36 posts categorized "Children's Books for Adults" Feed

Why Adults Should Read Children's Books

Book-illustration-150x150 Today at Getting Kids Reading Joyce Grant has an article that summarizes and expands upon ideas from one of my very earliest blog topics: Why You Should Read Children's Books as an Adult (Joyce's post, my original post). I hope that you'll take a few minutes to check out the new post and admire Joyce's snazzy new look for her blog. Here's a snippet from her post:

"When kids see adults reading they’re more likely to read, themselves. It isn’t just a theory, there’s been research done on this. When a kid sees an adult reading a children’s book, he’s even more likely to read."

I think it's true (not to mention all of the other excellent reasons to read children's books). What say all of you? Have you found that by reading children's books, you've helped to encourage your students and/or your children to read themselves?

Terry_readingtubfinal_1 For more on ways to encourage kids to read, check out part 1 of the January Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup at The Reading Tub. Among other interesting news tidbits, Terry links to a podcast interview between Franki Sibberson and Donalyn Miller at Choice Literacy on Modeling Literate Lives. Two of my favorite literacy champions, talking about how to let kids know that reading is worthwhile. Don't miss it!

I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2 of the January Literacy Roundup. Thanks for reading!

A Passion for Children's Books

Just wanted to let you all know that I have an article in this month's issue of Escape Adulthood Magazine. The entire issue is about following your passion, whatever that might be, and there are lots of inspiring articles to choose from. My article, as astute readers will expect, is about retaining a passion for children's books as an adult. You can find out all of the details, and download the issue in PDF, from the Escape Adulthood website. My thanks to Kim and Jason Kotecki for including me in this month's issue of their wonderful magazine. (Mom, your printed copy is on the way.)

Also on the subject of finding and following your passion, I refer you to Patty Palmer's post today at Capturing Joy: Living a Creative Life. Patty reports that her key word is creativity, and that everything she does revolves around that. She asks visitors to join in the discussion, asking: "What is your key word? What inspires you to chose projects or careers? What are you fantastic at? What do you suck at?". I said, not surprisingly, that my key word is reading, but you'll have to click through to see what I said that I do and don't do well, if you're curious.

And while we're on discussing what we're passionate about, I also recommend that you head over to ForeWord Magazine's Shelf Space blog, where this month's guest blogger is the Kidlitosphere's own Jackie Parker from Interactive Reader. Jackie asks readers: "Why do you follow the blogs that you follow? What makes each one stand out to you? What makes some blogs stand out from others that have the same general subject matter? How is it that we begin to feel a connection with a person we’ve never seen, let alone met?" If you have something to share (or you just want to show Jackie some support at her current gig), head on over to Shelf Space.

That's all for now. The Red Sox are on soon (to change gears to another passion of mine). Happy Friday!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

The Battle of the Labyrinth Launches Tomorrow

The Battle of the LabyrinthJust a head's up, for those who haven't been paying attention. The fourth Percy Jackson and the Olympians book, The Battle of the Labyrinth, will be released TOMORROW, May 6th. Advance copies were not released of this title, so there's a lot of excitement among readers wondering what to expect. I think that this will be THE summer reading book for the 10 to 14 year old set (and doubtless will appeal to many older readers, too).

Personally, I'm holding out to buy my copy at Hicklebee's on May 15th, when author Rick Riordan will be visiting. I've been very determined in protecting my schedule that day. But it will be hard to wait... I'm dying to know what role Rachel Elizabeth Dare plays. If I still lived in Austin, I'd be camped out at BookPeople.

Meanwhile, here are some links to keep you occupied:

Children's Books for Adults, Books for Teen Boys and Girls, and Henry Winkler

I have four quick posts that I simply must bring to your attention today:

  • Linda Urban (author of the delightful A Crooked Kind of Perfect), has a post about Kids Books that Appeal to Grown-Ups. Certainly Linda's book falls into that category, but there are plenty of others. Share your suggestions in the comments over at Linda's. There's quite a discussion going on.
  • Meanwhile, over at Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor is thinking about books that appeal to teenage boys. More tangibly, with about 20 other bloggers, she's planning to "create a site that is teenage boy friendly and will provide a lot of book reviews on books boys will like." How cool is that? I can't wait to see what they come up with. And if you have any thoughts on an appealing name for such a site, please head on over and share them.
  • Moving over to think of books that appeal to women and girls, Robin Brande's excellent book, Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, was just chosen for the 2008 list of the Amelia Bloomer Project. Robin's post says: "The Amelia Bloomer Project creates a list of quality fiction and nonfiction titles that affirm positive roles for girls and women." What a perfect fit! I look forward to seeing what else ends up on the list. UPDATED to add: Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins also made the list.
  • I know, I know, I keep talking about Just One More Book! But today they have a podcast that I found especially interesting. Mark talks with actor / producer / author Henry Winkler about his children's books, and his dyslexia. Among other interesting tidbits, Mr. Winkler said that when he speaks to kids, he tells them something like (and I am paraphrasing a bit) "I'm in the bottom 3% academically, and look what I've accomplished. You can do it too." He also discusses how important it is for parents to understand dyslexia and let kids learn the way that they learn best. He even addresses people's impressions of celebrity children's book authors, and makes it quite clear that this is far from just a whim for him. He speaks very highly of his Hank Zipzer books co-author, Lin Oliver, and their plans for continuing the series. This is must-listen stuff, especially for parents of kids with learning differences.

OK, now you can go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Being Childlike (No, Not Childish)

I'm not one of those people who has to run and tell you about every single time that my name is mentioned on someone else's blog. However, I particularly enjoyed a post today at Jason Kotecki's Escape Adulthood blog. Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of Jason and the Escape Adulthood crew. Jason and his wife Kim promote "helping grown-ups of all ages to Escape Adulthood, whether it's through a stress-reducing chuckle or a nostalgic reflection at a treasured childhood memory." Their site is a lot of fun, and they also work towards improving the lives of children.

Today Jason writes about the difficulty of being childlike while meeting life's many grown-up responsibilities. Jason says:

"I don’t think it’s an all or nothing choice. I believe it’s possible to be childlike, have fun, and enjoy life while still being a responsible and successful mom, dad, boss, teacher, employee, or even President of the United States."

And then he gives an example of a friend of his who is an Industrial Engineer and co-founder of a software company, but who also blogs about children's books. That would be me! So very fun to run across this post this morning, as I was checking the blog updates.

What pleases me most about Jason's post (and this is feedback that I've received from others offline, most recently from Adrienne) is the notion that it's ok, and perhaps even something to proud of, having this strange dichotomy between the work that I do professionally, and my personal passion for children's books and literacy. Sometimes I worry about linking the two publicly. Will prospective customers of my company think that I'm not taking the work side of things seriously enough, if I'm using my spare time to review children's books? Will visitors to my blog have less confidence in my recommendations because I don't have a background as a librarian or a writer?

Well, yes, both of these things could, and probably do, happen in some cases. But this is who I am. This is where my life has ended up so far. And for all of the people who would look down on one side or the other, I'm sure that there are others who think that it's interesting, or who think that the one side rounds out the other. Jason would say that this two-faceted lifestyle is one "that actually gives you a better chance of reaching your full potential as a person, and one that guarantees that you’ll have fun along the way."

What do you think? Do you try to balance the responsible adult with the childlike spirit within?

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

More Lessons from Books

Since I posted yesterday about lessons that I've learned from children's books, there have been a couple of other posts on this topic that I wanted to bring to your attention.

  • Wendy has two posts on the topic at Blog from the Windowsill. First, she posts a wonderful quote from The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway about the "big tasks" that children in books have accomplished, and thus inspired the child in The Greenstone Grail. In her second post she shares how she "found in children's books the values that were blatantly lacking in (her) everyday world" during a "poor and urban" childhood. It's definitely food for thought.
  • Alkelda over at Saints and Spinners shares some stories about the first four books that she remembers learning from: A Bargain for Francis, The Runaway Bunny, The Terrible Tiger, and Over in the Meadow.
  • And, in the comments from my original post are some additional thoughts on this topic from MotherReader and Jennifer from Snapshot. There are also some contributions in the comments from Kelly's original post on this at Big A little a.
  • UPDATE: See also Michele's list on Scholar's Blog of "children's books with plots that have remained intensely alive in my head for 25 or more years".

Those of us who love children's books simply can't resist this topic, that's all there is to it. What have you learned from children's books?

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

"Because I Wanted To Read Children's Books"

I enjoyed Tracy Grant's interview with Matthew Skelton, published in Monday's Washington Post. Skelton is the author of the recently published middle grade novel Endymion Spring. I haven't read it yet, but it's about two boys, separated by 500 years, who both love books. It's recommended for fans of Inkheart, and is certainly not one that I'll be able to resist.

My favorite part of the interview was when Tracy Grant asked Matthew Skelton what made him want to write the book. He replied: "I was working on my PhD ... and didn't want to read adult books. I wanted to read children's books." A man after my own heart!

As reported earlier this week by Kelly at Big A little a, the Post also includes an excerpt from Endymion Spring and a Meet the Author feature.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Top Picks for 2006 (So Far)

MotherReader has called on members of the kidlitosphere to select our top picks for 2006 (so far), by age. She asked for only five in each category. Narrowing things down was very difficult. To make it easier, I limited myself to books first published in 2006. This eliminates many excellent books that I read this year that were published last year (or earlier). Here are my selections:

Elementary School

Middle School

High School

Please note that this list is highly subjective. It's the books that I've personally enjoyed the most out of the books that I read this year, and that were published this year. It was difficult to choose, and I read a lot of other wonderful books, too. There are also books that I've heard great things about, and am dying to read, but I did not add any books to my list on the basis of expecting to like them. I'll be interested to see what other people pick!

UPDATE: Above post edited to remove Pond Scum, which, although I loved it, turns out to have been published in 2005. My mistake! I replaced it with Happy Kid!, which I've just learned from author Gail Gauthier was actually published in May 2006, despite Amazon listing it as December 31, 2005. Sorry for any confusion, and thanks to A Fuse #8 Production and Gail Gauthier for taking the time to point out my mistakes.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Too Grown Up for Kids' Stuff!?

Jason Kotecki, "young at heart" attitude advocate and author of the book Escape Adulthood (a must-read for you adult readers of children's books), sent me a link to a great article from today's The Star Online. The article is by Daphne Lee, and is about a recent conversation that she had with a colleague who she calls "R". R, like others of Daphne's acquaintance, tends to disparage children's books, considering them "less complex", "not as challenging", and generally "inferior" to adult literature. Daphne, a frequent reader of children's books, begs to differ, and challenges R to actually read a current book from the children's or young adult section of the bookstore. She also offers a solid defense of children's books, including this paragraph:

"Children’s books offer unique viewpoints on a myriad of topics and issues. It’s not just about catching burglars or getting a date for the prom, nor has it ever been."

I recommend that if you enjoy children's books, and especially if you are sometimes embarrassed about reading children's books as an adult, you check out this article. You can also visit Daphne's blog for reading suggestions.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

City-Wide Reading of a Children's Book

I'm always saying that adults should consider reading children's books. So I was pleased to see this article in the Salisbury Journal about a Salisbury, England reading initiative. Thousands of free children's books are being distributed to local citizens as part of "an exciting initiative to get people across Salisbury reading and talking about the same book".

The novel chosen for the project is a book called Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo. "Kensuke's Kingdom is a children's book but organisers of Salisbury Reads believe that adults will love the exciting tale, too." Some of the copies of the books are being distributed at schools, but others are being left lying about in public places like parks, with the hope that people will pick them up and start reading. What a fun program! You can find more information on the Salisbury Reads website. This book is available in the U.S., and I've added it to my to read list, too.

Growing Bookworms Website

As regular visitors to this site can probably infer, I love blogging about books and literacy. In just over four months, I've made about 165 posts (an average of 1.3 posts per day). I enjoy the ease of posting, and the ease of browsing other blogs to read recent posts.

What I find frustrating about the blog format, however, is the difficulty of finding past articles that I've written, especially book reviews. Therefore, I've decided to add a companion website to this blog. You can find it at www.GrowingBookworms.com. Of course you'll still be able to find new posts on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page.

At my Growing Bookworms site I've included lists of books that I've read recently, want to read, and recommend (categorized according to whether they are kids books or books intended for adults). I've also included an Index of Book Reviews, with links back to the original reviews on my blog. I certainly expect this index to grow.

Over time, I also expect to fill out my lists of recommended books in more detail (they tend to include only recent reads right now), and to include other resources helpful for growing and sustaining bookworms of all ages. Of course I'll have a special emphasis on resources for raising children who love books, and on children's books that adults will enjoy, because those are my strongest interests. Readers of adult mysteries and thrillers will also find recommendations. Because, to paraphrase the author P. B. Kerr, 'mysteries and thrillers are children's books for adults anyway'.

If you have some time, please visit my new site and tell me what you think. Thanks! Have a great week!