Children's books

July 30, 2015

A graphic novel takes me much longer to read carefully than a text-only book does. Why? I think the pictures slow me down. I need to examine them carefully in order to make meaning from them, what they’re saying, how they interact with the words (if any).

The artist is telling a story. And how that story is told is intriguing.

I was reminded of this notion when I read a...

July 24, 2015

From a reader:

Any thoughts on top 2 or 3 literacy concepts on which you would focus librarians? Grades 4-8?

My response:

Let me say how happy I am that you are available to students and teachers. As I make my way across the country I find fewer and fewer school-based librarians. Unfortunately, you appear to be part of a...

July 16, 2015

Carol and her family share their gardening adventures. They learn the virtue of patience when it comes to gardening with some help from a book called And Then It’s Spring, and experience the satisfaction of growing their own fruits and vegetables from seed.

The other day, Addie asked me, “Mommy, why was there a tomato warning?”

“A tomato warning?” I repeated, confused...

July 3, 2015

Readers can count on Walter Dean Myers to bring them stories that had been left off the shelf.

"What made Walter special wasn’t necessarily his books or writing, although those are still pretty special. No, what made Walter stand out was his tireless belief that the telling and reading of all kinds of stories mattered, that teens mattered, communities and families mattered, and that...

July 8, 2015

Addie explores the idea of becoming President. With a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and a candid “what if I were President” interview with her mom, we get to see the world through the eyes of a five and half year old.

About a month ago, Addie came home from school, and said to me, “Mom, you can become President.”

“OK, why is that?”

“Because you have to be 35 to...

July 6, 2015

I’ve been thinking a lot about picture books and why some work and are memorable while others just land with a thud when read. I continue to ask myself what is it about those picture books that resonate with readers and particularly those that can be shared many times between adults and children, delighting both.

Then it occurred to me. The thoughts that follow probably aren’t entirely...

June 30, 2015

Addie takes her mom on an exploration of her favorite author, Mo Willems. The exploration goes beyond his books and includes watching a Reading Rockets interview with Mo Willems and drawing him fan mail.

I first heard of Mo Willems a couple of years ago when I was browsing around at a bookstore and saw the title Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!; it was an...

June 22, 2015

Carol shares the delicious fun of strawberry picking at a local farm, and how a book and Highlight magazine article lead to baking adventures in the kitchen with the kids.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather turns warm is taking my kids fruit picking. Yes, it gets hot. Yes, there are bugs flying around. Yes, it involves manual labor. But when you bite into that...

June 11, 2015

We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB) just launched a Booktalking Kit that is now available to download at no cost. The kit is comprised of 30 titles and helps to increase the comfort level involved in identifying, reading, and discussing books that feature diverse...

June 1, 2015

Meet two ambassadors for summer reading who are advocating for high quality summer learning experiences that boost literacy and establish a habit of reading.

Hear ideas from Georgia Madsen, a second grade teacher, Rice Lake Area School District, and Katherine Elchert, librarian from the Rice Lake Public Library in Wisconsin as they make recommendations in the video embedded...

June 17, 2015

In this post, Carol shares how she prepared for a beach trip to Cape Cod with a Summer Tip text, and discovers the fun of stopping by a local bookstore. She’s also discovering how the role of books in their lives is evolving, and making summer explorations more memorable.

One of the best things about summer is the vacations to look forward to, and often times sand and sun are...

June 11, 2015

Karen 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.

I knew Karen’s books before I met her. I was seated next to Karen at a...

June 9, 2015

Carol goes bug hunting with her three-year-old son Taylor, and realizes a great adventure can be had right at home, alongside bug-themed books and apps.

Our bug exploration started on Taylor’s last day of pre-school. As a parting gift, his teachers had put together a summer care package for the kids, a giant green bucket filled with goodies to use during the summer. To Taylor’...

June 1, 2015

In Carol’s first blog post about her summer adventures with her kids, she uses the Start with a Book site for the first time. She shares the fun times (and mishap) they have exploring a topic Addie is learning about in school, money.

For our first Start with a Book adventure, we explored the topic of money. Addie’s learning about quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies in...

May 29, 2015

Here's list to grow readers from the world of audiobooks, the format for learning that engages struggling and other readers when books in print do not.

The format, that is essential for students with print disabilities, helps learners access the same books that their peers are reading in print. The literacy that can result from "ear reading" creates "academic" knowledge and the "social...

May 22, 2015

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb is a trailer from Libro.fm. Viewing the video is a strategy that could engage readers with an audiobook and its author and or illustrator before listening....

May 21, 2015

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!

Carol will help you navigate some of the summer resources on our Start with a Book website — where you can...

May 19, 2015

A reader wrote:

My main response is toward your general notion of the research surrounding teaching kids "at their level."

First, I think the way you're describing instructional/skill levels obfuscates the issue a bit. Instructional level, by definition, means the level at which a child can benefit from instruction, including with scaffolding....

May 18, 2015

This is it! Our last Laura Ingalls Wilder landmark — her beloved home at Rocky Ridge Farm. It seems fitting to end our Little Journey here, where Laura and Almanzo ended their own wanderings in 1894.

The Wilders originally purchased 40 acres in the heart of the Ozark hills. Their success with poultry, apples...

May 8, 2015

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.

In fact, Common Sense Media advises that in order to form those bonds a...

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"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney