Category Archives: children

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

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I’m not super “in” when it comes to graphic novels. I do try, but there’s so many that are 50 book series’ that I get bogged down and only like the ones that are standalone. I recently read the first Lumberjanes and it was hilarious. Not super surprising since the author also wrote Nimona and I liked that as well (although my review says otherwise..)

Anyway, Real Friends was quick and stands by itself. It’s a memoir of Shannon Hale’s experience in fourth and fifth grade and what it was like to try and make friends. Real friends. Not those catty girls who don’t really want to play with you but let you sit with them at lunch or are only nice to you because their mom is friends with your mom. I cringed reading some of the things that were said or done to poor Shannon but in hindsight those things were probably also done to me. Growing up is hard y’all.

I liked that at the end Shannon made a decision that a book that was trying to send a positive message might not have made. Shannon told a girl she couldn’t be in her group of friends because she was mean and made her feel bad about herself. In any other book Shannon would go home and have a heart to heart with her mom about how you have to be nice to everyone and she should let the mean girl in her group. But Shannon didn’t talk to her mom and she didn’t go back and change her mind. Everything was not fine with that girl and they did not become life long friends. And I liked that. Because not everyone will be your friend and you don’t have to be friends with everyone, especially if they’re mean to you. That is a positive message too.

Now that I said the thing I like I’m quick going to say the thing I didn’t like. Here it is. Shannon Hale throws Jesus in there at the WEIRDEST times. It makes no sense. Yes, she mentions going to church. But all of a sudden Jesus is sitting with her in a bush as her only friend. It was unnecessary and awkward.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with pictures

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Filed under 2017, book review, children, graphic novel, non-fiction, Reading Challenge

Amina’s Voice

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Amina’s Voice has been reviewed on almost all of the blogs I read. Therefore, I had to read it. I’m glad I did. I liked this book a lot. It was very quick and realistic.

Amina is in middle school and feeling left out when her friend decides she wants to change her name. Her friend has a traditional Chinese name but now that she’s becoming an American citizen she wants to be more “American”. Amina starts to feel self conscious about her name and their friendship when a popular girl is brought in to their two-some. There is a portion at the end of the book surrounded by damage to Amina’s family mosque. I would’ve found this too current events centered had the author not built up the characters so well that it was weaved into the story without banging you over the head. I liked this book and will hand it out in the future.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a title that’s a character’s name

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Filed under 2017, book review, children, fiction, Reading Challenge

The Lotterys Plus One

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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Filed under adult, children, 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

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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

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