Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates
Stella Batts Needs a New Name by Courtney Sheinmel, illustrated by Jennifer Bell
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
It has been a wonderful summer of learning and fun adventures! Even as I begin to write this my daughters are being amazed by the athletic feats of the paraolympic women and men. We applaud their courage and outstanding skills!
This has also been a very empowering summer for Elizabeth and Sophie. Both have made great progress in swimming, showing commitment to learning, and being the best individuals they can in the face of constant change (for Sophie – leaving her daycare familiarity and family after more than 4 years; for Elizabeth – evolving into a hand-raising, pick-me child who discovers how to float as the magician’s assistant at the CNE!) Both of my daughters surprise and amaze me regularly!
We have had a terrific time participating in the Toronto Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, seeing the behaviour of our visiting turtle Speedy and enjoying all this summer offered. Part of that was Elizabeth beginning to read chapter books on her own (starting with Stella Batts Needs a New Name, by Courtney Sheinmel and birthday gift Ramona Quimby, Age 8, by Beverly Cleary)
With fall around the corner, we are getting back on our regular reading together schedule. A recent favorite has allowed us to focus on story telling through illustrations rather than the words has been Dog Loves Drawings, by Louise Yates. This dog loves books so much he owns a bookstore! Then one day he receives a blank book for drawing and discovers the joy of creating his own characters and story. Make sure you have your pencils sharpened and some blank pages ready before you start this one!
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It’s hard to believe it has been over a year since Emerging Readers started. Thanks for visiting! It has been great to share so many good books to inspire young people’s interest in reading. Now we are looking for our next creative adventure, so this will be the last post here.
In the meantime don’t forget what a wonderful place the TPL (or your local library) is for providing you with new ideas and great books. Keep reading – and we look forward to the next time our paths cross!
Hurray, the 2012 Summer Games have begun! What a fantastic opening ceremony — we look forward to the amazing display of sports (and good sportsmanship) to come over the next two weeks. Here are some of our favourite moments from these games so far -
Day 1 – Men’s doubles rowing heat
A Canadian team was winning this heat, having pulled ahead early and the commentators observed the tension building up in one of the rowers shoulders and arms. Feeling very happy about their victory Elizabeth observed “Well, they can take it slower when they are rowing back (to the start).”
Also Day 1 – Women’s basketball
Things were looking very promising for the Canadian women’s first game against Russia. However, the Russians proved too much in the final minutes beating our team by a 4 or 5 point margin. Sportsmanship is so key to all we do in life. Learning how to lose is such a hard lesson. Kudos to these women who, although disappointed, played as a team and accepted the outcome. This is a big and important lesson – thank you ladies for showing us how to do it gracefully!
Day 6 – Sport unknown (overheard from upstairs)
Anil – “I can’t believe he just did that!!!”
Elizabeth – “OOOHHHHH!”
Also Day 6 – Practising for the 20?? Olympics at the Riverdale Pool – sister synchronized jumping event
Elizabeth - “Sophie, that one was not the best, but the entry was clean.”
Day 8 – Trampoline
Canada’s first gold medal is won by Rosie MacLennan! Hurray! We are so proud of the people representing our country!
We are loving the Olympics, although it has combined with our few days vacation travelling in Ontario to put our regular reading on hold. I don’t really mind: there are so many great lessons and ideas these Olympics are encouraging, I think this is also time well spent.
Hope you have been able to enjoy some of the Olympics too. Feel free to leave us a comment with your favorite Olympic story.
Bea at Ballet by Rachel Isadora
We just have a few days left until Sophie’s week of summer dance camp. We’ll be lucky if she doesn’t explode from excitement first. Her dance classes to date have been primarily creative movement, but the idea of ballet intrigues her (she happily sat through an entire production of the Nutcracker back in the winter).
There are lots of children’s books about dance – this one shows lots of different dancers. It provides a nice introduction to the common terms, moves and items associated with ballet. This book is a hit at our house right now; I’m sure Sophie sees herself in it. She is even trying out the positions based on the illustrations! If you have a beginning dancer too – check it out!
I recently picked up a booklet at the TPL celebrating Lillian Smith’s hiring and her contributions as Toronto’s “first professionally trained children’s librarian”. It is packed interesting historical tidbits and highlights 100 books published from 1912 to today. It has lots of familiar covers, some of which I recall reading as a child and one which we have covered in an Emerging Readers blog from almost one year ago (Press Here by Herve Tullet).
Included in the selection of 100 are some that we are fortunate to have as part of our home library collection that we can read time and time again -
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans – one of the original brave girls (“To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said ‘Pooh-pooh‘”). If you are thinking of taking your daughter(s) to see that new movie this summer, also plan to pick up this great book.
Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham – I can’t count the number of times we read this one to the girls in the first years of their lives! It wasn’t a surprise to see the new book run now being featured in bookstores.
There are many suggestions in this booklet that we haven’t read yet, so we are going to add them to our summer reading list and we may highlight some here soon! Let us know your favourite too!
Ivy + Bean – No News Is Good News by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall
Elizabeth, Sophie and I are about to embark on a new adventure – two months of summer vacation together! In recognition of this new three-of-us together model, Elizabeth and Sophie are contributing to this blog post. Each of us is looking forward to our own vision of what this summer will be…
Cathy: getting time to connect with each of my daughters in a way not possible during too short weekends, with (too many!) scheduled activities.
Elizabeth: sleeping in, no dictée and “my birthday is the next one in the family!”
Sophie: spending time with Lizzy, missing my daycare friends and (maybe) cracking the code to learn to ride a two-wheeler by myself!
Thanks to our local book bank, we’ve acquired a few books in a series that is one of our “old” favourites, first discovered through the public library — Ivy + Bean! Author Annie and illustrator Sophie can’t create these stories fast enough, but when Ivy & Bean – No News Is Good News became available this past spring, it encouraged us to re-read some of the previous adventures we had already enjoyed. They were just as fun the second time around! These stories are chapter books with occasional illustrations. Like many good books, you will frequently find yourself looking forward to the next opportunity to read more!
C: Which character do you like best?
S: Yeah, Ivy
[This surprised to me. Both girls seemed to like the character who they describe as neater and more proper. Maybe because it is frequently Ivy's imaginative and creative sides that cause the adventures to unfold!]
C: If you were to join in their next adventure what do you think it should be about?
S: Hotdog buns or bananas
E: Tiny, tiny beans or crickets, baby crickets
[This interview took place over breakfast. Sophie's mind was obviously influenced by other forces!]
If you haven’t yet enjoyed these adventures, the stories are about two 7-year old girls who live on the same street. They are different enough that they never thought they would become friends — but they are! These are hilarious adventures involving dance, babysitters, ghosts, small individual wax-wrapped cheeses, mud volcanos, and more!
We also recently discovered a similar type of book series – Heidi Heckelbeck has a secret. The author of this series has had four books published so far this year (!). Even though the library only has access to two of the books so far, if you need some additional good reading for this summer, it is worth checking out. Enjoy!
Owly – Just a Little Blue, by Andy Runton
Owly & Wormy – Friends all Aflutter, by Andy Runton
Ahhh, it’s spring time and everything seems so new again!
We got our bikes out, so Sophie and I have added some days of work and daycare commuting using our conjoined bike. So far it has been great! We have a low stress, downhill route in the morning and a bit more tricky (left hand turns and more traffic) ride uphill at the end of the day. Since this is still pretty new for us we are getting use to each other’s rythm and ways. The bike ride home seems to be Sophie’s preferred time to be a Star. There has never been a doubt that in our small family she is the born performer! During the bike riding she belts out every song she can think of including a good mix of Christmas favourites and songs I assumed she would have forgotten from mom and baby drop-in centre days (which seem so long ago now). She also includes some I’m sure are her own creation. It is this last batch that made me think she was ready for the type of children’s book without words – make up your own story. We had tried some of these books before, with mixed success. However a recent library blog on kid’s comics plus her creative bike expressions suggested it was time to try that kind of book again. I think we are both glad they are in our current library borrowed pile!
Our usual morning breakfast routine was changed a bit this week. Sophie wanted to use a bar stool to eat at the little window/ledge that connects our kitchen and dining area. I find it so difficult to get her to focus on eating in the morning that I’m happy to accommodate most requests. This morning Sophie decided to entertain herself with Owly – Just a Little Blue while she sat there with her cereal. Her story evolved around an apple and I may have broken her interpretation when I told her the name of the owl. She only made it through a few pages, but as a natural story teller, I have a feeling she will be revisiting this one.
We also borrowed a copy of the picture book interpretation of this character Owly & Wormy – Friends all Aflutter, which we will have a look at this week.
I love to encourage my daughters to use their imaginations. As I’ve suggested in the past, this skill is often overlooked, but can be one of the best sources of satisfaction throughout life. While the timing with the wordless books didn’t work some months ago, now it seems to have found a receptive audience. I find it hard to know what kind of reading material will be appropriate when. I guess the trick is just to keep track of these possible tools and keep trying different ones until we find the ones that work to help our children develop in the way and at the pace that is right for them!
Happy story telling!
A Kiss for Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik and pictures by Maurice Sendak
I have often admired those with the skills to execute both the writing and the illustration that make a children’s book. Many times, however, it is someone else’s unique interpretation of a story that gives it some added depth.
This was reinforced this past week with Maurice Sendak‘s death. Where the Wild Things Are, the book he authored and illustrated, obviously made a huge contribution to children’s literature (and our thinking about the kind of information and thinking of children), but, to me, it is his illustrations of the Little Bear series that show his talent and his love of humour.
The Little Bear books depict the world from a young bear’s perspective including his understanding of himself and his interactions with others (family and other animal/human friends). His mother’s frank explanation of what will happen to him when he tries to fly like a bird to the moon is a classic in parental humour and honesty -
“And maybe ,” says Mother Bear, “you are a little fat bear club with no wings and no feathers. Maybe if you jump up you will come down very fast , with a big plop.” (Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik and pictures by Maurice Sendak)
The story that I find most lovely is A Kiss for Little Bear. This book is the final one in this series and the only one published after Where the Wild Things Are (there are hints that maybe Little Bear shares Sendak’s love of drawing wild things). It is the illustration on page 22 with Little Bear laughing as the little joke he has started with a kiss being passed along from friend to friend that shows Sendak’s skills as an artist. The mischievousness and fun of this illustration makes the words and characters in this story come alive. When you get a copy of the book, let us know if you agree!
Merci Monsier Sendak!
We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake
Same, Same, but Different, by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
I think there is a strong connection between valuing the environment and valuing other people. Just a month ago it was big news as the world’s population reached 7 billion humans, with a prediction this number will reach 10 billion by 2050. I’m a fan of the hundreds of little acts each of us can take to help protect mother earth, but this Earth Day, I’m focusing on how caring for the environment intertwines with caring for others. Some of these others may be friends (so that is easy), but there are many more who need the same basic human rights we often take for granted (freedom of expression, housing, clean water and nutritious food, education and opportunity, safety and a secure community of support).
While it feels difficult to explain the complexities and connection of environmental protection and human rights to young children, the two books highlighted in this blog set a basis to start from. Both books contrast a North American child and family with an international counterpart. In We Planted a Tree the main voice is from Kenya with glimpses of other locations around the globe, while in Same, Same, but Different the pen pal is located in India. In both stories, even though the contrasted lives are different, they also share many similarities. The planted tree has a clear ecological impact no matter where it is planted. These stories also move through time with their illustrations, so it is shown how what we do now, has an impact on future generations.
My daughters’ ages feel like a pivotal time for helping them develop attitudes and beliefs that may stay with them for a lifetime. So we talk a lot about, for example, not wasting water and about people in many other countries not having access to clean water. Recently, we watched the Water Brothers documentary series on TVO. This was a big deal not only because it meant watching television outside of our usual weekend viewing; it gave them a bit more awareness that this issue is real and more important than just remembering to turn off the tap. With these books we also talk about how other children live. While my information about how the chocolate treats we enjoy depends on the work some children are made to do on coca plantations may have been a bit over their heads, they are starting to make a connection about how our actions including our consumption are part of a system that needs correction. The environmental and social issues that challenge us now will certainly become urgent during their lifetime. While we are lucky to live in a country with plenty, we must also understand how our awareness and action is part of our responsibility to the world both environmentally and socially.
In the coming year(s) I’m committed to helping my daughters learn more about conscientious consumerism, sustainable diet and valuing others, no matter what their colour, religion, race or socieconomic status. These will be some important contributions toward a better and more sustainable planet for everyone.
Happy Earth Day everyone! Send us a comment on how you and your emerging reader(s) are also helping to be the change!
Made with Love: How Babies Are Made by Kate Petty and illustrated by Charlotte Middleton
With spring in the air, I wanted to be a bit ahead of the curve on the subject of reproduction. It is a subject that Elizabeth has been curious about lately. After searching the library system, we ended up with Made with Love: How Babies Are Made. I felt it was important for her to have the correct information. It covers all the essential body parts as well as sex and how babies are born, with sensitivity and without talking down to her. It has been a great way to enable Elizabeth to feel free to ask questions about twins and a variety of other ideas she has obviously been thinking or perhaps hearing about in the school yard.
The book offers relaxed, friendly and matter-of-fact coverage of the topic. It is a great conversation starter and a better introduction than “the birds and the bees”. This is information that all children are curious about; as parents we need to be involved and make sure they learn about it from a reliable source first and keep the conversation open!
In Front of My House by Marianne Dubuc
It was brewing in the news and in the union support campaign all fall/winter, so the recently-ended strike by Toronto library staff should not have come as a surprise. The strike, which lasted two weeks, centred on the workers refusing a contract that would have diminished their job security. What could the city’s plan have resulted in? Reduced hours, fewer resources, closed branches and ultimately less access to books. Each morning Sophie and I walked past the librarian picket line in front of City Hall on our way to daycare. While some were the lovely early spring days in March, anyone who has ever been involved in any kind of public demonstration knows how grueling these efforts are.
I think all library users owe these workers a huge thank you for taking this very important stand.
During these two weeks I was constantly reminded of how important our library is in supporting my daughters’ learning. The challenge of new and interesting books is especially important for beginning readers. Last night Elizabeth began reading In Front of My House to Sophie and me. We found this book just waiting for us to pick up when our local Branch re-opened. Its unusual size, lovely illustrations, quirky use of font sizes and word placement, and use of repetition makes it a great book for those just becoming comfortable reading aloud.
This book provided a huge boost to Elizabeth’s confidence as a reader. It was also fun for Sophie to practice some counting. After Elizabeth had finished, Sophie flipped through the pages to re-tell her own version of the story. It was a lovely and positive way to end our day. I can’t thank the library enough for all the ways it enriches our lives.
We invite any other beginning readers ! to let us know some of the books that they have discovered on the shelves of their local branch. Welcome back!
How are your New Years’ resolutions starting off?
There is all sorts of new years’ advice available right now. Here is one more idea to add to your list – add the TPL website to your internet favourites/shortcuts and schedule a quick weekly visit. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with the time you invest. Today I found information about the annual Family Literacy Day and all kinds of related events. I’m planning to take my daughters to a reading that will help introduce them to a new author! We have had such a great time attending a variety of live theatre and dance performances over the holidays that I’m quite excited to see how the girls will enjoy a reading by an author.
I also quickly browsed the New for Children books section and made a reservation for a new natural science book – Coral Reefs by Jason Chin. Elizabeth is keenly interested in natural science right now. I want her to know that I’m in tune with her interests and help to encourage her love of reading by ensuring we have books on the topics that interest her the most.
Finally, if you live in Toronto and don’t already know about an excellent program offered by the library to increase access to a variety of venues in the city, check out the Sun Life Financial Museum & Arts Pass.
The Toronto Public Library website has so much information to offer. Make it a regular destination to keep your emerging readers interested and find great, often free, things to do all year long!
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season! Snow or no snow, have a great time! We look forward to sharing more recommendations for great books available through the TPL (or purchase) in 2012! Don’t forget to share your favourite books with us! Stay well, friends!
11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill & Nancy Carpenter
Bernadette in the Doghouse, by Susan Glickman
On a recent drive over the Grandma’s house, Elizabeth (7 years old) decided to quiz Sophie (almost 5 years old) on some math questions. Sophie held her own, providing some pretty creative answers. To end that session Elizabeth concluded with some exasperation, “Sophie! You have so much to learn!”
Most days spent with my daughters have at least a few moments when I am struck by that same notion of there being so, so, so much more to learn. This feeling may be invoked from my daughters constantly changing personalities or by a reminder of some long ago stored away school information or by a science fact that I never really truly understood. Luckily there is the Internet and Anil is also a pretty reliable source of facts so there is a fair share of referrals going on!
Young children seem to love science and all the questions about how the world operates, so we were all pretty happy to sit down for 11 Experiments That Failed, and we weren’t disappointed! This young lady has some pretty zany ideas and who doesn’t occasionally wonder – could you live on snow and ketsup? What would happen if you tried to grow something in your brother’s old sneaker? I’m not sure if this book will quell or fuel Elizabeth’s future investigations (our freezer has more experiments than food in it currently). This book (re)introduced us all to the word hypothesis, so we will likely see this activity continue!
At the same time we wrere also reading a chapter book about a third grader named Bernadette who identifies herself as a young scientist – Bernadette in the Doghouse. The added complexity of this book was how much more complicated friendships are beginning to become for girls her age. Along with the world of science, these are deep waters to navigate. It was nice to have a story so Elizabeth understands that she is not alone when friend A says something bad about friend B or friend C says she doesn’t want to play with her today.
Here is to hoping that the coming new year is a time of wonderful discoveries in science and friendly friendship for girls (and boys) all over the world!
It all started with the recently released Dr. Seuss stories which were orginally only published in magazines – The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories reminded us how much fun a good rythming story can be. This book is pure fun for readers and listeners! Hopefully this is not the first you have heard about this book. Even more recently, my daughters and I found several new books which are also outstanding examples of this type.
If you are interested in the adventure of a young girl’s experience with new roller skates check out Samantha on a Roll. How will Sammy’s adventures end? Will her mama find out she has snuck out to try out the new skates? This is one frolicking adventure!
If a good wolf tale is more your style (or if you know someone who has developed an aversion to taking baths or taking care of his/her body) pick up Whiffy Wilson – the wolf who wouldn’t wash. This one talks about lots of smelly topics that are bound to be of interest to your youngster.
Both are very worthwhile and make reading lots of fun! Check them out!
Forget-Me-Not Beautiful Buttercup by Michael Broad
I’m so glad the wise young women in Elizabeth’s after-school program informed me that it was Anti Bullying Week – Nov 14-18 in the UK and arranged a day for the kids to colour pictures and talk about bullying. This is an issue that sometimes seems low on the parental radar, but can raise it’s negative influence and become all encompassing the second it is impacting your child. Guarding against it is one of the reasons we enrolled Elizabeth in Taekwondo and is also why we are interested in hearing ideas to support building self confidence. We see, through Elizabeth’s attending public school, how much schools try to communicate around this issue (it will NOT be tolerated). At least at the elementary level, students hear messages to make them feel they can raise issues that occur.
In thinking about this blog I ran across efforts to create an equivalent national awareness Anti-Bullying Day here in Canada – December 16. By luck, early this week Sophie was at home sick with pink eye, giving us the opportunity to see a discussion session on TVO Kids with a representative from Kids Help Phone and young people phoning in to talk about this isue. All of this awareness is a without a doubt a good thing.
Forget-Me-Not: Beautiful Buttercup touches gently on this topic. I think that any book that approachs a serious topic like bullying, but lets the readers and listeners draw their own conclusions, can be more powerful than simple preaching. Sophie, for one, appreciates the importance of being a good friend and had a very positive response to the characters in the book.
This is a story with colourful illustrations about a young elephant and a warthog. The warthog is the littlest of her litter and subjected to taunts of “teeny-tiny-ugly-wugly”. Her friendship with the elephant and their resulting actions just go to show how – we are all different, some in ways more visible than others and we all contribute in our own ways. It is a story of how to embrace and appreciate others despite their differences. The elephant and the warthog do just that – much to everyone’s appreciation in the end. There is a good “sticking up for what you believe in” message in this book, and a reminder of the power of friendship. Enjoy!
Check It Out! Reading, Finding, Helping by Patricia Hubbell and illustrated by Nancy Speir
How do you and your child use your local library? I was reminded recently from a library survey that these buildings “with books for borrow”" are really much more than that. When the girls were little we often visited our local branch during story time and on Saturdays to see what was happening in in the children’s area. During a period of job hunting a few years ago I benefited from a social networking workshop and was inspired by the writer in residence talks. I’m always impressed by the array of programs and services available.
Toronto libraries are an amazing resource not just for reading but also very much so for community building. Even when I only drop in to pick up some books and use the self-checkout, I have never had a visit to the library lately without feeling it helped me connect more with my local community.
Check It Out! Reading, Finding, Helping is a child’s introduction to what libraries offer. This is an emerging reader friendly book with big, inviting illustrations and simple writing. It is a great way for children to understand what libraries have to offer and how librarians add to the value of this experience. Libraries are a very important resource in our lives and our city.
Let us know what is new and interesting at your local branch the next time you visit.
- My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee
- The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery
- Doodleday by Ross Collins
Two great things about fall are the proliferation of new books (just in time for holiday giving) and the number of book awards which ensure our reading lists are overflowing with interesting choices. For adults — the Giller Prize, Toronto Book Awards, and Man Booker Prize provide reading recommendations, and the public library makes it possible to get all these great reads.
For children there are also reading programs that can recommend reading choices that will appeal to your child. Here are some links to some interesting reading programs for children:
I’m also a fan of the Toronto Public Library blog Growing A Reader. When you don’t have the time or the inclination to roam and discover in the library, these kinds of programs are sure to help you find something good.
In the spirit of this fall’s new releases and to give you some of my daughters’ top picks, this week we want to suggest you add the following three titles to your reading list:
Elizabeth was crestfallen with the thought of having to return this one to the public library, so it may be a book we end up adding to our home library. It touches on (truly) exotic pets so it is a good starting point for a discussion of why it is important for animals to live in their natural habitat and/or what kinds of things to keep in mind when getting a pet. It is a lovely, silly story of a young boy and his rhinoceros. Does this rhino pop balloons? Does he poke holes in kites? Has the boy gotten a clunker of a pet? Have a read to find out!
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
This story has a great rythming pace and is an action-packed twist on the classic. I find it lots of fun to read aloud and I bet you will too!
My girls do lots of drawing so they were bound to like this one. It has the same zany appeal shared by our other two recommendations. Young Harvey doesn’t believe the calendar note or his mom’s warning to NOT doodle on this day. So with his imagination on full force he makes doodle after doodle trying to correct the initial problem created when he draws a gigantic fly. Eventually his mom must come to the rescue and a lesson is learned (or is it?) about the dangers that creative people face on… Doodleday!
We can’t wait to discover what other new (and new to us) stories are waiting to be read. Please feel free to share the good new books you have encountered and keep us all reading!
Just imagine how my heart rejoiced when Sophie announced she wants to go as Word Girl this Halloween. This is an incredible decision for a girl who has been all princesses and fairies for the last two years! As someone who would rather read than watch TV, it seems a bit strange that something called Word Girl originated as an animated children’s TV series, not as books (according to Wikipedia). All this to say we haven’t actually read a Word Girl book yet, but we have seen her occasionally on TV and recently got a DVD from the library that featured her in some Halloween episodes. In one of the episodes Word Girl’s friend dresses as Word Girl for trick-or-treating. Word Girl’s superhero identity, similar to Superman’s, is never revealed even to those closest to her “regular” self.
Even though it has proven impossible to find a ready-made costume, I’m continuing my hunt for a orange cape, because this blogging mama is pretty pleased about this development. I’m ambivalent about TV and video (while it turns my daughters into viewing zombies, it allows me to actually get some things done), but I can’t deny some of it has value. The television episode of Arthur (another of my favourites) that features the school cafeteria lady’s diagnosis with cancer comes to my mind as an incredibly educational and lovely example of quality programming. In the case of Word Girl, I think it is creating an excellent character role model – what’s not to love about a girl who can fly, has a monkey side-kick and a special talent of introducing interesting words?!?
This character, whether in book or animated form, is helping to reinforce the importance of words with my daughters. Word Girl(s) Everywhere – You Rule!
[Update] Here is a Halloween photo of Word Girl –
The Eraserheads, by Kate Banks. Pictures by Boris Kulikov
The amount of plastic, battery-depleting and usually-pink stuff we have amassed with two children often feels overwhelming. While I fantasize about making a big sweep and getting rid of a few full bags, I don’t. I can’t stand:
(1) the idea of all that contributing to landfill (let’s be honest, even if it makes a trip to the Goodwill, it’s plastic–it’s going to outlast us all!)
(2) the guaranteed question, “Mom, do you know where my [blank] which I really love [even though I haven't wanted it for months] is?”
As some observant visitors have noted — our home is full of stuff! I console myself with the idea that this is because we have no basement, so everything is visible in our living space (or crammed in a closet!)
The book Eraserheads gave us a new slant on plastic stuff – here are an alligator, pig and owl with imaginations (no batteries required). They make the story and help their young artist owner create details and adventure. This book made me wonder about the possibilities of our relationship to our stuff. It is an usual story that the girls enjoyed and Elizabeth picked up to read out loud on her own following our first read together. Maybe this book will inspire us to breathe a new life of adventure into something from our collection of stuff during the cold, dark winter months that loom ahead. Who knows?
What unexpected piece of stuff has sparked your child’s imagination lately?
Are you a parent or a caregiver who is interested in finding new, interesting and meaningful books to help instill a love of reading in a young child? If so, this blog is for you! It will help you discover good young (ages 3 – 8) children’s books fast.
These are books that have been read by my two daughters (Elizabeth, now age 7 and Sophie, age 4) and myself. We get many of our books through the Toronto Public Library so whenever possible we will provide a link to the library listing and their wonderful system where anyone with a valid Toronto Library card can place a hold for a book. When your book arrives at your local library branch a nice lady will phone you and leave a message so you know your next book discovery (or rediscovery) awaits. Hopefully no matter where you live, your local library (or bookstore) will be able to help you get these books.
Who doesn’t love all the tried and true classics in children’s books? Little Bear, The Giving Tree, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Winnie the Pooh, and the list goes on and on. We love them too, but this blog is going to try and take you down a different path. We will try not to list of the books you will find in classic lists (if you haven’t already, check out Michele Landsberg’s Guide to children’s books which has some old favorites and some you may not have heard of before) or the current magazine favorites. We want to help you discover lesser-known books that would be good additions to your reading list.
And because there are so many books out there, we invite you to make your own recommendations to add to this list. We are aiming to include one book each week for the next year!
Let’s all read happily ever after…