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Reading Ahead

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

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

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