. Sometimes to the neglect of feeding playing with my children. And I firmly believe that is okay–even good for them to see!
There’s an anecdote I love in one of my favorite children’s literature texts, Children’s Literature, Briefly, by James S. Jacobs and Michael O. Tunnell. A preschool teacher had her children in circle time. Behind her sat two different bowls, each with a different type of candy in it. While teaching, the teacher casually put a piece of candy from Bowl 1 in her mouth, said, “Mm, this is good candy,” and then promptly spit it in the trashcan. A few minutes later, still teaching, she placed a piece of candy from Bowl 2 in her mouth, said, “This is not good candy; I don’t like it,” but kept the candy in her mouth until she finished it. After the lesson, she told the children they could get one piece of candy from either bowl. Don’t look below: which bowl would you predict most of them chose from?
While we wait on my talented and brilliant teacher husband to post about some of his favorite graphic novels for upper elementary/middle school and his passion for introducing children to this genre, I found a few more worth sharing this morning at the library.
First up, I rediscovered this nonfiction graphic novel series about different animals. We had checked out Do You Know Crocodiles? previously, so this time, we got the …Rats?one. They are by Alain Bergeron, Michel Quintin and Sampar; look up all the animals available at your library or on Amazon to see the full collection.
I have actually not forgotten I have this blog, believe it or not! Would you believe if I said I was just trying to give you TONS of time to explore nonfiction with your kids?! (Really, I just got very busy with the end of the school year/semester and the start of another semester of teaching for me.)
We could keep going with nonfiction to kick off summer. I’ve already made the case that nonfiction can be great high-interest material for kids to get involved with, plus it can require less concentration because of the way nonfiction texts are often organized (how kids can skip around and read the parts they’re most interested in). And don’t forget, kid-appropriate magazines, which are often a mix of light fiction and nonfiction, are fantastic for summer, trips, pool/lake/beach-side reading! I could keep going with nonfiction, but I’m ready to switch over to something new.
This is the first thing that pops in my head when I think of motivating our kids to read over the summer AND enjoy it: comic books and graphic novels.Continue reading →