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Holding on to your kids' favorite books

My husband and I are empty nesters now. Our son is in college though he comes home for the occasional weekend, holidays and breaks. His room is gradually evolving, from that a child to one more fitting of a young man.

One thing hasn't changed though: his shelves (and shelves) of books.

A few words about wordless picture books

Wordless picture books are books are told entirely through their illustrations — they are books without words, or sometimes just a few words. Sharing wordless books at home or at school gives us a chance to develop so many important literacy skills: listening, speaking, storytelling, vocabulary, comprehension, story structure, inference, cause and effect … the list goes on and on!

Is childhood being hijacked?

How do the realities of our contemporary life mesh with childhood? Have expectations of what a young child should know changed so much that they're not able to be young? What are — or might be — the consequences?

The doctor is IN!

March is a windy month that begins with a playful celebration of some things that may be considered peculiar: green eggs and ham; a green Grinch; oobleck; a socially concerned elephant; Sneetches — with and without stars; a turtle named Yertle; a hatted cat; truffala trees; and even a 75 year old guy with 500 hats. And more — ever so much more.

Going to Chicago to meet Ed Young

What could get me to travel to Chicago on in February? A chance to see friends and colleagues, sweetened by the chance to hear a presentation by a Caldecott medal winning artist whose work I've admired for years.

The inaugural Butler Lecture is taking place at Dominican University. Ed Young is the speaker.

What's a picture worth?

What goes into creating an illustration, especially for informational picture books? How do illustrations work with text? And if it's a book of science or social studies — or any other topic, really — how do readers know that the illustrations accurately represent what they are supposed to?

Company on a snowy day

Blizzard [bliz-erd; a long, severe storm; often pleases children]

Stuck inside [stuhk in-sahyd; often bores children; frequently concerns parents and other adults]

If this is something that you confront, you may want to make sure that you've got some company, things to talk about, ideas that may be just plain fun. You may want to start with these books.

Kate DiCamillo's characters could possibly change the world!

When I think back to the positively LOVABLE characters that I truly adore discovering with my kiddos each year, here are the names that come to mind: Winn-Dixie. Edward Tulane. Despereaux. Mercy Watson. The true loves of our classroom life! That's the funny thing about teaching character analysis, our kids have already come to love these characters that they hold so dear to their hearts.

Winning books

Once again at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals have been announced. Some of my favorites of the year are among the 2013 winners.

Fit for a President

It happens every four years. There's an increase in visitors, heightened activity, lots of temporary structures being built in the nation's capital. Regardless of the weather, regardless of the political chatter, there's a Presidential Inauguration to prepare for.

Pages

"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943