Category Archives: children

The Lotterys Plus One

31146957

I loved Emma Donoghue’s book, Room. It also turned into a great movie, Brie Larson even won best actress. Donoghue did such a great job writing as a young child in Room that when I heard she was writing a juvenile novel it seemed like a great idea. I was on board.

Unfortunately, I just finished it and I think she tried to cram too many things into one book. I don’t like when novels put in a secondary LGBT character or a diverse character as if they’re trying to cross off some list of what their book needs in order to sell. It felt to me like this is what Donoghue was trying to do. She had : four gay parents, a child who was a girl but wanted to be called a boy (yet she used the girl pronoun throughout the whole book), a child who had shaken baby syndrome (?), a grandfather with dementia.. and the list goes on. I also thought some of the language was confusing. She made up her own words for this particular family. For example, one kid hears someone say excellent and thinks they said egg salad. So for the rest of the book egg salad is used in replacement for excellent. Or they have a spare room upstairs, but they call it spare oom. Why? There are a lot of characters as well. Toooo much. Too many. I didn’t care for it as a whole but was at least interested enough to finish.

Leave a comment

Filed under book review, children, fiction

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.

Leave a comment

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

Help! My kid hates reading!

These are four words I never want to utter. I don’t have kids and I don’t plan on it either but if I did I would never want to have a kid who hated reading. Can you imagine? A librarian who has a child who doesn’t like books? It’s probably inevitable now that I’ve said it out loud. If it ever does happen I will take comfort in this list of 10 tips for parents who have children who hate to read. Read the link for suggestions on how to implement beyond the tip.

  1. Establish a reading routine.
  2. Establish a library routine (yes, please!)
  3. Forget about progress.
  4. Withhold judgement. This one is so important!
  5. Try nonfiction.
  6. Set an example. Also, so important!
  7. Read aloud. Check out this other article about why reading aloud to older kids is so important.
  8. Read to discuss.
  9. Try audio books.
  10. Create a positive reading environment. My father-in-law has a dedicated reading room, and chair, in his house. It’s as if he physically can’t read anywhere other than there.

There are lots of other lists like this also.

10 steps to raising a lifelong reader

How to keep kids reading during the summer

8 ways to DIScourage reading! Don’t do these things!

Lastly, tips to foster great readers.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under adult, children, fun facts

Boss Baby Trailer

Don’t know how I missed this.

Leave a comment

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

Cybil Winners 2016

Here is a full list of the Cybil Winners of 2016! I was a judge last year and enjoyed it immensely. Here are some overlaps with other youth awards that have happened.

29358517

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz won for audiobook, it was also a Newbery Honor book this year.

23310669

Giant Squid by Candance Fleming won for elementary non-fiction, it was also a Sibert Honor this year.

28954126

Ghost by Jason Reynolds won for middle grade fiction (which was my category last year).

29056319

Sachiko by Caren Stelson won for middle grade non-fiction, it was also a Sibert Honor like Giant Squid.

29436571

March : book three by John Lewis won for young adult graphic novel. I won’t even try and tell you everything else it won this year, there are too many.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under audiobooks, award winners, children, current news, cybils, fiction, young adult

SLJ Battle of the Books

sljblog_bob2017_920x174

HelloooO! Battle of the Books contenders have arrived! These are the ones. I haven’t read ANY of them. What on Earth does that say about me?

ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit

FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie

FREEDOM OVER ME by Ashley Bryan

GHOST by Jason Reynolds – want to read!

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge – have checked out ONE MILLION TIMES

MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich

MARCH BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell – read book 1

THE PASSION OF DOLSSA by Julie Berry – have checked out HALF A MILLION TIMES

SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner and Gareth Hinds

SOME WRITER! by Melissa Sweet

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon

THUNDERBOY JR. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales

WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin – read book 1

WET CEMENT by Bob Raczka

Leave a comment

Filed under award winners, best lists, children, current news, fiction, fun facts, graphic novel, young adult

NPR Best Books 2016

npr

For the last few years, I can’t remember how many, NPR has done this virtual concierge of their best book suggestions for the year. I like it, but I’m a list person so some part of me misses the basic list. See for yourself and you can how you feel. Please note, there are way more in this concierge thing than on a regular best of 2016 list because of the algorithm they have to choose different topics. 309 books!

I looked at them all. Because, why not? I have read, 11 of them. To completion! I have tried to read, or almost finished as I like to call it in Goodreads, 13 of them. That’s 8% – rounding up. Haha. Let’s include one more layer. There are 24 of them I have checked out and brought to my house but never opened, or only read the first few pages. That puts me up to 15% so I feel a bit better. Anything above 10% and I’m golden. Who can really compete with NPR?

2 Comments

Filed under adult, best lists, children, fiction, fun facts, graphic novel, non-fiction, short stories, technology, young adult