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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

What kind of book are you?

August 6, 2010

I heard a young man liken a friend of his to specific popular songs. He said that sometimes this young man was like Jason Derulo's music, lively, catchy; sure to get everyone moving. He named a song for his buddy's multiple moods which seemed to differ according to the day of the week, maybe even the time of day.

Like music, books for children have to match moods — and stages of development and maybe the person introducing them.

Maisy books (Candlewick) by Lucy Cousins are happy books. Maisy always seems to me to be a rather naive mouse that goes about doing whatever she's doing happily.

Books by David Wiesner like Flotsam and Tuesday (both Clarion) are more mysterious (though nothing beats The Mysteries of Harris Burdick [Houghton] by Chris Van Allsburg for mysterious; it's "The Twilight Zone" in picture book format).

Steven Kellogg's illustrations always cause a laugh.

For angry children, When Sophie Gets Angry… (Scholastic) by Molly Bang immediately comes to mind. So does David Elliott's Finn Throws a Fit — with high-energy and entertaining artwork by Timothy Basil Ering that perfectlly illustrates Finn's moody day (Candlewick).

A friend of mine adored Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Beech Lane). It got her moving — quite literally — and she just knew it would do the same thing for her 3 year old son. Not so, she found. Only when a child care provider introduced the same book did the boy respond positively to it. Maybe it was the way the provider read the book? The mood the child was in that day? Who knows?

But I suppose we're all like that at times; thing capture our attention when the time and mood are right. Adults just need to remember to allow children the same consideration.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox