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The "other" in books for children

We've come a long way but there's still more to do to change attitudes about books for children — especially books by or about those with other than European heritages.

Every week is National Young Readers Week

Today concludes the official celebration of National Young Readers Week. But if the goals of the founders — Pizza Hut and the Library of Congress Center for the Book — are realized, then children will become lifelong readers, making every week one for readers of all ages. (Learn more about National Young Readers Week.)

What books do

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.

Celebrate fall!

I love the change of season. And fall's a favorite. There's a lot to celebrate in autumn.

Grace Lin introduced me to a celebration that I'd not come across before. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is presented in a new book, Thanking the Moon (Knopf) that follows a Chinese American family as they enjoy a moonlit picnic sharing mooncakes and moon legends while giving thanks.

Picture books on the decline?

A recent New York Times article reveals that picture books are no longer as popular as they once were; that sales are down, that parents are often looking to chapter books to propel their children forward educationally, perhaps for what is considered more sophisticated literary or educational experiences.

Stuff and nonsense.

Common sense confirmed: books + access = young readers

It's something that makes perfect sense. Those who work with children have seen it time and time again. But now there is actual data to support what common sense has told us all along: "Giving children access to print materials is associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes."

Got to or get to?

Do children feel that they've got to read or that they get to read? There is a difference.

Last week I wrote about what Peter Dickinson called "rubbish" and letting kids read a fair amount of it. Adults often feel strongly about what children read. They may love or loathe certain children's books — and adults are generally the ones who put books into children's hands. But their response can vastly differ from children's responses to the same material.

Love 'em or hate 'em, some books are here to stay

A recent article in the New York Times magazine was sent to me by my fellow blogger, Joanne Meier.

The title grabbed me immediately "Children's Books You (Might) Hate." Aren't there books we've come across that we just love to hate? I have a few.… well, maybe more than a few.

The summer song of cicadas

There's a special sound to late summer. The air almost seems to vibrate with the songs of insects.

I was walking down the sidewalk earlier today and came across a shell of a really ugly (at least in my opinion) critter. But I recognized it as that of a totally harmless cicada, one of the likely music makers.

Three things of interest to teachers

What 10 picture books could you not live without? That's the question behind the 10 for 10 Must Have's project. It's well worth checking out! Many bloggers posted their lists with short annotations and explanations. I know I added several titles to our library queue, and I'll bet you will too! One picture book I couldn't live without: I Like Me.

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx