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Reading Ahead

The Magic Misfits

The Magic Misfits 

I’m one of those peo­ple that often reads a cele­bri­­­ty-writ­ten book because I’d like to find one that defies the odds. How about you? Did you get over the won­der­ing at a cer­tain point? Or do you still give a new star-pow­ered book a try? Sad­ly, I don’t often find a celebri­ty book I can rec­om­mend. This time, though, I’m prac­ti­cal­ly shouting:

The Secret Kingdom

The Secret Kingdom 

This book is irre­sistible. For all kinds of rea­sons. Remem­ber when you were a kid, or maybe you do this now, how you’d take what­ev­er was at hand and cre­ate a house, a camp, an entire set­ting for you to play in? Where you could act out your sto­ries? Did you do this with found items from nature?

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King

Mighty Jack 

We are thrust into the midst of the action, which nev­er stops until the epi­logue. This is how Ben Hatke tells a sto­ry. We don’t know what’s going on. There’s no set­up. Instead, we quick­ly learn that Jack is climb­ing some veg­e­ta­tive mat­ter to find the ogre who kid­napped his sis­ter Mad­dy and take her home.

Maurice the Unbeastly

For The Beast in Us All 

The theme of being your­self is famil­iar. Many books, movies, and plays are devot­ed to this idea. When it’s done well, we all sit up a lit­tle straighter, laugh more con­fi­dent­ly, and dream about all the things we’d like to do to be true to who we are. Chil­dren need to hear this mes­sage often so

Rufus Blasts Off!

No Pigs in Space? 

Some of my read­ers know that the very first sto­ry I wrote (in sec­ond grade) was Pigs in Space. I still have it. I still won­der what­ev­er prompt­ed me to write it. This was before the Mup­pets launched their pigs into space. And it was def­i­nite­ly before Kim T. Griswell and Valeri Gor­bachev launched their pig into space

Journeys

Proof 

If you ever doubt that kids are affect­ed by books, read any one of these let­ters. They will touch your heart deeply. You’ll remem­ber each two- or three-page mis­sive and the ardent con­nec­tion to the book. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll more than like­ly be moved to read (or re-read!) the book that

Imaginary Selves 

Each of us knows well the per­son we imag­ine our­selves to be. I’m guess­ing that this imag­i­nary per­son has changed shape and iden­ti­ty through­out your life. As a child, do you remem­ber your secret iden­ti­ty? Mine was a fear­less super­hero ver­sion of myself, because fear­less I was not. If Richard Tor­rey had known that, he sure­ly would have

Jabari Jumps

August Shorts 

Pic­ture books you’ll want to add to your reper­toire! Touch the Bright­est Star writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Christie Math­e­son Green­wil­low Books, 2017. A night-time book, set­tling down for bed, qui­et­ly look­ing at the pages, hear­ing the sto­ry. An inter­ac­tive book? Yes, because the author/illustrator wise­ly invites the read­er and lis­ten­er to touch the pages, to help

Me, All Alone, at the End of the World

Me, All Alone, Reading This Book 

Some­times, the illus­tra­tions are won­der­ful but the lan­guage is cap­ti­vat­ing. You know how you read a pic­ture book and you can’t decide which part to focus on? Should you look at the pic­ture first? Should you read the sto­ry because it’s the thread that’s pulling you through? Well, when you read “He was a long-leggedy man with

The Best Wish of All 

Once in awhile I find a book on my read­ing pile that I’ve passed by a few times. It might be that the cov­er doesn’t make sense to me and I shuf­fle through to choose anoth­er title. Or the title might be sil­ly (in my mind) and I don’t open the book because some­thing else catch­es my inter­est. And then

Kids' Book of Questions

Summer Travel 

Here are three words that may be loom­ing large in your mind: Long. Car. Trip. You’re pack­ing games, snacks, an audio book or two, sev­er­al books to take turns read­ing out loud, and … The Kids’ Book of Ques­tions. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid and we went on long car trips

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

Superheroes and Bad Days 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been wish­ing for an hon­est-to-good­­­ness super­hero to save the day. If adults are feel­ing that way, kids, who pick up all of our emo­tions, are wish­ing for the same thing. Bat­man and Won­der Woman led the list of most pop­u­lar Hal­loween cos­tumes in 2016. The pro­lif­er­a­tion of super­hero movies is

Judge Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix

Chef Roy Choi’s Story 

Every time I re-read this book, it makes me hap­pi­er. I’ve grown quite fond of the books being pub­lished by Read­ers to Eaters and I eager­ly antic­i­pate each new book. Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix is anoth­er food arti­san biog­ra­phy from Jacque­line Brig­gs Mar­tin, this time co-writ­ten with June Jo Lee. Jack­ie writes the flavorful

If You Were the Moon

March Shorts 

Oooo! Here in Min­neso­ta, shorts in March mean chills. These books will give you chills – in a good way! Cat Goes Fid­­dle-I-Fee Adapt­ed and illus­trat­ed by Paul Gal­done Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1985  (reis­sued in April 2017) I rec­og­nized the title imme­di­ate­ly as I song I know well, sung as “I Had a Roost­er” by Pete Seeger on Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Lit­tle Fish­es in

I’ve Been Enchanted 

This is a rare admis­sion from me because it’s about a book whose main char­ac­ters are ani­mals. I’ve stat­ed before in this col­umn that ani­mal books have nev­er been a favorite of mine, even as a child. Sure­ly there are oth­ers of you out there who are too shy to admit the same thing? In my deter­mi­na­tion to read older

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