I should title this post: Books I Am Forced to Buy But That’s OK Because It Will Be My Kids’ Summer Reading
I used these great sources to search for books that might win awards next year but also that I think my kids would like.
- My son, a rising 3rd grader like humor, math-y and science-y stories, and well written stores.
- PickyKidPix, a rising 6th grader likes Newbery quality realistic fiction. Extra points for special needs characters. She also prefers a strong girl character.
- Grasshopper and Sensei will be entering 8th grade. She like action adventure, realistic fiction and YA that revolves around teen relationships.
Fuse #8 Productions Predictions
Goodreads 2014 Newbery Predictions
Reading Learning Teaching
Goodreads 2014 Caldecott Predictions
Goodreads 2014 Printz Predictions
Newbery 2104 Predictions
The Center of Everything by Linda Urban
For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?
This seems to be a frontrunner for the 2014 Newbery and it sounds perfect for PickyKidPix. I love the cover too.
It all started with a few tweets:
Bonnie of @MrsStraitsClass mentioned that she read aloud to her kids every day.
I teach elementary actually but even if I didn’t, I’d still read aloud every day. I love using accents and fun voices. 🙂
Accents and fun voices?!! I had to know more! I begged her to record it and upload to YouTube. And here she is reading Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus by Mo Willems.
Sibling relationships, specifically big brother and little sister, are at the center of one of the funniest picture books on monsters that I’ve read in a while. As I think about siblings getting along (or not!), I only need to look to the bedroom doors of my three kids for an illustration of this dynamic in my house:
Grasshopper and Sensei, girl, age 13 … now that she’s a teen, she likes to keep her door locked.
We might be in the same shoes. My son just finished all the Rick Riordan books which kept us happily reading for the better part of the school year. But now we are adrift, desperately seeking more books like Percy Jackson. Riordan’s books are so exciting, we often stay up past my son’s bedtime for “just one more page.” We more of those type of books.
We also like the special powers conferred by lineage to gods. Deep down, my son and I both feel that we are Half Bloods and/or godlings just waiting to discover our latent powers. It hasn’t happened yet but we’re not discouraged.
Learning about ancient Mythology from any civilization is a welcome bonus. I like it because we feel smarter for knowing about gods and heroes and the learning is so pleasant that it doesn’t feel like work.
I think any age is the perfect age to read about mythology. I’ve gathered up our favorite Riordan-like Percy Jackson books as well as mythology picture books and easy chapter books. I also have a collection of Mythology Books for Kids on Pinterest.
Mythology Picture Books for Kids
Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas
Karas has carefully researched mythology on Zeus’ youth to create this wonderful picture book that stays true to its classic origins. Young kids will love the story and older kids will still get something out of it. It’s a picture book that manages to bridge a wide span of ages. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
I’ve been trying to read more children’s book lately to catch up on my pile so I’ve taken to carting around a small pile of books everywhere I go and reading a little here and a little there until the book draws me in such that I am forced to read to the end. Some books are like that. If they have that power for me, I’m hoping they will for your child too.
As the school year is nearing the close, things are heating up. Are they for you too? You might not be needing new chapter books for kids yet for summer reading but I hope some of these will work for you!
What are your kids reading and recommending? Please share! It doesn’t have to be a newly published book either!
If You Read One Book This Summer …
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
This is not a newly published book but it’s a perfect gem of a chapter book for spring. Told from the point of view of disparate neighbors in a rough part of town in Cleveland, a young Korean girl digs out a space in a rundown lot to plant lima bean seeds which starts of a chain of reaction towards positive change.
PickyKidPix did a school project on this book for 5th grade and recommended it to me. She wasn’t allowed to read two of the stories (one is about a pregnant teenager who hates her unborn baby and the other about a boy who wants to grow marijuana) so she had me check out the book at the library so she could read them.
This is a really beautiful multicultural chapter book that is also a fast read. The power of gardening is such that it creates a community that wasn’t there before. And this community ends up changing lives. Does life really work like this? I think it does. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
I’m thrilled to be joining Sun Scholars and 99 other bloggers for 100 Days of Play! Need play ideas? Please join us as we explore ideas for playful learning!
With nice weather finally arriving in New England, I’ve seen numerous lemonade stand ideas pop up in my neighborhood. It’s been fun to support the neighborhood kids and sample their wares. Some have been selling lemonade and brownies. Others have more traditional stands.
One thing that struck me is how much the pricing varies. I thought I would teach entrepreneurial finance for kids today for my 100 Days of Play contribution by looking at pricing your [successful] lemonade stand.
Pricing Lemonade for Your Stand Read more…
I visited some poets in 2nd grade (my son and his classmates) for a parent visiting day and thought they’d be perfect to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.
2nd Grade Poetry
The 2nd grade poems composed color poems using What is Black? by Mary O’Neill as their model. The poem was in my son’s notebook and all marked up. I guess he studied it carefully.
I wasn’t able to find What is Black? online but I did find Mary O’Neill’s What is Red?
What is Red? by Mary O’Neill
Red is sunset
Blazing and bright.
Red is feeling brave
With all your might.
Red is a sunburn
Spot on your nose.
Is a red, red, rose.
Red squiggles out
When you cut your hand.
Red is a brick
And the sound of a band.
Red is hotness
You get inside
When you’re embarassed
And want to hide.
Fire- flicker red–
And you’re angry
Red runs through your head.
Red is an Indian,
A Valentine heart.
The trimmings on
A circus cart.
Red is a lipstick
Red is a shout
Red is a signal
That says “WATCH OUT!”
Red is great big
Red is the giantest
Color of all.
Red is a show-off.
No doubt about it.
But can you imagine
Living without it? Read more…
Hindu Picture Book and Chapter Book for Kids
The great Hindu god Vishnu, greatest of all gods, promises to help bring peace to earth when evil demon kings try to kill all the good rulers of earth. He will be reborn on earth as a child named Krisha. Does this story sound vaguely familiar?! We notice a rebirth theme in World Religions!
The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna by Demi tells the story of Krishna, rescued from certain death to be raised by two cowherds. The evil demon king Kasma not deterred, sending demon after demon to destroy Krishna, to no avail. Krishna prevails in the end, destroying Kasma and wandering the earth teaching people how to live together in peace and joy. Demi, as usual, makes this story easy to read with her gorgeous colorful illustrations.
We are trying to learn more about World Religions through picture books at my house since we don’t attend church and I personally know very little about the Hindu religion. My only reference point to Krishna were the Hare Krishnas I’d seen at airports (pre-9/11 security) which always made me feel uneasy.
It was with great delight that action adventure Zoe and Zac and the Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard landed in my lap. Think Percy Jackson or Kane Chronicles Goes to India and you get the gist!
Like a Rick Riordan action adventure series, this chapter book for ages 9 and up has the requisite elements to draw kids in:
- special powers our heroes must discover within themselves
- a supernatural bad guy
- the fate of the world resting upon their success
- help from deities (that is where Krishna and other Hindu gods come into play)
- something that must be saved
- travel that traverses an entire country, in this case India
I definitely want more Zoe and Zac and wait expectantly for the next installment. Riordan takes us from Greek to Roman to Egyptian ancient gods. It’s just a small leap to travel to India next! Author Lars Guignard went to high school in the Indian Himalayas and he really gives a sense of place as Zoe and Zac traverse through India both in crowded chaos of cities and more tranquil wooded rural areas.
The lines blur between religion and mythology as they should — isn’t mythology just ancient religious beliefs? — and what remains is the probably the most exciting world religion/mythology home study unit ever! I’d use the Demi picture book after reading Zoe and Zac, just as a quick aside to explain the story of Kirshna who makes an appearance in the chapter book.
To view the books at Amazon, please click on image of book or click here to see at Barnes and Noble.
Teach Kids Chinese Through Songs
When my kids were younger, I found that Spanish Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo, entertained my kids while also teaching them Spanish. Songs were also an effective and pleasant way to expose my kids to foreign languages. As my kids got older — 2nd or 3rd grade — they rebelled and no longer would allow Plaza Sesamo DVDs in the car. They preferred silence. Ditto to foreign language CDs.
My point is that there is a window when kids are open to learning foreign languages. Both their brains and attitudes are receptive. As they grow older, not only do they not want to learn, but also making the sounds are more challenging.
I was excited to discover that Sesame Street is now in Chinese with a series geared for teaching kids Mandarin. For a CD of fun songs to accompany your Chinese language experience, try A Little Mandarin by NYC mom Toni Wang.
I’m not saying that this combination will have your kids conversing in Mandarin, but you are laying a foundation both for training their ear and for exposing them to the concept of non-word for word translation. Who knows? This might be the introduction that makes them actually want to learn Chinese when they are older. I’m still shocked that both of my girls are choosing to learn Mandarin as their mandatory foreign language in middle school!
How about you? Are your kids getting exposure to foreign languages? How do you manage this? Please share your tips!!! Read more…