Spring Has Sprung, and So Will Your Reader

Spring Has Sprung, and So Will Your Reader

We used to have two young trees in our backyard that were about the same size. However, one of the trees starts blooming and sprouting leaves much faster in the Spring than the other. One Spring, I looked at the one that wasn’t sprouting and asked my husband if we needed to cut it down because I thought it might be dead. He assured me it wasn’t dead and that I just needed to wait. Sure enough, a few weeks later the tree completely bloomed and was right on par with the other tree.

I share this analogy because it was right about the same time that I was concerned about my son becoming a reader. As much as I try not to compare my two kiddos, let’s be honest, I do. And while my daughter has been an eager reader very early on, my son has been more reluctant and it has stressed me out just a tad. I was concerned that he wasn’t going to be the reader my daughter was going to be, and that it would affect his academics, his future, *insert any of my many mom exaggerations here*.

However, much like that tree that I was considering chopping down, my child bloomed. He’s still not an avid reader like his sister, and I’ve (basically) come to terms with the fact that he probably won’t be. But, he can read books, does get excited about them and even has some favorites. And most importantly, I’m no longer worried that he’s going to be homeless on the corner because he’s not a reader.  I realized that he was just like the tree, and although he didn’t start as quickly, he is moving at his own pace and is doing just fine.

So, while you are #RaisingReaders and waiting for your flowers to bloom, be patient, it’ll happen when you aren’t even looking.

Look at Our Stack of Picture Books!

Look at Our Stack of Picture Books!

Here’s a stack of library books I recently got from our local public library:

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It had been a while since I got a stack of picture books this big, but I’m happy I did. I decided to share this picture with you for a few reasons:

Look at the variety of books in this stack–we’ve got an Elvis biography, an informational book about segregation and a number of “silly” books. I grabbed the book Don’t Touch My Hair solely because my daughter has curly hair that people want to touch, so I knew she could identify with it, and I was right. The book I’m Tough is part of a series of books that my son and I used to read years ago when he was younger, but we hadn’t read this one. He jumped up and down in excitement when I showed him that I had checked this one out. The options these days for picture books are endless, and you and your children should take full advantage.

My kids are 7 and 10 and are both mostly chapter book readers. However, they still enjoy a good picture book now and then, especially when they’re being read to. We had a great time giggling over these different stories, and it was a nice change of pace for them from the biographies and serious historical fiction they had been reading.

Picking out these books didn’t take very long. Our public library has a “New Books” section, and I got all of these titles from there, so it didn’t take me very long at all to pick them out. Even if your library doesn’t have that type of section, librarians often have books on display that you can pick from.

As you are #RaisingReaders, regardless of how old they are, don’t forget that there’s always time for a good picture book!

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye–a Book Review

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye–a Book Review

One of the many things I love about a good picture book is when I learn something new–whether its a person I hadn’t heard about or a time in history I knew little of, I love learning something new through the simplicity of a picture book. One of these more recent lovely occasions is through reading the book titled Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye.

This book is about a young girl named Dede who lives with her parents who are sharecroppers. They want to own their own land, but like many other African-Americans of that time, they are never able to get ahead. One day though, Dede notices a flyer that is looking for African-Americans to move to Kansas to develop and eventually own their own piece of land. Her family makes the decision to make that move, and during their first winter in Kansas, they meet the NiukaNska, or Children of the Middle Waters and develop a fellowship with them. In a few years’ time, the town of Nicodemus starts to develop, the family works hard and ends up owning their own place.

I love that this book takes place during the Reconstruction period, which is a time period I don’t feel is written about often. Additionally, although I myself live in the Midwest, I knew very little about Exodusters, who were African-Americans that migrated to the Midwest. Nicodemus, Kansas was an actual settlement that was created and inhabited by only African-Americans in the late 1800s–who knew? This book would be a great way to introduce kids to this period of time in our history. It’s straightforward, yet can still facilitate lots of discussion (especially through the details in the illustrations) about what was happening in our country during this time.

I would recommend this book for kids 3rd grade and up, in order for them to get a true understanding of what’s happening. Unless you’re from Nicodemus of course, then you and/or your child might have known all this history of course.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

 

Short Stories–When You Need a Bedtime Book in a Pinch

Short Stories–When You Need a Bedtime Book in a Pinch

As a parent who works in an elementary school, I have an added bonus in being able to bring books home regularly to read to my kids for our bedtime reads. Also, we go to our public library pretty regularly, so if I can remember to grab a book (or let’s be honest, books) I usually do. However, sometimes I forget to do either. The thing is, when I don’t have a book to grab right away at bedtime, sometimes I have the urge to send them to bed without a book, which is a routine I would NOT like to start.  So, when in a pinch, and I don’t feel like reading The Book With No Pictures for the 100th time, I have found that books full of short stories are the way to go. Here are a couple of my go-tos:

imgres  We have had this book for well over a year and a half, and we just finished it last week. I initially mentioned it in my blog here, when we had just started the book. I have the ebook version of the book, which is part of the reason we didn’t finish it sooner. We would forget about it because it wasn’t sitting on one of their bookshelves. Like I mentioned in the first post, this book has a pattern to it, and my kids could both recite parts of it each time I read it. They also loved that the stories were about them–it’s written as if they had an adventure that day and I am reminding them about their experiences. Like the title says, there’s a month’s worth of stories, so its a great quick grab for kids who like silly stories.

imgresThis is another one I’ve written about before. Titled 50 Wacky Things Animals Do, this one is great for kids who enjoy nonfiction material, animals, and just weird things in general. We would read about a couple of animals a night until we finished the book. This is definitely one they wanted me to read more of each night!

 

 

Lastly, this book has been our most recent bedtime read that is full of short stories. Now, 20190130_1550416267061602993784651.jpgI’ll be honest, I’ve had this one for years, it was on clearance when I bought it, and when I looked up images of it, it looks like a lot of the copies are being sold on ebay. So, while you may not be able to get this exact book, there are other books that are full of folktales, and they will serve the same purpose.  African Folktales, retold by A. Ceni, is a book full of tales that originated on the continent of Africa. I love stories with a lesson/moral, so these short stories can spark some discussion after we read them.

 

 

So in order to not get into a #RaisingReaders rut, and even if you don’t grab any of these specific titles, I recommend that you have some sort of book full of short stories on hand that you can grab in a pinch.

Raising Readers with Hamilton

Raising Readers with Hamilton

Because of my obsession with books, as well as my superior expressive reading ;), I do most of the bedtime reading with the kids. However, I do recognize when it makes more sense for their father to have that role, and we recently had one of those moments.

My kids are obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. Yes, they’re a tad bit late to the party, but they’ve arrived. And it’s arrived with a whole unexpected conversation about why they can’t use curse words, but I digress…

To coincide with their desire to play the soundtrack every day, I found a book that I thought they would enjoy–

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This book, written and illustrated by Don Brown, is all about the rivalry and eventual dual between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Now, I was all set and ready to read this to the kids, excited even, but then a light bulb went off–why not have their Dad read it to them? My husband is a high school Social Studies teacher, and a general history buff. It would make more sense for him to read it to them, especially if they have extra questions once the story begins, because there’s a big chance I won’t be able to answer them.  And guess what? I was right!

The kids were super excited about the book, my husband enjoyed reading something to him that he already had background knowledge about, and although I love reading to the kids, I had the night off!

So, in your #RaisingReaders quest, if you’re looking to involve another reader, think about what books the reader and the kids could enjoy. Also, if you have kids that enjoy Hamilton, this is a great book for them too!