Any time is a good time for a “book walk,” but chilly temperatures make winter a great time for this indoor pre-reading activity. A book or picture walk takes place before you begin reading and is a chance for your child to look through the book and learn about its different parts: front cover, back cover, spine, title page, author and/or illustrator. Don’t forget to let kids hold and turn the pages of the book sometimes.
If the book is nonfiction, you can discuss items like indexes, tables of contents, glossaries and charts. This is also an opportunity to engage in a predictions conversation. What do you think the story is about? Can you tell what the main plot of the story will be? Who are the main characters of the story? Is there a certain emotion conveyed by the illustrations? The first time you try this, it might be helpful to model the activity by thinking aloud as you look through the pages, asking simple questions and answering some of them: Continue reading
On the cover of some classic titles in the juvenile section, in a subtitle or small print, you will sometimes find the words, “based on,” “adapted from,” “adapted by,” “retold by” or “from the story by.” These phrases indicate that you hold in your hand not the original book by an author but a re-written version, usually written at a lower reading level for a younger audience than that originally intended for the work. Usually true to some of the plot points, adaptations tend to strip away the original language the author used. The flavor of what makes the story a classic can become unintentionally lost. The challenge is to make sure that your reader is aware of the great differences between the original and the adaptation.
Over the years I have talked with older kids who think they have read many classics, but what they have really read are the adapted or condensed versions of these works. My fear as a librarian is that these kids will miss reading the original versions and gaining an understanding of what truly makes them classics. Why are we in a hurry? And how can we share classics in their intended form with young readers? Continue reading
There are many times in life when you are “between” things. Your pants are too short, and the next size up is too long. This can be frustrating. Well, reading is no different; at some point a child is between the simpler beginning-to-read titles and the full-length juvenile fiction. (Though no one is EVER too old for a picture book!) We don’t want children to lose momentum in their reading journey, but sometimes transition means a few physical steps back and forth between the Easy section and the Juvenile section to make sure the perfect book is found. Here are a few titles to get you started:
Want more suggestions? Check out the transitional book list in our catalog. Have suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments!
I am not one for “updated” takes on classics. So when I saw that Emma Thompson had written a book inspired by Peter Rabbit, my stomach did not feel well, and I felt in need of some parsley. “Oh goody,” I thought, “another movie star becomes a picture book author.” Happily, though some might consider revisiting Peter Rabbit to be old-fashioned, Emma knows that when a story or character represents universal truths, it can stand the test of time.
Children can relate to Peter’s boredom, naughtiness, anxiety, adventure, comfort and safety. Add some original art by British artist Eleanor Taylor (she filled some big boots), and, I am delighted to say that this book delivers. Eleanor has her own spin on Peter. He’s a tad softer, but there is no doubt who is wearing the blue coat.
In this deceptively simple story we experience the quest for adventure, an accidental trip to a “faraway” land, a giant rabbit (Finlay McBurney) and his clan, as well as a unique contest and circumstances all wrapped up in a radish that will have you gently chuckling. And trust me, every word was contemplated and said aloud before being committed to the page. So, I recommend, curling up with a cup of tea and enjoying this loving, humorous and adventurous tribute to over 100 years of a favorite rabbit.
View an excerpt of the book from National Public Radio’s interview with Emma Thompson.
Illustration credit: Beatrix Potter, 1866-1943. From The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Here’s an app, there’s an app, everywhere’s an app app! How can you keep up? Here are a few reviewing tools to help you choose the best apps for you and your young child to explore together.
- Digital Storytime: Rates and reviews picture book apps for iPad
- Touch and Go: A guide to the best apps for kids and teens from School Library Journal
- A Matter of APP: A children’s educational app review blog
- Kirkus Reviews: Picks the best book apps for kids in a variety of categories
- apps4Stages: Makes suggestions based on a child’s stage of development
Keep in mind, screen time of any kind is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children under 2 years of age, and the organization recommends no more than one to two hours of total screen time per day for children older than 2.