Posts tagged ‘picture books’

June 8, 2015

Got books? Launching into summer reading

by Angela Verges

Got books? The end of school is fast approaching and the kids may want to do anything, but read a book, so how will you hook their interest? For younger kids, maybe they need to know how to read a story.

The picture book, How to Read a Story, the process of becoming a reader is chronicled with step by step fun ideas. Some of the steps include: finding a cozy reading spot, finding a reading buddy, and talking like the characters in the book.

How to read a story

Title: How to Read a Story Author: Kate Messner Illustrator: Mark Siegel Genre: Picture book Ages: 4-8

Easy to read language and colorful illustrations will draw the reader into this book. Can you imagine your child talking in their best fierce dragon voice or scared robot voice? How to read a story can serve as a Segway for other summer reading. How about a book with a beach or carnival theme to prepare your child for summer adventures?

Caterina and the Best Beach Day was a book that set the tone for a fun time at the beach. You can join Caterina and Leo as they journey to the beach in hopes of seeing a whale. Although Caterina has doubts about seeing a whale, she prepares anyway by setting up camp at the beach.

Caterina and the Bes Beach Day

Title: Caterina and the Best Beach Day Author/Illustrator: Erin Eitter Kono Genre: Picture book Ages: 3-5

How will Caterina prepare for seeing a whale? First she applies sunscreen and then collects shells. You will have to read the book to see what other antics are a part of Cateriana and Leo’s beach experience. Caterina learns that a perfectly crafted plan sometimes changes.

After your child has her instructions for how to read a story, she can begin her summer reading with Caterina and Leo and their best beach day.

Do you have a list of books that will launch you into the summer reading season?

December 31, 2014

I’m Bored

By Angela Verges

Has your child ever spoken the dreadful words, I’m bored? It has happened at my house. No matter how often I respond to my boys by saying, “I can always find something for you to do,” they stick to their phrase. “I’m still bored.”
As a new year rolls in, I continue to encourage my boys to find ways to cure their boredom. One of my suggestions was, “find an interesting book to read.” My teens looked at each other, then at me and said, “We’ll find something to do.”
My teens are not as excited about picture books as I am. I let them select a book of their choice to read before venturing off into other activities to relieve their boredom. As for my selection of reading, there are several books that I found entertaining. They all relate to being bored.

Title: I'm Bored Author: Michael Ian Black Illustrator: Debbie Ridpath Ohi Genre: Picture book Ages: 3-8

Title: I’m Bored
Author: Michael Ian Black
Illustrator: Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Genre: Picture book
Ages: 3-8

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black was the first book to jump off the library shelf and into my hands. The text is simple and kid friendly. The main character doesn’t think there is anything boring about being a kid. However, she has a hard time explaining that to a potato. She demonstrates all the things kids do for fun, but the potato was still bored.
Through ninja kicks and cartwheels, the main character becomes exasperated trying to convince the potato to not be bored. If your child continues to sing a chorus of “I’m bored” after reading this book, pull out another book. Bored Bill by Liz Pichon may stimulate his creative juices.

Title: Bored Bill Author/Illustrator: Liz Pichon Genre: Picture book Ages: 4 &up

Title: Bored Bill
Author/Illustrator: Liz Pichon
Genre: Picture book
Ages: 4 &up

The main character in Bored Bill is a dog who is really bored, but his owner Mrs. Pickle, is never bored. Mrs. Pickle tries to convince Bill to try the things she loves like, reading, gardening and kung fu. Bill just grumbled and said he was bored.
Something happens when Bill and Mrs. Pickle go for a walk. A gust of wind sweeps them into the air and land Bill into space. You’ll have to read the book to discover what happens on Bill’s adventure.

Title: Bored! Bored! Bored! Author/Illustrator: Jill Newton Genre: Picture book Ages: 4-8

Title: Bored! Bored! Bored!
Author/Illustrator: Jill Newton
Genre: Picture book
Ages: 4-8

A final book in my collection of must reads is Bored! Bored! Bored! By Jill Newton. This book has brilliant colors and features sea animals. Claude is a shark who doesn’t want to do the things his friends are doing. When his friends don’t invite him to a party, Claude has to find the thing he loves to do that will get him back into his circle of friends.
When your child shouts, “I’m bored!” give him a symphony of books to stimulate his imagination.
Happy New Year and happy book reading!

October 4, 2014

Halloween Adventure

By Angela Verges

When my boys were younger, they were always ready for an adventure. It didn’t take much to stir a little excitement in them. They especially liked preparing for Halloween, which meant pumpkin picking, pumpkin carving, reading books about Halloween and of course trick or treating.

Before you head out pumpkin picking, start your adventure by reading a couple of Halloween related stories. If your toddler enjoys rhyming silly stories, she will enjoy Plumply, Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo and Valeria Petrone.

Title: Plumply, Dumply, Pumpkin Author: Mary Serfozo Illustrator: Valerie Petrone Genre: Picture Book Ages:3-6

Title: Plumply, Dumply, Pumpkin
Author: Mary Serfozo
Illustrator: Valerie Petrone
Genre: Picture Book
Ages:3-6

Peter the cat is heads to the pumpkin patch in search of a pumpkin that is not lumpy, bumpy or stumpy. Why does Peter want a pumpkin? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Peter the cat isn’t the only animal who appears in Halloween stories. Did you know that sheep trick or treat? In Nancy Shaw’s book Sheep Trick or Treat, that’s exactly what happens. The sheep prepare for trick or treating by making disguises. What disguise could they possibly wear?

Title: Sheep Trick or Treat Author: Nancy Shaw Illustrator: Margot Apple Genre: Picture Book Ages: 4-8

Title: Sheep Trick or Treat
Author: Nancy Shaw
Illustrator: Margot Apple
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 4-8

As you read either of the above mentioned books, your child is sure to discover an adventure in the making. Add to your adventure by creating a sheep craft and a marshmallow snack. Click here for details and directions.

What will your Halloween adventure consist of this year?

April 1, 2014

March into spring with National Poetry Month by Angela Verges

Spring is in the air (almost) and it’s National Poetry Month. What will you do to celebrate April as National Poetry Month?

Blog Photo

When my son was in the seventh grade his Language Arts teacher transformed their classroom into a poetry café. Parents were invited to the gala. As I entered the room I was immediately immersed in the atmosphere.

The classroom was illuminated with a small table lamp at the front of the room and faux candles on the tables. Thump thump… thump thump, was the sound of the bongos as one student read his poetry. At the end of each spoken word fingers snapped as a form of applause.

After visiting the makeshift poetry café, I realized how much fun poetry can be for all ages. Celebrate poetry month by creating your very own family café. Each family member can create an original poem or recite a favorite one. You can even act out a favorite poem.

If you’re searching for a poem to start you on your way, check out the picture book, Almost Late to School And More School Poems, by Carol Diggory Shields.

Title: Almost Late to School And More School Poems Author: Carol Diggory Shields Illustrator: Paul Meisel Genre: Picture Books

 

 

If you have a pet or have always wanted to have one take a look at few poems about pets. There are a variety of pet poems in the picture book, Who Swallowed Harold? And other poems about pets by Susan Pearson.

Title: Who Swallowed Harold? Author: Susan Pearson Illustrator: David Slonim Genre: Picture Book

Title: Who Swallowed Harold?
Author: Susan Pearson
Illustrator: David Slonim
Genre: Picture Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a part of your poetry café, your child may enjoy creating his own I Spy riddles as a form of poetry. Your riddles can even be published online. Learn to write I Spy riddles with Jean Marzollo by clicking here. If you’re looking for funny poems check out Giggle Poetry.

You have the entire month of April to discover your creativity with poetry. Hang an open sign on your door and welcome the family into your poetry café. Do you have a favorite poem or book about poetry?

October 24, 2013

When Monster Have Minds of Their Own

Kathy Higgs-Coultard, Director of Michiana Writers' Center

Kathy Higgs-Coultard, Director of Michiana Writers’ Center

By Kathy Higgs-Coulthard

With Halloween soon at hand, I’d like to take a moment to talk about monsters.

At one point or another all of us have two-stepped it from the light switch to the bed, yanked the covers over our heads, and hoped like heck the monster didn’t see us. Whether it’s the boogeyman or a subterranean troll, childhood fears are universal. In fact, one study found that as many as 74% of 4-6 year olds self-report being afraid of monsters and ghosts.

You might wonder how a four year old even knows what a ghost is—it’s not like his parents handed him a bowl of popcorn and said, “Come on, son, it’s family night—let’s watch Poltergeist.” Still, monsters are as integral to American culture as baseball. Test this theory: Lay out pictures of Frankenstein, Dracula, Godzilla, and The Hulk next to snapshots of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, and Willie Mays. All classics. Now see which ones your six year old can name. At my house the score was 3-0. (But don’t worry, Hannah’ll bat 1000 as soon as we introduce her to the Avengers next week.)

Monsters get a bad rap, but the truth is we need them. (We need baseball players, too—but that’s a different blog.) For years, psychologists have been looking at the role of monsters in children’s development. Monsters in movies and books place abstract fears like abandonment and powerlessness in physical form. Watching heroes triumph over monsters teaches us that we too can triumph over our fears.

But monsters are changing, my friends. It’s no longer easy to tell the difference between monsters and teddy bears—just look at Sully from Monsters Inc. He’s fluffy, for Pete’s sake. And what’s worse, monsters aren’t following the classic do-something-scary-and-then-be-defeated scenario. They’ve started thinking for themselves. Just take The Monster Who Ate My Peas. It has eyestalks and tentacles. It lurks in the kitchen just waiting for its chance to…eat our yucky vegetables? In the words of my eldest daughter, “Wait—what?” Katie’s 14, but she sat right down and read that book to see why the monster would want to help the boy. Turns out it wanted something else entirely. And Gabe—the monster that lives under Nathan’s bed in I Need My Monster—goes on vacation. I’d like to know where in his contract it says he gets vacation. Speaking of contracts…Zack should have read his before he paid the owner of The Monstore good money for a monster to scare his little sister.

No, these creatures are not the usual suspects. They have redefined what it means to be a monster and because of that, even adults won’t be able to put these books down.

monster who ate peas coverTitleThe Monster Who Ate My Peas
Author: Danny Schnitzlein
Illustrator: Matt Faulkner
Genre: picture book
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

monstore

Title: The Monstore
Author: Tara Lazar
Illustrator: James Burks
Genre: picture book
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

i need my monsterTitle: I Need My Monster
Author: Amanda Noll
Illustrator: Howard McWilliam
Genre: picture book
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

Okay this might be cheating, but in thinking about monsters and bedtime fears, I have to include a fantastic resource for parents. Child psychologist Margaret Jessop has written a great story about a little boy who overcomes his fear of the dark. It’s available FREE on her website along with suggestions for what parents can do to help banish bedtime fears.

Title: Nighty-night Knight
Author: Margaret Ann Jessop
Genre: Read-aloud story
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

http://margaretjessoppsyd.com/free-childrens-book-nighty-night-knight/

May 14, 2013

Your glove is on the wrong hand but that doesn’t matter when you are reading

 

 

 

 

 

Is there anything better than standing in the outfield? The sun on your back and a glove in your hand? If you are a baseball fan, you might not think so. But I think I recently found something slightly better. And that is standing in the outfield, the sun on your back, telling the five-year-old next to you that their glove is on the wrong hand and they should probably switch it over before the batter swings, even though the likelihood of the batter connecting with the ball–much less hitting it to the outfield, even though the outfield in this case is about 18 inches behind second base–are, frankly, low.

In honor of the upcoming t-ball season, of the promise of hours in the green grass and the sunshine gently suggesting to batters that they face the pitcher, not the catcher, and to fielders that they put the glove on the other hand, I’m re-posting some of my favorite baseball books for kids. Try reading them right before you grab the tee and head outside.

 

TitleHome Run!
Author: David Diehl
Genre: Board Book, Sports
Ages: 0 – 3

 

The David Diehl sports books were some of my son’s favorite early books. They were the first he learned to “read” by memorizing the words on each page and he was excited to turn the pages and shout out what he remembered. (This one already made the blog, so you can read more about it here if you like.)

 

TitleBaseball Saved Us
Author: Ken Mochizuki
Illustrator: Dom Lee
Genre: Picture Book, Sports
Ages: 2 – 10

 

I’ve blogged about this book already, but this is a great one for young kids and preschool kids and even elementary students. They will each get something a little different out of it. It’s a very versatile book: the youngest readers will hear a great baseball story and be introduced to some harder topics they will only really understand later. Older readers could use this to talk about more serious historical and ethical issues, especially in a teacher-led discussion. In fact, you could use this book in a middle school class and have the kids do their own picture book on an historical event. That would be interdisciplinary awesomeness! 🙂

 

TitleFantasy Baseball
Author: Alan Gratz
Genre: Fantasy, Sports
Ages: Upper Elementary and Middle School

 

I’ve never read this one! But I bought it recently and am excited to. Have you read it? Let me know what you think. He’s got other baseball books out there, including Samurai Shortstop, if you are interested in more.

 

 

TitleThe Art of Fielding
Author: Chad Harbach
Genre: The Great American Novel (I read recently that this is now a “genre” which I thought was both hysterical and accurate. This books certainly fits within that genre, Moby Dick references and all)
Ages: Adult

 

I loved this book. It’s a great read for anyone who likes literature and baseball. And if you had to pick only one of the two, I’d probably buy it for a literature-lover before a baseball-lover, although the whole book really does revolve around the sport.

 

Enjoy your summer, your baseball, and your books!

Betsy's_Day _at_the_Game-coverTitle: Betsy’s Day At The Game
Author: Greg Bancroft
Illustrator: Katherine Blackmore
Genre: Early Reader, Sports
Ages: 4 – 10

Betsy’s Day at the Game is the size of a picture book, but really an early reader, meant more for the adult to read to the child. It’s a text-heavy given the nature of teaching, but explains the game and score-keeping well. This is a book that brings it’s own family acitivity: simply read, head to the ballpark, and start keeping score! Don’t forget to include the family memories like Betsy does, and if you aren’t heading to a ballgame anytime soon, you could start your own memory book instead.

October 10, 2010

The painful death of picture books, according to the New York Times

(BIG DISCLAIMER ON THIS POST: One of the major quotes for this article in the NYT was taken way out of context and the parent has cleared this up on her blog, The Zen Leaf.  I try not to spread rumors when possible, but really, I didn’t think reposting a New York Times article would be akin to spreading rumors.  Sometimes I worry that journalism isn’t just dying because of the internet, but that journalists are giving up on it themselves.)

This is sad.  Really sad.  Kids should LOVE reading.  Or they are not going to read.  This should be obvious.  I find it interesting that so many adults think kids are going to act differently than themselves.  I mean, how many things do you do that you don’t really like?  It reminds me of a friend who once said she tried to start eating more healthy foods by buying tofu, until she realized that putting tofu in her refrigerator for a few weeks and then throwing it out when it was old was NOT a good way to get protein.  Similarly, buying chapter books for reluctant readers who want to read picture books is NOT a good way to get literate.  I mean, seriously, buy them some Captain Underpants.

New York Times article on disappearing picture books
(I think you need to register or log in to read, but it is free).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/us/08picture.html?_r=2&nl=books&emc=booksupdateemb5