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Reading Ahead

When Jackie Saved Grand Central

Those Kennedys 

Amer­i­ca has a fine tra­di­tion of elect­ed offi­cials who care deeply about the peo­ple, places, and poli­cies of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. Two recent books high­light the good works of, and respect for, Jacque­line Bou­vi­er Kennedy Onas­sis and John Fitzger­ald Kennedy, the First Lady and Pres­i­dent from 1961 to 1963. Although Pres­i­dent Kennedy was assassinated

Fish Girl

Graphic Storytelling 

  A good graph­ic nov­el should pose a mys­tery. As it opens (last pos­si­ble minute), the read­er often has no clue what’s going on. It’s often an unknown world, even if it looks like our world. This isn’t that dif­fer­ent than the open­ing of a con­ven­tion­al print book but, for some rea­son, peo­ple often react to graph­ic nov­els by telling

Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?

The Delight of Reading Older Books 

One of my favorite types of read­ing is to go back and read books I’ve missed from years ago. I once spent an entire sum­mer read­ing books that were pub­lished in the 1950s. I had such a strong feel­ing of the decade after read­ing those books that I felt more con­nect­ed to peo­ple who lived then. That feel­ing of

How Things Work

Irresistible Reading: How Things Work

Now, if that Sci­ence Ency­clo­pe­dia wasn’t cool enough, here’s anoth­er sure-fire hit for kids who love to read facts, true sto­ries, and know how things work. In fact, the book is called How Things Work and it’s anoth­er pow­er­house from Nation­al Geo­graph­ic. As the book admon­ish­es, “PUT THIS BOOK DOWN NOW. It’s dan­ger­ous. It might

Science Encyclopedia

Feeding the Naturally Curious Brain 

You’ll dis­cov­er mouth­less worms and walk­ing ferns … ” (pg. 13) And with those words, I’m charged up for the hunt. Along the way, I can’t help being dis­tract­ed by a sat­is­fy­ing amount of irre­sistible infor­ma­tion in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic’s Sci­ence Ency­clo­pe­dia. If you learn best visu­al­ly, there is a sur­feit of images to stim­u­late a curi­ous mind. If you

Before Morning

Essential Holiday Giving: Books 

Hands down, there is no bet­ter gift for hol­i­days or birth­days than a book. You can find a book to suit every inter­est, every taste, and your bud­get. You can always feel good about giv­ing a book (unless you’re giv­ing a gift to some­one who lives in a Tiny House … ask first).  Here’s my list of sug­ges­tions for the holidays.

Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit

Orbiting Kindergarten 

That live­ly, quirky-think­ing duo from Plan­et Kinder­garten have teamed up once again for Plan­et Kinder­garten: 100 Days in Orbit. Many schools use the 100-day mark­er to reflect on how far they’ve come since the first day of kinder­garten. Social graces, eti­quette, mind­ful­ness, assign­ments, singing, pledges … they’re all includ­ed in this new book. But the extra-fun

Sleep Tight Farm

Tucked In for the Winter 

Every detail in this book is heart­warm­ing. You know that the author and the illus­tra­tor and the book’s pub­lish­ing team put a lot of love and respect into bring­ing this sto­ry to read­ers. From the moment you see the open­ing end papers, a for­est and pas­ture ablaze with fall col­or, until you dis­cov­er the clos­ing end papers, that

Anything But Ordinary Addie

Women Can Be Magicians, Too! 

In a sump­tu­ous pic­ture book biog­ra­phy, author Mara Rock­liff and illus­tra­tor Iacopo Bruno give us the life of Ade­laide Scarcez Her­rmann, a real per­son who lived from 1853 to 1932. Dur­ing her 79 years, she was an actress, a dancer, a vaude­vil­lian, and she was shot out of a can­non. As the title says, she was Any­thing but Ordi­nary Addie. In

Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook

Everything You Need to Ace Five Subjects 

I’ve had this TBR pile of five very attrac­tive, come-hith­er-look­ing books beg­ging to be rec­om­mend­ed for weeks now. The spines are bright pri­ma­ry col­ors so I know that even when I shelve them they will be call­ing to me. And I think they’ll be call­ing to your stu­dents as well. I open what are for me the two scariest

Comics Confidential

Those Alluring Comics Storytellers 

When I began work­ing as, and think­ing of myself as, a graph­ic design­er, I assumed that all of my ideas would have to spring out of my mind … and that was ter­ri­fy­ing. (Think of the oft-asked ques­tion, “Where do your ideas come from?”) I didn’t think I was cre­ative enough or wide­ly trav­eled enough or even edu­cat­ed enough as

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie

Apples, Well-Being, and Family 

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Sto­ry about Edna Lewis is a mem­o­rable book about grow­ing food through­out the sea­sons and liv­ing off the land in Vir­ginia. Wild straw­ber­ry, purslane, dan­de­lions, sas­safras, hon­ey. As spring rides the breeze into sum­mer, this extend­ed fam­i­ly tends to their larder, tak­ing full advan­tage of the fruits,

Roy's House

Welcome to Roy’s House 

What bet­ter way to famil­iar­ize one’s self with the work of pop cul­ture artist Roy Licht­en­stein than to walk through his house from liv­ing room to snack bar, from bath­room to bed­room, and final­ly into his stu­dio, where we can try our hand at paint­ing? Susan Gold­man Rubin and her team at Chron­i­cle have created

This is NOT a Cat!

August Shorts 

Warn­ing: There’s a lot of enthu­si­asm ahead for these books! Where Do Pants Go? Writ­ten by Rebec­ca Van Slyke, illus­trat­ed by Chris Robert­son Ster­ling Children’s Books, 2016 Well, this is just adorable … and I can already hear house­holds through­out the Eng­lish-speak­ing world chant­i­ng: “Where do pants go? On your arms? No. On your neck? No. No, no, no. Pants go on your

Lives of the Scientists

Books Like This Are Convincing 

I’m more com­fort­able with mag­ic than I am with sci­ence. Mar­ried to a sci­ence guy, I work hard­er to be inter­est­ed in sci­ence. It gives us some­thing to talk about. When I find nar­ra­tive non­fic­tion that tells a com­pelling sto­ry, I’m thank­ful … and intrigued. I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py to find books that fea­ture less­er-known aspects of sci­ence, there­by taunt­ing my

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