Children's books

November 24, 2014

Teachers were buzzing about and checking out many wonderful books in the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Exhibit Hall on Nov. 22. Having so many wonderful books in print to examine was like a picnic for some who browsed and chatted happily at this 2014 annual conference.

A crowd lined up way in advance (like shoppers at Best Buy before a big sale) for the freebie books...

November 24, 2014

Ever been amazed by a magic trick? I know I have. After the pure joy of letting the magic wash over me, I often wanted to know how it was done. Sometimes learning how the magic trick worked made me feel like I’d been cheated. Sometimes my appreciation of the magician’s skill increased, making me feel like I was in on a secret. Reading is a lot like magic. Sometimes knowing how a piece of...

November 10, 2014

E-Books can be a better read, says Michael Kozlowski, a mainstream writer and book reviewer who specializes in horror, self help, humor and comedy.

On the website "Goodereader.com," Koslowski reports that there are good reasons to go with e-Books; and he spells them out in a recent article,...

November 4, 2014

Five of the Little House books, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years, take place in De Smet, Dakota Territory (later South Dakota). We planned a few days here to get at least a taste of prairie life past and present and to savor the place where so many of Laura’s...

October 16, 2014

Challenge assumptions. We all should.

I started thinking about the various assumptions held when author Valerie Tripp gave a memorable and thought provoking lecture, the Anne Scott MacLeod Children’s Literature Lecture, at the Library of Congress last week entitled, “Challenging Assumptions.”

(This biannual lecture was cosponsored by the...

October 8, 2014

Even though we spent a good bit of time at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, we still had a long sunny afternoon to enjoy in Walnut Grove. Since we’d sampled the Walnut Grove Bar & Grill for dinner and were not in any kind of hurry to go back, we thought we’d give the other restaurant in town — Nellie’s Café — a try. But it...

September 22, 2014

Although the Ingalls family only lived in Walnut Grove for three years (on two different occasions — 1874–1876 and 1878–1879), the town has a strong connection to Laura and the Little House books because of its prominence in the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” As we drove into the center of town, signs connecting the location to Laura abound, announcing “Walnut Grove, Childhood Home...

September 26, 2014

What’s the difference between participating and witnessing? And what does this have to do with books and children?

I had lunch with some longtime friends today and as we walked out together, my friend was telling me how she shared books with a group of children, the same group she had the opportunity to observe as they saw the same story read on a “smart board.”

When she read...

September 22, 2014

Nothing creates readers like a good book. And in my experience good books are often recommended to children by a trusted teacher or librarian.

But educators are busy people. A lot of teachers and school librarians I know have a hard time keeping up with what’s new and what’s good in books for children. Then there’s the entire matter of getting one’s hands on the books. Libraries...

September 5, 2014

If we followed the Ingalls’ journey according to the Little House series, after we left the Big Woods in Wisconsin, our next stop should be Independence, Kansas. Given that Independence is more than 600 miles from Pepin and Walnut Grove, Minnesota, is less than 200 miles, the banks of Plum Creek is where we headed next.

Our route took us through Mankato, Minnesota. Mankato is...

August 29, 2014

It's earlier than it's been in the past and the location has changed from the National Mall to the Washington Convention Center but once again, it's back. If past is prelude, then it will be just as much fun (with the benefit of indoor plumbing and air-conditioning against the dreaded DC humidity).

I'm talking about the National Book Festival, of course.

August 28, 2014

Remember Laura’s first trip to Pepin? In Little House in the Big Woods, Wilder writes, “Laura stood up on the board and Pa held her safe by the arm, so she could see the town. When she saw it, she could hardly breathe. She knew how Yankee Doodle felt, when he could not see the town because there were so many houses.”

It was dramatic for us too, but our drama was courtesy of...

August 19, 2014

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...

August 13, 2014

When readers first meet Laura in Little House in the Big Woods, she’s a little girl living with her Pa, Ma, older sister Mary and baby sister Carrie. The real Laura Ingalls was born in a little house deep in the forests surrounding Pepin, Wisconsin, on February 7, 1867. Since Pepin is Laura’s birthplace and the setting of her first book, this village along the Mississippi River seemed...

August 1, 2014

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote one of the most beloved series in children's literature. Her "Little House" books, which recount her childhood during the late 1800s, have provided generations of readers with a look at what life was like for our pioneering ancestors.

If you've always wanted a closer look at the Big Woods, wondered what it would be like to play along the banks of Plum Creek...

August 1, 2014

Hats have been around for a long, long time. They’ve been used to kept ears warm, identify one's chosen profession, protect heads from the elements, and more. So it's not surprising that hats abound in books for young readers.

There's a rather infamous cat whose red and white striped hat is now synonymous with easier to read...

July 10, 2014

I've been away for a while. The family vacation was without Internet access or even phone service. When I was reconnected, I was deeply saddened by news that one of the true giants of contemporary children's and young adult literature had died.

Walter Dean...

June 24, 2014

It’s a cliché, I know, but it really does take a village to raise a child. And that village benefits all around from children who read.

Pediatricians have recognized the power of reading to young children from a very young age and are releasing a ...

June 13, 2014

Schools are winding down. Teachers, librarians and parents all want the children in their lives to continue reading. Lots of children, however, don’t come from homes where books are readily available.

A friend of mine who is a librarian in a parochial school that serves students who don’t have easy access to books decided to jumpstart the kids at her school. For an entire year she’s...

May 27, 2014

Children’s Book Week (CBW) was celebrated earlier this month for the 95th year. It is a festive week marked throughout the U.S. that culminates with a celebration of books voted favorites by children and teens.

The mission of CBW, established in 1919, remains basically unchanged. Its purpose is to contribute to lifelong learning starting with the youngest child. It is administered by...

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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass