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Children's books

Our Interview with Writer Elizabeth Rusch

At a recent conference, I had the chance to meet Elizabeth Rusch, the author of several of “Scientists in the Field” series (a consistently excellent series) — and discovered that I knew many of her other books. They range from picture books to narrative nonfiction with lots in between. I was intrigued and wanted to ask her more questions than time allowed.

So Liz Rusch agreed to an interview. Not surprisingly, she takes her work very seriously. What shines through with all of her well researched work is a respect for the subjects — and for readers.

"Kids Recommend" K-8 Book Lists Are Compiled by Youths for Their Peers Who Hate to Read

This is not a special education "story" about instruction made accessible, but it could be.

This is a story of children in an independent school in mid-coastal Maine who read widely. One of their goals is to read and to compile grade-level lists that only include books that will engage their peers who struggle to read! The effort helps many children "carve out" identities as book choosers, reviewers, and readers.

Ring in The New Year with Curated Books, Apps, Media Chosen During 2014 by Super Sources

Bravo to carefully curated lists by reliable sources where the raters and choosers share what they love best.

Here are recommendations from great sources. Raters evaluated and selected books, apps, and media that were offered during 2014 or remained top recommendations chosen in the past. The selections that follow are a mixed bag suitable for various ages. Specific age levels and descriptions are noted on the linked sites.

Grolier Club's "Famous 100" Children's Books Named: Many Are Available in Alternative Formats

"One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" is on display for a limited time in New York City. Many books on this curated list that once were only in print are available from AIM-VA partners including Learning Ally, Bookshare, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Ear Read Those "Clifford, The Big Red Dog Books?" This Strategy Helps Dyslexics, Others

The author of Clifford the Big Red Dog series died this week. For students with print disabilities, "ear reading" Norman Bridwell's famous books by using audiobook versions is a must. Overcoming or bypassing their disability and accessing text in the way the student learns best helps them join with peers to discuss Bridwell's stories, his life (author studies), and books by other authors on the same topic.

14+ Accessible Holiday Book, Film Favorites Are Full of Fun For All to Enjoy

Bookshare, an AIM-VA partner in providing accessible books to students with print disabilities, recommends titles filled with humor as 2014 draws to a close. The following staff choices have witty and quirky holiday themes. Put serious books aside for a bit, Bookshare says. Make some time for smiles and joy.

'Tis the Season: Please Include Reading in Your Annual Giving

This is the time of year when we are most likely to open our hearts — and out pocketbooks — to the needs of others. And, as Charles Dickens suggested in A Christmas Carol, it would be wise to use our charitable giving to combat ignorance above all. How will we reduce poverty, pain, suffering, or illness without education?

Humor run amok

To quote Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage,/And all the men and women merely players…” Some players take their role too far. They feel that comments must be witty or entertaining, frequently at the expense of others.

Shopping for Little House Keepsakes and Gifts

After our trip to the Ingalls’ Homestead, we headed back to the little town on the prairie. With time for a leisurely stroll down Main Street in De Smet, we decided we had to stop in Loftus General Store — where during the Long Winter, Laura and Carrie bought suspenders for Pa for Christmas and the wheat procured for starving De Smet citizens by Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland was sold.

6 Resources from The NCTE 2014 Exhibit Hall Mostly Hidden Among Zillions of Books in Print

Teachers were buzzing about and checking out many wonderful books in the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Exhibit Hall on Nov. 22. Having so many wonderful books in print to examine was like a picnic for some who browsed and chatted happily at this 2014 annual conference.

A crowd lined up way in advance (like shoppers at Best Buy before a big sale) for the freebie books in print that vendors give away at when the hall closes.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables