Media for kids
Here are a couple of books to celebrate the season:
Sophie’s Squash written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Ann Wilsdorf (ages 3-8)
Young Sophie finds a beautiful, firm butternut squash at the Farmer’s market and names her Bernice. She’s just the right size and weight to be a doll, and with a smiley face drawn in permanent marker, she’s always a cheerful companion. Sophie and Bernice do everything together, but when Bernice starts to develop “freckles,” Sophie seeks advice on how to keep her friend well. Sophie puts Bernice’s needs first and is willing to separate from her for the winter. Thankfully, her patience and steadfastness pay off in the following seasons. This is a charming story about friendship and a welcome new addition to Fall storytimes.
Ouch By Ragnhild Scammell illustrated by Michael Terry (ages 2-5)
Little hedgehog has just finished building her winter nest and is getting ready to settle in when a shiny, red apple falls from above and lands squarely on her spines. Oh dear, it’s stuck, and she no longer fits into her nest. Squirrel offers to help, but…oh no…his acorns get stuck in the spines in the process. As more and more friends turn up to help, more and more items get stuck in hedgehog’s back. Each friend is adorably illustrated and they are all so eager to help, but it’s not until they meet a hungry goat that the collection on Hedgehogs back starts to dwindle. It’s a great story about friends, problem-solving and perseverance.
Curl up and read with your cub. It’s a great way to stay warm this season.
From the time Cubby and Bubby were old enough to ask “Why?” we have worked together to try and figure out life’s little mysteries. So mystery books were a natural progression for our family. From funny stories that have us rolling on the floor with laughter, to the more serious stories that really get us thinking, we are hooked. Here are some mystery resources your family might enjoy:
Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? by David Levinthal (Grades K-4) Officer Binky (a toad dressed in a suit and hat) is on the case when Humpty Dumpty has a tragic accident and falls from the top of a great wall. Or was it an accident? He was first on the scene when the dwarves called 911 for Snow White, and was quick to find out who broke into the Three Bears’ home. The evidence against the girl was overwhelming! He quickly got to the bottom of things when Hansel and Gretel claimed self-defense in the demise of the wicked witch, and when a giant fell to earth from high in the sky, it’s Officer Binky who solves the case. You’ll laugh out loud as, one by one, these cases are closed.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Grades 4 – 7) Sixth-grader Miranda Sinclair is content with her life in New York. She and her best friend, Sal, spend most of their time together, roaming the safe places in their neighborhood. But things change, seemingly all at once. Sal stops talking to her, her spare apartment key is stolen, and she starts receiving very strange notes. The sender seems to know all about her, even things that haven’t happened yet! And Miranda has the feeling that all this is somehow connected to the strange, laughing man who hangs out on the street corner.
MysteryNet.com’s “Kids Mysteries” Mysteries to solve, scary stories, magic tricks, and mystery stories written by kids.
After Bubby and Cubby are tucked safely into bed, double check the locks on your doors and then pull out one of these bone-chilling reads for the older cubs (or their parents).
Splendor and Glooms, Laura Amy Schlitz
This chilling tale is about a mad puppeteer whose sinister magic enables him to turn children into puppets. Two imaginative orphans, forced to be the puppeteer’s assistants, find themselves at the heart of this multi-layered, Victorian-era deliciously dark and creepy novel. A Newberry Honor Book.
Ten, Gretchen McNeil
What starts off as a fun weekend house party on a remote island in the San Juans for ten teens quickly turns murderously frightening in this classic thriller with modern twists. No cell reception, a raging storm and an ominous message left in the DVD player puts these teens at the center of a murderer’s plan with only their wits to help them escape off Henry Island alive.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Mathew Quick
Suicidal teen, Leonard Peacock, says goodbye to those closest to him by delivering gifts he’s picked out for each special person in his life. This bleak story, laden with quirky humor and masterful prose, takes us deep into the dark places of Leonard’s mind as we follow him through what Leonard insists will be his last day on earth. If you loved Thirteen Reasons Why, check out this title that is gaining lots of buzz.
It’s an odd fact: Most awards for “best” kids’ books are chosen by adults. Not so the Sasquatch Award and the Young Readers Choice Award. Kids themselves vote for their favorite from a ballot of books they’ve had a chance to read all school year. Voting takes place in the spring. (These are fun reads for anyone, whether they’ll have a chance to vote or not. )
The books are already two years old when they’re put on the ballot. They’ve developed a following. Here’s a sampling of the 2014 Sasquatch Reading Award ballot from the Washington Library Media Association. I’ll let enthusiastic young readers tell you about them. You can find the complete list of 2014 ballot titles in the library catalog here: Sasquatch
The Boy at The End of the World by Greg Van Eekhout,
“This is a really good book! Even better than his other book, called Kid Vs. Squid. I really really liked it. I recommend it for readers who like books that are funny in some parts but really it has a serious quest.” Gr. 4 – 6
The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier
“I like how it takes place in the past (1900s) and how the unexpected happens.”
“No less than 5 stars. I mean, yeah, there are a ton of mystery books. But you can’t get any more exciting than The Midnight Tunnel. “ Gr. 4 – 6
Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tom Greenwald
“It was one of the best books I ever read about real life. Charlie Joe will do anything to not read. He said reading is evil and it makes you fat.” Gr. 4 – 6
And the 2013 Sasquatch Award winner?
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.
“This is an amazing book! Sometimes I seem to forget that Melody can’t actually talk and how she actually looks, because I can see what’s in her mind, and I can understand sometimes how frustrated she is, because we all have those moments when people don’t understand our side of the story, but we’re lucky that we can even explain our side of the story as long as someone’s listening. I LOVED this book!”
Even cool cats like Splat and Pete get first day jitters. Luckily they’ve got these stories to help fellow newbies look forward to the big event.
Splat the Cat written and illustrated by RobScotton (for children ages 3-7)
Splat is a likable, relatable character bursting with energy and charm. He’s quite nervous about his first day, so he packs his best buddy, a mouse named, Seymour, into his lunch box and brings him along for company. It’s quite a shock for Splat to learn that cats chase mice! Luckily, Seymour proves to be a valuable guy to have around, and all goes so smoothly that Splat finishes his first day by looking forward to his second.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean (for children ages 4-6)
As in the first Pete the Cat book, Pete faces new experiences and setbacks with a positive attitude and a song. Although Pete seems to be starting elementary school in this book (he experiences new things such as the library, the bus, the cafeteria, etc), preschoolers will enjoy Pete’s straightforward story, his can-do spirit and his rockin’ song which can be downloaded for free from the publisher’s website http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/petethecat/ .
With school already underway, your new student will feel like an old pro when they read about the first day experiences of Splat and Pete.
Just like Rory, most teen and bear cubs love to use computers but how about adding in an element of fun and invention? There are lots of interesting products out now that help young and old alike learn about electronics, circuitry and still have fun.
Here’s one we hear great things about: MaKey MaKey
Imagine turning your computer into a piano and then use bananas to play it. Sounds wacky, but it really is a brilliant, simple invention kit that any age can use. MaKey MaKey is a circuit board that connects to your computer and then turns everyday objects into touchpads.
They call it an invention kit for the 21st century. We just call it a ton of fun. Learn more at http://www.makeymakey.com/
Our family took one last camping trip over the holiday weekend, and on the trip home Cubby and Bubby noticed that some of the trees had orange leaves on them already! Soon we will feel crispness in the air and will see all the colors that fall brings. Such a beautiful time of the year! Check out these great fall resources:
Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelley (Ages 3 and up) Have you ever thought about how hard it must be for trees to change their appearance every season? This story uses humorous rhymes to explain how a tree feels about each change. Winter is easy, but fall is the hardest season of all and not for the reasons you might think! This book is a great tool for introducing seasons to young children.
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (Ages 3 and up) Ehlert uses beautiful collage to illustrate the journey of a man made of fallen leaves. The wind picked him up and took him East, past marshes, fields, animals. When he blows out of sight, the author guesses where Leaf Man might have gone. Cubby, Bubby and I loved this book so much that we want to create some leaf collages of our own!
Spoonful.com Our family found some awesome fall crafts at http://spoonful.com/autumn/fall-crafts. My favorites are the Foliage Friends and the Personalized Nature Pals, but all of the projects look great. And there’s something for kids of all ages!
I can’t believe we’re getting ready to gear up for school already. The buzz in education is “Common Core, ” which among other things involves students in really thoughtful interactions with books — especially non-fiction — even in the earliest grades. It’s not going to be enough to say, “I think…” Students will need to cite their sources: “I think… because…”
When I was a cub I once had a daring teacher who encouraged us to write in our textbooks. Post-it notes are a less damaging way to accomplish the same thing – helping readers notice and remember the thoughts flying by as they read. This is a game you can play at home. Let kids write a note and stick it in their book wherever they find a “huh?” or “ah ha!” moment. And check out http://pinterest.com/reallyrachel/post-its/ for more classroom ideas that could be adapted to work in a fun way at home.
A few non-fiction titles to help warm up young brains for the school year:
OCEAN SUNLIGHT: How Tiny Plants Feed The Seas by Molly Bang (Gr 3 – 5). A reader commented in the library catalog: “Rhythmic prose, jaw-dropping facts, artwork that perfectly matches the overall feel of the book. I HAD NO CLUE PHYTOPLANKTON WERE SO AWESOME!”
A Black Hole Is Not A Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano (Gr 5-7). According to School Library Journal, “This introduction to black holes takes readers from simple to complex by dropping … information slowly and clearly into the lively narrative. Dramatic illustrations help to impart the sense of the vast distances in space…”
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95, by Phillip M. Hoose. In this 2013 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal honor book, a four-ounce shorebird is the subject of a fast-paced tale of endurance. From start to finish, Hoose inspires the reader with awe—and worry—for this tiny natural wonder.
We’ve been “digging into reading” for a couple of months now and the summer reading program is wrapping up at our libraries. All this digging has gotten us pretty dirty. Time to get clean!
Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Michael Allen Austen (ages 3-7)
Cowpoke Clyde settles down in his chair and props his feet up. He’s feelin’ mighty satisfied, ’cause his chores are done…oops he forgot the dawg. Aw shucks, scrubbin’ the mutt’ll jest take a second….Thus begins a rollicking tale of barnyard high jinks that lands just about all the farm friends in the tub. It rhymes, it’s silly and the pictures are full of energy, emotion and a wiley sense of humor!
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub and He Won’t Get Out written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood
This classic picture book tells the story of a King who refuses to get out of the tub. “Oh who knows what to do?” His wife, the Duke, the Knight, etc. all try to get the King out his bath, but he insists that they all join him IN the tub instead. He decides to conduct all of his business from battling, to fishing, to lunching, etc. in the bathtub. This is preschool humor at its finest. The children will be giggling uncontrollably at the details found in the illustrations: from the lilly pads and turtles in the fishing tub, to the giant feast full of delectable treats in the lunching tub, to the battleground featuring both Army and Navy.
Both of these stories are just good, clean FUN!
The Cool World Cooking series explores the basic aspects of different cooking styles and provides step-by-step recipes for ambitious young cooks to try out. The colorful layout is intended to capture the interest of upper elementary students and encourage them to try other cuisines while learning about other cultures and gaining some cooking skills at the same time. Illustrated guides to kitchen tools and basic techniques are included, along with photos of all the ingredients that will be used in the recipes. Mexican, African, Middle Eastern, French, Italian and more! Author Lisa Wagner has also written cookbooks with the same layout for teaching kids to make specific types of treats like pizza, sweets and treats.