In “Each Kindness”, award winning author Jacqueline Woodson and amazing illustrator E.B. Lewis have made a wonderful book about how treating people with kindness can help everyone. Maya is a new student and different from her other classmates with her hand-me-down clothes and old- fashioned toys. Maya wants to make friends with Chloe and her gang of friends, but they reject her. Their teacher gives a lesson on simple kindness and Chloe realizes the opportunity for friendship that was missed, and how much better it would have been if she had been kind.
Scholastic has a new early chapter book series called Branches. These books are great for newly independent readers with high-interest content and illustrations on every page. Some books are formatted as early chapter books while some have more of a graphic-novel feel. There are thought bubbles, graphic panels, and funny pictures to keep your young reader engaged. The levels vary but are generally intended for readers in kindergarten through third grade. I love to recommend these to parents who are looking for a a begining chapter book for a child just ready to take a step away from early readers. To find specific levels and a list of all the series you can visit the Scholastic website at http://www.scholastic.com/branches/ or click on the links below to reserve a copy today!
Marshall's class has been reading about runaway gingerbread cookies for days, but he does not believe that they can really escape. The class bakes and decorates their own gingerbread people and then when they disappear, everyone follows the clues left by the escaped cookies. What happened to those gingerbread people? A fun romp for ages 4 and up.
Does your family argue over who gets to pick the music on long car trips? Do you need a cure for the “Are we there yet?” blues? Pack a good supply of family-friendly audiobooks for your next road trip. Audiobooks are entertaining as well as educational. Children will be exposed to a wide variety of literature and improve their listening skills. And, you can add to the experience by trying some of the following fun activities.
- In-Car Casting Calls: Try making up new voices for your favorite character. Act out a few scenes.
- Geography: If the book's setting is real, discuss how far away the location is, how you could travel to get there, what the weather would be like, etc. If the location is imaginary, have fun making up these details.
- Listen for Clues: Periodically stop the audiobook and have everyone guess what's going to happen next.
- Create the Sequel: When the book is finished, have everyone make up a different ending. Or, imagine what would happen in a sequel.
- Interview the Author: What would you ask the author about the book? What questions are left unanswered?
Listening to audiobooks and playing these games will make the car trip seem shorter and offer a terrific way to involve the whole family in a lively discussion.
Here are some favorite audiobooks for family listening.
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
read by the author
(3 hours 16 minutes)
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
performed by a full cast
(4 hours 57 minutes)
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
read by Lynn Redgrave
(13 hours 31 minutes)
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath
read by the author
(4 hours 30 minutes)
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
read by Jim Dale
(approx. 9 hours)
Do you like the 39 Clues books? If so, you might want to try a new series called Spirit Animals. Just like the 39 Clues, each book will have a different author and you can join in the adventure online.
In Spirit Animals: Book 1 Wild Born, four young heroes discover the special connection they each have with a wild animal and set out on a dangerous quest to save the world of Erdas.
Want to know more about it? Watch this video of Brandon Mull, the author of Book 1, or visit the Scholastic website and create your hero and summon a spirit animal of your own!
Spring is in the air and birds are building nests all over town. Learn all about the wide variety of nests you can find in Jennifer Ward's book, Mama Built a Little Nest. Identify which bird built the nest using the National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America. And birds aren't the only animals that build nests. Check out A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston to explore the incredible world of nests.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher is a sweet, year-in-the life tale of the four fletcher boys and their two dads, Dad and Papa. Sam, Jax, Eli, and Frog are looking forward to a new school year with sports, plays, a new school, and friends but not everything goes as planned. Then they meet their new neighbor who turns out to be cranky and not thrilled to live next door to a bunch of boys, but can the Fletchers win him over? This family is smart, funny, and loving and you will love getting to know them.
Ever wonder what the smelliest fruit on the planet might be? Do you know what country serves fried grasshoppers as a common snack? Did you know that the eye muscle is the strongest muscle in the body? You can find even more curiosities in books such as That's Awesome! The World's Most Amazing Facts & Records. Inquisitive minds (or reluctant readers) can satisfy their curious cravings for the strange, mysterious, outrageous, weird, freaky or just plain gross with some of these book suggestion from the Youth Department at UAPL.
- Awesome Animal Trivia by Lucy Rauker
- Big Book of Gross Stuff by Bart King (EBOOK)
- Ripley's Believe It or Not! Curioddities
- Ultimate Weird But True
- Weird US: A Freaky Field Trip Through the 50 States by Matthew Lake
- The World's Strangest Unexplained Mysteries by John Hawkins (EBOOK)
- Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (Gross Junior Edition) by David Borgenicht (EBOOK)
- Ye Olde Weird But True!: 300 Outrageous Facts From History by Cheryl Harnes
In “When It Snows” by Richard Collingridge, readers join a boy and his teddy bear on a magical adventure that only happens when it snows. A sweet story with beautiful illustrations, this is a must read for snow lovers of all ages–but especially those ages 3-6.
Living on the east side, my commute gives me plenty of time in the car to listen to music, the news, and, most enjoyably, audiobooks! I have found that I particularly like audiobooks that are read by the author. Below are some youth and young adult titles that are on my read or to-read lists:
Picture Books & Easy Readers:
- Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
- The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson
- Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner
Juvenile Chapter Books:
- Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
- The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer
- Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne