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Reading together

Book to film – and back again

More and more often filmmakers have been turning to children’s books for inspiration. Perhaps it’s a catchy book title that a filmmaker finds intriguing or maybe an idea they want to flesh out. Maybe they simply want to build on existing popularity.

Sometimes it works well. Many of us are wild about Harry, for example. I’m a Harry Potter fan in both the novel and film version, and frankly I find the 1936 movie version of Wizard of Oz more engaging than the book.

Making a list? Check these twice!

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 links she shared on Twitter. Lots and lots of book suggestions!

The power of books and text sets

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 message over and over again.

Board books: Three a day keeps the reading specialist away

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.

Keep 'em laughing all summer long

Do you ever drag your feet when someone tells you absolutely must do something — especially when it's supposed to be "good" for you? I know I do —and so do lots of young people. Call it human nature. Call it whatever, but foot-dragging can be a real drag on summer learning especially for children who associate books exclusively with school.

Maybe a different approach can help: a carrot rather than the old stick. The potential for a chuckle rather than a push?

Preparing for a big family trip

We're heading off to Germany for some apple strudel, German soccer, apple strudel, and tours of castles and salt mines (and apple strudel). This is a big adventure for our family, and we've been prepping for weeks! It's been so fun for the girls to be involved in the planning and the excitement. I thought I'd share a few of the things we've done to get ready — most of these ideas could be adapted for a trip anywhere.

A few words about wordless picture books

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!

A new year

A new year is about to begin. It's a fine time to think about sharing with family and friends old and new. And what better to share than a good story? Readers may find a new friend or come across an old buddy.

A simple tradition to bring some comfort

Our hearts are heavy during this time for our neighbors in Connecticut. During tough times, I find comfort in returning to simple pleasures and traditions. This is our third year for "a book on every bed," and it's a tradition that I love, and one part of my shopping that I actually look forward to!

Innocence lost

How do you explain the unexplainable? It's impossible for adults to fathom what happened in a quiet Connecticut town, much less try to articulate to children why or how it could have happened.

I don't think there's anyone who hasn't been moved by the news. But beyond the debates around mental health issues or gun control laws, I've been stymied as to what can be done more tangibly.

Is there anything we — adults and children alike — can do that is concrete, doable, something lasting, to honor and remember the children and their teachers?

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald