Learning about our differences can be a powerful way for children to see from another person’s point of view. I encourage all parents to introduce some of these books or others like these to their children and use these stories as a reference when children bring up differences in school, particularly with special needs classmates. Because how great would it be if it were OUR child who can reach out like MacKenzie in The Friendship Puzzle?! The Friendship Puzzle and My Brother Charlie are a particularly powerful combination for anyone who has a sibling or classmate with autism and would be a great pair of books for any child starting kindergarten.
I keep hearing how Middle School is all about socialization and that is a complex world for girls. I was grateful for these books to cross my path — three are from publishers and one from my child’s book club — because they shine a light through this three year minefield. Some of these characters actually are in bands, but they all rock. Hard. In their own way. And isn’t that what we all want for our girls as they round this next corner?
Please welcome my Mom Friend and yoga teacher’s daughter Ajani who is a voracious reader, reading secretly in bed with a flashlight under the covers, way past her bedtime. She reviews four books that she borrowed from me this past summer and returns them to me along with her book reviews. Thanks Ajani!
My middle child, and her entire third grade class it seems, loved Roald Dahl. She worked her way through most of his books before moving on to new authors. There is something about quirky characters, children who are single parented or orphaned, and a seemingly impossible challenge that is central to a Dahl book. These books that those qualities plus that je ne sais qois of a select group of unusual children who, as fate would have it, must find a way to work together in order to do something monumentally important. It’s nice to see more books in the spirit of Roald Dahl!
The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. I really like how these books let kids walk in the shoes of another and I find the themes of “trying to fit in versus accepting themselves and their family members” to be universal for all children.
There is something special about each of these books beyond an award winning author/illustrator or just an enjoyable story. Some of the books bid us to stop and smell the roses; others make us ask ourselves what really IS important in life? As my career coach often tells me when I am complaining, “Is there another way to view this? Can you see this thing that you are complaining about as a gift?!” Please enjoy these ten small gifts of stories. These are gifts that keep on giving.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is the Phantom of the Opera for children’s literature.
I am planning a trip to Barcelona next year for two reasons: my kids have studies Spanish for YEARS so it’s time to take off the training wheels and my husband and kids are obsessed with Barcelona soccer. So forgive me if my post slants a little towards Barcelona. Of course, the irony: they speak Catalan there which is closer to Latin.
The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books to young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!