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Reading together

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?

Slow down with a book

The media reminds us constantly that this is the most wonderful time of the year. Children — and adults — pick up the message often becoming overstimulated.

How can parents and teachers help children slow down (and maybe even themselves)? Sometimes all it takes is a good book and maybe a shared laugh.

Coping with disaster: books can help

It's been called the "perfect storm." Odd name for a destructive confluence of energy that changed people's lives, some forever. But super-storm Sandy did happen and like so many other natural disasters, it's up to adults to help children cope.

Truth (or is it fact?) in fiction

Can a story about a family of mice be realistic? Can readers empathize with a rodent and her family's history? The answer to both is an emphatic yes.

The power of stories

I saw this video for the first time a few years ago. I didn't know where the story was going, but I was entranced.

One upon a time …

Once upon a time

Do you think that sweet girl has been read to? Talked to? Listened to? It's clear she has. For many hours for many years.

Food for mind and body

C.S. Lewis once said, "Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably." I couldn't agree more.

Long ago, I lived in Cambridge (Massachusetts), a city in which both activities "combine admirably." Not only is it a place where lots of writers and artists live, it has loads of bookstores and was once the home of Julia Child, renowned cook, cookbook author, and the first host of a television cooking show.

Summer reading lists

Today is the last day of school! It's a welcome relief from all the test stress we've been experiencing. But staring in the face of long days and weeks of a hot summer have me thinking about ways to keep my two daughters engaged with books this summer. One way I hope to keep them reading is by finding lots of new titles for them to read. Here are four resources for kids' books that I'm looking at. Please add yours too. Together, we can keep our kids reading all summer long!

How do you hear about great new kids' books?

We're always on the hunt for good books around our house. I rely on friends, librarians, my local bookstore, and several online sources for new titles we should be sure to read.

Magazines for younger and older kids

Magazines are great reading options. There's new content in every one, and if you have a subscription, it's great fun to get the new issue in the mail! Articles are short enough that they can be read in one setting, and there's usually a variety of writing in each one. The best magazines for kids I've seen often include recipes, jokes, craft ideas, and some stories.

We're all hyphenated Americans

We're all hyphenated Americans really. It's the way we identify our backgrounds and that's fine. If, however, identification by self or others becomes a way to maintain separation, well, that's not fine.

I was reminded recently that books are important as both "mirrors" and "windows" as I introduced books to a group of teenaged parents. They were learning about their children's development and the role of literature and language in it.

Pages

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx