Thursday, June 30, 2011

Survey of Dystopian Fiction

As identified in Scholastic's Trends in Children's Literature, dystopian novels for young people are all the rage at the moment. I wanted to introduce some quality titles within the genre that are worth checking out!
  • The City of Ember (The Books of Ember) by Jeanne DuPrau - Set in a post-apocalyptic underground city, this book, the first in the series, tells the story of two children, and how they find a way out. The cliff hanger ending will likely leave you chomping at the bit to read the next book.
  • The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series) by Suzanne Collins - The first book in this YA trilogy introduces us to Katniss Everdeen and the two young men who become her closest friends, helping each other to survive in the rough world of the Seam and in the brutal Hunger Games competition.
  • The Giver (Giver Trilogy) by Lois Lowry - Can a world with happy families and no real pain really be such a bad thing? In The Giver a young boy discovers all of the depth of life the people of his community are missing out on, as well as their freedom to make choices for themselves. This is a contemporary classic.
  • Matched (Matched Series) by Ally Condie - At 17 a young woman is matched to her best friend, literally, the boy next door, but when she discovers a mistake from the matching department a seed of doubt is sewn. Could she be happy with someone else? And what is she were free to choose?
If you like these, here are some other similar titles and series worth checking out: Ender's Game (The Ender Series) by Orson Scott Card, Life As We Knew It (Life As We Knew it Trilogy) by Susan Beth Pfeffer and Divergent (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth.

Here is a little sneak peak at the upcoming Hunger Games movie.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

National Get Outdoors Day

It is National Get Outdoors Day! I hope you will celebrate by getting outside with the kids in your life today. Reading and playing outside don't seem to go hand in hand, but an outdoor story sharing with some of these great titles might be just the ticket!

Here are some great resources for grown-ups who would like some inspiration to get outside.
If it's a crummy weather day in your neck of the woods, and getting outdoors just isn't going to happen, why not bring the outdoors in? Here are some fun outdoor activities to bring inside.
  • Plant herbs, flowers and/or beans in pots. If you have the time, it is also fun to paint and decorate the pots before planting.
  • Have a scavenger hunt. Hide clues all around the house for the kiddos to find leading to a prize like fresh baked cookies or homemade popsicles.
  • Go camping. Set up your family tent indoors or build one of your own out of sheets and furniture. You can put a "yule log" video on to have a fire, or just use an electric lantern. Make smores in the fireplace or microwave. Tell scary stories. Project constellations on the ceiling with a flashlight covered by construction paper with constellation patterns punched in it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

Flag Day kicks off the patriotic summer holiday celebrations, it commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes on June 14, 1777 (almost a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence), though it is not an official federal holiday. This can be a great holiday, along with the Fourth of July, for a fun and creative civics lesson. Here are some books to help get the wheels turning: