Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mattie Washburn Students Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Yesterday, Windsor’s Mattie Washburn students and teachers celebrated the birth of Dr. Seuss by reading. It was part of the annual Read Across America Day.

read across america

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

March 2 is the 111th anniversary of the birth of Theodor Seuss Geisel. For 18 years the National Education Association has celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss  as Read Across America Day, with the purpose of motivating children and teens to read.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nana in the City

As a young child, I was much like the narrator of this story. A young boy goes to visit his Nana in the big city. He loves his Nana but not the noisy, busy and scary city. I grew up in suburbia. When I was six my grandmother moved to the city. Even though it was only a half hour bus ride away, it was a whole different world. Like our young protagonist, my grandmother introduced me to the wonders of the city.

Nana in the city

While our young hero was sleeping, his Nana knitted him a red cape to wear on their walk. It made him feel brave. This time though the city was busy and loud, it was not scary. Lauren Castillo wrote and illustrated Nana in the City. She was awarded a 2015 Caldecott Honor. The Sonoma County Library has several copies.

The Importance of Parents Reading Aloud to Big Kids

Most parents recognize the importance of reading to preschoolers and emerging readers, but when kids start to read on their own the read-a-louds stop. kids. Scholastic published a survey of kids 6-17 (Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report), 83% of those kids love(d) or like(d) to be read to at home. Only 17% of parents with kids aged 9-11 are still reading aloud at home. My son-in-law is part of that 17%. His experience reading nightly with his older kids is very similar to the benefits Melissa Taylor outlines in this article in Brightly.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Easy Readers That are Actually Easy

As the grandmother of four book-obsessed girls aged 4-5 1/2 (that 1/2 is VERY important to the two girls who are that age), I have been on the lookout for really easy readers. The youngest, who just turned four, has decided that she will learn to read this winter. I gave her some of the books mentioned in this blog post by Erica at the What Do We Do All Day blog. Kids like humor and get a great sense of accomplishment being able to read a book by themselves. The Five Finger Rule will be easy to obey with a few of the books because they have less than five words. Perfect for emerging readers!

I have used Ball by Mary Sullivan to teach reading with expression.


Up, Tall and High
by Ethan Long was awarded the Theodor Seuss Gisele Medal in 2013.


Our good friend, Mo Willems, appears a couple of times on this list, as well. One new book with very few words that is not on Erica’s list is the 2015 Theodor Seuss Gisele Medal winner, You Are (Not) Small, by Anna Kang illustrated by Christopher Weyant.

You Are Not Small

The author uses fewer than twenty different words to tell a funny story about size: it is all relative.

Monday, February 2, 2015

2014 Nerdy Awards for Middle Grade Fiction

Now that  The American Library Association’s Newbery Committee has announced  their choices for the Newbery Medal and Honors, let’s look at some other worthy books from 2014. The Nerdy Book Club’s list of outstanding books is longer and frequently more accessible. My favorite book from the list is A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.No surprises here as I love spunky southern girl heroines.

snickerI also love The Ghosts of Tupelo Hollow, a sequel to the 2013 Newbery Honor book, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, a mystery (with a ghost) that fits right into the spunky southern girl category. the-ghosts-of-tupelo-landing


The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm has a spunky heroine, but it takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ellie must deal with her grandfather who has found the fountain of youth. He is an old man in a 13 year old body. The story actually gets into the ethics of immortality.



A few days before Christmas a number of guests arrive at a  smuggler’s inn run by Milo’s adoptive parents in the Greenglass House by Kate Milford.  Each guest has a secret reason for being there and as each guest begins to tell their story, Milo and his new friend Meddy try to find the truth about Greenglass House and themselves. Meddy has a surprise for everyone (and let’s face it, me too) at the end.


Half A Chance by Cynthia Lord is about Lucy, her new home on a lake, the boy summering with his grandmother next door named  Nate, photography, kayaking and Nate’s Grandmother’s slowly fading memory. Like her Newbery Honor book Rules, there is no miracle cure or sentimentality, just a coming to grips with a reality.


Revolution by Deborah Wiles is a mix of historical fiction and news stories and pictures from Freedom Summer 1964 in Greenwood, Mississippi. Most of the fictional chapters are narrated by Sunny, an almost thirteen year old white girl and the rest are narrated by Ray, a fourteen year old African-American boy. They meet for the first time on June 21, 1964 at night in a “whites only” swimming pool. People are arriving in Greenwood from up north to help African-Americans register to vote. Real historical figures like Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Bob Moses are woven into this meticulously researched story. Segregation is not glossed over. It is a great book for a mature middle grader and a young adult or adult reader. As the people who lived that summer age and die off, this book will become even more important.


How to Outrun a Crocodile when Your Shoes Are Untied by Jess Keating is a humorous look at being in the seventh grade, living in a zoo, dealing with the Sneers and your best friend moves to New Zealand.



You can find more recommendations at    2014 Nerdy  Awards for Middle Grade Fiction.