Posts Tagged ‘ reading ’

5 New Children’s Books to Check Out

Friday, June 13th, 2014

A few weeks ago, I took my 11-year-old daughter, Katie, to BookExpo America in New York City, where many adult and children’s publishers have their latest titles plus sneak peeks of upcoming ones for fall and winter. Our fave finds:

Frozen Hide-And-Hug Olaf

It’s Disney’s version of Elf on the Shelf. The box contains a new Frozen story with a hide-and-seek theme, and a plush Olaf that parents are supposed to hide for kids to find (and hug). It will be available at the end of October; here’s a link for pre-order.

A World Without Princes

This is the second part of a chapter-book triology called the School for Good and Evil. It’s perfect for 8- to 12-year-olds, especially those who are fans of fantasy fiction. The kids who reviewed the first book in the series for Parents Best Books story last year loved it, and it was a close runner-up for the Best Chapter Book. (In fact, it was Katie’s top choice.) We had a chance to meet the author, Harvard-educated, Soman Chainani, who says he wrote the series because “growing up he watched a lot of Disney movies and felt that the good characters weren’t always the most interesting ones.” Both books are available now; my daughter says the second one is even better than the first.

Sisters

Over at the Scholastic booth, Katie was drawn to advance copies of this graphic novel paperback. She recognized the name of the author (Raina Telgemeier) because she had read Smile, a story that Raina wrote in 2010. Katie finished the book before we left New York City: Sisters is a breezy (yet satisfying) read about siblings who patch up their relationship. It’s coming out at the end of August; pre-order here.

JoJo’s First Word Book

Once we got past the crowds waiting to see Grumpy Cat in the Chronicle Books book, we were struck by the adorableness of this title. It features more than 200 objects and a carrying handle. You can watch a video about it here or buy it here.

Kid Presidents

We’re fans of non-fiction, and this chapter book for kids 8 to 12 is so clever, delivering quirky childhood stories from 16 presidents. (For instance, kids will learn that FDR’s mom followed him everywhere and that Harry Truman broke a collarbone while combing his hair.) It will be available in October; pre-order here.

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B.J. Novak’s Children’s Book: Would You Buy It Even Though It Has No Pictures?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak front coverThe Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak back coverIf you follow B.J. Novak on Instagram, you know The Office star (and Mindy Kaling’s BFF!) has a tongue-in-cheek feed called “Pictures of Text” with…well, photos of text-heavy signs, posters, book covers, you name it.

So it’s no surprise that Novak pitched an idea for a children’s book called, “The Book With No Pictures“, a “picture” book without pictures…the first of its kind! Speaking to People, Novak shared, “I really wanted to get kids thinking that the written word is their ally not their enemy and it creates a great experience between the parent and the kid.”

Novak also posted photos of the front and back covers on Instagram and Twitter recently. Given Novak’s fondness for text, the cover is plain and sparse, similar to the black-text-on-white-background cover of his other book, “One More Thing,” a collection of short stories for adults.

Although little else is known about the picture book, Novak did tell People that it was a “simple” book with “hidden messages.” He got a chance to read it to a group of elementary school kids in Queens, who responded in a positive way. No doubt humor is a big part of the book (as evidenced by the text on his back cover: “WARNING! This book looks serious but it is actually COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!”).

“I think a lot of parents think they are not funny and are scared to read a funny book, but I’ve tested it with so many parents and I think this is fool-proof. No matter how you read it, you’re funny,” Novak said.

Look out for the book when it’s released by Penguin Kids on September 30.

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The 2014 Newbery and Caldecott Medal Winners: Kate DiCamillo and Brian Floca

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo; Locomotive by Brian FlocaThe American Library Association announced the winners of its two highest literary honors: the Newbery Medal (for distinguished writing) and the Caldecott Medal (for outstanding artwork).

Well-known children’s book author (and recently chosen ambassador for children’s literature) Kate DiCamillo was awarded the Newbery for Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, an illustrated novel about a tween who befriends a squirrel with superpowers. DiCamillo also won the Newbery in 2004 for The Tale of Despereux, a story about a mouse who yearns to become a knight. Her book Because of Winn-Dixie was also chosen as a Newbery runner-up in 2000.

For his illustrations in Locomotive, Brian Floca was awarded the Caldecott Medal. His book features a family of three taking their first trip (from Omaha to Sacramento) on the newly-finished Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Floca’s book was chosen as one of the 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2013 by the New York Times and the Top 10 Children’s Books of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal.

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Best Board Books for Babies

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

** Guest-edited by Emily Jenkins, 2013 Chair of the National Book Awards Committee on Young People’s Literature and author of Toys Go Out and more

First come my board-book standards. Your baby should have them. All babies should have them. All of them are properly interesting to someone who still wants to chew on books. 

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illus Clement Hurd

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illus Felicia Bond

books by Sandra Boynton (my favorite is Snuggle Puppy)

books by Eric Carle (my favorite is From Head to Toe)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin, illus Eric Carle

books by Dr. Seuss, shortened into board books (my favorite is Hop on Pop)

books by Karen Katz (my favorite is Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?)

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell 

Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

The Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells (my favorite is Max’s Breakfast)

The Duck and Goose board books by Tad Hills (my favorite is Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin)

Freight Train by Donald Crews

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

All the fun baby-centered books by Leslie Patricelli

Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill

If you’re a book lover, or on your second baby, chances are you already know the books above. You want to buy your baby (or your friend’s baby) something that’s beautiful and worth reading over and over and that might be a little under the radar.  Below are my go-to board book gifts for literary folk who have all the others. 

I Kissed the Baby! By Mary Murphy

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams

Ten Little Fingers & Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illus Helen Oxenbury

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tufari

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion 

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, illus. Marla Frazee

Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikowa

Peek-a-Boo by Alan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg

Also check out nine new board books from the American Baby Editors.

Remember that your local bookstore can order any of these books, and you can also find many board books in our Parents.com/shop

Activity Tips: Mia Reads Book
Activity Tips: Mia Reads Book
Activity Tips: Mia Reads Book

 

 

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Reading Roadblocks

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

When my daughter started kindergarden, she hated reading. There I said it.

Her teacher always sent her home with books from which she was to read for at least 20 minutes every night. But whenever she sat down with a book, I’d watch her body slump and her mind wander to far away thoughts of magical moving pictures from the glorious TV in her room.

She was no stranger to reading before she started school. She had an entire library in her room that I filled with all of the classics. I’d been reading to her since she was in the womb, and she’s always loved reading hour, which we have every Saturday and Sunday after lunch. But this was different. Being in kindergarden meant that she had to decipher the strange letters on the page on her own, and that was no fun.

She once started to say “I hate rea-” to which I gasped and forbid her from ever having such thoughts. As an English major and a lover of books, this was like a punch in the stomach for me. I felt a sense of loss for all of the amazing stories she might miss out on; all of the lives she wouldn’t live if this feeling continued. Dramatic, I know, but it’s really how I felt.

So of course I did what every wise, all-knowing mother does when she encounters an obstacle: I called my mom.

“Being a mom means being a teacher,” my mom said. “Put your teaching pants on.”

Apparently moms have all kinds of pants in an invisible mom-wardrobe that we just have to whip out and pull on when called for. So I did.  I pulled on my teaching pants, and they weren’t comfortable, but they fit.

After watching her read each day, I took to the chalkboard in her room and made lists of word families that I noticed gave her trouble.

Practicing “ou” brought mountains and clouds to life on the page for her. I bought books that were fun, like We Are In a Book, by Mo Willems. She cracked up reading that one and asked for more of his books. One Saturday I encouraged her to write a letter to her favorite author, and a week later she received her first piece of mail – a response from Mo Willems himself. He thanked her and promised to keep writing “Funny jokes to make her laugh.”

It took some time, but soon enough, she was reading books at home that were well beyond the reading level that her teacher was assigning.

Now as a 1st grader, new books have become rewards for completing her chores and finishing other books.

Some of her favorites are Amelia Bedelia, and The Show Must Go On. She recently finished  The Adventures of Captain Underpants (in 2 days) and I challenged her to read Wayside School is Falling Down in 1 week. On the line – the entire Captain Underpants box set.

I’d be lying if I said that my daughter loves every book that she picks up. She’ll still swap a book for the TV if the story isn’t funny enough, but she’s come a long way from the days of (almost) hating to read. And I get to put the teaching pants back on the hanger during reading hour.

 

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Summer Reading Lists-Activity Guides, from Lego Duplo and the ALSC

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Lego Duplo Read Build PlayLego Duplo’s “Read! Build! Play!” initiative strives to develop early literacy and strengthen learning through their Read and Build series of simple story books paired with easy construction activities.

Last year, Lego Duplo and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) partnered to create resources that combined reading and play. “Through play, young children learn about their world. With this knowledge, they can understand books and stories once they begin to read,” says Starr Latronica, Vice President/President-Elect of the Association for Library Service to Children.

This summer, Lego and ALSC have created the first Summer Reading Lists/Activity Guides for toddlers and preschoolers. Two free guides (one for Ages 1-3, one for Ages 3-5) pairs 10 already-published books with Lego projects designed specifically for each one. The books, easily available at local libraries, were chosen by ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services committee.  A Parent Activity Guide is also available for free, to explain the importance of play and to offer advice on how to interact with kids.

Parents can preview a list of the chosen books below and click on the jump to see a photo of the suggested activity for Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastian Braun. Visit ReadBuildPlay.com to download the entire activity guides (which includes the full lists of Lego projects with instructions, plus coloring pages).

Ages 1-3

Ages 3-5

(more…)

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Getting Kids to Love Books for National Reading Month

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Children reading in a groupMarch may be National Reading Month, but it’s important to focus on reading every month of the year. In addition to setting aside time to read regularly during the day (or night) or visiting your local library and bookstore, consider subscribing to the Book of the Month service offered by GiftLit.com.

Founded by two moms, GiftLit allows parents to  choose age-appropriate books (all curated by librarians, editors, and other book experts) to be mailed on a monthly basis. Each book arrives with a personalized card and bookplates, and GiftLit also donates 10% of their profits to schools, libraries, and literary organizations.

For more ideas on what books to read, look to the lists of Newbery and Caldecott winners. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate won the 2013 Newbury Medal and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen won the 2013 Caldecott Medal. Also, make reading fun by downloading alphabet coloring pages and reading animals printables provided by Reading Is Fundamental. Or download this cute poster, “Reading: It’s Our Only Hope,” part of the promotion for the kid-friendly Star Wars book, Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown, and sequel to Darth Vader and Son.

 

Image: Group of children enjoying reading together via Shutterstock.

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PBS Show Super WHY! Teams Up With fun. Guitarist For Live Tour

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The power of friendship, adventure and reading could soon be coming to a city near you!

The popular Emmy-nominated preschool TV series Super WHY! recently announced dates for an upcoming live tour “Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!” Written by the show’s creator Angela Santomero (also the creator of Blue’s Clues), the show features music produced by guitarist Jack Antonoff, of the Grammy Award-winning band fun. Kids (and parents too!) will love dancing and singing along with the cast of superhero characters plucked from the pages of classic storybook favorites, as they heroically take on challenges in the name of literature.

The tour kicks off April 2nd in Seattle, and will travel to 27 cities around the country in April and May.

Watch a clip of the live show below, and see a full list of tour dates.

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