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Inspiration for lifetime learning

This September continues to be an interesting month. It started with a solemn occasion which included new memorials and remembrances for those lost on 9/11. But additionally, there are less serious celebrations and goings-on during the month.

One of my favorites is the National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress. It will be held on the National Mall on September 24 and the 25th — a two-day event this year.

Imagination never stops growing

When I was a child, I had a particularly loyal friend who accompanied me almost everywhere. I don't remember having grown apart from my friend but there came a time when he no longer went everywhere with me. When I now think of Wormy, it's always fondly.

Did my friend (who is virtually impossible to describe beyond his endless fidelity) move away? Well, he might have had he been a person. You see Wormy (a bizarre name, I know, for a non-worm but very steadfast creature) existed only for me just like Ida's Dotty, who comes alive in a book by Erica S. Perl.

Time to get ready for school

If they're not already open, schools everywhere are getting ready for a new year and so are children and their parents.

In addition to buying the supplies needed, a stop at the library or bookstore may be just the thing to help get children really back in the groove.

Books help children prepare for school in lots of ways whether it's their first time or just to remind them of some of the things that they're returning to.

Notable August birthdays

Lots of fine authors and illustrators of books for children have birthdays in August. If you're reading this, then chances are you've come across their books on Reading Rockets.

Inside and outside

I had the chance to spend time with a terrific children's book writer earlier this week. Mary Quattlebaum and I talked about lots of things though our conversations most often came back to children and books.

No summer slide for these book buddies

I remember when I was a kid, summers were filled with free time, playing with friends, and reading lots of books. I read everything from horse stories and fantasy to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and tons more that were borrowed from friends or from the library.

The textures and textiles all around us

It's all around us. We wear it, walk on it, and admire it. It comes in different colors, made with different materials and assorted textures. And it often reflects who we are, where we live, our climate, culture, traditions, even our beliefs.

I'd never really thought about any of this until I visited the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. Textiles are ubiquitous — everything from clothing to curtains to art — with lots in between. And to explore them at the museum is a really cool thing (literally and figuratively) to do on a hot summer day!

Harry and Henry: forever friends

As the last Harry Potter movie opens today, the media is filled with examinations of the impact of Harry Potter on a generation of children and adults. I know my son has grown up with the boy wizard and his friends and he continues to revisit them in books and film.

Free online children's books

I recently came across a very long (600+!) list of free children's books online, compiled by Gizmo's Freeware. I'm frequently asked about resources like this, so I decided to take a closer look at a few of the offerings.

Making meaning

Sometimes books come with separate pieces that can be manipulated, adding a special dimension. Books are turned into games, mysteries, or some other kind of activity. Some are successful, others not so, but each of these books tries to engage, entertain, educate, and stimulate readers' interest.

Pages

"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase