When I say “summer reading,” you think about … a good novel, right? I have a couple of suggestions. Every kid should have these two books tucked in their beach bags, ready for a car trip, or packed for summer camp. Seriously. In between the reading out loud of those novels you’ve been saving up all year, or the listening
We celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23rd (or thereabouts). Consider reading excerpts of this book to your classes. In What’s So Special about Shakespeare?, the author, Michael Rosen, walks into a house with us, peeking into rooms where Shakespeare’s plays are being enacted. Such variety! It’s an inspired way to place young readers among the
Whenever anyone asks the title of my favorite book, it’s a toss-up between two: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. A Wrinkle in Time because it opened the whole wide universe to my young mind and The Dark is Rising because I understood for the first time what a perfect story
Sometimes, a book comes across my desk that sparkles like a gem, attracting my attention, insisting that I stop what I’m doing and read it. This happened when With My Hands: Poems about Making Things arrived last week. I thought I’d take a peek. Next thing you know, I was closing the last page of the book, sighing with contentment. And then
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:
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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