Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A is for Zebra: A Happy Ending on Every Page by Mark Shulman

A is for Zebra: A Happy Ending on Every Page by Mark Shulman and illustrated by Tamara Petrosino is the newest addition to my collection of alphabet books. I collect alphabet books that I find delightful (I collect a lot of books for that very same reason).
What do you mean, A is for Zebra? How can that be? Take a look at the first three pages and see if you can figure it out.

The pictures are fun and this book will help your reader think - to really look at words and see why they fit or why they don't. Children's books are wonderful, with them you can find ways to teach any concept.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Comfort Reading: Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker

Lately in my circle of friends and family, there have been several deaths - only one of which was expected. I find that when life gets hard, I need books that are comforting, books that don't make me think too hard, books that are not sad or too deep.

I reached for the fifth book in the Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker. I knew that Clementine would delight me because she reminds me of my youngest daughter (who also delights me). I knew that I could finish the book in an hour or two. I knew that I would come away from the reading feeling a little better as I read about the love Clementine has for everyone and read about how good parents parent.

I was not disappointed. In Clementine's family; when they have something they need to discuss, they call a family meeting, and now that the family meeting sign is up, Clementine is worried sick that she's done something wrong because that is usually why family meetings are held. Instead, she is told that their family situation is going to change and she is uncertain if she likes the new changes.

I enjoy seeing Clementine conquer her fears and grow in each installment of this series. This is a perfect series for younger readers because it tackles issues that matter to them - things that adults may deem unimportant but to a child are pretty big deals.

This series would also make a great read-aloud.

Read to a child today, especially if that child needs some tender nurturing and comfort. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

NICU Delivery

We delivered 17 packets of books to the NICU last week. That means eighty-five more books are blessing the lives of our littlest new babies.

Michelle brought more books over because she is awesome like that, and one of our teacher friends is going to donate some of her Scholastic bookclub points for books for the babies.

One of the best gifts you can give your young child is a love of reading. Reading to your child builds your relationship as they snuggle on your lap and learn, laugh, and bond with you. Your child will be a better student and have a better attention span if you read to them.

Contact me if you'd like to donate books to the NICU babies.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ish by Peter H Reynolds

ish is a sweet book about Ramon who loves to draw. He draws all the time until one day his older brother laughs at Ramon's art. Ramon is heartsick and now feels he isn't a good artist. He keeps working on his art, but at the end of each attempt, he crumples his drawing and throws it across the room.

He tries for months to become a better artist, but he gives up and decides to quit drawing until an encounter with his little sister shows him an appreciation for his art that he didn't previously have.

I like this story because Peter Reynolds shows children with his art and words to not allow someone's unkind words to sink us. He also shows how kinds words build us and allow us to be our best selves.

If you have a budding artist in your life, they may love this sweet storybook.

Read to a child toady even if that child is you.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

LibriVox and our home remodel is getting me through more of my classic to-read pile. In listening to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, I was reminded of the television series House, with Gregory House as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. James Wilson as Dr. Watson.

Both House and Holmes are addicted to drugs and both are incredibly observant and smart, which shows they are functioning drug addicts, for now. Neither likes to take a case unless they find it interesting. Both are arrogant. I didn't think I'd enjoy Sherlock Holmes, but I found each case interesting just like watching each episode of House interests me.

Although this book is not the first in the series, I didn't have any trouble following along. Doyle paints his characters well, and the reader on LibriVox's version four, David Clarke, did an excellent job on the narration.

If you like reading things that make you think, you may enjoy this book.

Read to child today or allow LibriVox to read you a story.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Maus I and Maus II: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman

Maus I and Maus II have been on my reading list for a while, and I enjoyed reading both. I found Art Spiegelman's artistic true account of his father's life in Poland during WWII and his time in Auschwitz interesting, saddening, and realistic.

Realistic in the sense that Spiegelman doesn't make his dad out to be this perfect man who survived the Holocaust but a man complete with many flaws - and maybe more flawed because of his experiences.

Spiegelman depicts his father and all Jews as mice. The Germans as cats and the Poles as pigs. The Swedish are some kind of deer or elk, and the Americans are dogs. Often times the mice wear the mask of another nationality.

Spiegelman's series is a good one to share with teens who are interested in the Holocaust as they are graphic novels. They contain some language and adult situations. In Maus II, Spiegelman delves into his own mental health issues from being born to parents who survived the death camps and lost their first son in the Holocaust. These are quick reads, but pay attention to the pictures as much is depicted there.

Read to a child today, so that they might know why our world needs love and understanding.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Not a lot of reading of books is happening at my house lately, but I am listening to classics on LibriVox while I paint. This week, I listened to David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Dickens said this was his favorite work.

In David Copperfield we get to see Dickens' sense of humor shine - of course the story has heartache and death, but I found myself laughing out loud at times. I listened to Version 2, and the narrator, Tadhg, was excellent, so excellent that if I met him in person, I might fall in love with him just for his accent and voice. Okay, I may be a little bit in love with him now.. :)

This novel tells what life was like in Dickens' day. Life could be very hard if you didn't have money. Snobbery, even in our main character was real and different classes of people didn't mix well. Again as in Bleak House, Dickens is not didactic in this telling, he trusts his reader's intelligence and allows them to figure it out for themselves.

Dickens' characters are well rounded and come off the page. I love David's Aunt Betsy. Everyone needs an aunt like her - one who calls it like she see it - and isn't afraid to throw your sister's behavior in your face - even though said sister doesn't exist. I laughed almost every time she was in a scene.

Tommy Traddles is David's friend and from Dickens' description of him, I can see him with his hair sticking up and him sitting drawing skeletons.

Copperfield has a tender heart, which at times gets him into trouble. The villains are vile and the noble characters, while flawed, are likeable.

Read to a child today or allow LibriVox to read to the child in you.