Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patrick

St. Patrick's Day has become an holiday combining Irish pride celebration with a bacchanalia, but it is originally a saints day, celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick.

Tomie dePaola, this year's ALSC Wilder Award Winner, has an excellent book called Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland which gives a biography of Patrick's life and work, as well as short versions of many of the famous myths and legends that surround him.

Here are some other St. Patrick's Day/Irish themed books that you might enjoy:

St. Patrick's Day Alphabet by Beverly Vidrine
Finn MacCoul and His Fearless Wife illustrated by Robert Byrd
Irish Legends for the Very Young by Niamh Sharkey

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fractured Fairy Tales

Fractured fairy tales are a super fun genre of books that are twists on the classics many of us learn during childhood. These books can be fun to share with pre-schoolers and elementary students, but can even be fun to introduce a folklore unit in secondary level classrooms. Comparing and contrasting these tongue-in-cheek fairy tales to the more traditional tales can also be a great exercise in narrative skills and is great for cognitive development!

Here are some of my favorite fractured fairy tale books, check them out!

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
This book is a Caldecott Honoree for its excellent illustrations. The print is actively part of the story and illustrations, and the stories are hilarious for both kids and adults, including bizarre and funny re-fashionings of tales like Chicken Licken and The Ugly Duckling.

The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka 
Picking up where the story of the frog prince left off, this story shows what happens after the "happily ever after."

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka
Told from the perspective of "the big bad wolf," he argues that he was involved in a great misunderstanding and was really just suffering from an especially bad head cold, complete with huffing, puffing sneezes.

Don't Kiss the Frog: Princess Stories with Attitude chosen by Fiona Waters
A great collection of funny princess stories like "The Clumsy Princess" and "Sleepy Beauty".

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Read Across America Day!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today is Read Across America Day, celebrated annually on Thedor Seuss Geisel's birthday, March 2.

Check out the official website at National Education Association. There are some great links there and information about reading, including several articles from Parenting Magazine, such as "12 reading activities to encourage early literacy skills in your kid" which provides some great tips for helping your young children learn to read and get off on the right foot in their education.

Welcoming a New Baby

For many children, welcoming a new baby, a younger sibling, is something they are likely to experience during their childhood. Half-siblings, adopted siblings and foster siblings are all big changes in a family. Here are some books to read that might help the kiddos in your life have their questions answered, and provide a conversational opportunity for parents and children to talk about what it will mean to welcome a new member to the family!

Waiting for Baby
illustrated by Rachel Fuller
Questions within the text are designed to open up dialogue between parents and the new big brother or sister. The board book format and simple text makes the book especially friendly for toddlers.

Other titles in this series:
My New Baby
Look at Me!
You and Me

Favorite Characters Welcome New Babies
Some of kids' favorite characters have also welcomed new brothers and sisters, here are some great titles from popular series.

Arthur's Baby by Marc Brown
Julius: The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
The Berenstain Bears' New Baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Where Babies Come From
Non-fiction books are also great to share with your kids. Mommy's pregnancy is likely to bring up questions about where babies come from, so this is a great chance to explain the science behind it and begin a healthy family dialogue about human sexuality. Here are some great non-fiction titles that are developmentally appropriate for 3-6 year olds.

Who am I? Where Did I Come From? by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer (best for 5+)
How Are Babies Made? by Alastair Smith
Where Do Babies Come From? by Angela Royston for DK
First Comes Love by Jennifer Davis (best for 4+)