Nere has never understood why she is more comfortable in the water swimming with the dolphins than on land hanging out with her classmates. Then she learns the truth - she is one of a group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of the “Neptune Project” are supposed to build a better future under the waves, safe from the wars that rock the surface world. But big challenges lie ahead, because to reach the safe haven of the new Neptune colony, Nere and the others must swim across hundreds of miles of dangerous ocean, evading sea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids…dead or alive. (Recommended Ages: 5th - 8th)
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)
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!
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.
- Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Graphic Design by James Bow
- Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Music by Rebecca Sjonger
- Maker Projecst for Kids Who Love Robotics by James Bow
- Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Fashion by Sarah Levete
- Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Animation by Sarah Levete
A torn piece of paper can turn into a crocodile's smile. A paint spill can be turned into an elephant. You can turn any oops into an unlimited number of beautiful possibilities. Imaginative fun for ages 3 and up.
The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken is a fun retelling of Star Wars: Episode IV. This audiobook includes movie-like sound effects and a spot-on impression of Harrison Ford's Han Solo. Make sure to check out its sequels: So You Want to Be a Jedi? and Beware the Power of the Dark Side!.
School Library Journal recommends this title for grades 5 and up.
Izzy Malone isn't your typical middle schooler. She's kind of a class outcast, the only girl in her school who isn't interested in clothes or boys. Instead, she desperately wants to be part of the after school rowing team. When her temper gets her into trouble, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whipple's Earn Your Charm School. She has to complete certain tasks in order to earn “charms” for her charm bracelet. Unfortunately, her good intentions go vastly awry. This contemporary realistic novel will leave you with a smile on your face and looking forward to the next book in the series. Recommended for grades 4-6.
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.
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!