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1. The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein Book Review

In the wonderful book, The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein, the young boy living in the mountains of Tibet lived a wonderful life of flying kites, hard work, a loving family, and peace.
Tibet
When he died, which is the natural progression of life, he rose into the sky where he was given the choice to move on to Heaven or choose to live another life as anything he wanted to be and anywhere in the world. Because that was his one regret in life–not seeing more of the big wide world.
mountains of tibet
A Tibetan woodcutter dreams of exploring the world, but is too busy with his life to ever leave his valley. After he dies, he is taken on a journey through the cosmos and all the places on Earth as he makes choices that lead him to a new life.-Amazon
The man’s journey to pick a new life starts on the largest plane–picking a galaxy. His path to a new life follows the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Start at the biggest part of life and go down to the minutest detail. And these are all hard decisions. Which galaxy? Which star? Which planet? Which country? There are so many choices! So will the Tibetan man choose to go back to his familiar home in the mountains of Tibet, or will he choose to experience new things in exciting countries far away?
The Mountains of Tibet
Mordicai Gerstein’s book The Mountains of Tibet shows a unique way of explaining death and life to young children. It’s a beautiful, natural process filled with free will decisions. The illustrations are simple yet beautiful, helping children’s imaginations to flare to life.
{CLICK TO TWEET} If you could travel anywhere-where would you go? The Mountains of Tibet review & activities @Jumpintoabook1
Something To Do
1. Create a Galaxy in a Jar (this is your galaxy!) Get the full instructions and watch the video tutorial HERE.
  create your own galaxy
2. Make a would you rather game for the choices of life!
     – Would you rather live in a blue galaxy or a purple galaxy?
     – Would you rather live on Earth or Mars?
     – Would you rather be an animal or a human?
   Make this a lively discussion with friends, family and students!
3. Make your own kite! These are perfect for a windy day at the park or the beach or even in your own backyard!
making kites
Discover the joys of star-gazing with my Stargazing & Astronomy Booklist for the whole family
astronomy books for kids
One More Thing…
Grab this free gift and discover 180 ways to explore the world we live in!

FREE Gift! Free 180 Multicultural Book Ideas ebook to inspired fun Summer Reading!

School is out and our youngsters are settling into a new summer routine of sleeping in and hopefully doing some exploring and discovering. With the hectic days of summer just beginning, oftentimes one of the first habit to go by the wayside is the habit of daily reading.
Reading is always an important part of our children’s lives no matter what time of year it is so I decided to wrap my knowledge of fun kidlit books and activities up with my experience as one of the co-founders of the very successful Multicultural Children’s Book Day and create a unique resource for parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer. Reading is important, but so is helping our young readers learn about other cultures, religions and traditions through the pages of these books. Here are some great booklists and resources that I have created over the years at Jump Into a Book that will not only give parents and readers great ideas on diverse kids’ books, but fun activities related to books that will bring stories to life!
180 Multicultural Book Ideas for Summer Reading!
Sign up below for quick and free access to 180 Multicultural Book Ideas: World Travel through Kidlit Summer Reading!

Sign up for 180 Multicultural Book Ideas for Summer Reading

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The post The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein Book Review appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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2. Plan Your Month: August Book Recommendations

August means slow, lazy summer days combined with the back-to-school scramble. Plan out your month with these book recommendations and resources to take you from here through September:

Sammy Lee’s Birthday-August 1
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

International Friendship Day-August 2 August Book Recommendations
Armando and the Blue Tarp School
Awakening
Bein’ With You This Way
Cat Girl’s Day Off
Cooper’s Lesson
David’s Drawings
Destiny’s Gift
Featherless
First Come the Zebra
Galaxy Games: The Challengers
Ink and Ashes
It Doesn’t Have to be This Way
Jay and Ben
Jazz Baby
Juna’s Jar
King for a Day
Night Golf
Rainbow Joe and Me 
Rebellion
Rent Party Jazz
Sharing Our Homeland
Soledad Sigh-Sighs
Tankborn
The Can Man
The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen
The Legend of Freedom Hill
The Monster in the Mudball
The Piano
Up the Learning Tree

Olympics- August 5-August 21
Surfer of the Century
Galaxy Games: The Challengers
Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

Duke Kahanamoku’s Birthday-August 24
Surfer of the Century

Back to School-August/September
As Fast As Words Could Fly
Amelia’s Road
Armando and the Blue Tarp School
Babu’s Song
Capoeira
David’s Drawings
Destiny’s Gift
Drumbeat in Our Feet
Elizabeti’s School
Etched In Clay
First Day in Grapes
Howard Thurman’s Great Hope
How We Are Smart
Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path
My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone!
Only One Year
Richard Wright and the Library Card
Seeds of Change
The Storyteller’s Candle
Su Dongpo: Chinese Genius
Tofu Quilt
Up the Learning Tree
Willie Wins
Yasmin’s Hammer
Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree

International Friendship Day:
Happy Friendship Day from Lee & Low Books!
The Best Cheerleaders May Come in Small Packages: How Siblings Affect Literacy Education

Back to School:
Why Do We Need Diverse Books in Non Diverse Schools?
How Common Core’s Book Choices Fail Children of Color
Choosing the World Our Students Read
Where to Find Culturally Diverse Literature to Pair With Your Required Curriculum
10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom
3 Books for the First Three Weeks of School
11 Educator Resources for Teaching Children About Latin American Immigration and Migration
11 Books on Latin American Immigration and Migration
10 Best Strategies for Reading to Kids in Spanish
13 Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition
7 Tips to Help Make Reading with Your Child This Year Achievable
5 Strategies to Help Parents Navigate Lexile
7 Strategies to Help Booksellers and Librarians Navigate Lexile
8 Strategies to Help Educators Explain Lexile and Invest Stakeholders
10 Ways Teachers Can Support Parents and Cultivate Student Success
10 Myths About Teaching STEM Books and How You Can Teach STEM in Your Classroom Now
Using Infographics in the Classroom to Teach Visual Literacy
Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in First and Second Grade
Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in Third and Fourth Grade
Using Picture Books to Teach and Discuss Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera with Students
How to Teach Close Reading Using a Recipe
Why Literacy Teachers Should Care About Math
Why I Love to Read Sad and Dark Books to Children (and You Should Too)
Student Book Review: Seeds of Change
Character Education, Part 1: How To Choose Books for Core Value Study
Character Education, Part 2: How to Teach Core Values to Kids Meaningfully
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s in Elementary and Middle School: Part 1
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 2: Choosing A Text and Vocabulary Words
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 3: Teaching Vocabulary in Layers
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 4: Writing, Speaking, & Listening Practice
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Kindergarten
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in First Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Second Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Third Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Fourth Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Fifth Grade

What are your favorite August reads? Let us know in the comments!

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3. Read A Book!


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4. Minecraft Lab for Kids by John Miller and Chris Fornell Scott

{Guest post from Hannah Rials} What is going on? Now we’re writing books that are encouraging kids to play video games? I thought we were supposed to be discouraging this? I’m so confused!
I’m sure a lot of you parents are thinking that right now. And yes, kids should be getting outside, exploring their world, reading books, and every else like that to live a balanced life. However, science and research are revealing more and more how helpful video games can be in a child’s cognitive development. Minecraft, for instance, helps with creativity, sharing, innovating, continuous learning, problem solving, craftsmanship, teamwork, interdependence, flexibility, storytelling…just to name a few.
Minecraft Lab for kids
Minecraft does not have to be just a kid’s activity. This book provides six different quests that teach gamification, which is the process of applying game principles to real life. Parents, you will learn about the world of Minecraft, while also bringing your children out of it. You’ll learn the lingo, the levels, the different things that you can do within the game, and you’ll come to realize why your kids love it so much and how beneficial it is to them.
Minecraft lab for kids
But having this book, showing your kids how the skills they are learning inside the game are relevant in out-of-game experiences, is a wonderful opportunity for family bonding and for crafting and creativity!
How you can Gamify these quests:
Quest 1 – This quest is all about taking inventory of your resources. That’s easy. Together, your family can take an inventory of something in your house: the pantry, the refrigerator, your movie or book collection, etc.
Quest 2 – Textures, Patterns, and Landscapes, which talks about cooking and gardening. Do we really need to explain this one? I think you’re getting the hang of it!
Quest 3 – This is about architecture, so this gives your family a wonderful excuse to take a neat vacation to some city with unique architecture. Road trip to Charleston, SC or New Orleans, LA. Going abroad? Well, basically all the cities over there have interesting architecture! Have some fun!!
Quest 4 – Here, we look into the arts: the colors, textures, and styles of a museum. So obviously, you need to find a museum to day trip to! Even if your town, or the one next to you, doesn’t have the equivalent of the MET or le Louvre, that’s okay. All museums are great experiences.
Quest 5 – Game making; think how fun this could be! Each of the family members making up their own games and then hosting a family game night to try them out. Sounds like a good time.
Quest 6 – is the culmination of all the skills you have learned previously–you’re making a city. Maybe before you jump head into the game, you and your child can write about your city, make up people, laws, specific places or activities that go on there. Help them create their world both in and out of the game!
Grab your copy of this amazing book that is not only going to excite your young readers, but get their brains reading and exploring this summer!

**some of these links are affiliate links

Something to Do Minecraft-Inspired Activities:

 Who can resist making this fun Creeper from TP rolls?! Instructions at Kids Activity Blog
 Minecraft activities
Rachel K Tutoring has some impressive Educational Minecraft Activities
 Minecraft Activities
For those interested in using Minecraft for Homeschooling, The Spectacled Owl has some great Homeschooling with Minecraft ideas and projects.
Minecraft Activiities

Hannah RialsHANNAH RIALS: A Maryville native and current college student at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Hannah began writing her first novel at age twelve. Eight years later, the result is her new YA novel Ascension; a modern day teenage romance filled with “double-blooded” vampires and revenge-seeking witches (to be released in August of 2016). When not spending time with her family and playing with her beloved Corgis, Buddy and Noel, Hannah leads a creative group, crafts and cultivates her writing skills. Connect with Hannah on Facebook, Twitter and via her website.

 

 

Breaking News! Proof that Dragons are indeed REAL!

My newest book, Dragons are Real is available and the excitement is almost blowing the roof off at Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press headquarters!
Dragons are real
SO…what if I told you that all of the fairy tales, myths and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG. What if I told you that Dragons are indeed Real and that they are different than you’ve ever imagined?
This fairly true story is based on the author’s childhood friendship with a REAL live Dragon; a very special Dragon that she and her brother spent two magical summers with.

As readers turn the pages and learn the truth about Dragons, they will see that the fiercest beasts in known history can actually be the best of friends. It’s a lesson in finding companionship in the most unusual of places. Dragons are Real is a magical book filled with stunning illustrations and hints that dragon are indeed all around us :)

Dragons are Real is now available for purchase on both Amazon and Gumroad! We are also offering a special free bonus gift of a Dragons Are Real Inspiration Activity Guide when you purchase your copy of this enchanting picture book.

The post Minecraft Lab for Kids by John Miller and Chris Fornell Scott appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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5. Notable Women: Author Linda Sue Park

Is summer flying by or WHAT?! Goodness, before we know it we will be reading about “first day of school” booklists!

I’ve been having so much fun with my Notable Women series these last few weeks. I kicked things off American Revolution hero Sybil Ludington, then moved on to favorite author Pam Muñoz Ryan. This week I want to focus on the wonderful works of author Linda Sue Park.

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard, many other novels, several picture books, and most recently a book of poetry: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family, and is now a devoted fan of the New York Mets. For more infromation visit www.lspark.com

Here are a few of my favorite Linda Sue Park books for kids:

A Long Walk To Water

A Long Walk to Water

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

A Single Shard

A Single Shard

In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

When My Name was Keoko

Linda Sue park

Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, live in Korea with their parents. Because Korea is under Japanese occupation, the children study Japanese and speak it at school. Their own language, their flag, the folktales Uncle tells them—even their names—are all part of the Korean culture that is now forbidden. When World War II comes to Korea, Sun-hee is surprised that the Japanese expect their Korean subjects to fight on their side. But the greatest shock of all comes when Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army in an attempt to protect Uncle, who is suspected of aiding the Korean resistance. Sun-hee stays behind, entrusted with the life-and-death secrets of a family at war.

The Kite Fighters

Linda Sue park

In a riveting narrative set in fifteenth-century Korea, two brothers discover a shared passion for kites. Kee-sup can craft a kite unequaled in strength and beauty, but his younger brother, Young-sup, can fly a kite as if he controlled the wind itself. Their combined skills attract the notice of Korea’s young king, who chooses Young-sup to fly the royal kite in the New Year kite-flying competition–an honor that is also an awesome responsibility. Although tradition decrees, and the boys’ father insists, that the older brother represent the family, both brothers know that this time the family’s honor is best left in Young-sup’s hands. This touching and suspenseful story, filled with the authentic detail and flavor of traditional Korean kite fighting, brings a remarkable setting vividly to life. AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Project Mulberry

Project Mulberry

Julia Song and her friend Patrick want to team up to win a blue ribbon at the state fair, but they can’t agree on the perfect project. Then Julia’s mother suggests they raise silkworms as she did years ago in Korea. The optimistic twosome quickly realizes that raising silkworms is a lot tougher than they thought. And Julia never suspected that she’d be discussing the fate of her and Patrick’s project with Ms. Park, the author of this book!

**some of these links are affiliate links

Something To Do

In honor of the amazing Linda Sue Park book Project Mulberry, here are some fun ways to bring this book to life.
As we stood under our mulberry tree remembering this great story, we decided right then and there that we had to grow our own silkworms. I must admit to you that we are at the beginning of this process and are waiting for our little silkworm eggs to arrive. We promise to keep you updated on our progress.

Would you like to join us in growing silk worms? Just leave a comment below and let us know if you will share this experience with us.

Here’s where you can order the silkworms:

The Carolina Company has a silkworm farm kit.

Silkworm kit

They also offer silkworm eggs and food.

A few weeks ago I saw the most interesting TED talk about what they are now using silk for. It’s amazing and is being used in ways one could not even imagine. It is taking science and technology to a new level. This is a great video for kids probably age 8 and older.

Happy Reading!

*************************************************************************

Looking for more ways to not only get your youngsters reading, but get them OUTSIDE as well? Enjoy more month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.

SecretGardenCoverLeft-e1407422792456

Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE.

A Year in The Secret Garden

The post Notable Women: Author Linda Sue Park appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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6. She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero

She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero by Loki Mulholland is a unique story explores the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland; an ordinary girl from the South who just did the right thing.

book review

The Civil Rights was an extremely tragic yet absolutely necessary piece of American history. Both black and white people made great strides in human rights and equality in our country. Many people seem to forget that African Americans were not the only people standing up for equality. White, Indian, Asian–people of every heritage were standing together. Joan Mulholland was one of these people. Raised in Virginia, she grew up with segregation and harsh racism. She grew up being taught that mixing races was wrong. But despite all this chatter in her ear, Joan knew that this was wrong. She took a stand when she began college, joining peaceful movements, sit ins, protests, and other demonstrations. She was kicked out of Duke University for her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Despite the backlash and threats that she received, Joan never gave up on her belief that what she and the rest of her friends doing was the right thing. She was one of the first white students to attend an historically black college and join a black sorority. Her life was almost always at risk; she lost many friends and family; she lived in jail for several months of her life. All because she was doing the right thing. And the rest of culture couldn’t accept this. She was an average hero.
She Stood for Freedom is extremely timely in its release. With all of the turmoil in our society right now, this book reminds us that we are all working together for a common goal. We’re all humans, and it’s high time that we remember that. Our world needs to be changed? Then let’s do it together, with our friends, one step at a time. Grab your copy of this amazing book HERE or click on the book image above to take a closer look.
Something To Do
1. Write a Poem
      Research a Civil Rights hero (Joan for example) and write a poem telling about their life.
      Civil Rights Movement Heroes - Poetry - Writing "I Am" Poems
2. Here is an awesome image that simplifies the Declaration of Human Rights created by the United Nations
      Declaration of Human Rights
3. The Civil Rights Movement in Fiction (more great books to choose from)

**some of these links are affiliate links

FREE Gift! Free 180 Multicultural Book Ideas ebook to inspired fun Summer Reading!

School is out and our youngsters are settling into a new summer routine of sleeping in and hopefully doing some exploring and discovering. With the hectic days of summer just beginning, oftentimes one of the first habit to go by the wayside is the habit of daily reading.
Reading is always an important part of our children’s lives no matter what time of year it is so I decided to wrap my knowledge of fun kidlit books and activities up with my experience as one of the co-founders of the very successful Multicultural Children’s Book Day and create a unique resource for parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer. Reading is important, but so is helping our young readers learn about other cultures, religions and traditions through the pages of these books. Here are some great booklists and resources that I have created over the years at Jump Into a Book that will not only give parents and readers great ideas on diverse kids’ books, but fun activities related to books that will bring stories to life!
180 Multicultural Book Ideas for Summer Reading!
Sign up below for quick and free access to 180 Multicultural Book Ideas: World Travel through Kidlit Summer Reading!

Sign up for 180 Multicultural Book Ideas for Summer Reading

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The post She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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7. 2016 Diverse Summer Reading Lists Grades PreK-8

Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, which can only mean one thing. The end of June is right around the corner (hang in there teachers!).

Now, we are all well aware of the importance of having access to books and the harmful effects of the slippery slope that is the summer slide.

So, to keep the kids reading all summer long, LEE & LOW has put Diverse Summer Reading List 2016together a Diverse Summer 2016 Reading List for Grades PreK-8 and printables which you can freely download here or find listed below. Each list contains books that not only highlight different grade-appropriate interests, such as sports, music, sci-fi/fantasy, and the environment, but also explore diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions.

These lists are not only an excellent tool to help you include diverse books in your summer suggested reading lists, but a way to begin diversifying the books available to students in your classroom libraries. It is important to remember that diverse books are not only for diverse readers. Reading books featuring diverse characters and communities mirror experiences in their own lives, allowing children to see themselves reflected in the stories they love, but they also provide windows into other life experiences to understand and be more accepting of the world around them.

Finally, there are many great organizations compiling and creating Summer Reading Book Lists and offering free, exciting programs for the summer. Be sure to check out your local library as well as the following groups for additional summer reading tips, suggestions, and ideas:

veronicabioVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.

 

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8. Nonfiction Summer Reading Suggestions

I spent the weekend creating summer reading lists for K-5 students in my elementary school. While I was compiling this year's lists, I consulted a number of summer reading lists created by librarians, teachers, parents and organizations. I noticed that many summer reading lists shy away from nonfiction titles. Here are some new nonfiction titles that kids will enjoy reading over the summer

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9. A Simple Bag of Books Can Help Beat Summer Slide

Books For Keeps smiling girl

Aliyah had always been a reluctant reader.

While other students curled up with their favorite stories during reading time, Aliyah struggled to find books that captured her imagination.

That is until Aliyah was introduced to Books for Keeps, a nonprofit based in Athens, Georgia that offers kids the opportunity to choose 12 new books to keep and read over the summer. Since Books for Keeps’ founding, 240,000 books have gone home with kids at 11 elementary schools in their community.

With their help, Aliyah was able to walk into her school’s media center and find stories she was interested in and excited to read.

“You can put a book in a child’s hands that is on his or her grade level,” says Leslie Hale, Executive Director, “but a very different thing happens when a child picks out the books that they’re excited about.”

Giving kids a chance to choose books that interest them is especially powerful during the summer when they are out of school and at risk for summer slide.

Students from low-income households who don’t have access to books typically see their reading test scores drop over the summer, but the 4,300 kids (and growing) who participate with Books for Keeps actually improve their reading skills during that time.

And Aliyah was one of them.

“I just read all summer,” she told Leslie in the fall, “my brothers would go out and play and say, ‘don’t you want to come outside with us?’ and I would just say no, I want to stay here and read my books.”

After spending the whole summer with her nose buried in a book, reading doesn’t feel like the chore it used to — Aliyah now looks forward to independent reading. And what’s more: Aliyah shared that she now feels more engaged and confident at school.

And it all came from a simple bag of 12 books.

If you work with children in need you can find books and resources to promote summer reading on the First Book Marketplace.

The post A Simple Bag of Books Can Help Beat Summer Slide appeared first on First Book Blog.

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10. My Library’s Summer Reading T-Shirt is Cuter Than Yours

Or is it?

Folks, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a library in possession of a summer reading program must produce a t-shirt of some kind.  And generally speaking, it is usually a walking eyesore.  Though I owe New York Public Library more than I can ever repay, I must confess that each and every summer I would receive my designated summer reading t-shirt.  It would be size XXXXXL (it’s much easier to give all staff employees a t-shirt if you just make it one-size-fits-all), usually white, and sporting a design that generally looked better on paper than on a living human body.

When I moved to Evanston, IL, I expected more of the same. What I got was this:

SummerReading2016

There were multiple sizes.  It was black (I still retain a New Yorker’s love for that slimming, you-can’t-see-dirt-on-me color).  The design was in red.  It was, to be frank, the most beautiful summer reading t-shirt I’d ever seen.

Which got me to thinking.  I just sort of took it for granted that, like a kind of penance to the library gods above, all summer reading shirts were supposed to be unattractive.  But maybe I was wrong from the start.

So here’s my challenge to you: Send me a picture of your summer reading shirt if it is more attractive than this one.  Then I’ll compile the results and create a Summer Reading T-Shirt Fashion Show.  Not only will this be a way you can give props to the design team of your local library, but it could give some libraries ideas for their own attractive summer reading t-shirt designs in the future.

All t-shirt designs may be sent to fusenumber8 at gmail dot com.  Looking forward to them!

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11. The Summer Reading T-Shirt Fashion Show

I think we’ve all learned something here today.  When it all comes down to it, and when all is said and done, summer reading t-shirts that are deeply attractive are rare, beautiful butterflies and that should be treasured and honored.  Which is to say . . . .

ARE YOU READY FOR A SUMMER READING T-SHIRT FASHION SHOW?!?!

Of course you are.

As some of you may recall, last week I was bragging something fierce about my library’s shockingly attractive summer reading t-shirt.  Here’s a group shot to give you a sense of what I mean.

summer-reading-2016

Admit it.  You’re just a teeny bit jealous.  Because good looking t-shirts for summer reading are darn hard to find.

So to see how many good looking shirts are out there this year, I put it to the test.  I made a hashtag (#summerreadtee) and asked readers to send me their shirts.

Now as some readers were quick to inform me, not every library system gives free summer reading t-shirts to its employees every year.  To those libraries I offer my condolences.  Not every system has the money to do the t-shirt thing. And after all, t-shirts in summer is a classic library trope!

Here then are the submissions for 2016.

First off, if you’re playing along at home then you know that the theme of summer reading this year is “Read for the Win”.  That means sports sports sports.  And to set this on the right note, here are the libraries that figured out how sports could equal attractive t-shirt wear.

We begin with Lincolnwood, IL, which is not too far from Evanston.  Take note of the attractive blue and white design (complete with white stripes on the sleeves) as well as the fact that they CLEARLY gave their employees size choices.  Now that is a library system that cares!

 

SummerReadTee2

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The dog is even wearing one.  The dog.  Thanks to Brita for the link.

Run across the country and you’ll see that Delaware Library had its own way of doing the sports theme:

SummerReadTee8

Extra points for sending a picture taken at a parade. Thanks to Connie for the picture.

Next up, letting Multnomah County Library play is kind of like letting a college kid play baseball with a Pee-Wee League.  That kid is just out of everyone else’s league.  Case in point:

SummerReadTee7

Sporty AND multi-lingual.  Thanks to Kirby for the link.

Speaking of multi-lingual, we’ve a couple shirts that did that pretty darn well.  First up, New Haven, CT went with my favorite color for a t-shirt: red.  You honestly cannot go wrong with red, PARTICULARLY when you cover it in a variety of languages:

SummerReadTee9

Thanks to Deborah Freedman for the link.

Worthington Libraries may win the ribbon for Cutest Submission:

SummerReadTee10

And this next one is such a good idea.  Just have a contest where the kids submit their designs and then turn the winner into t-shirts for one and all.  How crazy wonderful would it feel for the kid who got ALL the library employees to wear their design?  This one comes from the Beaumont Public Library System.

SummerReadTee6

Thanks to Robin Smith for the link.

Carl of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library had a whole host of t-shirts to share from over the years.  For the sake of fairness, I’ve chosen only one.  As I’ve said before, it’s hard to go wrong with black:

SummerReadTee5

And I never specified that the shirts had to be from this year, after all.  The Alamogordo Public Library of New Mexico came up with this shirt for last year’s superhero theme.  “They came in rainbow colors, or with white print on black.”

SummerReadingTee4

Thanks to Ami Jones for the picture.

And finally, we’re going to let this last one in, even though it was submitted by a publisher and technically isn’t a real t-shirt.  I’ll let Lara Starr explain:

“Christian Robinson created a lot of amazing art and objects for a joint summer reading program with San Francisco Public Library, Oakland Public Library and San Mateo County Library. Bookmarks! Badges! Bus Shelter Posters! BUT, they didn’t create Tshirts. BUT, that’s not gonna keep Chronicle Books from playin’!  I Project Runway-ed one of the SPFL’s totes into a kicky halter top modeled by Associate Marketing Manager Jaime Wong. The top features Leo and Jane, the main characters of Robinson’s book Leo.”

SummerReadingTee1

Chronicle Books.  Keepin’ it adorable.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(but my library’s t-shirt is still the best)

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12. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 181 - 6.27.16


Summer reading hits its stride this week -- with warmer temps at home an irresistible desire to spend more time in mountain lakes and streams. Thanks to a cooler stretch of late spring the snowpack is still holding together up high, but give it another week or two and most of the north Cascades will be open to explore!

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13. Harts Pass No. 305


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14. My Thoughts: Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

3 chocolate whoopie pies.

Cover Love:  Yes, I love this cover.  I love that it looks like a summer camp and that each picture is a couple from the story.  I love these short story collections!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I LOVED My True Love Gave to Me, which was a short story anthology of holiday romance stories.  I was very excited when I saw that this one was coming out and super excited to read it.  Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Romance?: Of course!

My Thoughts:
I didn't love this book as well as My True Love Gave to Me.  These stories weren't bad, but they didn't have the same feel to me as the holiday stories.  I can't put my finger on it, but I just didn't love it.  My favorite story was the one by Cassandra Clare, Brand New Attraction.  I liked Leigh Bardugo also, Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail.  Both of these had a supernatural element, which made them fun to read.  (Actually, a lot of these stories had supernatural elements).

I read Souvenirs by Tim Ferdle around the same time my oldest son (who just graduated from high school) was deciding to break up with his long term girlfriend.  There were a couple lines in that story I quoted to him because it was hard on both him and her when they broke up.  I don't think the lines helped them, but I felt they were perfect for the situation.

I also liked that there were stories by authors I have never read yet.  That's one thing I really like about these new anthologies.

This book just didn't give me quite the same feeling as the holiday stories book.  I didn't get that feeling of being young and in love and in the summertime that I was hoping for.  But, I know that these stories will be very popular with younger readers who will get that feeling.

To Sum Up:  I will be buying this for my library and encouraging the girls looking for something a little different to give this one a try!

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15. Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Summer Reading Program

SPLC-Committee-Wordle-300x240It’s almost the end of March, and it’s time to start thinking about Summer Reading Program outreach! Contacting local school administrators now is crucial, otherwise your messages to them may get lost amidst the end-of-the-school-year chaos. It also helps to be flexible; preparing options can help you accommodate various schools, as well as their varying schedules. If you’re new to this, or looking to spruce up or expand your outreach, here are some suggestions:

Skits
Skits can engage your audience and explain some of the basic program logistics to a crowd. However, skits require more time for planning and performing. If a school isn’t able to accommodate this, consider videotaping your skit and asking them to show it to individual classes.

School Assemblies
If a skit isn’t feasible, ask the principal for 5-10 minutes to briefly (but enthusiastically!) promote the program.  Some schools may have end-of-the-year assemblies already planned and may be willing to squeeze you in.

Newsletters
Find out if any local schools regularly send out newsletters to parents. If so, asking to include a brief blurb is just one more way to promote the program.

Flyers
Create a flyer to be sent home with each student, perhaps with their final report card (ensuring every student receives one). Making and delivering the copies directly to the school is especially helpful for them.

Faculty Meetings
Promoting the program directly to teachers is another great way to get the word out. It’s also a great opportunity to remind teachers of the various library resources available for them year-round.

Regardless of how you promote the program, remember to be creative, informative, and on theme! And while you don’t want to bog your audience down with details, giving them certain highlights or teasers can help pique their interest and curiosity.

The reason for outreach is to promote the quality programming and reading initiatives provided by public libraries each summer. In your planning, don’t forget that many schools create required reading lists for the break. Public libraries can help local schools by making the lists available at their branches, as well as stocking copies of the actual books. After all, collaboration is a two-way street!


Anna Brannin is the school librarian at Saint Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and coordinates the summer reading program for her local library system. She is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation.

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16. My Writing and Reading Life: Nancy J. Cavanaugh, Author of Just Like Me

Just Like Me, by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, is a funny, uplifting summer camp story about unlikely friendships and finding your place in the world from the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet.

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17. Summer Reading, No! But Reading in the Summer, Yes!

I’m back with more anti-summer reading ranting!  Interested in reading (or re-reading) the whole diatribe?  Here are the previous entries: Part I, Part II, Part III where I’ve noted issues around how/if the traditional summer reading model supports non-readers; SRP tracking and registration; and learning vs. reading as the program’s focus.  This month, I’m thinking hard about assessment and evaluation again.

Here we are, a little less than 2 months before the summer season starts.  And I’m feeling it!  My stress level is a bit high these days (but calmed weekly with Netflix, the local Y and chocolate banana bread!) But I’m excited too.  This will be a very different summer for my library and I’m eager to see how it all goes.  Since there will be no registration for the reading portion, the only thing from which we’ll gather information is our big LEGO 3D infographic that will definitely give us an idea of how many books each age group read. I’ve talked to more than a few parents who say they’ve never actually participated in an SRP because of the hassle of tracking books for more than 1 child.  I myself don’t want to track my reading (outside of GoodReads, that is) to participate in an adult SRP and I never have. Not even a chance to win an iPad motivates me to either write down the books I read or login to a website I don’t regularly use to track my reading there.  I’d rather be reading – HA!

I do want, however, to spend some time thinking about:

  • what that registration information has meant to us
  • how our library has used it in the past
  • and if we have truly needed it, how could we make do without it

As far as I can see, we’ve only really needed (and I use that term loosely) the total number of books and/or the total number of hours-read.  And even that number merely gets sent out into the void of state reports and is never heard from again.  I know it’s one way libraries have measured success, but I’m not convinced it actually helps us measure our impact.  Again, I would argue that those numbers mostly represent kids who love reading, regardless of what libraries do to support them, other than provide access to amazing books, of course!  And frankly, I’m still trying to find a good way to measure our deep impact.  We applied for a small grant this spring (not sure if we got it yet) but a big portion of the application (as you ALL know!) is about assessment and evaluation.  We included some creative ideas (some we devised, some we got from other grant projects from other organizations) and here are a few:

  • We’re going to ask parents and children/teens to complete brief ladder evaluations. These are 2 mirror evaluations – one giving at the beginning of an event and one given at the end.  These will address interest level and track any change in understanding of a subject or concept.
  • Our staff will create charts that will be available during events and programs alongside stacks of post-it notes and pens/pencils.  The charts will display questions children can answer any time during the program/event such as Did you learn something new about_____ today?  Did you collaborate with someone today?  Would you attend another program like this one?  Our thinking is that this setup, which makes the questions part of the program will yield more responses.
  • Staff will be on alert during programs and workshops to catch stories, ideas and responses to the activities.  We’re also going to be vigilant about snapping photos (for Instagram and beyond) and we’ll be asking follow-up questions to gather transformational stories to share with the community and the library board.
  • And of course, we’ll be keeping detailed track of attendance.  In a more holistic way than in the past.  We’re going to keep an eye on repeat participants and new faces and work on making lasting connections.

This is a far cry from SRP reports that I’m accustomed to filling out and submitting.  And I imagine there will be some work in convincing our library board about this approach as well.  But it’s part of a larger mission I’m on to rework our program offerings and approach to youth services.  Pushing closer to standards more in-line with informal learning projects and organizations.  My hope is that our department can become a seriously official supplemental service to the school.  I mean, truly part of their curriculum.  I really believe this is, at least in part, the future of public library services to children.

Is anyone else going rogue?  I’d love to hear the creative stuff happening out there!

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18. How do you raise awareness of summer reading at schools?

Summer reading is just around the corner for most public libraries, which means it’s crunch time for youth services staff with a goal to engage as many young people in the community as possible with the biggest initiative of the year. If we’ve got a goal to help combat the summer slide–which it seems many, if not most, of us do, based on the plethora of conferences and programs on the topic–then high student enrollment and participation is a major objective.

So how do you raise awareness of summer reading at schools in order to get as many kids as possible reading over the summer?

Rallies at Schools – I’ve heard many a library talk about their summer reading rallies–those springtime visits to area schools to get kids pumped up about summer reading. Some involve skits, some are just a quick overview of the most important details and highlights. Many a librarian has shared details of their school summer reading rallies online; here’s how I did them when I worked in Missouri.

A Teacher Newsletter – I’m also really interested in the go-straight-to-the-teachers method adopted by the Phoenix Public Library. They’ve got a regular teacher enewsletter, and from the looks of it teachers who read it get notice of major events for their students in that knowledge sweet spot: not too early that it feels irrelevant and then goes forgotten, but not too late as to drown among all the end-of-school-year announcements. Their April blurb on summer reading is brief and includes the basics like program dates, incentives, and who to contact for more info. I hope teachers who get this newsletter realize how great it is!

Image from the Skokie Public Library Summer Reads website, courtesy of Amy Koester

Image from the Skokie Public Library Summer Reads website, courtesy of Amy Koester

Special Summer Reading Lists – One of the most successful reading initiatives we do at my library is our annual summer reading list. We’ve got two age-specific versions: Cool Summer Reads for grades 3-5, and Hot Summer Reads for grades 6-8. Committees of staff select 10-12 titles each year for these lists, then in the spring staff visit schools to promote the lists and the library summer reading program. Every student gets a promotional bookmark listing the books, and kids positively flock to the library as soon as the visits start to get these books. To keep the enthusiasm running strong over the duration of the summer, we encourage kids to vote and rank their favorites on our summer reads website. Then, sometime during the next school year, we bring one of the top authors to local schools for in-person visits. Cue the excitement.

Register Participants Where They Are: Community Events – I’m sure many library staff are already getting families in the library asking when summer reading will begin. That’s great! They’re excited! If they’re in the library asking about the program, though, chances are they’re regular participants–which means their kids are going to read and be part of the program no matter what. What about the kids whose families aren’t currently aware of summer reading, or who can’t easily get to the library? At my library, we’re trying two new strategies this year for engaging as many kids in summer reading as possible. First, we’re offering a special weekend of advance signup for the club. Those signups will happen at our village’s annual Festival of Cultures. The library has always had a booth at the festival, which is highly attended, but this year we’ll also be signing folks up for summer reading. People are already at the festival–now the summer reading registration desk at the library is one less stop on their to-do list for summer.

Register Participants Where They Are: School – The second thing we’re trying is the automatic enrollment of students with library cards at one of our school districts. We’ve been working with schools for years to help every public school student get a library card, and for the school record to include the child’s library card number. Based on the permissions caregivers gave when they signed the library card form, and with the school’s partnership, we’re able to automatically enroll every student with a library card in our program. A letter is going home to all the students to explain the program and that kids are already involved, and it includes the game board for the program. This strategy means families with limited transportation need to find their way to the library only once over the course of the summer, to turn in their stuff–if that. We’re also working with the school to bring some special bookmobile stops to the school community, too, hopefully making access even easier for many families.

These are a handful of ways to think about raising awareness of your library’s summer reading program among kids and students in your community. How do you go about letting them know about your program?


Amy Koester, Youth & Family Program Supervisor at Skokie (IL) Public Library, is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. She can be reached at [email protected]

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19. New ALSC Summer Reading Lists Available

Download the new ALSC Summer Reading lists (image courtesy of ALSC)

ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee has updated our Summer Reading Lists with new and exciting titles!

The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Four Summer Reading book lists are available for Birth-Preschool, K-2nd, 3rd- 5th and 6th-8th grade students.

Each list is available here to download for free. Lists can be customized to include library information, summer hours and summer reading programs for children before making copies available to schools and patrons.

Titles on the 2016 Summer Reading List was compiled and annotated by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee.

Image courtesy of ALSC

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20. Summer Is Nearly Upon Us: Part 5 of the Attack on Summer Reading

The summer season at our library is just about upon us.  The reading portion will begin June 1st and the heavy-programming begins June 13th.  Though we are busy getting the last pieces of our program’s structure into place for the launch next week, I’m not too busy to take a minute to rant (it comes quite naturally to me!)  You can consider this post, Part 5 of my Attack on Summer Reading series.   If you haven’t been following along with baited breath, the other posts are here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

In April, I talked a bit about the information we gather through registration and reading tracking and what we do with it and don’t do with it.  Turns out, there are some helpful info-bits in there (shocker!)  My library director, who is totally supportive of our switch-up, really wanted us to find a way to track who’s participating all summer-long.  Fair enough.  That is helpful information to have.  But, as you know, I am hesitant (to say the least) to employ any type of registration, so how to do it?  I have been known to have moments of flexibility and we were able to come up with a compromise: kids/teens who get a LEGO to add to our sculpture when they tell us how much they’ve read, will also get a LEGO sticker (on which to write their name) and add to a silhouette/poster that will change each week.  Then, teen volunteers we can tally up who’s been coming all summer. Don’t worry, I see the potential for chaos, but I’m a risk-taker, so bring it on!  I understand that this whole approach may throw our staff into chaos, but I am lucky enough to work with a stellar staff who’s willing to try new things!

Here are some of my big fears questions about how this new approach is going to go:

  • will parents rebel against our no-prize approach and take their kids to the numerous other libraries in our county?
  • will fewer kids spend time reading and will that be a super bad thing?
  • will our ‘tantalize them with in-depth programming’ approach really pique their curiosity enough to cause them to pick up a book?
  • will our weekly camps be too much causing the staff to be totally depleted at the end of the summer?
  • will there be long waiting lists for our camps resulting in disgruntled parents?  (We are capping our camps at fairly small numbers for 2 reasons: we want to offer programs that got deep into a subject; and we want to provide substantial and meaningful exposure experiences which require a small librarian-to-child ratio).

So if I’m not hiding under my desk, you can rest assured I’ll keep the ALSC community posted the answers to the aforementioned questions and on how this whole thing goes, however, I’ll be at ALA next month (woohoo!) and will be blogging on how that whole thing goes!

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21. A Comic Ode to Booktalking

We’re in the throes of booktalking here at Darien Library, and I thought this time-honored tradition deserved a comic.

anodetobooktalking-sm

All illustrations copyright Lisa Nowlain, 2016.

Lisa Nowlain is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Fellow and Children’s Librarian at Darien Library in Darien, CT. She is also an artist-type (see more at lisanowlain.com).

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22. Books Beat Summer Slide

Books Beat Summer SlideClassrooms packed, desks emptied, another school year is coming to a close. Summertime is on the horizon and for kids, that means three precious months of sweet, sticky freedom.

But when kids from low-income families leave school for the summer, the outlook isn’t always so sunny.  While their more affluent peers may be visiting libraries, attending summer camp and reading their favorite stories every night, kids in need often spend the summer months without access to books and learning opportunities.

Over the years, those months add up – by the end of 5th grade, kids from low-income families are nearly three grades behind their peers in reading skills.

But there’s good news! Books beat summer slide.

Studies show that kids’ reading skills improve when they have access to books over the summer – and this is especially true for kids in need. In fact, children who are given access to books over the course of three summers perform 35-40% better on reading achievement tests than those without.

Together we can fight summer slide by getting books into the hands of kids in need.

If you work with children in need, you can access books, games, activities and other resources to keep kids learning all summer long. Sign up with First Book today!

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23. Coming Soon!

Summer Reading is imminent, librarians. We all have a ton on our plates and very little time to think about anything but programming, performers, reading logs, and summer fun.

Here are just a few books coming out in the next couple of months. Something to put on your radar when you get a minute, in between programs, when you’re trying to put together book orders.  Your kids will like these, and you will, too.

Source: Goodreads

Maria lives in the Bronx with her mom, who works two jobs to keep them afloat. Then her mom gets a job on a seaside estate on Martha’s Vineyard, and Maria’s life for the summer is radically different. Maria spends her summer juggling new friends, her Lebanese family, and an old map that she’s sure will lead to pirate treasure.

Source: Goodreads

Mafi’s long-awaited first middle grade novel has been called “rich and lush” by Kirkus. Alice lives in a land of magic and color, and she has neither. But she’s determined to find her beloved Father in magical Furthermore anyway. She has only one companion: someone she’s not sure she can trust. Can she use her wits to find her dad?

Source: Goodreads

The second in Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel series about the mysteries and magic of coding, this one will basically fly off your shelves completely by itself. There’s something lurking in an underground classroom of Stately Academy: Hooper, Eni, and Josh are determined to find out what!

Source: Goodreads

Jenni Holm’s latest novel is about Beans, a kid growing up during the Great Depression on Key West. Beans knows that grown-ups lie to him. But he doesn’t really let it bother him. He’s got plans of his own. Beans is the cousin of the titular Turtle in Holm’s Newbery Honor-Winning Turtle in Paradise and returning to her beautiful novels is always worth it.

Good luck with summer reading! These books will be waiting for you on the other side.

*
Ally Watkins (@aswatki1) is a library consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

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24. Author Kate DiCamillo Finds Summer Fun at The Local Library

This summer, kids can access great books, go on adventures to faraway places and even win prizes – all at their local library.

Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux and the recently released Raymie Nightingale, appreciates the importance of reading – especially during the summer.

As she visits schools throughout the country, answering questions about her new character Raymie and her journey to conquer remarkable things, she’s also letting kids know that all summer long their local libraries offer great opportunities for summer fun as the 2016 Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) National Summer Reading Champion.

We had the opportunity to talk to Kate about what inspired her to become a children’s author, the importance of books and imagination and which books she loved to read during summer break as a kid.

Your books are very imaginative. Why is important for kids to explore their imagination through books?

Because you find that anything is possible – and the feeling of possibility gets into your heart. That’s what books did for me.

As a kid, I was sick all the time and spent so much time alone. It was super beneficial to read because I was convinced that the things I didn’t think were possible actually were! That’s incredibly important for kids in need, but also for all of us.

DisplaypicYour stories are very relatable for children. Why is it important for kids to see parts their lives in the books they read?

I feel this as an adult reader too. Books give me an understanding not only of the world and other people’s hearts, but my own heart. When you see yourself in a story, it helps you understand yourself.

During my school visits, so many kids tell me stories of how they connect with my characters – Despereaux and Edward Tulane and Raymie. It’s so humbling to see that connection.

And when you see other people, it introduces you to a whole new world. I think of a story I read as a kid, which was actually just reissued, called All of a Kind Family. It’s about a Jewish family in turn-of-the-century New York. That couldn’t have been more foreign to me growing up in Central Florida but I loved every word of it.

Did you like to read during the summer as a kid?

Yes! I loved reading. I could spend all day reading. I’d go up into my tree house with books and sometimes didn’t come down until dusk.

If you gave me a book as a kid, I loved it. I read without discretion.  But I did have my favorites I’d come back to again and again: Beverly Cleary’s books, Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

It’s so crazy to stand in front of groups of kids and tell them this. There’s always a murmur of “oh, yeah, yeah! I read that!” That’s the staying power of books.

How can kids access books and learning activities over the summer?

That is the beautiful thing about CSLP summer reading programs at public libraries: it makes it easy for parents, caretakers and kids themselves to access all kinds of materials and activities for free.   The 2016 summer reading theme is “On your mark, get set, READ!” and I think that’s an open invitation to readers of all ages to take advantage of everything their library offers.

Want more Kate DiCamillo? Listen to her talk about the fantastic summer fun you can find at your local library!

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25. Summer reading: Encouraging children to enjoy reading more

from Flikr, by Enokson
As summer approaches, kids get excited for freedom from the routines and structures of school. But parents often worry how they will encourage their children to keep reading. Kids have put a lot of effort into developing their reading abilities throughout the school year--what's going to happen to all those hard-earned skills over the summer?

Parents and children know that it’s important for children to develop strong reading skills--the question I hear so many parents asking is, “How can I get my child to enjoy reading more?” They’re absolutely right. Enjoying reading is key--we want our kids to get lost in books, totally absorbed in whatever they're reading.
from Flickr, by Piulet
We do what we enjoy doing--that’s basic human nature, isn’t it? Reading develops only with practice -- the more you read, the better you get; the better you get, the more you read. So how do we help children enjoy reading and choose to read more often?

Research has shown that two elements are key: children's access to interesting books and choice of books that they can read. It makes sense, doesn't it? I love the way Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series, put it in What Kids Are Reading:
"What if all of your reading material was selected by, or restricted by people who believed that they know what was best for you? Wouldn’t that be awful? Wouldn’t you resent it? And isn’t it possible that you might begin to associate books with bad things like drudgery and subjugation?"
The first step to supporting your child is to encourage them to pick what interests them. During the summer, encourage them to seize the power and declare their own passions or interests. Baseball fan? Read biographies, baseball mysteries or sports magazines. Dolphin lover? Dive in deep, learning all about types of dolphins, threats on their habitats and scientists who study them.

The second step is to get a sense of your child's approximate reading levels--not to prescribe what your child can read, but to help her find books that are easy enough to read independently. Children will find the most success reading books in that they can read easily and fluently, especially during the summer.

The final step is to recognize that learning is social -- kids will get engaged more if you value their ideas, ask for their recommendations, talk with them. Do they resist talking with you? Figure out another way for them to engage with others--maybe it's high-tech and setting up a blog, maybe it's old-school and having a reading recommendation journal that you each put entries into, maybe it involves ice cream and friends who like to talk about books and hobbies.

Are you looking for summer reading ideas? Check out my recommendations, created for Berkeley Unified School District families.
2016 Summer Reading Suggestions
Please feel free to download these, print them and share with your friends. Most of all, try to make summer reading time a fun, relaxing part of your summer!

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books2016, Mary Ann Scheuer
Great Kid Books & Berkeley Unified School District


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