Category Archives: 3+

Recent children’s books

Here are some newly released children’s books that I have loved. I suppose you could consider it a holiday guide.

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Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler is essentially a book about being bossy. One morning Jonah decides he wants to be King of the Playground. But Lennox does not agree. She’s going to be Queen. And back and forth it goes. I loved the pictures, cartoon 1950s looking.

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Stay : a girl, a dog, and a bucket list by Kate Klise. You may know the Klise’s from their Old Cemetery Road series. At first glance I thought this book was going to be about a dog that dies, which are books I do not read. But it’s not. And although the dog does not die it is about him getting older and it was still very emotional. Good as a conversation piece for pets you may have gotten as a couple before you became a family who are getting older as your real human kids are growing.

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Littles : and how they grow by Kelly DiPucchio. This book is adorable. I have a go-to book for baby showers (Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox) but this one might become my back up. It would also be good as a book to purchase for siblings who are getting a new brother or sister since it talks a lot about what babies do. Love the illustrations and the diversity.

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The Map of Good Memories by Fran Nuño. I remember reading this book and thinking it was wonderful and then I read even more about it and now think it’s amazing! This book is about Zoe who, due to war, flees the city she lived in her whole life for a new place. The night before her family leaves she illustrates a map with all of her favorite places so she can remember them. The thing that made this book amazing is that it’s made from stone paper. This means the pages use no trees, no water and no bleach. How can this be?! I have no idea, but it’s awesome. It also comes in Spanish and Arabic.

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The Story Orchestra : The Nutcracker by Jessica Courtney-Tickle. This is just the best. They had a lot of these books when I was a kid. You turn the page and push a button and an animal sound comes out or a vehicle sound. This book has the sounds of the Nutcracker. I love the Nutcracker. The Story Orchestra seems to be a series and so far there is one other, The Four Seasons. So if you like classical music these might be good gifts.

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Filed under 3+, book review, children, fiction, storytime

A Man Called Ove

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It would seem I have a problem with popular books. I avoid them. I avoided Homegoing and Underground Railroad and many others I’m sure. Why do I do that? Anyway, I kept avoiding this one not because it was popular but because everyone said it was sad. I don’t do sad for the point of sad. If a book is just there to make you cry it is not for me. If it has sad parts that’s a different thing.

I got A Man Called Ove on audio because it was there and I needed something. It was read by an actor, George Newbern. I know him as the fiancé/husband in Father of the Bride (the best movie ever) but apparently he reads audiobooks now. Anyway, Ove is hilarious. I mean seriously funny. He’s a cantankerous old man who’s wife died and now he’s lost. He gets new neighbors who insert themselves into his life and he doesn’t know what to do with them. Were there sad parts? Yes. But I wouldn’t say it is an all around sad book. It has more funny parts than sad. It was a happy summer read. I’m going to watch the movie tonight.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a cat on the cover

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Filed under 2017, 3+, audiobooks, book club, book review, fiction, movies, Reading Challenge, summer reading

Give them books – not Google

Original article published at Wired.com on March 8, 2017

When Your Kid Asks a Question, Hand Them a Book—Not a Phone

When my 5-year-old asks a question, is there a difference between looking it up in a book and just using my phone?

Recently, I watched David Kwong do some sleight of hand in a crowded theater lobby. Kwong is a magician who often consults on Hollywood films. (When a director needs, say, Jesse Eisenberg to learn a magic trick, they send him to Kwong.) Anyway, Kwong sauntered over to a guy with a deck of cards and asked him to pick one.

Honestly, I don’t know how to describe what happened next. For 30 minutes, Kwong made cards materialize in outrageous, stupefying ways, as though he were nonchalantly sliding them in and out of a parallel universe. Someone’s card flew out of the deck, spinning through the air. Another turned up in a guy’s back pocket—and not just in his back pocket, but buried deep, between his wallet and a bundle of crumpled receipts. Kwong asked someone to rip a card into four pieces, then hold them in his fist; when he opened his hand, the card was reassembled!

Maybe this doesn’t sound that impressive, written down. We all know card tricks are a thing. But the way Kwong kept relentlessly confronting us with the impossible—seeing this sorcery at close range—seemed to not just entertain people but to make them feel vulnerable and a little scared. People mewled and screamed, “No!” One poor man was reduced to crouching on the floor, laughing so euphorically he couldn’t catch his breath. (OK, that was me.) The guy with the ripped-up card in his fist refused to open it at first, shaking his head like a child terrified to look at his boo-boo, afraid of what he’d find. “He has total power over us,” one woman said quietly, gravely. She sounded creeped out. It was so much fun!

Now, I’m sure everyone in that crowd wondered how Kwong was doing it, but it’s a rare bird who goes home and actually labors to understand the mechanics of how such tricks are engineered. (Those rare birds become magicians—it’s how Kwong got his start.) Most of us perceive magic tricks to be unreplicable, to violate the reality we inhabit. They’re, you know, magic.

To a 5-year-old, phones are magic. The internet is magic. An older kid might be able to understand the technology and infrastructure involved, the nature of Wikipedia, and so on, but for a child so young, the answer just appears, miraculously, like a playing card yanked from a bystander’s back pocket. Leafing through a book together, by comparison, is a more collaborative, tactile, self-evident process. It’s a journey toward the answer, one that your child gets to go on.

What I’m talking about is the difference between learning and being told, between answering a specific question and getting a child excited about answering it on their own. It’s fun to amaze your 5-year-old, sure. But it’s more gratifying to set your kid up to one day amaze you.

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Filed under 3+, children, current news, day in the life, fun facts

Boss Baby Trailer

Don’t know how I missed this.

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Filed under 3+, children, current news, fiction, fun facts, movies

Beauty & the Beast

Oh my God you guys. I am SO excited.

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Filed under 3+, adult, movies, young adult

Take Me Seriously

Sometimes I think Children’s librarians aren’t taken seriously. Actually, most of the time they’re not taken seriously. I know this because I am one. In the same way, Children’s literature often isn’t taken seriously either. A few years ago there was a big ‘ol debate about how young adult books should not be read by adults. Remember that? If you don’t go back and read these posts.

YA Not for Adults? <- the beginning of it all, what an idiot

“Against YA” backlash” <- people agreeing with me that she’s a big idiot

Adults who Read YA and Young Adult is for Everyone

So! Along those same lines. Now that we’ve (hopefully) successfully spoke out against those who think YA shouldn’t be read by adults  we’re speaking out against those who don’t read or take Children’s literature seriously.

Check out this article and join the conversation.

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Filed under 3+, adult, children, current news

Literacy App Results

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If you’re like me, you are wary of giving children tablets. I see two year olds playing on phones and I cringe. If I were a mother I’d probably think differently and look at that two-year-old knowing their mother was getting 10 minutes of silence and say a hail Mary. After reading this study I can now feel slightly in between my cringe and Catholic tendency to praise God.

Let me sum it up for you. Researchers at MIT, Tufts University and Georgia State University have been giving tablet computers loaded with literacy apps to different groups of kids (all in economically disadvantaged communities) to see if it improves their reading readiness.

One group was in rural Ethiopia, one was in a suburban South African school, and one was in a rural U.S. school.

Results? In the African deployments, students who used the tablets fared much better on the tests than those who didn’t, and in the U.S. deployment, the students’ scores improved dramatically after four months of using the tablets. How dramatically, you ask? You’ll have to read the study. They’re better at explaining the results than I am.

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Filed under 3+, children, current news, technology