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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.

A new year

December 30, 2012

A new year is about to begin. It's a fine time to think about sharing with family and friends old and new. And what better to share than a good story? Readers may find a new friend or come across an old buddy.

Have you ever met the original Puss in Boots? Visit — or revisit — him in a newly illustrated and retold version of the traditional tale of the bright, loyal, and adventurous feline. The story is handsomely illustrated in its customary 18th century setting by Caldecott medalist, Jerry Pinkney. You'll long remember the savvy cat presented this Puss in Boots (Dial).

Ever play a game of H.O.R.S.E. (Egmont) with a friend? If not, you'll want to see how Christopher Myers and his buddy play their "game of basketball and imagination." It's fun, filled with exaggeration, and true to how Christopher and his friend used to play. Myers says in a note that he and Kambui have done just about all of the basketball shots — from here to the moon — just like in the book.

Otto the Book Bear (Disney/Hyperion) not only comes from a book but finds loads of other friends, where else but in a place filled with characters that live between pages — a library. Best of all, in his new abode "… Otto had lots of readers — and that made him the happiest book bear of all."

Being an older sister is a big job, but Lola knows the pleasure of books from experience. Lola Reads to Leo (Charlesbridge), her baby brother, in this cheerful family story. Lola happily shares carefully selected stories with her new sibling during everyday activities — from changing diapers to bath time — and as a family at the end of the day.

That's what friendship can do. They expand your world. And books can, too.

Happy New Year! Here's hoping yours will be full of friendship and good stories!

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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass