I believe that all it takes to create a reader is the right book. Finding that tale is the trick. So how do you pick books that will hook reluctant readers? Each child is different, with very particular tastes. Nevertheless, here are some key elements that engage child readers, along with some suggested titles …
This novel is a thing of beauty; three parts: poetry, prose and letters to mami who remains in Puerto Rico. Short chapters, each a vignette or snippet of poetic prose or, actual poetry. Told from Maria’s perspective, we, the reader, watch Maria blossom in her barrio neighborhood of New York City to become a poet. I suspect this is Judith Ortiz Cofer’s own story as she, too, immigrated from San Juan and is now a creative writing professor.
Happy Birthday United States on this 4th of July! To celebrate with picture books, I hope you enjoy two picks with an Asian twist. Both families are immigrants from China. The children in each book , like all children of immigrants, straddle between two worlds trying to be “more-American-like-their-friends” while immersed in the culture and traditions from their home country. But what is lovely in both these books is an acceptance that there is no one correct way to celebrate being an American. This is a homage to the United States of America, the great melting pot nation. Happy Birthday!
In this novel by Joseph Bruchac, Jake Forrest leaves his reservation for a posh boarding school in Washington D.C. The two worlds could not be more different, and the only thing in common in the game of lacrosse. But at boarding school, lacrosse is played with a very different attitude than at home.
In my neighborhood, interfaith Jewish families are not unusual and yet there is a real scarcity of books on this topic. I searched online and then asked my local librarians when my original list wasn’t at my library to come up with this list. I hope you enjoy it as much I did. And I hope children of all faiths can read and discuss some of these books.