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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets’ children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.


August 13, 2015

There are many things to celebrate in August. Lots of parents celebrate schools soon opening. Commuters appreciate less crowded roads. There’s still time for a summer getaway.

And of course, the second week of August has been dubbed National Smile Week!

Frankly, I had never heard of it but when I read an article about books for teens that include smiles – well, it got me thinking about different kinds of smiles and why we smile.

Dental issues can create, alter, or even stop smiles. Of course, Raina Telgemeier’s Smile (Graphix) comes immediately to mind – and this graphic format memoir is perfectly appropriate for readers as young as 8 (they, too, can commiserate with the author and her braces). But it’s already on the other list.

Smiles change when children begin to loose baby teeth. What happens to American tooth traditions if a tooth is lost in Mali? Amina wants to find out in I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite with stunning illustrations by Baba Wague Diakite (Scholastic).

I thought of David’s mischievous smile in David Shannon’s books, starting with No, David! (Blue Sky). His antics make adults grimace but cause giant grins for the naughty preschooler.

Everyone likes to have photographs with smiling faces, even babies. And there are lots of smiles of the very young in Smiles, a Global Baby board book (Cartwheel) by Roberta Grobel Intrater.

And lots of gently humorous books create smiles (if not outright laughter) like early chapter books by Kate DiCamillo. Readers can again join animal control expert, Francine Poulet, as she tries to relocate a very noisy furry creature on Deckawoo Drive. Don’t miss Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon.

Happy Smile Week! Here’s hoping we all have lots – including good books – to smile about this week and all weeks!

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943