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Posts from February 2017

Not Quite Milestones: Little Steps along the Path to Literacy

LiteracyMilestoneAAs regular readers know, I occasionally post about my daughter's milestones along her path to literacy. Recently there haven't been any major leaps, but I've noticed a bunch of incremental incidents that I thought readers might find entertaining.  And if not, well, my daughter and I will still have these posts to look back on ourselves. Some of these are follow-up to things that I've written about previously. Others are just, well, reading-related:

WheresWalrusPenguinMissing Picture Books: Recently we went through about a two-week period in which we did not read any picture books. This was because we were reading the first two Harry Potter books, and my daughter was so consumed with those that she had no time for anything else. However, about a third of the way through the Chamber of Secrets, I mentioned something in passing about how missed picture books.

Coincidence or not I am not sure but several days later she asked my husband to read her picture books before bed, instead of Harry Potter. When he asked about it she said: "I miss picture books." And well she should! Picture books are not supposed to fall completely by the wayside once kids start reading chapter books, even if they do take a different position. For the past few days we've been back to reading picture books. The other day, noticing the large stack of review books that I had on the breakfast table she remarked: "We have a lot of catching up to do." We do, and it's going to be great fun.

DoryFriendTaking Partial Ownership of Bedtime Reading: Last night my daughter proposed that we alternate nights for bedtime reading. One night she would read to herself. The next night my husband would read to her. And the the next night I would read to her. And so on. She then proceeded to finish the second Dory Fantasmagory book, along with a Babymouse book and a Lunch Lady book. I'm not actually sure what time she went to sleep. I don't know if this particular rotation plan will stick, but I do like the idea that she wants to do some reading on her own and some reading with us. [Plus, the nighttime reading is difficult for me, because I get up early, and I tend to get sleepy...]

ExtremeBabymouseUnderstanding and Wanting to Share Inside Jokes from Books: She actually came to find me as she was reading Extreme Babymouse last night, because she had come across something hilarious and wanted to share. She had found a cameo of Lunch Lady in the Babymouse book. She was as excited as if she had run across her best friends while we were out to eat somewhere. I was especially pleased that she made a point of showing me the set-up for the cameo, as well as the result. She wanted me to really appreciate it. 

Recognizing Illustrators: My daughter recognizes the work of an ever-increasing list of illustrators. The most recent incident was this morning, when we read the upcoming Hats Off to You! by Karen Beaumont and LeUyen Pham. We didn't even get past the cover before she pointed at one of the girls and said: "I know who this author must be, because she is in a Princess in Black book." I clarified illustrator vs. author, but overall thought it was good recognition. We also received some board books by Junzo Terada, and she picked those out from the cover, too. We enjoy Terada's A Good Home for Max (review). 

PaxAndBlueGuessing Book Dedications: We were reading a new book called Pax and Blue, about a boy and a pigeon.  After reading it I mentioned that I had seen in the end material that the author, Lori Richmond, got the idea for the book from an incident that her son witnessed. My daughter said: "Probably she dedicated this book to her son." We looked, and sure enough, the book appears to be dedicated to her two sons (though we can't know for sure).

Choosing Audiobook over Tablet (at least once): My daughter has been listening to Elizabeth Enright's The Saturdays when we're in the car together. She's not so hooked that she has asked to listen to it in the house (as happened with Pippi Longstocking). However, the other night we were going out to dinner, and the drive was going to be long enough that we would have allowed her the tablet (we have a 30 minute drive minimum for that, because otherwise I start to feel like a chauffeur). She thought about that, and then asked for the book, because she wanted to also sort and count some things she had collected. 

None of these incidents is, perhaps, a major milestone. But together, they show a child who enjoys reading now and who is well-positioned to love books as she gets older. And that latter point is one of my greatest hopes. 

Thanks for reading, and for caring about children's literacy! 

© 2017 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

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 3: Scholastic Reading Report, Audiobooks + #Kidlit Trends

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #DiverseBooks, audiobooks, book fair, books for toddlers, equity in education, free speech, gender bias, growing bookworms, joy of learning, libraries, media, parenting, reading, reading aloud, reading choice, and recess.

Book Lists

JamberryWe have (or had) most of these: 23 Classic Toddler Books, #BookList from @growingbbb  #kidlit

This is a nice #BookList from @TrevorHCairney | 240 Great Children's Books for All Ages (by age range)  #kidlit

Diversity + Gender

How teachers can minimize the gender bias (more passive girls) that still exists in the classroom @WordLib @edutopia

4 Ways to Add #Diversity to Your #HomeLibrary | @growingbbb @Scholastic   #DiverseBooks #reading 

Events + Programs

RadiantbookThe 25th African American Children’s Book Fair is this Saturday 2/4 in PA | @brownbookshelf  #DiverseBooks #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

3 Ways To Grow Independent Readers in the classroom + why love of reading is important  @ReadByExample @TeachThought

.@Scholastic Releases New National Research on Kids + Family Reading @infodocket | #ReadingAloud has increased!

Download the @Scholastic Kids + Family #Reading Report #KFRR plus infographics here:  New focus on #Diversity

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing


Making Sick Days Better with @audible_com by @everead  | I love #audiobooks too!

This post by Jason @escapeadulthood on his son's birthday choices made me remember a really great day (spent reading) in my own life

Truth here: 12 Things All Bookworms Have Said at One Point or Another @ImaginationSoup @ReadBrightly  #reading

This may be useful to you: How to Create a Twitter List of Reliable Media Sources @ReadByExample

Roundup of Various Trends and Themes in Middle Grade Speculative Fiction 2016 from @semicolonblog  #kidlit

IfYouEverCircus-385x500Steam Trains and Fire Poles: Outdated Tropes in #PictureBooks@fuseeight 


Latino Dads Improve #Parenting Skills via classes on #ReadingAloud To Their Kids @NPRHealth @scotthensley

Important: How and Why you should keep your children "Passionately Curious" from @NotJustCute

Schools and Libraries

Author + reading advocate Andy McNab says joyless education is damaging poor UK children's literacy @GuardianBooks

This I like: How State Lawmakers Can Restore Freedom (of Speech) on Public College Campuses @WSJ

Not All Fun And Games: New Guidelines Urge #Schools To Rethink #Recess @sososophia16 @npr_ed  @SHAPE_America

© 2017 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

When An Elephant Falls in Love: Davide Cali & Alice Lotti

Book: When an Elephant Falls in Love
Author: Davide Cali
Illustrator: Alice Lotti
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8

WhenAnElephantWhen an Elephant Falls in Love, by Davide Cali and Alice Lotti, is a rather charming little picture book about the foolish things that a person (well, an elephant) might do upon having a crush on someone. While some of these things are funnier when an elephant does them (such as hiding whenever he sees her), the actions themselves are universal. Like dressing with extra care or lying staring at the clouds for hours. Here's my favorite: 

"When an elephant falls in love,
he leaves flowers at her door.

But he runs away after ringing the bell."

We see the elephant shyly approaching the door with the flowers clasped in his trunk, and then the flowers lying at the foot of the front steps. Both text and illustrations are quite spare (the above is about the most text-dense page spread), with lots of white space, leaving room for the reader's own imagination. 

Although I personally love this book, I do have to point out that I'm not quite sure who the audience for it is. Your average first grade boy, while he might have a crush on a girl, is not taking extra baths or leaving flowers outside the girl's door. He is more likely to be punching his crush in the arm or chasing her on the playground. The actions taken by the elephant feel more like those of a middle schooler, if not an adult.

Then again, my daughter likes watching certain G-rated depictions of people falling in love in movies, so perhaps an audience for this book is five to seven-year-old girls. And if the "foolish" things that the elephant undertakes were to influence a generation of young boys to move from spitballs to flowers, this would certainly not be a bad thing. 

Recommended for those who would like to see a sweet portrayal of the goofiness that can accompany falling in love. 

Publisher: Chronicle Kids (@ChronicleKids
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2017 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, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: February 1: Book Reviews, Narrative Voice, and the Joys of Reading with Kids

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 growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every two to three weeks.

Newsletter Update:  In this issue I have four book reviews (picture book and middle grade) and a quick post about the importance for me of narrative voice. I also have one post linking to an article about reading with kids, two posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, and a post with excerpts from and responses to three #JoyOfLearning related articles that I read recently.

Reading Update: In the past two weeks I read three middle grade and three adult novels, as well as two adult nonfiction titles. I read/listened to: 

FrighteningStoryI'm currently listening to W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton and reading The Most Frightening Story Ever Told by Philip Kerr. I have some travel coming up and have a couple of adult novels saved up on my Kindle. 

My husband and I are still reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling to our daughter. She's also listening to The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright when we're in the car. We went for a couple of weeks without reading any picture books because she was so consumed by Harry Potter, but she has recently started asking for picture books again, which I think is a good thing. She's showing some interest in nonfiction, and enjoyed Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers and Floyd Cooper. She is trying to get the Revolutionary and Civil Wars straight in her head. You can find her 2017 reading list here. I'm working on a full post with a bunch of mini-milestones in her reading, and you can expect that to be in the next newsletter issue. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2016 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