A trip to the zoo is such a joyous occasion, isn’t it? Our urban zoo in Boston is a little sad, so we typically go to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, about an hour away. It reminds me, on a smaller scale, of the great San Diego Zoo which is about 2 1/2 hours from where I grew up and is the zoo by which I measure all zoos against.
This zoo children’s book list — zoo picture book and chapter books — is inspired by the Newbery award winner, The One and Only Ivan. Is there a favorite zoo children’s book you’d like to add to the list? Please help me out and I’ll add it to the list. Thank you!
10. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
In a perfect world, zoo animals and zoo keepers would be best friends, just like zoo keeper Amos McGee. When he gets sick and misses a day at work, the animals come by to his house to check on him and help him get better. The artwork by Erin Stead, the author’s wife, is stunning. She uses carefully rendered pencil drawings with what I think is monotype prints. The results are visually arresting. [Caldecott picture book, ages 2 and up]
I wanted to do a boy version of the 20 Gentle Books for a Young Girl at the request of a reader. I tried not to duplicate books but there are many on the girls’ list of 20 Gentle Books that would also be great for boys.
In making this list, I tend towards more old fashioned books but gentle books for boys can also be modern. What are your favorite gentle chapter books for a young boy? Please share! Thank you!
20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy
10. Frindle by Andrew Clements
A delightful early chapter book that every boy in 3rd grade seems to love at my elementary school. Nicholas Allen invents the word “frindle” to replace the word “pen.” For him, it not really an act of rebellion, it’s more an outlet to explore the power of ideas. Frindle catches on much to the consternation of his Language Arts teacher, but is she really upset? [ages 7-10]
Multicultural Children’s Book Day
January 27, 2014
Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.
Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.
My mother is Buddhist and I grew up going to mostly weddings, funerals, and remembrance ceremonies at Buddhist temples in the Los Angeles area. Years later, when I attended UCLA for business school, I ended up in West Los Angeles’ Little Japantown a half block down the street from the Buddhist temple that my grandparents went to.
Most the Buddhist services that I attended were in Japanese which I did not speak so it was a blur of strange sounds and an occasional joke while I squirmed in my seat, bored. I’d nudge my mom for a translation but it was often too complicated to be whispered to me right then and there. So you might say that I got very little by way of Buddhist philosophy despite my mother having taught at her Buddhist temple before she had us.
My parents let me attend any place of worship I was inclined towards. I went to Mormon church class with my best friend in 2nd grade and Catholic masses with my friend Natalie in college. I went to Baptist church camp and took communion with best friend from Junior High.
But the local Presbyterian church was my favorite. I went to Sunday School there because of the neighbor kids but stayed because of the Old Testament comic books that were handed out after class. Those stories always ended on a cliffhanger!
Yet, as I get older, Buddhism resonates the most for me. The idea of karma just seems logical. The circle of life makes a lot of sense too. For my pick of The Picture Book of the Week, I chose one with a circle of life theme by Caldecott author Mordecai Gerstein. I hope you enjoy it.
What picture books that explore religious or philosophical questions do you read with your kids? Please share!
Circle of Life Picture Books for Kids
The Mountains of Tibet by Mordecai Gerstein, with a commentary by Sogyal Rinpoche
Gerstein says of The Mountains of Tibet, “I’ve come to believe that during the course of our lives, we can live many lives. … At one particularly momentous new beginning, I looked back at all the choices I’d made that had brought me to that point. That was when this book began.”
My son is just 9-years-old and in third grade and I’m trying to keep track of the books that he’s read as a third grader. This is his list so far, as of November 2013. I’ve included his rising 3rd grade summer reading as well.
During my parent teacher conference, his teacher told me that my son was reading well and had a good vocabulary. I had a confession for her. (This is a little embarrassing!.) Every night, my son insists on bedtime reading and it works like this: I read aloud to him while he plays on his DSi or a (non educational) video game on the iPad.
I do find this irritating, so periodically I ask him what a word means as I come across it in the story or ask him what has just happened in the chapter book. If he can’t give me a reasonable answer, I shut down his game. If he answers my question reasonably well, he keeps on playing. Perhaps this is giving him multi-tasking skills? I’m not sure. We do take turns reading though I do the bulk of the reading at home. He gets reading time at school and takes his book back and forth each day which helps us move through the book.
We’ve made our way through every word that Rick Riordan has ever written in this manner. Now, we are working through Harry Potter and after that, we’ll finish the last four books of the Half Magic series. I hope we will read some Roald Dahl this year as well.
Here’s my son’s book list with his reviews. He highly recommends all of these books!
Graphic Novels and Graphic Novel Hybrids for 3rd Grade Boys
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
I think it’s very funny and it’s a very good book because he kept failing at life and being a detective but he thought he was the greatest detective in the world.
I just got the lastest Red Knit Cap Girl picture book, a sequel with an environmental message and this inpired me to create this list. I had hoped the first one would win a Caldecott but alas no. It did win a New Times Best Illustrated Book award but here’s hoping that Red Knit Cap Girl To the Rescue gets a Caldecott nod this year!
What are your favorite chapter books, picture books, folk tales, graphic novels or non-fiction books about the moon? Please share!
5 Multicultral Moon Themed Books for Kids
5. Red Knit Cap Girl To the Rescue by Naoko Stoop
Red Knit Cap Girl is back and when she finds a young polar bear cup, she asks the moon how to get it home. She and White Bunny go on a charming adventure that speaks to our fragile eco-system. Stoop uses found materials to illustrate using both paint and collage work which supports the eco message in subtle and beautiful way. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
At first I thought that we didn’t have any veterans in our family but then at lunch today with my son, his friend and my husband, we all thought about it.
There’s my uncle Arthur Takahashi who served in the 442nd Infantry Regiment during WWII. As a Japanese American, he enlisted despite his family — including my mother — being forced to relocate from their home and losing most of their possessions as a result.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army was a regimental size fighting unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese descent who fought in World War II, despite the fact many of their families were subject to internment. The 442nd, beginning in 1944, fought primarily in Europe during World War II. The 442nd was a self-sufficient force, and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany.
The 442nd is considered to be the most decorated infantry regiment in the history of the United States Army. The 442nd was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations and twenty-one of its members were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II. The 442nd’s high distinction in the war and its record-setting decoration count earned it the nickname “Purple Heart Battalion.”
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team motto was, “Go for Broke“.
image from Battle Story
image from CaliSphere
Photographer: Mace, Charles E. — Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
I chose Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki in his honor. While my mother did not end up in an Internment Camp because she had relatives in a remote part of Utah, most of her neighbors in San Francisco’s Japantown did. Baseball Saved Us tells the story of a Japanese American boy and his family who build a baseball diamond in their internment camp.