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Reading together

Everyone has a story: an interview with author Karen Deans

Karen DeansKaren Deans is an author and an artist who tells stories in several ways. She uses rich language in her books as she reveals lives of interesting women.

She is a painter, creating images that capture a mood or a place for the stage. And some of her paintings are just for pleasure to look at every day.

Meet Carol Shen

Meet Carol Shen, her daughter Addie, and her son Taylor. This summer, they will be sharing their Start with a Book summer adventures with us. Join the Shen family for a summer full of reading, talking, and exploring!

Mother-Daughter "Accessible" Book Club: Inspired by Common Sense Media with a Twist

It is Mother's Day weekend. Reading books together can build strong connections between moms and their daughters, says the popular education and advocacy group that promotes safe technology and media for children.

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.

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.

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss