Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gift Ideas for Kids


At this time of year most of us are looking for gifts and it is also the time of year when many book awards are handed out and lists of best books of the year are compiled. The New York Public Library releases their 100 Best Books for Kids list around Thanksgiving every year. It includes picture books, easy readers (both the focus of this blog), fiction, fairy tales and folklore, graphic novels, non-fiction and poetry. There are a few books missing in my humble opinion especially in the easy reader and graphic novel categories. I hope to address that omission later in the week. 

Every year the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) awards the best fiction and non-fiction books for children. The Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children that has a potential to transform children's lives by inviting compassion, imagination and wonder. The 2017 Winner is Ghost by Jason Reynolds. They are Honor and Recommended Books as well. The NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for non-fiction went to Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Honor and Recommended books are included for this category, too.

Brightly has an article about How to Use Book Awards to Find Great Children's Books. The article features the CYBILS (Children's and Young adult Bloggers' Literary Awards). The awards are given out in February but you can find the list of nominees here. One nice feature is that you can click on the title and be transported to Amazon to find out more about the book and read reviews. Some of the books have been reviewed by bloggers and there are links to those reviews, too.

That is enough to get you started on finding the just right book or books for each child on your list. Check back for my personal recommendations in December (I am still reading!).

Hat tip: Raising Readers

Sunday, November 20, 2016

We Found A Hat

We Found A Hat is the third book in Jon Klassen's hat trilogy. The first two I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor and the Caldecott Medal respectively.


There are two turtles and one hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But it would not be right if one of them had a hat and the other did not. How do they solve this dilemma? Watch the eyes of the turtles, they tell the humorous tale. The type is large, there is plenty of white (beige, actually) space, the words are easily sounded out or are sight words and the sentences are short. Which makes this a perfect book for beginning readers.

The Sonoma County Library has twenty-two copies. The AR is 1.3.

Reading Tips


Hat tip: Brightly

Saturday, November 12, 2016

November Is Picture Book Month


Picture Book Month is an annual celebration of the importance of picture books. They are not just for toddlers. Two of the Caldecott Medal winners in the past decade were for books aimed at a much older audience: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick and Locomotive By Brian Floca.

 Of course, many picture book subjects are aimed at younger children but the content of many is aimed at grade school kids who want to jump to chapter books as quickly as possible. There is a wide array of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction that can enhance grade school kids'  appreciation and understanding of the world around them. Check out The Picture Book Month website to hear from picture book champions why they think picture books are important.

In a wonderful article at Brightly, Tom Burns tells us I will never stop reading picture books with my kid. Yesterday I gave my youngest granddaughter Nanette's Baguette. Even though she reads chapter books on her own, she still finds  picture books delightful.

On a lighter note, also from Brightly, 8 Brutal Truths of Raising a Book Loving Child, a tongue in cheek recitation of the pitfalls of having book loving kids. 



Sunday, November 6, 2016

Nanette's Baguette

Mo Willem's sabbatical year in Paris has yielded two books for children (so far): Diva and Flea (more about that in a later post) and Nanette's Baguette. For the first time Nanette's mother sends her to the bakery to get today's baguette. This is a big responsibility. On the way she she sees her friends, Georgette, Suzette and Bret (with his clarinet!). They meet  Mr. Barnett with his pet Antoinette. Do you see a pattern here? The author finds at least two dozen words that rhyme with Nanette to use in the story. Rhyming is a great way to quickly increase your child's reading vocabulary. Back to the story. Nanette finally heads to the bakery, she buys the baguette, it is warm and it smells so good and it is so big...KRACK! She takes a bite. Does any of the baguette make it home to Mom? Does Nanette come by her love of baguettes honestly?


Here is a short video of Mo Willems creating Nanette's three dimensional French village. It is hard to tell from the photo but the 3-D look of the cover is created by using a gloss finish on the window, very eye catching.

The Sonoma County Library has seventeen copies. This book was published on October 25th and has yet to be assigned an AR level.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How to Support Your Grandchild

Friday we are going to our youngest granddaughter's Grandparent's Day at her school. This will be the sixth Grandparent's day for us. The administration very conveniently schedules the Scholastic Book Fair at the same time. I thought of this when I read 7 Ways for Grandparents to Support Literacy from The Iowa Reading Research Center. Tip #4 is to help your grandchild build a home library. There will be plenty of library building happening on Friday! The first tip, telling stories to your grandchild(ren) about your own childhood, helps to build vocabulary and broaden their experience of the world. Other tips include reading to your grandchildren, taking them to the library and filling your home with reading material. Something I do not do enough of is write to my grandchildren. What kid doesn't like to get mail?


I was very lucky to have a grandmother who bought me books on any topic that interested me. She is the one who laid the foundation for my reading life. She not only bought me books but told me stories about her childhood, my grandfather's and my dad's. Even though she lived only 10 miles away, she still wrote me letters. I have tried to model myself after her.