Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Growing up, I never considered myself a big reader. In fact, I read VERY little on my own, let alone in school. There were three books in Middle/High School that I remember reading- because of the sole fact that my sister told me to. I read- The Night by Elie Wiesel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and The Catcher in the Rye. I actually read the whole book and not just the back cover like I usually did for classroom assignments. Probably the strong narrative voice hooked me in and I was finally able to connect and see what the reading experience could be like. I am sure though that without the recommendation from my sister, I might never had picked up these powerful books and finished them. I always looked up to my sister and I wanted to be half of the reader and thinker that she was (and still is today). The right book and the right person giving me the book let me see what reading could be.
JD Salinger passed away today, but his books will live on.
Think about the books for you that helped you to understand what reading is or that got you "hooked" on reading. Then pass those on to the younger people in your life!
Look at your literary family. Get them talking to each other- you never know what will help unleash the wild world of reading to another!
Do you remember listening to, They Might Be Giants, 15 years ago? I do. When M and A called and told me they were taking me to a kids' rock concert I thought to myself- How cute! How funny? How will that go? I asked them who we were going to see. M, with a huge smile taking over her face shouted, "They Might Be Giants!!!" I had to see this. Apparently, TMBG have produced a grammy winning CD, Here Come the 1,2,3s. At the concert they sang the song, Alphabet of Nations (From Here Comes the ABCs. See a pattern?) M and A started singing along, jumping and dancing. This concert featured their new album, Here Comes Science. They sang Why Does The Sun Really Shine? and Solid, Liquid, Gas. As the audience sang with the Giants they were grooving not only to the music, but to the information they were learning. The concert was very hip! Parents dancing with their kids, kids on shoulders, babies dancing close the stage- and confetti dropped on us three times! Highly entertaining. The car ride home was full of enthusiasm, questions and music!
I decided to get my nephew the CD. I thought it would be great for the car and special treat for him. He is not the biggest fan of the car- the city baby that he is. I wanted to take him this past winter vacation to little events outside the city! So I thought, Let me get some educational entertainment and make the car ride fun and interactive! Each time we got in I played the CD. By the 4th car ride, he was requesting the music and the songs to play. We decided on our favorites and would play those first and then we even picked favorite parts of songs that we would play, LOUD (don't tell grandma). His favorite tracks, The Elements, Let's Take A Ride in An Electric Car, and Science is Real. Nothing is cuter than a 2 year saying- "We are mostly made of 4 elements." Really? "Yeh Ogeyen." Cute. Just cute.
Create conversations about the natural world, about space, about science. Get Here Comes Science by TMBG. You will be talking for days to explain, explore and figure it all out. You will probably learn a few new tidbits along the way!
Go to this blog for more ideas of music (night music) to get for your babies!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I have always wanted to do an episode about books for Oprah (I suppose now I have to dream of a new show) where I show and help parents build their child's libraries at home. One of the first things I would do is to seek out the number of places and space where their books could be shelved, housed and displayed for easy reading enjoyment: Books about food and cooking in the kitchen (Kitchen for Kids, Betty Crocker's Kids Cook, Omnivore's Dilemma For Kids), books about peeing and pooping, magazines, (Everybody Poops, Time To Pee, Ranger Rick, Ask, Muse) and other old favorites in the bathroom. Think about your own reading life. Do you have reading materials throughout your household? The beautiful art books near your piano, the stack of books about work near your desk, and the newspaper on your dining room table?
My god son came home from school with his assignment for the weekend: Read Little House on The Prairie and write a book report.
I won't comment on the assignment or book choice- that is for another posting. Read here if you want more.
What I want to talk about is his reaction- "I don't want to do my homework. I don't want to read." Too many statements like this and I get worried about the future of his reading life. Finding books that capture his attention and keep him engaged is not as easy a task as I thought.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I have been in many book clubs. Book clubs have always been a place for me to discover new authors and content, bond with friends, and push me as a reader. One afternoon as AB and I were browsing in a book shop we came across Wicked. AB said to me, "Oh, I really want to see that Broadway Show!" I told her that I did as well! I suggested to AB that we get two copies of it- one for her and one for me- and that we should read it, talk about it and then go see the show together. She was game! And so began our book club.
When M and A invited me to the beach last spring, I had to bring something. I didn't want to show up empty handed. For the the adults I brought wine. For the kids I brought books for us to read and share together. I brought the picture book- Listen to The Wind for M. Listen to the Wind is the story of how Greg Mortensen was rescued in the mountains of Pakistan and nursed to health. He returned to the village that saved him, to help build a school! M is the kind of person who loves books about saving the world and helping others. For her birthday this year she asked everyone to bring food rather than presents. She was then able to take all the food her friends and family collected to her local food bank. So, I knew that this book choice would grab her attention. I had read Three Cups of Tea first. How wonderful that there is a version for younger kids to read and talk about a topic and issue in the world together!
I did the same with Wangri Maathai. When she won the Peace Prize I decided I wanted to get to know her better as well as her lifelong work in Kenya. I read Through The Greenbelt Movement and Unbowed: A memoir. Planting the Trees of Kenya and Wangari's Trees of Peace are two beautiful books published for kids. What a great dialog that this can create about reading and the world!
For my god son's 8th birthday I gave him: From Akira to Zoltan. I wanted to introduce him to the world of biographies and people who have made a difference in the world! What a great way to continue building the idea of strong male role models! This set off an inquiry about people and history! He continued to look for other biographies- He got inspired to read a couple of biographies about Gandhi and Barack Obama! I followed along! I found for myself The Essential Guide to Gandhi. I also had read Obama's first autobiography Dreams From My Father, but still needed to read, The Audacity of Hope. So the two of us read biographies- side by side!
Create a book club with the kids in your life and find ways to connect your reading life to theirs! You will find that not only will you peak their interest in a topic- but they will inspire you to read more deeply as well!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I decided that I would conduct my first interview with Little Moon (2 years old) and her mom- Mama J. I asked them, "What are Little Moon's favorite books here that she likes to read?"
Mama J pulled out a few favorites that tended to be the books that Little Moon would pull and read on her own or ask Mama J or Papi read!
I Can Blink
People In My Family
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb
The Pokey Little Puppy
I looked at Mama J and I was like, "You still have these? Golden Books?" She told me that her mother saved all of her childhood books (and more) so that when she had a daughter, she could have the same things as she did when she was a child. Yes- it was like going back in time!
Finally Little Moon emerged with her own books in hand- A big and little copy of Backyard Circus! Mama J started laughing! "She really does read that all the time- mostly on her own!"
We were on our way out the door, to go to brunch, when Little Moon rushed to get her books. Little moon then proceeded to get into her car seat with book in hand. When her straps were on, she opened Backyard Circus and read it- numerous times until we arrived at our destination.
What is so beautiful is not that she loves Backyard Circus but that she has interests and that she wants to carry on her interests in the car as we go to brunch. Oh, Little Moon! What a reader you are!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Toddlers in my life are obsessed with vehicles: trains, trucks, and boats- oh my! One of the first books that my nephew fell in love with was a book by Kevin Lewis called, Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. A book with heavy rhythm and rhyme. I think my nephew knew the book by heart by the age of one. Guess what the next book was that I got my nephew? That's right, Tugga Tugga Tug Boat! A similar pattern- but with boats at a loading dock.
Kids have passions at all ages- even as early as one! Find their passion and follow them with books!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sade, so glad you are finally here!
One love, one heart
Let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One love)
So shall it be in the end (One heart)
Alright, "Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right."
"Let's get together and feel all right."
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Welcome to the world Baby Kate 1-12-10! All the way in China. Glad you are with us! I know that you are not in need of a book. (Grandmama took care of that! You have tubs filled with books!)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Dear Member of your own Literary Family,