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1. A Few Recent Baby Bookworm Literacy Moments

My Baby Bookworm is not such a baby anymore. She turned four this weekend (with much celebration, and many cupcakes). So far, our efforts to ensure that she loves books seem to be paying off. Here are a few recent tidbits. 

We were very nearly late for her birthday party (which we held out at her gymnastics place), because she wanted me to read her "just one more" Little Critter book. We incidentally let each child select a book as a party favor. The Fancy Nancy books were the most popular.

She had to stop in the middle of opening presents to ask Daddy to read her the newly unwrapped Mo Willems book (The Pigeon Needs a Bath). Yes, I did get that on video. When things do not go her way, she says: "Hmmpf." She does not seem to realize that she picked this up from the Pigeon. But we do. 

She has started using words like "mischievous" when describing the behavior of her dolls . She doesn't always use big words correctly, but she is clearly trying. 

As for me, I find it rewarding (if occasionally inconvenient) that she requests to have books read aloud at all hours of the day. We've also learned that when she becomes particularly insistent about us reading to her around dinnertime, it means that she is extra-tired. She wants to get her books in before she falls asleep. Because that's what bookworms, whether babies or not, do. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate.

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2. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 25

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this relatively brief issue I have four book reviews (board book through young adult) and two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. I had a particularly hectic couple of weeks at work, and wasn't able to post as much as I might have liked. But I have some Baby Bookworm tidbits at the end of this post. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read one early reader, one middle grade book, and two adult titles:

  • Noah Z. Jones: Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe #1: Moldylocks and the Three Beards. Scholastic. Early Reader. Completed March 17, 2014 (and read it many more times to my daughter, who adores this book). Review to come. 
  • Megan Frazer Blakemore: The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill. Bloomsbury. Middle Grade. Completed March 18, 2014 (ARC). Review to come. 
  • Maeve Binchy: A Week in Winter. Knopf. Adult Fiction. Completed March 19, 2014, on MP3. Simply delightful. 
  • Brigid Schulte: Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. Sarah Crichton Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 23, 2014, on Kindle. I enjoyed parts of this book, and found a few useful take-aways. But I also found parts of it repetitive. There was a bit more about what the author thinks that the government and corporate America should be doing about the issue of overwhlemed parents than I was personally interested in. I was more looking for strategies for myself. But it was worth the time overall. 

I must admit that I stopped reading Insignia by S. J. Kincaid about halfway through. I had been enjoying it, but then I couldn't get on board with a major plot development, and found that I didn't want to finish. Fortunately it was a library book, rather than one that I had purchased. Right now I'm reading Dangerous by Shannon Hale on my Kindle and Eddie Red Undercover by Marcia Wells by in print. Not having quite gotten over my Maeve Binchy phase yet, I'm listening to her Whitethorn Woods

I've been reading on my Kindle while I ride my exercise boke, and listening to audiobooks while I go for walks, which means that most of the books I'm reading now are either digital or audiobooks. I'm so tired by the time I get to my bedtime reading that I haven't been making very good process with my print books, and they are stacking up a bit. I need a 48-hour book challenge, I guess. 

Baby Bookworm has started talking about how much she LOVES books, because we read her so many of them, and that's what she is used to. Not sure if she is trying to butter me up ahead of her upcoming fourth birthday, but it's nice to hear in any case. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year. She is currently obsessed with the first book in a new series by Noah Z. Jones about Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe: Moldylocks and the Three Beards. She also loves A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding and Alison Jay, a much more traditional tale.

At the library, she's still picking out TV tie-in books like Olivia, Arthur, and Charlie and Lola, though she doesn't actually watch the associated television shows. She can spot a Max and Ruby book by Rosemary Wells from across the room, and always brings home at least one of those, too. Any Fancy Nancy book that she hasn't already read is a surefire pick, too. We sat for over an hour in the library on Saturday, just reading whatever she picked up off of the shelves. Then we brought those books all home (and more). 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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3. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: February 25

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (middle grade through middle school), as well as a post documenting some of my daughter's emerging literacy skills, and a tip for growing bookworms related to not bookshaming your child. I have one post with links that I shared on Twitter recently. 

Reading Update: I've been having a rough combination of computer troubles and pressing work deadlines (isn't that always the way?) over the past week so, so my reading has been a bit lacking, Still, in the last two weeks I read:

  • Kevin Henkes: The Year of Billy Miller. Greenwillow Books. Early Middle Grade. Completed February 14, 2014. Review to come.
  • Shannon Messenger: Exile: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 2. Aladdin. Middle Grade. Completed February 16, 2014, on Kindle. My review
  • Jonathan Stroud: Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase. Disney/Hyperion. Middle Grade. Completed February 24, 2014, on MP3. I'm not planning to review this because it has already received so much acclaim (including winning a recent Cybils award), but I did enjoy it. I look forward to the next book. 
  • Sue Grafton: R is for Ricochet. Berkley. Adult Mystery. Completed February 21, 2014, on Kindle. After reading two of these Sue Grafton books in the past few weeks, I am ready for a break, but I imagine that I'll return before too long to finish catching up on this series. The nice thing is that these are very popular, and hence are available on Kindle from my local library. 

I'm currently reading Mark Frost's Alliance (sequel to The Paladin Prophecy) in print and reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan on Kindle. I just started listening to A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy's final book (so sad). 

We're also still reading to Baby Bookworm these days, of course. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year on my blog. She still surprises me in her reactions sometimes. Last night we read Buglette: The Messy Sleeper by Bethanie Murguia fo the first time in a long time. And it was too scary for her (there's a crow that threatens the bugs in the story). We had to immediately turn to some Little Critter and Fancy Nancy to chase the chills away, so that she wouldn't have nightmares. I'm considering giving the Winnie the Pooh stories a try soon, though. Definitely not scary!

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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4. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: February 12

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (picture book through middle school), as well as thoughts on some recent Valentine's Day-themed picture books. I also have a post about my daughter's latest literacy milestone (reading a book aloud with me). I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently, both chock full of book lists and growing bookworms links. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read 5 middle grade books and 1 adult title. I read:

I'm currently reading Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 2) by Shannon Messenger on my Kindle and The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes in print. I'm listening to Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. Reading on my Kindle while I exercise has helped me to increase my reading time lately, as has extra audiobook time in the car. 

We're also reading a ton of books to Baby Bookworm these days. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year on my blog. I have a post due up tomorrow with some recent highlights from her reading journey. Her latest set of library books included many of the usual suspects: The Berenstain Bears, Splat the Cat, Arthur, Carl (from Good Dog, Carl), Little Critter, Max and Ruby, and Elephant & Piggie. But she picked out a few new picture books, too. 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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5. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 30

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1766 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every two weeks. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (all picture books). I also have posts about improving literacy for babies by using a rear-facing stroller, a literacy milestone for Baby Bookworm, and how reading to kids build background knowledge. I also have two posts with literacy-themed links that I shared on Twitter recently. Finally, I have a post about my session at the upcoming Kidlitosphere Conference in Austin, TX. 

The only recent post not included in the newsletter this time around is one about WordGirl's Word of the Month for October (Supernatural), with a few spooky book suggestions. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read one middle grade and two young adult fiction titles. I read:

  • Catherine Gilbert Murdock: Heaven is Paved with Oreos. HMH Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade / Middle School. Completed October 30, 2013. Review to come.
  • Christopher E. Long: Hero Worship. Flux. Young Adult Fiction. Completed October 17, 2013. Review to come, closer to the January publication date. 
  • D. J. MacHale: Sylo (The Sylo Chronicles, Book 1). Razorbill. Young Adult Fiction. Completed October 25, 2013. This was a fun page-turner, the start to a new series by the author of the Pendragon books. I couldn't resist the premise, in which a small island off the coast of Maine is invaded by an elite military unit, and cut off from the rest of the world (for murky reasons). But I think I'll wait and review after the next book comes out, as this was mainly a recreational read for me. 

I'm still listening to The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. I haven't decided what to read next. Baby Bookworm has been dabbling in listening to early chapter books. The other night we had a tiny literacy milestone when instead of asking for "just one more book", she begged for "just one more chapter." But we are still taking the chapter books in very small doses, and mostly reading picture books and early readers. We're currently reading Busybody Nora from Johanna Hurwitz's Riverside Kids series (most of which are sadly out of print). This early chapter book series was a recommendation from Anamaria Anderson, and is a great fit for us. 

You all may appreciate the fact that Baby Bookworm asked to be Pink-A-Girl for Halloween. Pink-A-Girl is Pinkalicious' superhero Halloween costume in Pinkalicious: Pink or Treat. It was a pretty easy costume for us. We purchased a pink cape and a tiara, and she wears these with pink clothing (we've had several dress-up occasions already). Very few people are familiar with Pink-A-Girl, but Baby Bookworm, at 3 1/2, is completely indifferent to this. It pleases her to be like Pinkalicious. And that pleases me.

Are any of your kids dressing up as book-related Halloween characters? Wishing you a fun-filled, treat-filled, scare-filled holiday. Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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6. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: November 13

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1768 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every two weeks. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (three picture books and one for middle school age). I also have a post about National Literacy Day and the Scholastic SPOTLIT collection, one about WordGirl's word of the month for November, and one with links that I shared on Twitter.

Not included in the newsletter, I have three posts about a conference that I both attended and helped to organize last weekend (the Kidlitosphere Conference, aka KidLitCon):

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read two middle grade/middle school books, one young adult title, and one adult mystery. I read:

  • Rick Riordan: The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, Book 4). Disney-Hyperion. Middle Grade / Middle School. Completed November 5, 2013, on MP3. I don't review audiobooks, but I did enjoy this one. 
  • Peggy Eddleman: Sky Jumpers. Random House Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade. Completed November 6, 2013. Review to come.
  • Robin Benway: Also Known As. Walker Children's. Young Adult Fiction. Completed November 10, 2013. Review to come.
  • Julia Spencer-Fleming: Through the Evil Days (A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed November 10, 2013. A highly suspenseful installment of this series, one that finds all of the major characters facing important personal and professional decisions/deadlines. A perfect winter read, with Russ and Clare spending much of the book stranded by a major storm.

I'm listening to Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson, and reading Sunny Sweet is So Not Sorry by Jennifer Ann Mann (which I picked up at KidLitCon). I also have Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller and Susan Kellley on my nightstand, though I haven't had a chance to really start it.  

Baby Bookworm is reading Back to Bed, Ed! by Sebastien Braun. More on that next week (sigh! sleep problems). We received a box of winter/holiday-themed books from HarperCollins this week, and she is particularly excited about the Pinkalicious Cupcake Cookbook and Charlie the Ranch Dog : Charlie's Snowy Day (an early reader).

She insisted that her babysitter read aloud to her from the cupcake book immediately, though this isn't normally what one does with recipe books. And about the Charlie the Ranch Dog book, before we had even finished it she said: "Let's read this one every day until Christmas, and then on Christmas." It's not even a Christmas book, but ok... Whatever keeps her excited about books. 

Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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7. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: November 22

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: #kidlit Fantasy stories launched by a birthday | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/r3RMp

A list that @charlotteslib will like | Top Ten Fantasy Books for Boys with Starring Girls from alibrarymama http://ow.ly/qZCiF #kidlit

Stacked: 2014 Contemporary YA Books to Get On Your Radar http://ow.ly/qWBOU @catagator #yalit

12 Great New Picture Books recommended by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/qWAMX #kidlit

Top 10 Chanukah Books by @raisealithuman @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/qUeHB #booklist

Lots of parents will like this book list: Chapter Books for Kids with Old-Fashioned Flair - from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/qUepl

Stacked: Contemporary YA Books Featuring Family Stories http://ow.ly/qRPx9 @catagator #yalit

25 Empowering Books for Little Black Girls from @ForHarriet http://ow.ly/qRPgs via @CBCBook

Book-Related Gift Guides

For your holiday #kidlit shopping pleasure: Book and Toy Gift Sets selected by @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/qPWtG

Gifts to help develop love of literacy | 2013 #Literacy Gift Guide from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/qPWj0

Blogging and Reviewing

The Blogging Blahs have hit @tashrow at her Sites and Soundbytes blog. Giving self permission NOT to do things is ok http://ow.ly/qWuRH

KidlitCon2013Thoughts on reviewing Changes + Gender Issues in light of #KidLitCon13, from @Book_Nut http://ow.ly/qUe7i (age ranges, labels)

Are your Books (that you read or recommend) Mirrors or Windows? {On Reading} — @5M4B http://ow.ly/qWB5n #KidLitCon13

Book Awards

Congratulations to Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the @nationalbook Award for #kidlit for The Thing About Luck http://ow.ly/r3PUr

Winter 2013-2014 Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten via @tashrow + w/ congratulations to @LaurelSnyder http://ow.ly/qX0Ok #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

How and why you should give your child plenty of choice when it comes to reading | @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/qX0IX

A Case for Letting Kids Read Books on Digital Devices | @LevarBurton @BigKidStir http://ow.ly/qRPX2 via @tashrow #literacy

5 tips to make sure you don't kill your child's love of reading @zoobeanforkids @HuffPostBooks http://ow.ly/r4bxw  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Hunger Games Movie

Suzanne Collins interviewed at Time Magazine. Quotes from part 1 + 2 @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/qZASj #yalit

I still think this is a bad idea | That 'Hunger Games' Theme Park? Here Are 5 Attractions We Want to See says @Time http://ow.ly/qZCUt

RT @tashrow: Hunger Games Catches Fire Online http://wp.me/p1iTZw-29x


#Kidlit bloggers, it's that time again. Submit your posts for the November Carnival of Children’s Literature http://ow.ly/r3yXA @asuen1

Link Du Jour: Nonfiction Monday is a-Changin’ — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/qUeyJ #NonFiction

KidLitConSarahCynthiaScroll down to see some #KidLitCon13 links and photos in this post from our keynote speaker @CynLeitichSmith http://ow.ly/qRUc2

(Photo shows Sarah Stevenson, Cynthia, and me.)

Don't miss the #KidLitCon13 Austin Round-Up at Kidlitosphere Central (created by @MotherReader ) http://ow.ly/qSicL

Diversity, Authenticity, and Kindred Spirits: Thoughts from #Kidlitcon13 from @SheilaRuth http://ow.ly/qSimA

ChildrensStoryOn Reading and Writing

December is Read a New Book Month reports @readingtub http://ow.ly/qWyhK Keep reading during this busy time, and try to stretch yourself

Why I’m an unapologetic book-quitter by Leah McLaren @GlobeAndMail resonated with me | http://ow.ly/qRQAI via @tashrow

I could relate to: Friday Confession:I Love Book People from @NoVALibraryMom http://ow.ly/qRWmi

Guest Post by @JennWalkup @yahighway: Keeping it Real - Female Protagonists in YA Lit http://ow.ly/qRRNA via @CynLeitichSmith

Picture Book Month

PictureBookMonthThird Annual Picture Book Month Is in Full Swing |reports @roccoa @sljournal http://ow.ly/qPMIy #kidlit

Getting the Most Out of Picture Books, a helpful guide from @RIFWEB http://ow.ly/qSkfM via @BookChook #PictureBookMonth

Why Picture Books Are Important @inkyelbows for #PictureBookMonth http://ow.ly/qSk4W via @BookChook

Are you following the @SproutsBkshelf 30 Days of Picture Books posts? Charley's First Night by Amy Hest looks lovely http://ow.ly/qPWI0

Programs and Research

This is nice to see: A list of Charities That Give Books to Children and Promote #Literacy from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/qRTsI

GivingKidsThis is neat. New website that helps kids find opportunities to help others (projects/donations/etc) @GivingKIDS http://ow.ly/r1HXz

Nice! London benches to celebrate books + promote reading reports @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/qZD02 via @PWKidsBookshelf

More gadgets, more reading: Survey suggests e-reader and tablet owners read more books @gigaom via @cmirabile http://ow.ly/qPM8X

Publishers, Authors, and Booksellers

Lee & Low Acquires Shen’s Books, reports @fuseeight http://ow.ly/r3RDa #kidlit @leeandlow

Amazon rolls out Kindle MatchBook: About 75k print books bundled with discounted ebooks @gigaom via @cmirabile http://ow.ly/qPLNx

A Female Author Talks About Sexism and Self-Promotion by @sarahreesbrenna in @thetoast http://ow.ly/qROQh via @CBCBook

A Second Female Author Talks About Sexism and Self-Promotion by @malindalo in @thetoast http://ow.ly/qRP3V via @CBCBook

Park18n-1-webRest in peace, Barbara Park, Junie B. Jones author http://ow.ly/qWyw3 (wretched cancer) [Image from Random House]

In Support, Forever, of Junie B. Jones by @MotherReader http://ow.ly/qWw8o #kidlit Barbara Park

Schools and Libraries

Neat! Stockholm’s Tio Tretton Library–Inspiration for Service to Tweens | Sites and Soundbytes @tashrow http://ow.ly/r3Pze

Five ideas for librarians to nurture creativity at work, adapted from @Zen_Habits by @tashrow at Sites + Soundbytes http://ow.ly/qZBg2

Fun post at @KirbyLarson blog about student/parent/teacher book clubs run by @muellerholly http://ow.ly/r3QFQ #literacy

Cut to the Core: Has the Common Core Rollout Gone Awry? asks @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/qZCNh #education

Inspiring post @KirbyLarson blog by @kelvorhis about spreading the love of books to colleagues + parents at school http://ow.ly/qPVXa

Inspiration. Applying "First, do no harm…" in all areas of life, not just medicine, by teacher @katsok http://ow.ly/qUdW0

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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8. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 20

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

Road Trip! 10 (Classic) Audio Book Suggestions for the Whole Family | Redeemed Reader http://ow.ly/rTuiJ

Reviews on a Theme: Time Travel #YAlit from @lenoreva http://ow.ly/rTtP3

A list of SFF #kidlit where SNOW is an important part of setting at Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/rTtHV

Plenty of great ideas here (categorized by age + genre) | 100 Magnificent Children’s Books 2013 — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/rTwps #kidlit

RT @90SecondNewbery: @anitasilvey's predictions about the books from 2013 that we are unlikely to forget any time soon. http://ow.ly/rPFIj

Armchair #Cybils Picture Book Round-up 2 | alibrarymama http://ow.ly/rOE3x  #kidlit

Sport-themed Books Not for Sporty Kids only #Kidlit #Cybils from Jennifer @5M4B http://ow.ly/rOD3i

The 2013 Nerdy Award Ballot is up @NerdyBookClub (voting open to end of day 12/21) http://ow.ly/rODNj #kidlit

New Book Read Alike Recommendations by @heisereads NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rVszq #kidlit #yalit

14 Children's Books about Trying New Things from @momandkiddo | Includes my fave THE PINK REFRIGERATOR http://ow.ly/rOBxx #kidlit

Green Light YA Reads: A Flowchart (books ok for 11-12 year olds) | @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/rKzYE #yalit

Book list: African-American Interest Young Readers' Titles 2013–2014 http://ow.ly/rKsNA via @CBCBook #kidlit

Best Books of 2013 from @NPRBooks via @tashrow #kidlit #yalit http://ow.ly/rVr17

Stacked: Looking Ahead to Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2014: Part One http://ow.ly/rVtpX  #yalit

Gender and Diversity

No Girls Allowed — @lizb on a truly dreadful revelation, how superhero cartoon execs seek to portray girls as lesser http://ow.ly/rTvYR

Sigh RT @tashrow Of the 124 Authors Who Made the ‘Times’ Top 10 Bestseller Lists in 2012, Only 3 Were People of Color http://buff.ly/18mAJY1

BooaholicGrowing Bookworms

A good early #literacy activity from @NoVALibraryMom | Santa Letters http://ow.ly/rTv71

RT @FirstBook: Great articles @washingtonpost on inspiring #reluctant #readers! So many books from our dear friend @The_Pigeon! http://wapo.st/Jtd7Wl

Good tips for Encouraging Your Child to Read Over Winter Break from Raising Great Readers with Great Books http://ow.ly/rODHR #literacy

Encouraging kids with the "luxury" of extra reading time over the holidays, by @frankisibberson @ChoiceLiteracy http://ow.ly/rOA5R

Holiday Gift Guides

It's beginning to look a lot like BOOKSHELF - Great pairs of book to give kids 2013 from Paula at Pink Me http://ow.ly/rTyL0

A holiday #kidlit book-giving guide with reccommendations based on emerging #literacy levels from @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/rODp6


Always entertaining | 2013 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/rTxd7 #kidlit

On Reading and Writing

Here's What Your Favorite Children's Book Series Says About You, @HuffPostBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/rRAEU

Lots of great titles: Children's Publishers Choose Their 2013 Favorites in @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/rRAfh #kidlit

What’s New About New Adult? by @catagator @sophiebiblio + @LizB in @HornBook http://ow.ly/rRxAz #yalit

RT @BookPatrol: "the results are clear and consistent" - Readers are not nerds! Studies show adult readers "active and social" http://ow.ly/rQMlv

Lumos! How Harry Potter Switched the Light On My Reading Life by @AnnieWhitlock @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rOCQz


Popcorn Surprise is the latest Random Act of Kindness for Kids from @CoffeeandCrayon http://ow.ly/rTyVF

10 Ways to Get Your Children Writing in the Holidays from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/rVsiQ  #literacy

Programs and Research

BookOnBedbanner180Ask Amy makes her annual pitch for the Book on Every Bed movement (with Family Reading Partnership) http://ow.ly/rTsIY [Image credit to Family Reading Partnership]

U.S. Math Education Still in the Doldrums, @Freakonomics blog on PISA results and poverty not being the explanation http://ow.ly/rOAKD

Heartwarming | The Wonderful Joy of Ballou HS & Their New Books! Guys Lit Wire and @chasingray http://ow.ly/rVsUj #yalit

Schools and Libraries

Tweet, Tweet: Using Twitter to Promote A Culture of #Literacy by teacher @thereadingzone @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rRzYQ

What One Resource Would You Refer to for Teaching and Learning? asks @ReadByExample | Replies here: http://ow.ly/rKAnS

How to teach… reading for pleasure | @Guardian Teacher Network via @librareanne http://ow.ly/rVna1

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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9. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: January 2

JRBPlogo-smallHappy New Year! Today I will be sending out the first 2014 issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I usually send out the newsletter once every two weeks, but I skipped last week because of Christmas, so this issue has a bit of extra content. I'm also sharing my goals for 2014 in this post, so read on if you are interested. 

Cybils2013SmallNewsletter Update: In this issue I have seven book reviews, ranging from picture book through young adult. I also have a new literacy milestone post regarding my daughter, and a post with my reactions to the just-announced Cybils shortlists. I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. Not included in the newsletter this time around I published:

Reading Update: In the last three weeks I read one middle grade, three young adult, and two adult titles. I read:

For the entire year my total was 143 books read (not counting picture books): 42 early reader to middle grade, 54 young adult, and 47 adult titles. You can view the full list here. Seems like going for 50, 50, 50 for 2014 would be a good goal, doesn't it? One book a week in each of my 3 categories, with a couple of weeks of slack. I doubt it will work out quite that way, though. I read more adult books than usual in 2013 because I was sick a lot, and I hope that situation will not be repeated. 

I'm not making formal resolutions, but I do have 3 goals for 2014:

  1. Get more/better sleep
  2. Read more
  3. Exercise more

I have these goals for my daughter, too. Regarding #2, it's not that I want reading to be a contest, or that I'm really going to pay attention to exactly how many books either of us reads. It's more that when I'm deciding how to spend my time (and my daughter's time), and I have a choice, I'm going to try to steer us towards sleeping, reading, or getting exercise. This morning, for example, before starting work I spent 40 minutes reading on my Kindle while riding my exercise bike, thus working on 2 of my goals at the same time. 

I'm currently reading Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord (due out in late February) and Reality Boy by A.S. King. I'm hoping to get a post up tomorrow about the new books that my daughter received for Christmas, so I'll tell you more about what she's reading then.

I'm also keeping a promise that I made to a follower of my Facebook page, and attempting once again to track all of the books that I read aloud to my daughter in 2014. I've started with a typelist in the right-hand sidebar of my blog, but will transfer to a page of the blog later on. 

Wishing you all a happy and book-filled 2014! Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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10. Scholastic Declares January Book Fit Month

I don't normally share many news releases. But I couldn't help but notice that Scholastic launched a "Get Book Fit" initiative the day after I declared that my goals for 2014, for myself and my daughter, were:

  1. Get more/better sleep
  2. Read more
  3. Exercise more

So, 1 and 3 are about fitness, while 2 is about books. One might easily argue that we are trying to "Get Book Fit" in my household, too. Though really, Scholastic is focusing only on mental fitness in this particular initiative. Still, it seemed worth sharing.


“Like” Scholastic on Facebook to Scratch Off Daily Tips, Get the Chance to Win Books and Get Kids #BookFit for 2014

Redlabl-logoNew York, NY – January 2, 2014 – With the countdown to the Winter Games in full swing, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, is calling all teachers and families to pledge January 2014 as “Get Book Fit” Month, and encourage their kids to train their brains by reading more books. To help kids get Book Fit, Scholastic has launched a free Facebook calendar app, providing parents and teachers with daily “scratch off” tips from experts on ways to motivate their children to stay mind-healthy throughout the month. Parents and teachers can join the campaign by “liking” Scholastic’s interactive “Get Book Fit” calendar at Facebook.com/scholastic and by following the latest on #BookFit on Twitter (@Scholastic).

Throughout the month of January, families can visit Scholastic’s “Get Book Fit” interactive calendar to get free daily resources, including book recommendations and tips from experts at Scholastic, articles from Scholastic Parent and Child® magazine, and ebook picks from Storia®, Scholastic’s free ereading app. Plus, top athletes including gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, Amar’e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks and Justin Tuck from the New York Giants share the books that inspired them the most. Every Sunday, families can find “Spotlit Sundays,” which will highlight must-reads for every age group from Scholastic Reading Club, and Fridays will be “Freebie Friday” day, where fans can enter for the chance to win free new releases from Scholastic. 

“Just as any athlete needs to practice a sport in order to get better, kids need to practice reading to keep their brains sharp and become proficient readers,” said Maggie McGuire, Vice President, Scholastic Kids and Parents Channels. “The new year reminds us to start new, healthy habits and getting ‘Book Fit’ is a perfect way to remind kids that reading is part of having a healthy lifestyle.” 

To kick off the campaign, Scholastic’s experts curated a list of Top 10 Ways to Get “Book Fit”:

1.      Prep your home to be “Book Fit”. Make reading material available in the rooms at home where your kids spend most of their time, easily accessible on tabletops, in bins or on bookshelves in each room. Include magazines, newspapers, comic books, how-to guides, and reading material that will tap into your child’s interests and passions.
2.      Reward a child’s reading efforts with a medal. Incentivize the reading experience. In celebration of the upcoming Winter Games, award your child with a gold, silver or bronze medal based on how much he or she read that week.
3.      Make the library your athletic stadium. Get library passes and dedicate a day and time each week to visit the library. Make the search for new books into a game such as “library bingo,” where kids can actively search the library for specific genres, characters, etc. during their visit.
4.      Create a family game night to exercise kid’s minds. Select games that encourage critical thinking, spelling and language-building. Introduce new games to them over the course of the year. Get your kids involved in choosing what the game will be – and what healthy snack should be served while playing!
5.      Bring a book to life. Get kids moving with an activity based on the book he or she is reading. Is he or she reading about sports? Try out that sport that weekend. Reading about cooking? Bake something new with your child. Challenge your kids to try different experiences, enhance skills and open their eyes to things they have never tried before. Read it. Live it.
6.      Host a “book marathon.” Challenge readers at home or in school to to read several books by his or her favorite author. Try different book series to encourage your child to read every day.
7.      Make reading a friendly competition among family and friends. Challenge kids to see who can read the most books. This friendly competition can teach a child valuable social skills and good sportsmanship. They can re-read their favorite book again and time the difference between the first and second reads. Use our handy Scholastic Reading Timer app to track your child’s reading minutes.
8.      Make family reading time a daily routine. Practice, practice, practice! Set aside time in the morning, after school or at bedtime, without distractions, and read as a family. Be sure to read aloud to your child as often as you can this year. The more you do, the more likely you are to show your child that reading is fun. Reading aloud helps children build their vocabularies, develop background knowledge they will need to understand the meaning of text when they read on their own, and inspire a lifetime love of reading! Mix it up with your favorite poetry, a news story, short stories, chapter books, and novels.
9.      Organize a family and friends reading club. Reading clubs encourage all members to think critically about what they read and to help bring ideas for the next month’s book. This will encourage children to work as a team and be open-minded about the opinions of others. Teachers can help out by sending “themed months” ideas paralleling students’ current class work.
10.  Host book-swap parties. Have your child collect books he or she has already read and have his or her friends do the same. With parents’ permission, host a book-swap party at your house, with fun themes like “Fantasy Swap” or “Laugh Out Loud Funny Reads”. Teachers can host a “book swap” party among students the beginning of each month. They’ll walk away with not only new books, but also their friends’ recommendations, fostering a team effort to getting “Book Fit.”

For more daily tips and to win free books, “like” Scholastic’s page on Facebook and visit the Book Fit calendar app. For more information about Scholastic, visit the media room.

Here at home, I'm doing two things to help my daughter and I "Get Book Fit" this month:

1. Instead of watching television while I ride my exercise bike, I'll be reading on my Kindle. I could never read regular books while biking without getting motion sick. But it turns out that I can prop my Kindle on a nearby couch arm and read just fine. 

2. Tracking all of the books that my husband and I read aloud to our daughter, rather than just the (very small number of) chapter books. I did this when she was a baby, but stopped as she got older, largely because a glitch in my blogging software made it difficult. That glitch is fixed, so I'm going to try again. My hope is that seeing that visual progress on my blog will motivate me to find more read-aloud time throughout the days. 

Wishing you all a book-fit, book-filled 2014!

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11. International Book Giving Day: February 14th

Ibgd-blog-badge200pxFebruary 14th is already known through children's and YA book blogging land as the day that the Cybils winners are announced. (There's some other holiday that day, too, I think, but we're book people here. Right?) February 14th is also International Book Giving Day. The official site (see details here - this is a grass roots effort) recommends three ways to celebrate:

  1. Give a Book to a Friend or Relative.
  2. Leave a Book in a Waiting Room or Lobby.
  3. Donate a Book.

There's a cool poster, designed by Hungarian designer and illustrator Mariann Marayjust released for 2014: 


I found this poster at the home of Amy at Delightful Children's Books. She is one of the organizers of this event. Other International Book Giving Day posts are up at Susan Stephenson's blog, and at Playing by the Book (also organizers). 

I haven't decided how we'll celebrate at my house. (I give books to my daughter so often that giving her a book will hardly stand out). But I'll be giving it some thought. Meanwhile, you can follow along using the hashtag #giveabook on Twitter.

Happy Book-Giving! 

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12. Recent Highlights in Our Read-Aloud Journey

We haven't had anything that I would quite call a milestone of late in my three-year-old daughter's journey towards literacy. But we have had some fun moments:

Last night my daughter asked me why she doesn't have a bubble over her head when she thinks. I must attribute this to seeing bubbles over people's heads in picture books. She's also still working to understand why she can see the people in books and movies, but they can't see her. 

This weekend my husband was reading to her in bed. I was down in the kitchen. I could just hear the murmur of his voice. Every couple of minutes I would hear my daughter, much louder, chime in with "there was the mouse!". Yes, they were reading A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker & Kady MacDonald Denton. When I reviewed this book back in 2008, I enthused about it's read-aloud potential, and the fact that "I (couldn't) read the book without saying that phrase out loud." To have my initial reaction validated six years later by my own delighted three-year-old is ... satisfying, to say the least. This book remains one of my favorite read-alouds.

She was admittedly in a silly mood last night, but she was positively hysterical with laughter over The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson (review here). Also, to a slightly lesser extent, Jeff Mack's Ah Ha! While these may not, in retrospect, have been good choices for bedtime books, I love it when she gets the humor in books. 

We also read Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen last night (and this morning). I've always respected what Barnett was trying to do with this book, and I do love Klassen's illustrations. But I never loved Extra Yarn for some reason (though many people, including last year's Caldecott committee, do). But I have to say that my daughter was rapt, and asked again for "the yarn book" first thing this morning. She loved the magic of the yarn box that never emptied, and she liked predicting what would qualify for a new sweater next. She noticed things in the illustrations that I had missed (or not remembered, anyway). I still don't adore this book myself, but I love that my three-year-old has her own opinions. 

That's all for now. What moments have you been enjoying on your family's read-aloud journey?

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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13. Save the Children

I know it seems like we've just celebrated Christmas, but January is going by very quickly. Soon it will be Valentine's Day. I found out about a couple great ways to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

Sponsor a Milk and Bookies party. Milk and Bookies is a nonprofit organization that helps kids become part of the process for enhancing the lives of underprivileged children. At a Milk and Bookies party, kids bring books to donate for kids who don't have books of their own. To find out more, visit the link above.

Send special valentine cards from Save the Children. Proceeds from these cute cards go toward Save the Children education programs, which help inspire kids to love reading. Save the Children helps kids around the world with programs in education, nutrition, and health. They are a "link between poverty and literacy."

By grade four, a student needs to be able "to read to learn." If a child is not on par for reading at his/her grade level by third grade, he/she will start falling behind dramatically. Underprivileged children are at the biggest risk for this literacy shortfall. Help make a difference in their lives--one book and one child at a time.

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14. Take Your Child to the Library Day


Of course, any day is a good day to take your child to the library, but on February 4 many libraries will have extra events and activities planned. Even if you can't make it this Saturday, plan a family library excursion as soon as you can. You'll all benefit. The more and better kids read, the better they'll do in school.

No matter their interest or reading level, there should be something appealing for them at the library. And if you all have trouble finding it, ask a librarian for help.

Happy reading!

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15. The Power of Reading

We just celebrated Black History Month, but I didn't want you to miss the opportunity to listen to this interview with one of my favorite authors--Chirstopher Paul Curtis. His historical fiction novels, BUD NOT BUDDY, and THE WATSON GO TO BIRMINGHAM are very special reads.

Walter Dean Myers, another celebrated children's author and five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, emphasizes the importance of helping every child become a reader. On January 10th, he became The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. The Library of Congress awarded him this honorary position, and you can listen to his acceptance speech at the link above.

Finally, an upcoming opportunity to encourage reading in your home, school, neighborhood, and community is coming on March 7. Join in WORLD READ ALOUD DAY and help foster the love of reading. Who will you read to or read with or listen to on March 7? Or better yet--start the reading today!

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16. Author Outings

I had two wonderful school visits in April.

 First, I met Mrs. Parham's 2nd grade class at Conway Elementary School where I shared DOGGIE DAY CAMP with the students. They enjoyed playing "Bubba Says" with me and discovering some verb and adverb adventures of their own.

 Next, I spent the whole day with the incredible students at Christ Community Lutheran School. I was amazed at all the creative projects the students and their teachers had made for me in preparation for my visit. They highlighted each of my books with poems and stories and inventive dioramas--Kitty Kerplunking Visits Doggie Day Camp! Why didn't I think of that? There was a video as well!

 First Grade teacher, Ann Schmidt who helped organize my visit, had this to say: Just to let you know about your influence on my classroom. There are 4 of them that have started creating their own books. They've shared their stories and now the rest of the class is all fired up about writing their own too. This is something that first graders should be doing, but this class has just realized how fun it can be, thanks to you. 

For me, it's great to write for children, but even better to help inspire them to do their own writing. Like I always say, Ready, Set, WRITE!!!

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17. Reading Partnership--Parents and Teachers

When parents and teachers work together to create fun and inviting reading opportunities for children, the children will reap the rewards. Here are two interesting articles concerning young readers. In the first, a group of California educators has teamed up with parents to study the issue of family literacy--how to build it. The teachers have expanded their meetings to include parents from across the area. They hope to use the parent's input to make the literacy plan more comprehensive. Bravo to all of them!

The second article I read this week concerning parents actively supporting their child's literary goals concerns a young six-year-old from Staten Island. Isabella Policarpo read over 400 books to earn a trip to Yankee Stadium. She'll be part of a group of eager readers who will go on the field and see their names on the big screen. Isabella's parents helped her check out most of the books from the New York Public library. While they read many of them to her, amazing Isabella did most of the reading herself. Now she reads to her six-month-old sister--just as she was read to by her parents. A little time and effort toward making reading a daily habit in a child's life can go a long way in fostering a strong reader.

Team up with a child(ren) in your life and together you can reach the greatest of literary goals!

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18. Jumpstart Reading

Jumpstart is a national organization which promotes childhood education. They are combining forces with Penguin and the Pearson Foundation all next week and finishing with a record reading day on October 4. The effort helps to reach millions of preschool children "to encourage them to read."

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad is this year's Read For the Record book. Millions of copies of the book will be made available. Click on the link above and you can find out more information as well as download activities and a parent brochure. And to find out more about the Pearson Foundation and access to free books, click on the links above.

Happy Reading!

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19. We Give Books

I recently found out about We Give Books and want to introduce you to this splendid literacy program.

Who Is Behind It?
We Give Books was created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation. Together, we support literacy through programs that engage entire communities through literacy and awareness programs like Booktime and Jumpstart's Read for the Record. We hope that We Give Books proves to be a way that young children, together with their parents or caregivers, can come to understand the power of reading—and of giving—as much as we do.Penguin Group is one of the world's premier global consumer trade book publishers, with key market positions in the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Canada, India, China, New Zealand and Ireland. The Penguin Group (http://www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.Pearson Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Pearson plc. A 501(c) (3) nonprofit operating foundation, the Pearson Foundation extends Pearson's commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations to provide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe.
The Books
We are dedicated to delivering award-winning books empowering you to read and share beautiful stories with children in your life. With age-appropriate content for young readers, our goal is to create memories that will last a lifetime.Books are right at the heart of this program — books for reading and books for giving!All of the books available for online reading are children's picture books appropriate for children through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, a range of authors, and an equal balance between read-alouds and books for independent readers. We'll be adding news books every month, together with special seasonal offerings.The We Give Books team works upfront with each non-profit literacy partner to identify the kinds of children's books that best fit their program needs. Some of the same great books you can read online will be donated to our charity partners through your reading efforts. We also donate others they request specifically for the young people they serve.

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20. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: June 21

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week (plus a few from last week when I was on vacation) @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

New book list at Stacked: Writing Duos, Or When Authors Team Up http://ow.ly/mcy4y @catagator #yalit

10 picture books written +/or illustrated by African-Americans that celebrate spirit of summer | The Brown Bookshelf http://ow.ly/mbWPc

New series launch @GreenBeanBlog: So You Want To Read Middle Grade? http://ow.ly/mcxIT #kidlit

The Carnegie and Greenaway Medal Winners have been announced, reports @tashrow http://ow.ly/mcv0N #kidlit

More books for kids who love Percy Jackson, various categories, from @pragmaticmom http://ow.ly/mbZFP #kidlit

Diversity (or Lack Thereof)

Sigh! In the 101 top-grossing family films from 1990 to 2004, 75% of characters were male http://ow.ly/mbZTl via @haleshannon

A look at diversity in middle grade fantasy and science fiction so far this year from @charlotteslib http://ow.ly/meuYt #kidlit

On the state of diversity in children's books @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/mev3J #kidlit

YA author Tanita Davis chimes in on the diversity gap in children's books http://ow.ly/meH2x #kidlit

First Book Tackles Lack of Diversity in Children's Books http://ow.ly/macoL via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

I love this! Top Ten Signs You Are Raising an Avid Reader http://bit.ly/19a8k3Y

Check out the lovely Reading Cave built by librarian @lochwouters. Would be easy to do at home, too... http://ow.ly/mbZaG

Are eReaders the Answer for Dormant Readers? asks @readingtub http://ow.ly/mbY41 #literacy #kidlit


Every Library + Museum in America, Mapped. Yes, there are more libraries than McDonalds Emily Badger @AtlanticCities http://ow.ly/mai1K

ALA Promises Expanded School Library Advocacy in 2013–2014 | @sljournal http://ow.ly/macPN

Chicago To Add New School Libraries—Even As It Closes Schools | @sljournal http://ow.ly/lMJUR

The Great Summer Library Challenge for Kids takes on Non-Fiction @momandkiddo + @bethanyntt http://ow.ly/meuww + http://ow.ly/meuDz

Today's Summer Library Challenge for Kids focuses on Fiction | from @bethanyntt and @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/lMMF2  #kidlit #literacy


Using Language Experience Stories for kindergarten readiness {Get Ready for K Through Play} from @coffeeandcrayon http://ow.ly/mbYTb

Suggestions for Travel Games to keep kids busy without screens from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/mbWrW

This sounds fun! Summer Boredom Buster: Make Your Own Board Game! from @LiteracyLaunch http://ow.ly/mcycF

Very cool! 22 Children's book inspired dolls' houses | @playbythebook http://ow.ly/lQnC4 #kidlit


Americans: The world’s sleepiest students, and it's hurting #literacy http://ow.ly/lMBF7 @postlocal via @scholastic

Parents Who Own Bookshelves Raise Kids Who Do Better in Schoolhttp://ow.ly/macH8 Gizmodo via @PWKidsBookshelf #literacy

Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer | Annie Murphy Paul at TIME.com http://ow.ly/mc0oK via @medinger

Summer Reading

Now I need to re-read The Great Brain books! Summertime and the Reading is Nerdy by Erica S. Perl @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/mcvxW

Delightful! Host a Summer Reading Party! by Jenny Meyerhoff | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/mbZrx

This is great! Irving Reads Initiative Provides Books for 20k Students for#summerreading | @nbcdfw via @Scholastic http://ow.ly/lMwVU

Sounds smart to me. Terry suggests trying "Reading Buddy" programs during the summer @readingtub http://ow.ly/mcunX


Must-read for teachers: The Kids are Still All Right, Despite What Accelerated Reader Might Say | @thereadingzone http://ow.ly/mbYLA

Teachers! @KirbyLarson is looking for guest posts about your experiences connecting kids with books http://ow.ly/lOROA @NerdyBookClub


Worth reading for any mom trying to also do something else: Writing + mother: how I (sort of) do both by @haleshannon http://ow.ly/mc1hu

This bugs me, too (made-up dialog in nonfiction). Notes from The Nonfiction Dialogue Stickler of Doom @fuseeight http://ow.ly/meujj

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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21. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 6

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Lots of book lists this week, for some reason. Lots of Cybils posts, too, but that's because the Cybils website is ramping up in anticipation of the October 1st start to nominations.

Book Lists

Latest in @greenbeanblog So You Want To Read Middle Grade series from Kellie Celia @WaldenPondPress http://ow.ly/ozgNv

Booklist Top 10 Horror Books for Youth | Waking Brain Cells @tashrow http://ow.ly/ozgo1 #yalit

Book List: A Tuesday Ten: More Picture Book Science Fiction | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/ozfzO #kidlit

New Stacked book list: Get Genrefied: YA Romance http://ow.ly/oum0m @catagator #yalit

Book list: Children's Books About Autism @growingbbb http://ow.ly/oulMB #kidlit

Children's Books For and About Syrian Children. @MitaliPerkins is looking for more http://ow.ly/osDix #kidlit

Ten Books That Showed Me the Power of Reading by @JenAnsbach @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/osDfo #kidlit #yalit

List of all MG SFF books reviewed at Kirkus from Oct. 16 to today (think #Cybils nominations) http://ow.ly/osDaq @charlotteslib

Book list: Talking About Tough Times: World War Two Books from SSHEL #kidit blog http://ow.ly/osCTl picture books to YA

Cybils Awards

Cybils2013SmallNew #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Anne Levy, Overlord http://ow.ly/ozf8j #kidlit #yalit @Cybils

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Jackie Parker @interactiver, YA Fiction http://ow.ly/oBOWE #yalit

On the #Cybils blog: Timeless Artwork (a new logo without a year included) http://ow.ly/oBO77 #kidlit @CYBILS

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Jone MacCulloch @JoneMac53 | Poetry http://ow.ly/ozh63 #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Terry Doherty @readingtub | Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books http://ow.ly/ozh1K

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Karen Yingling, MG Fiction http://ow.ly/ozep4 @MsYingling @Cybils #kidlit

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: @ginaruiz | Young Adult Nonfiction http://ow.ly/oulhE #yalit

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Jennifer Wharton, Nonfiction Picture Books http://ow.ly/oulc2 #kidlit

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Charlotte Taylor, MG Speculative Fiction http://ow.ly/osCRu @charlotteslib

New #Cybils blog post: Meet the Organizers: Sheila Ruth, YA Speculative Fiction http://ow.ly/osCPp @SheilaRuth #yalit

Growing Bookworms

Timeless advice from @MotherReader on helping your child, her teacher, and yourself w/ reading http://ow.ly/oBNMP #literacy

Introducing the Read Aloud TATTLER | @aliposner recommends high-quality read-alouds w/ strategies for comprehension http://ow.ly/ozhzD

#Literacy Lalapalooza 11 | Lots of Back-to-School Ideas | Family Bookshelf @readingtub http://ow.ly/ozeby

Interesting essay on kids who read too early (hyperlexia) | Early Reader @NYTimes http://ow.ly/oumtW via @gail_gauthier

An excerpt from Pam Withers’ book Jump-Starting Boys @thereadingzone quote @donalynbooks http://ow.ly/oqh7Y #literacy

RT @CBCBook: Should kids have audiobooks? Here are a few reasons to say YES! http://ow.ly/oitH8 @Scholastic @PARENTandCHILD #kidlit

Depressing! Two-thirds of busy parents claim they read to their kids less than once a week @newscomauHQ http://ow.ly/oqeEB via @tashrow

Just for Fun

How to Play Kick the Can from @CoffeeandCrayon, part of Old School Summer http://ow.ly/oulJP

Very fun! 2012-2013 yearbook superlatives for #kidlit characters from @HornBook via @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/osD7D

13 Children's Book Quotes Every Adult Should Know http://ow.ly/oqenk @mashable via @tashrow #kidlit


Interesting post @Freakonomics » How Google Fights Obesity (hint, display only the healthful snacks in glass jars) http://ow.ly/ozeFy

When Yes Is Not Consent — @lizb looks for #yalit reflecting student/teacher sexual conduct http://ow.ly/osCXV

Artists Donate to Auction Inspired by Boston Marathon Bombing http://ow.ly/oBLWD via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit #BostonStrong

Publishing and eBooks

Publishing Hears Echoes of Netflix as startups explore ebook subscription models http://ow.ly/owL9P @WSJ

Schools and Libraries

New York’s Folly: A Lack of Vision at the City’s Dept. of Education | Editorial | @sljournal http://ow.ly/oz6yc

Also depressing: School is no Place for a Reader « Canadian Notes & Queries http://ow.ly/oqgFt via @FuseEight #literacy

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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22. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: September 18

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1745 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every three weeks. 

ReadAloudMantraNewsletter Update: In this issue I have a post about one of my daughter's milestones on the path to literacy, a post in celebration of Roald Dahl day, a post about the 2013 Cybils panels, a discussion of the five series I am most looking forward to reading with my daughter, and post about whether or not it matters if you read at bedtime.

I also have a post about getting my blogging groove back, after my illness this summer slowed me down. I appreciate you all staying with me through that. I don't have any book reviews in this issue, but I do expect to have more book recommendations (in one form or another) coming up soon. 

Other recent posts not included in the newsletter this time around are:

Reading Update: In the last 3-4 weeks I read 2 middle grade novels, one young adult novel, and 8 adult novels. I'm just starting to dip my toe back into the world of children's and young adult literature, after what turned out to be a refreshing break. I'm including mini-reviews here:

Jessica Day George: Wednesdays in the Tower. Bloomsbury. Middle Grade. Completed September 14, 2013. I had trouble getting into this sequel to Tuesdays at the Castle (reviewed here). The actions of the kids felt tame compared with the first book, and the device of the semi-sentient castle felt less original (perhaps inevitable in a sequel). The book did get more exciting towards the end, but then concluded with an unexpected cliffhanger. 

Holly Black: Doll Bones. Margaret K. McElderry Books. Middle Grade. Completed September 16, 2013. I haven't written a formal review of this book, because it's already been reviewed everywhere (and is on Betsy Bird's Newbery candidates list). But it really is fabulous and I highly recommend it. Doll Bones is the perfect mix of creepy possible ghost story with kid-directed adventure, with a spot on portrayal of evolving boy-girl friendships at age 12. 

Malinda Lo: Adaptation. Little Brown. Young Adult. Completed August 28, 2013. The premise of Adaptation, in which two teens awaken from a car accident and find themselves in a secret government hospital, intrigued me. I picked it up as a Kindle daily deal one day, and enjoyed it. I do plan to read the sequel at some point.

Robert Crais: Suspect. Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed August 23, 2013, on MP3. This is a standalone (or first in a new series?) novel is about an LA cop and a military service dog who help each other recover from their respective traumas while solving the mystery of why the cop was shot (and his partner killed). Some of the book is told from the dog's perspective. This worked surprisingly well (though I was a bit resistant to the premise at first). 

Marcus Sakey: Brilliance. Thomas & Mercer. Adult Science Fiction. Completed August 23, 2013, on Kindle. I found this an intriguing science fiction novel about an alternate US reality in which, starting in the 80s, some 1% of the population are "brillliants" - the kind of geniuses that previously only cropped up once in a generation. There are, naturally enough, tensions between the brilliants and others. It's the first of a series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Carol O'Connell: It Happens in the Dark (A Mallory Novel). Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed August 25, 2013. The Mallory novels are among my favorite mystery series. I find the character herself (a deeply flawed, highly capable NY cop) endlessly fascinating (even if she does break her friends' hearts). The plots are so convoluted that I can actually re-read these books, and thus buy them in hardcover. This one did not disappoint. 

Stephen White: The Last Lie (Alan Gregory #18). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed August 30, 2013. See below. 

Stephen White: Line of Fire (Alan Gregory, #19). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 4, 2013. See below. 

P.J. Tracy: Shoot to Thrill (Monkeewrench , #5). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 5, 2013, on MP3. The Monkeewrench series is another that celebrates quirky characters (a crew of wealthy, odd hackers), set against a more conventional (in this case) police procedural. The premise of this one, in which people are murdering others on camera, and posting the videos on YouTube, was a bit disturbing. But the characters made it fun.

Stephen White: Compound Fractures (Alan Gregory #20). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 6, 2013. I read the last few books in the Alan Gregory series pretty much all at once, after dipping in and out of the series over the years. The books are about a Boulder psychologist who, with his Assistant District Attorney wife and cop best friend, finds himself in the middle of some ugly situations. The final books of the series are all tightly connected, and it was definitely the right thing to read them as a unit. 

Louise Penny: How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Gamache). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed September 8, 2013. This series is absolutely brilliant, another one of my all-time favorites. In this installment, things start out a bit bleak for Chief Inspector Gamache, and he to some extent retreats to the small town of Three Pines (which was absent from the prior book). But fans should not worry, because everything is not what it seems. The actual mystery involves a story loosely based on the Dionne Quintuplets, but there is much more to be figured out. I found this one quite satisfying. 

I'm currently listening to Never Go Back (A Jack Reacher novel) by Lee Child. I'm reading The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It, Book 4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer. There are many other books on my TBR shelf, and several upcoming books that I am excited about. 

Baby Bookworm has been enjoying Splat the Cat: What Was That by Rob Scotton and Pinkalicious: Pink or Treat by Victoria Kann, as we start to think about Halloween. We're also reading lots of Curious George, Fancy Nancy, Arthur, and Little Critter books. 

How about you? What have you and your kids been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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23. Read Aloud 15 Minutes Kicks Off "Let's Talk" National Campaign

KickOffMessages_31I've been supporting the Read Aloud 15 Minutes nonprofit by helping to spread the word about their periodic national "campaign pulses". Their theme for October is: "Let's Talk". The idea is to encourage parents and other caregivers to read and talk to their babies as frequently as possible, to foster brain development. 

PulseMessagesOct_ 17When we talk with our young children, particularly during the first five years, we help their brains to grow and develop. This talking can take the form of pointing out sights as you push along a stroller, or telling your child what you're doing, step-by-step, as you cook dinner. But it's extra-super helpful if you read aloud to your kids. Why is reading aloud particularly helpful (vs. just talking away)? Well:

  • Picture books often feature a more complex vocabulary, with a higher variety of words, than we might come up with on our own (particularly when talking to a baby). 
  • Picture books often have a rhythm or cadence that the baby (and you) will find pleasing. And when a child finds something pleasing, he or she will pay more attention, and get ever-more benefit. 
  • In addition to a wider vocabulary, picture books help children to broaden their experience of the world, helping their brains to make connections. Most of us don't have giraffes and elephants in the backyard, but books let us show them to kids. And then when you eventually take your child to the zoo (or on a safari), they have a base of knowledge already. (See a post that I wrote about making connections between books and day to day life.)
  • Picture books and board books have pictures (obviously), and pictures help to catch and hold the attention of young viewers. Even tiny babies will look at things that are interesting. And again, by looking and listening at the same time, they make connections, and make their brains stronger. 

PulseMessagesOct_ 15The talking is good, too, of course. I've seen research that suggests that with talking, it's important to also respond when the child tries to talk to you (even if it just sounds like babble). This helps kids to develop language skills, because they see the payoff from trying to talk. We're all born with an innate desire to communicate, I think.

But reading aloud to childen is special. The more you do, the better off the children will be. Life-long benefits from something that's enjoyable to do in the first place. You can't go wrong with that. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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24. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 2

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1746 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every two weeks. 

PulseMessagesOct_ 15Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (one early chapter book, one middle grade book, and two young adult titles). I also have a post about Read Aloud's "Let's Talk" national campaign to help children's brain development, a post about memorization as a literacy milestone, and an announcement about registration for the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Conference. I have two posts with literacy-themed links that I shared on Twitter recently. 

Other recent posts not included in the newsletter this time around are:

Reading Update: In the last 2 weeks I read two middle grade novels, three young adult novels, two adult novels and one adult nonfiction titles. I read:

  • Jennifer Allison (ill. Mike Moran): Iggy Loomis, Superkid in Training. Dial. Early Chapter Book. Completed September 19, 2013. My review.
  • Greg Pincus: The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. Arthur A. Levine Books. Middle Grade. Completed September 20,2013. My review.
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer: The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It, Book 4). Harcourt. Young Adult. Completed September 18, 2013. My review.
  • Emmy Laybourne: Monument 14: Sky on Fire. Feiwel & Friends. Young Adult. Completed September 21, 203. My review.
  • Sarah Rees Brennan: Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, Book 2). Random House Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed October 1, 2013. Review to come.
  • Lee Child: Never Go Back. Delacorte Press. Adult Fiction. Completed September 22, 2013, on MP3. In this latest installment of the Reacher series, our hero finds himself drawn back into the army, and eventually on the run from various factions. I thought this one had a nice balance of action and personal interaction, though Reacher's repeated insistence that all random outcomes have the same 50-50 odds irked me a bit. 
  • Kenneth R. Ginsburg and Martha M. Jablow: Building Resilience in Children and Teens, 2nd Edition. American Academy of Pediatrics. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 29, 2013. This book had some interesting ideas - I do believe that resilience is well worth striving for. 
  • P.J. Tracy: Off the Grid (Monkeewrench, #6). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed October 2, on MP3. P.J. Tracy keeps ratcheting up the stakes with these novels. I quite enjoyed this one. Great audio work by Buck Schimer, too, with the multiple voices. 

I'm currently listening to The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos. I'm reading The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine. (Finding it quite depressing so far.) 

Baby Bookworm received her first-ever shipment from Scholastic Reading Club this week. Her favorite new book so far seems to be A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman (which I had been wanting for a while). But she positively pealed with laugher over Mercer Mayer's I Am Helping. Let's just say she can relate to a young child believing he is helping, while actually creating chaos. There are some new titles that I picked out in our Scholastic shipment, but she has so far gravitated to the books about familiar characters.  

How about you? What have you and your kids been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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25. Actions I'm Taking After Reading the New Read-Aloud Handbook

I've included some general responses to my recent reading of the 7th edition of Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook in a separate post. Here, I'm sharing the bits that motivated me to want to take a specific action, and/or change something that I'm doing, in terms of my daughter's reading experience.

Mind you, I'm already reading to my daughter (now 3 1/2) regularly. She visits the library, and chooses her own books. We have books in the car, and we take books with us when we go on trips. We read mostly picture books, but are dabbling in early readers, and even dipping our toes into chapter books. I've read at least two earlier editions of The Read-Aloud Handbook, as well as various other titles on this subject, and I'm confident that we're doing a reasonable job already. 

Still, I found some useful take home messages, places where I think we can do a little bit better. Like these:

Perform Repeat Reads of the Same Book

"Research shows that even when children reach primary grades, repeated picture book reading of the same book (at least three times) increases vocabulary acquisition by 15 to 40 percent, and the learning is relatively permanent." (Page 10, Chapter 1)

The immediate take-home message for me on this is to make sure that we do read new picture books at least three times (unless we dislike them, of course). This isn't much of a problem with books that we own, but sometimes the big stack of library books goes back with books that were only read once or twice. I guess mostly this is a reminder of being patient about re-reads. 

Fill More Book Baskets

Another thing that Trelease advocates is the placement of book baskets in strategic locations throughout the house. I did this when my daughter was younger, but I haven't updated the baskets and locations recently. I need to stock a basket for the bathroom, and figure out a way to keep books closer to the kitchen table. This is going to tie in with another project that we're just starting - putting aside some of the board books (sob!), which currently fill the baskets. 

Get A Bedside Lamp

A related idea, Trelease also suggests buying your child a bed lamp, and letting them stay up 15 minutes later if they are reading in bed. We're not quite ready for this idea in my house yet (we tend to read to her until she falls asleep), but a bed lamp is clearly something that we're going to need soon.  

Read More Poetry

Trelease also talks about the need to read aloud stories that rhyme (Chapter Two). I haven't been as good about reading my daughter poetry as I would like. She's now starting to play with rhyming herself (and has just discovered tongue-twisters), and I think it's time for us to add more poetry to our repertoire. 

Always Say the Title and Name of the Author

In Chapter 4: The Dos and Don'ts of Read-Aloud, Trelease says:

"Before you begin to read, always say the name of the book, the author, and the illustrator--no matter how many times you have read the book." (Page 74)

I used to be very good about this, and had been letting it go a bit lately. This reminder has already gotten me back on track with attribution. I also like to say where the book came from, if it was a gift. 

Read More Slowly

Another reminder from Chapter 4, always good to hear again:

"The most common mistake in reading aloud--whether the reader is a seven-year-old or a forty-year-old--is reading too fast. Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures of what he just heard you read. Slow down enough for the children to see the pictures in the book without feeling hurried. Reading quickly allows no time for the reader to use vocal expression." (Page 75)

I think it's always tempting for adults to read quickly, and get through more books. There's a feeling of accomplishment if we read five books tonight before bed. But reading them better, more slowly, with more expression and discussion, is clearly better in the long run. I'm going to work on this.

Chart Reading Progress

My daughter loves to look at her growth chart, and see how much she's grown. Trelease advocates creating a home or school wall chart so that kids can see how much they've read. He says that:

"images of caterpillars, snakes, worms, and trains work well for this purpose, with each section representing a book. Similarly, post a world or U.S. wall map, on which small stickers can be attached to locations where your books have been set." (Page 76)

I especially like the map idea, because we LOVE maps in my house. I'll have to think about the best way to do this. US map? World map? Both? 

Initiate Home Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Time

Trelease suggests setting aside time each day for the child to read by herself (even if she is just flipping through books that she can't yet read). He adds: "All your read-aloud motivation goes for naught if time is not available to put that motivation into practice." (Page 77)

We've done this informally, especially in the car. But I like the idea of having a designated quiet self-reading time. I'm happy to also use the time to model reading, by reading my own book. I'll have to think about how this could be integrated into our schedule. 

Spend Less Time Pecking Away on My Phone

I don't have one quote for this, but a number of references in The Read-Aloud Handbook have affirmed something that I've been concerned about for a while. I spend too much time looking at things on my phone, in my daughter's presence. I'd rather either be present with her, or have her see me reading books (or newspapers or magazines). If I am going to read electronically, I prefer to do it on the Kindle Paperwhite, which is only for reading books. I always call this my "Kindle Book", to reinforce the idea that when she sees me with it, I am reading.  

Continue Limiting TV Time, and Turn On the Closed Captioning

Trelease has a whole chapter on the impact of television and audio on kids and reading. I've been determined since before she was born that my daughter will not have a television set in her bedroom (and I won't have one in mine, either). We currently only allow her to watch television on weekends (though she does sneak in a bit of extra time on the iPad during the week sometimes). But she's like an addict, constantly asking if it's the weekend, and then binging on movies when it is. 

I'm particularly struck by the results of a study that found looked at children's schooling level by age twenty-six vs. the amount of television watched in childhood. "Children who viewed less than one hour a day were the most likely to achieve a college degree." (Page 147) Another study suggested "no detrimental effects on learning (and some positive effects) from TV viewing up to ten hours per week; however, after that, the scores begin to decline. The average student today watches three times the recommended dosage." (Page 148)

I'm not going to make any changes right now, besides turning on the closed captioning (something that Trelease has recommended for years, so that kids SEE the words). But I'm going to keep an eye on how many hours of TV watching creep in over the weekends. Just as soon as the baseball playoffs are over, anyway. 

Limit iPad Time When Traveling

We don't have a portable DVD player, or a DVD player in the car, and I don't see much need for one. But we have downloaded a few select movies onto the iPad. We've found this useful for long car trips, or other times when we need a break. (Most recently, when we brought our daughter along on a wine tasting trip to Napa.) I'm not prepared to give this up - it's been awfully handy on long flights. But I do take this point by Trelease into account:

"The recent addition of the DVD player to family transportation does nothing but deprive the child of yet another classroom: conversation with parents or the shared intellectual experience of listening to an audiobook communally." (Page 154)

I don't think that  my daughter is quite ready to follow along with an audiobook, but I do plan to use them for car trips when I think that she's ready. In the meantime, I'm going to work on talking more, and resorting to the iPad less, especially in the car (though I won't give it up entirely). 


A pretty fine list of actions to take, considering that this is at least the third edition I've read of The Read-Aloud Handbook (out of 7 published editions). Trelease has said that this will be the last edition that he writes, which makes me sad. But I'm very happy to have this one. 

How about you all? Have you read The Read-Aloud Handbook? Has it affected your efforts to grow bookworms in your own household? I'd love it if you would share. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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