Children's books

June 11, 2013

It's never easy to talk with young kids about tough subjects, like illness and death. Sometimes a children's book can open the door to conversations that need to happen. Books can also help teach new and scary vocabulary words in a gentle way. Last, a book can bring some comfort by helping a child feel less alone. It may help to learn that other kids have a Mom or Dad who is also fighting...

June 4, 2013

During a school visit recently I met classes of 3rd and 5th graders to talk about authors and illustrators, share some of their books and highlight some of their advice for young readers. I talked to the children about what they would do if they were in a position similar to those that book characters were placed.

Some 3rd graders were sympathetic that...

May 20, 2013

Memorial Day is coming up soon — marking the unofficial start of summer. Parents and teachers know how hard it can be for children to remain focused as the school year ends and summer starts.

Summers that don't include books and reading for children most often results in the "summer slide" — the loss of reading skills gained during the previous school year.

Barbara Heyns'...

May 2, 2013

The lasting impact of early childhood education has been known for a long, long time. The first three years of a child's life are crucial to their development socially, emotionally, and educationally.

We've gotten the word from pediatricians like T. Berry Brazelton and child development...

May 1, 2013

I just LOVE teaching poetry! I try diligently to incorporate it throughout the year at various times for general exposure, and specifically to help my kiddos see that our reading strategies can be used across a wide variety of texts. The writers of the Common Core started including poetry in the majority of the reading standards, so students would have many opportunities to read, decipher and...

April 24, 2013

It's not at all unusual to hear adults lament the loss of the "good old days." Memories are, of course, filtered and perhaps even reworked over time.

I know I've had fond memories of books that I read and adored as a child blown away when I reread them as an adult. (As a child, I identified with Peter Pan, never Wendy; but when I read it as an adult, I was shocked at Peter's take on...

April 17, 2013

It's that time of year! Baseball season has officially started. Little leaguers are playing, summer teams are forming, and lots of people are heading to major and minor league ballparks. (I just bought stamps commemorating major league...

April 10, 2013

There's nothing new about translating children's books and traditional stories into other mediums.

Who's not familiar with the Disney film adaptations of Cinderella, Snow White, and The Three Little Pigs? Live performances in children's theaters have often used children's books in their productions as do venues for families. It seems, too, that children's stories are becoming a...

April 4, 2013

What if your students could share a popular work of children's literature with other students around the world? Fourth-grade teacher Jan Wells has blown the lid off her small school in Meriden Kansas (population 813) by taking advantage of (free) projects offered...

April 3, 2013

I remember one day long ago my son came home from school and proudly recited a poem. His preschool teacher shared this poem in particular often — it was a class favorite — so often that my son committed it to memory. It was long and I remember my surprise the first time I heard him.

The poem was Robert Louis Stevenson's "My Shadow" which begins: "I have a little shadow that goes in...

March 25, 2013

Spring is in the air — and that means more than just daffodils. It's time to read and cast votes for favorite books.

The Children's Book Council (CBC), a venerable trade association of publishers, counts down the days (hours, minutes, and seconds, too) to the national celebration of Children's Book Week.

For children and...

March 15, 2013

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 recent post by a Vermont bookseller in...

March 11, 2013

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!

When...

February 15, 2013

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?

Last night, I heard author Karen Leggett discuss...

February 8, 2013

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.

Words are fun and...

February 6, 2013

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. We...

January 28, 2013

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.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins) won the Newbery....

January 17, 2013

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.

On Monday, January 21, President Barack Obama will take the oath of office for his second term. The news has been full...

January 10, 2013

As we begin a new year, let's hope it's memorable for all the right reasons unlike its predecessor. There are positive signs pointing to it.

We all remember superstorm Sandy. Images of destroyed homes, schools, businesses, and libraries will be long remembered — and most of us are on the outside looking in. It's hard to imagine what it must be like to try to find normality when you're...

January 9, 2013

As I think about the Common Core State Standards and the recommendations for increased nonfiction reading, I must confess that my own reading choices (for pleasure reading) are quite narrow. I read fiction, and that's pretty much it. Sometimes an occasional piece of historical fiction creeps in, but by and large, my Kindle is full of regular 'ol fiction.

It's a different story during...

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio