Children's books

February 24, 2014

Change is tough. Big things, little things, it’s just not easy for most of us. Nonetheless, change is inevitable. Some change we see immediately, some is more subtle. It’s easy to forget that societal norms are fluid, and that one person can effect great change if they are brave enough to stand up, stand out and work together.

And it took real bravery to change the sports world. Most...

February 11, 2014

Even the youngest child communicates her needs and feelings. Just ask a parent. They understand the difference in their infant's cries; some say hurt, hungry, uncomfortable, and on occasion just plain angry. Let's face it; all children come with their own unique temperament and they learn to express how they're feeling one way or another. Children often learn how to express themselves by...

January 30, 2014

Everyone knows the story of how Helen Keller's tenacity (and the help of a special teacher) overcame her disabilities. Most know that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led the nation during depression and war, had polio. Blindness hasn't stopped Stevie Wonder from topping pop music charts nor did it prevent Dr. Katherine Schnieder from obtaining a Ph.D. to become a noted psychologist....

January 15, 2014

Today is Martin Luther King's actual birthday. The celebrations that will take place on the national holiday are sure to include various renditions of the song that has become associated with the Civil Rights Movement, “We Shall Overcome."

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song (Jump at the...

January 13, 2014

How long does it take for tradition to take hold? I'm not sure there's an easy answer but a fairly recent program seems to have caught on and I hope becomes a tradition that lasts for generations.

The fourth National Ambassador for Young People's Literature was announced and celebrated last week....

December 20, 2013

It's holiday gift giving time. I made my shopping easier this year as I decided just about everyone on my list will get lasting gifts — books, of course! What's baby or toddlerhood without Mother Goose rhymes? So the youngest children will receive one of my favorite, most accessible collections: My Very First Mother Goose (Candlewick) selected by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells...

December 19, 2013

This is our family’s fourth year for "a book on every bed," and it's one part of my shopping that I really look forward to! Three years ago, the Family Reading Partnership and Ask Amy...

December 8, 2013

If you're like me, you're scurrying around looking for the perfect gift for a child in your life. Below are some helpful gift suggestion lists I've come across. Maybe you'll find just what you were looking for! A treasure trove of resources from Jen Robinson's Growing Bookworms Newsletter. Be sure to look through the...

December 5, 2013

Have you ever thought of how the digital world influences us — and by extension, our children? A number of recent articles made me rethink access, about the use and popularity of digital books by young readers (and their parents), and about what and how is presented in them in both mediums. We've all heard about the digital divide; a...

November 20, 2013

We've all read books whose plot or main character stay with us for a long time. With kids, books can be a great and subtle way to illustrate personality traits we may want to engender. Collections of books with similar themes (sometimes called "text sets") give teachers and parents a way to focus on a theme but do so in such a way that you're not beating your kid over the head with the same...

November 18, 2013

Books always make terrific gifts, but it's possible that kids don't always like the books adults think are charming. A recent book brings that point home with laugh out loud humor. Plus a book that makes even experienced readers check twice to make sure that it has been untouched by an aspiring child-artist. I have read, reread, guffawed, and shared with lots of friends — experienced and...

September 27, 2013

That's essentially what I write in every card as I hand over a stack of board books to expectant mom friends: "Three a day keeps the reading specialist away." After a chuckle and a roll of the eyes, my Mom-to-be friends add our tried and true board book titles to the pile of baby gifts and toys. But I'm happy, knowing that those board books will be loved and chewed on for years to come. My...

September 25, 2013

Taking a group of children for an outing can be rough — perhaps more so for adults than for the young people. After all, it's up to parents and teachers to keep track of their charges, worry about transportation, safety, snacks, and more. So why bother? Because field trips make a difference. There's research that supports field trips to art museums, aka "culturally...

September 13, 2013

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer after which schools are in full swing again. Various September celebrations are ideal complements to school, community and home activities.

In 1965, September 8 was declared International Literacy Day (ILD) by UNESCO. This year, ILD was marked by presentations and discussions (on the Monday after the official ILD)...

September 5, 2013

Did you know that boys often underestimate their ability to read? That boys, on average, read less than girls? And that boys are often less motivated to read than girls? Not only that: By the time boys reach high school, roughly half of them will describe themselves as "nonreaders."

Several theories may explain why these facts are true. It may be that boys have a different cognitive...

August 30, 2013

It's funny to be a teacher! When everyone else thinks of the "New Year" starting January 1st, teachers are getting ready to start their "third quarter."" Usually about our "half-time" (aka: Winter Vacation) I enjoy reflecting on our year so far, and how I can tweak my instruction to streamline our focus. So after the presents have been opened, traditions enjoyed, and champagne and poppers...

August 21, 2013

It's a fact. Good nutrition leads to healthy bodies and to healthy minds — minds and bodies that are ready to learn (and grow and play and do everything else that children do).

All schools seem to be moving toward more healthful lunch and snack choices. Some schools use the notion of healthy food in ways to support the curriculum while building community. Last year, about 80 schools in...

July 11, 2013

I love the long days of summer. I even enjoy the heat (not so much the humidity though). And what could be better on a hot summer day than a cool slice of watermelon?

Thunderstorms are a part of summer, too. But many brave children who (like a small dog named Rosie) aren't afraid of night shadows or tigers or anything else — except thunder. Rosie's boy couldn't comfort her — not even...

June 25, 2013

As summer gets underway, lots of children prepare for what is often the first time away from home — a sleep-away camp: lots of outdoor activities (swimming, archery, hiking — more?), camp fires, camaraderie and independence.

Sleep-away camps can be a fine way to allow children to connect with nature and start to figure thing out alone (though with guidance, of course). It can be...

June 21, 2013

I heard an entertaining interview with Daniel Handler (who writes as Lemony Snicket of the Series of Unfortunate Events) this week on NPR. Snicket was talking about his...

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"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them." —

Arnold Lobel