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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 books do

November 3, 2010

As in all families, ours occasionally has a disagreement. Though we may not be able to touch on hot-button topics, we can still talk about books and other things we are reading.

When I recently saw some young children I know, whose family is going through a tough time, we talked about Halloween — and books. In a school where I'm working with teenaged parents of young children, we connect over books we share.

Books. They open doors to experiences that can be shared between people of different backgrounds, of diverse ages, and even between readers and nonreaders.

I've been reading lots of books for children, lately — more than usual. Here are a few that I've read and liked that just may start a conversation or two.

In Mad at Mommy by Komako Sakai (Scholastic), a young rabbit expresses his anger with — and quick forgiveness of — his mother.

Everyone is sure to see themselves in a picture book anthology of poems collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Chris Soentpiet illustrates truly Amazing Faces (Lee & Low) to accompany the diverse collection of poetry.

Though it's not much more than a variation on a well-worn theme, David Shannon's It's Christmas, David! (Blue Sky) is sure to make adults cringe but will also get giggles from almost every reader.

Children (and adults) will stretch their imaginations and wonder about travelling far from their own homes when they read the inventive, circular book, In Front of My House[ (Kids Can), by Marianne Dubuc.

Books can be safely savored, shared, and talked about — even on a rough day.

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain