Big Kids

Surviving the Family Road Trip

Laura's picture

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)

Great Books for Newly Independent Readers

Dana's picture

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!  

 

It's a Fact: You Can Be a Maker

Laura's picture

Being a Maker is all about using your creativity to explore the world around you.  Learning about new things and expressing yourself can be fun.  I’ve always liked playing board games and card games with my friends and family.  Now I can learn how to create a game of my own using the step-by-step instructions in the book, Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Games

Interested in more than just games?  Check out the other books in the “Be a Maker” series.

 

Juvenile Fiction Selection: Wolf Hollow

This WWII story traces the friendship between 11-year old Annabelle and her family and a local  WWI veteran named Toby.  Toby has lived in the town for many years and keeps to himself.  Life is mostly peaceful in the rural town in Pennsylvania where they live, until Betty Glengarry arrives.  Betty is mean and cruel and does everything she can to inflict pain on others. When Betty goes missing, Toby becomes the main suspect.  Annabelle knows that he is innocent and is determined to prove it.  This is a compelling story about prejudice and unjust persecution.  Recommended for grades 5-8

Spirit Animals!

Sue's picture

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!

 

It's a Fact: Spring is Nesting Time

Laura's picture

bird's nest

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. 

 

 

Your (Character) Votes Are In!

Dena's picture

Yesterday you voted on your favorite book and screen characters, and today the results are in:

  • Favorite picture book or early reader character: ELEPHANT and PIGGIE!
  • Favorite juvenile or young adult character: HARRY POTTER!
  • Favorite adult character: WONDER WOMAN!
  • Favorite screen hero: LUKE SKYWALKER!
  • Favorite screen villain: DARTH VADER!

Juvenile Fiction Selection: A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

In this new book by Cynthia Lord we meet Lily, a young girl who lives with her grandparents near the shore and blueberry barrens of Maine. Lily's summer is just starting and she is feeling a little lost since her and her best friend Hannah have started growing apart. While out walking, her blind dog Lucky slips from his leash and runs across the blueberry barrens and it is a girl named Salma who catches him, using her sandwich as bait. Immediately a friendship begins to bloom between Lily and Salma, the daughter of a migrant family living in town for the blueberry-picking season. Salma and Lily spend the summer painting bee houses in Lily's grandparents' store and are growing even closer when Hannah starts coming around again. Hannah is the reigning Blubbery Queen and sparks an interest in Salma to compete in the local annual pageant. Together the girls help to get Salma ready for the pageant and all learn a few things about friendship and belonging along the way. This is a wonderful summer read for realistic fiction fans!  (Grades 4-6 School Library Journal)

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