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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.

It can't tweet, blog, or text …

A recent piece from BBC news asserts that the Internet has changed language. True enough.

The verb "google" didn't exist when I was growing up. We may have kept diaries or journals but never blogged. And only birds tweeted.

It's fun to see how necessity changes language and wonder about what's next. Just think about words were invented in 20th century — cheeseburger, compact disc, A-bomb, X-rated — all of which we can find out more about on the Internet.

First day of school activities

As teachers, we know the first few days of school are all about getting to know your kids and settling into a routine. It's too early to do any assessments (except informal observation sorts of things), but it's a great time to engage kids in some fun activities that get them talking, reading, and writing. Here are some ideas I've seen recently that caught my attention.

Library of the mind

Do you remember a book from your early childhood? Which one? Why do you remember it?

I remember The Poky Little Puppy (Golden Books) and others fondly; I also remember my mother's soft skin and gentle fragrance as I snuggled next to her while she read. Was it the book (older than I am but still available)? Could it have been how it was shared?

The power's on

A huge storm came through yesterday morning, knocking out power for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the area. Happily, no one was seriously injured in the intense storm but it served as a reminder of how much we all depend on electricity.

From making coffee to daily 'beauty rituals' to getting a news update online, we all use it almost all of the time.

But you can't use what you don't have. So I opened the blinds, pulled up a chair, and sat down with books. Physical books, not digital.

What kind of book are you?

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.

Books in the home

When I was growing up, we had lots of book. Looking back, I know that they were mostly mass market books (remember the Little Golden Books?) and lots of the books my mother read as a child and subsequently gave to us.

My sister and I both grew up to be readers — and so did our children who also have lots of books at home.

Gulping down books

We've been on a road trip for a while, combining visits with family and friends with college tours. I'm amazed that my son's time in high school is going by at such breakneck speed. It seems to speed up exponentially once kids begin numbered grades.

And my niece is starting first grade this fall.

What a joy it's been to share books with this just-turned-6-year old child! She's just starting to read independently — and wow! Has she ever taken off — reading well beyond most kids her age.

Pages

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