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Authors & illustrators

Giving boys a love of reading

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that one blog in my RSS feed is written by Lisa Belkin. Belkin's blog, Parentlode, can be found in the Huffington Post. Many of Belkin's posts speak to me on a personal level, and some circle into my professional life as well.

Giving thanks

She's best known for a ditty that young children sing but she was an activist who made sure that there was a national day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale lived in the 19th century, wrote the poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and other works for adults. She also wanted to make Thanksgiving a consistent celebration in all states.

Picture books in science class

We all love picture books, and hopefully a really good one finds its way into your hands at least once a day. What might happen less frequently is that you use a picture book to help you teach science. I've got a great resource (with a free PDF!) that will hopefully encourage you to use more picture books in science.

When is a box not a box?

Recently I watched a small group of young children playing in a childcare center. There were toys and books and lots of other things around but that's not what held their attention.

What did? A large (particularly when compared to the children) cardboard box.

Let's leave the fun in learning

A staff member at a child care center I visited this week looked at me very skeptically when I said that we were going to have a good time together. I was there to introduce the staff to children's books and how media and hands-on activities help lay a firm literacy foundation.

For the next hour, we read, watched a short clip from a children's television program, sang, made noise, read some more, discussed educational benefits and generally had a good time. I was heartened when the skeptic in the group actually smiled.

"Hand-selling" children's books = engaged readers

The world is addicted to media and technology. Information whether accurate or not speeds from one corner of the globe to the other in a matter of minutes. Got a question? Google it. Want a book or music? Download it. Want to create a reader? Slow down.

Impact of teachers

Like most of us, I enjoy parties. And outdoor parties on glorious sunny days are among the best.

It was on just such a gorgeous day that, with young friend and his mom, I attended a book party to celebrate the publication of Katy Kelly's newest Melonhead (Delacorte) adventure. (To fully appreciate Adam Melon, you'll just have to read these engaging books — ideal for reading aloud to 6-8 year olds, by the way.)

Gotta laugh

I'm in a decidedly unfunny mood today. I suppose I've been reading too many dour books about dystopian futures, dysfunctional families, and vaguely familiar fantasies.

Why, I wonder, isn't there more humor in books for readers of all ages but especially for children? But then of course, humor is a tough thing to pin down especially when an adult looks at what humor appeals to children.

The space between pictures and words

My newly 7 year old niece, now in the 2nd grade, is visiting us this week during her school district's professional days. She's reading like a champ, gobbling down various (and more difficult) chapter books — fiction and nonfiction — with great gusto.

But she reminded me of the joy of picture books and the pleasure in reading them together or independently for readers of all ages. Michaela's imagination soars in the space left between the pictures and the words.

The secrets to success

Some weeks the same topics seem to come up over and over again. Recently for me, it's been talk of an article from The New York Times asking whether failure is really the secret to success.

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"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo