Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolve to Read, Talk, Sing, Write and Play This New Year!

No doubt one of the biggest responsibilities of parenthood (or for that matter nannyhood, grandparenthood or being a teacher) is making sure the children in our care receive a good education. One of the cornerstones of that education is literacy. Teaching a child to read can be intimidating, but it needn’t be. There are some very simple and easy things you can do at home now with your young children even before they get to school that will help lay the foundation for reading and educational success. It’s a simple as talking, singing, playing, writing and reading together.
  • TALK - Talking to our children lays the foundation of language and we don’t need to wait until they can talk back to do it. Verbalizing observations as your ride around in the car running errands is a great way to involve a baby or toddler.
  • SING - Singing helps us to hear our language in a different way, breaking up the sounds and elongating them to a tune, helps to develop phonological awareness. Songs can also make stories more memorable, like “Little Bunny Foo-Foo”, which cultivates narrative skills.
  • PLAY - Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) once said that “play is the real work of childhood”. Through playing children learn cause and effect, problem solving skills, and yes, language boosting skills that will help them with reading down the road.
  • WRITE - Getting our ideas down in written form is a huge part of human communication, be it hand-written or typed. Dots, lines and scribbles on paper become letters and images that represent stories. We learn through watching others, and from writing ourselves, that words are important and valuable in relating to others.
  • READ - This is perhaps the most obvious of the five practices, but it always bears repeating. Reading together not only supports all of the skills necessary to become a successful reader down the road, but it can also be a great way to bond with your child.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fall is in the Air

Fall is certainly in full swing now with harvest festivals, Halloween, Thanksgiving and pumpkin flavored, cinnamon scented everything everywhere! Here are some great fall book titles to share with the kiddos in your life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monster Mash

This week in my story times at work we are doing a Monsters theme for Halloween. Monsters are notoriously scary to younger kids (and even some older ones, for that matter), yet there are a lot of really great children's books featuring monsters! I made a real effort to choose monster books that encourage and empower kids, through teaching empathy and other tactics for de-scarifying (yes, that's a word now apparently) the things that go bump in the night.

My Favorite Monster Books

Make Your Own Monster

Sometimes just the act of creating the thing that can be scary is empowering in itself - but making a monster and then tearing it to bits can also be good for some kids - you can try either with this craft! In any case the coloring and peeling off the stickers encourage the development of manual fine motor skills necessary for writing down the road.

Materials: Multiple colors of construction paper, crayons, shape stickers, googly eyes

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week

Today is the start of Banned Books Week - one of my favorite annual literary holidays. The week celebrates the first amendment and the freedom to read without the judgments of others nor (especially) limitations from our government. So many people in the world do not have that freedom or have it only because they had to fight for it. We are very blessed to enjoy that freedom in our country each day and Banned Books Week reminds to both celebrate it and not to take that freedom for granted.

What "banned" book will you enjoy this week?

Here are some of my favorites . . .

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Bible
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Big Update!

Since my last post I finished my library school program and accepted a children's librarian position with a library district here in Colorado. I hope that this regular schedule and regular exposure to new children's titles will help give me plenty of foder for blog posts as well as the time to keep this blog updated at least once a week, and hopefully more.

Thanks, faithful readers, for bearing with me through these busy final months of grad school. I am so looking forward to applying all I've learned and experienced in these past few years to my new position!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kids' Stacks on Pinterest

If you are on Pinterest, be sure to check out and follow the pin boards for Kids Stacks! The boards feature book selections for popular genres and age groups, parent resources and tons of fun crafts for kids!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jan Berenstain Has Died

Jan Berenstain obituary: Co-creator of the Berenstain Bears empire dies at 88 - - "Jan Berenstain, who with her husband, Stan, made up one of the most successful husband-wife teams in children's literature, guiding an empire of books, videos and TV shows about the everyday problems of a family of bears, has died. She was 88.

Berenstain Bears books have offered parents and their young children guidance, comfort and old-fashioned humor about perennial issues such as fear of the dentist, dealing with bullies and resolving sibling rivalries since the first book was published 50 years ago."

As some of you may recall I highlighted the Berenstain Bears books, some of my own childhood favorites, in a blog post a while back. If you have never checked them out before, I heartily recommend them. Thank you, Jan for the memories and life lessons wrapped in the package of your charming books, may you rest in peace.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Page to Screen - Blockbuster Books

The Oscars will air this Sunday night, celebrating the best in film for the past year and two of the nominees for Best Picture are based on children's literature!

With the most nominations this year, with 11, is Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese, and based on the Caldecott Award winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick. The film's many nominations include:

  • Best Picture
  • Cinematography
  • Art Direction (Not surprising when you have Caldecott winning illustrations to pull your inspiration from!)
  • Costume Design
  • Directing
  • Original Score
  • Adapted Screenplay

The other Best Picture nominee based on a wonderful children's book is War Horse. The film is based on the stage play based on Michael Morpurgo's book War Horse. The film adaptation is also nominated for original score, cinematography and art direction.

Other literary nominees include Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Jane Eyre.

Though not up for any nominations this year, a film with good potential for best animated film nomination in next year's awards is The Lorax, based on the beloved book by Dr. Seuss which comes out next weekend. Check out the trailer below, along with The Hunger Games, which also comes out in March.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Site Update

It has been entirely too long since my last post, hasn't it? I must admit I have not posted since I started a new part-time paralibrarian job at an elementary school library. I am loving the school I am at. The kiddos I work with go from 4 to 11 years old and include children who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as highly gifted. The downside has been that while the position has introduced me to some great new books it has limited the amount of time I've had to blog about all those books I've been discovering along with all the fun crafts and ways to expand on those printed word gems!

Though I do have a whole board on Pinterest now that you can follow chock full of great ideas for kids from birth through high school (with a lot in the pre-school and elementary range). Check it out here "Kid Stuff"

I do plan to get back into updating this blog at least once a week as well. Starting this weekend with the Oscars and highlights from this year's book to film adaptations from the children's and YA lit world, so keep an eye out for that! Thanks for taking the time to visit!