17 posts categorized "Bookworm Moments" Feed

#BookwormMoments: The Best (Bookworm) Mommy in the World

SmileMy daughter ran across a brand new copy of Raina Telgemeier's Smile that I had stashed on a shelf where I keep potential gifts. (You never know when  you might need a solid graphic novel for a short-notice birthday gift.) Here's the conversation that followed:

Daughter: "Can I read it?"

Me: "You already have a copy of Smile."

Daughter: "PLEASE!? I don't know where my copy is."

Me: "Fine. Go ahead."

Daughter: "You're the best mommy in the world."

Me: "That's true." (Best bookworm mommy she'll ever have anyway)

I haven't been very motivated to blog of late, but thought that readers might enjoy this small window into our coronavirus quarantine. Thanks for reading and for growing bookworms! 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.


Quite Possibly my Favorite Saturday Morning Ever (and a validation of giving kids #ReadingChoice)

As I write this, it's 11:15 on a Saturday morning. My husband is out of town. My daughter has been awake for 3 hours. She is still in bed. Reading. There are occasional peals of laughter or cries lament ("Not the PRINCESS!") from her room. She's called out a couple of times to make me guess what chapter she is on. But the house is otherwise quiet. This is quite possibly my favorite Saturday morning ever.

LandOfStories3She's reading the third Land of Stories book, A Grimm Warning, by Chris Colfer. She is hoping to stay in bed until she finishes. I have postponed the plans that I had to take her to library this morning. I am getting a lot done. Regular readers know that this is NOT the primary aspect of this that is making me happy, though it is a nice bonus.

[Updated to add that she took a short break for what turned out to be brunch, and then went back to her lair and read until she finished just before 2 pm. This post may need to be re-titled something like Literacy Milestone: Spending All Day Reading on a Saturday Because You HAVE to Finish. I even had to turn down a playdate. ]

Remarks are in order here about reading choice. Someone, I don't remember who, recommended this series to us. I checked out the first book from the public library a couple of months ago. My daughter had no interest, and I returned it, unread.

Last week she picked up the third book from her school library. (This story is a validation of well-stocked school libraries, too.) Book 3 was the one in stock. Her friend told her that it wasn't necessary to read the first two to follow the story. That was good enough for my kid!

She's been devouring A Grimm Warning ever since. This is the book that helped her to get back into reading after she had trouble shaking the Candymakers world from her brain. I'm grateful that there are more books in the series. We already have requests in to the public library for the next two books (which are checked out from our local branches.)

Back to reading choice, in case this wasn't obvious. My daughter had no interest in this series when I recommended it. But when she found it on her own, seconded by a recommendation from a peer ... she was all in. Sure, some of that is because even though it's only been a couple of months, she's at a different reading  stage. But I truly believe that a big part of her immersion in A Grimm Warning this weekend has to do with the fact that she chose it herself. And that is it should be. 

Parents, if you want your kids to be readers, by all means make sure they have access to books. But as much as you can, let them choose. If you do, you may one day be rewarded with a Saturday like this one. 

Thanks for reading!

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


#BookwormMoments: Reading in Disney World

MagicKingdomBooksMy family visited Disney World last week. On  the first day, my daughter, who is currently obsessed by the two-book The Candymakers series by Wendy Mass, lamented every moment that she didn't have her (very thick) book with her. By the last day, she was toting not one but two books as we headed to the Magic Kingdom. 

It's a bit hard to see in the photo here, but she is reading a graphic novel as we wait for the bus, with The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase visible in her (new) backpack. She chose the backpack as her souvenir from the trip with carrying books around in mind. On taking TWO books with her, she explained that the graphic novel was for when she couldn't concentrate well (as when  in line), while the novel was for quieter moments when she could focus.

This, my friends, is exhibit A on why parents should get out of the way and let kids read what they want to read. If I had pushed her to bring along some book that I wanted  her to read, do you think she would have sat happily reading while my husband and I waited in the Citrus Swirl line? Or while we waited for our food at dinner? Bringing her books along to the park was her idea and her idea alone. 

We probably would have brought one of the books with us every day, but the Candymakers books (hardcover library editions) are heavy! A friend suggested on Facebook that I get my daughter a Kindle. That's what I do myself: I always bring my Kindle Paperwhite to the parks in the expectation of some reading time. However, my daughter and I both prefer for her to read in print for now. She likes seeing her progress through these big books. And I think she likes the way that being seen with a book in the parks (and in airports and restaurants) displays her bookworm identity. 

Candymakers2One final note: the Candymakers books are the first big, fat, all-text books that she has devoured from cover to cover. (Well, she's almost done with the second one - I just head a "YES!" from her room, where she is reading in bed this fine Saturday morning.) She's read shorter middle grade books, but with more fits and starts, mixed in with her steady diet of graphic and notebook novels. This series feels like a turning point for her, one that I am happy about.

I have always celebrated her love of graphic novels and expect her to continue reading them for years to come. But I'm excited for her now, because reading more broadly in the middle grade realm opens up so many other opportunities for her enjoyment. We have two other Wendy Mass books on order, and I'm mulling other Candymakers read-alikes.

But mostly, I think I just need to get out of the way at this point. She found these books on her own, while browsing the school library with a friend. She will find the next ones, too. Parents, have faith in reading choice. And no matter what the school librarian says, if a book is captivating your child, by all means let her bring it on vacation. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.


Bookworm Moments: Singing Happy Birthday to Authors

FebruaryReadingCalendarFunThis one is actually more of a bookworm behavior than a bookworm moment. My daughter has been bringing me great joy over the past several months by singing Happy Birthday to children's and young adult authors and illustrators. This started in the fall, when her 4th grade teacher sent home a 2019-2020 Wild About Reading calendar from Scholastic. I believe this calendar was a Scholastic Reading Club incentive of some sort. While I'm not normally a huge fan of extrinsic rewards, this calendar is fabulous!! Thank you, Scholastic! 

Here's a sample page (all copyrights to Scholastic and anyone they negotiated with for the rights to the images on the calendar). Click to view a larger version. Book-related holidays are featured, as are author birthdays. 

Every morning my daughter checks the calendar and (if there are any) sings a quick round of Happy Birthday to each author/illustrator. If she forgets, she does a marathon session the next day. If you look closely you'll see that she looks ahead and adds stars to highlight particular favorites (a pen normally hangs down over the calendar).

For February we see Mo Willems and Jeff Kinney with stars. Bob Staake and Shanon Hale featured in January, as I recall. She is pleased when I can tell her that I a personally know author in question in some way. But, for the most part, her relative level of excitement has to do with how much she loves that author's books. As it should be. 

This morning she noticed that the calendar declares: "Take Your Child to the Library Day". She shrieked with excitement and came racing into the kitchen to let me know. She dragged me back to her room to show this to me (not that I would have doubted her word). Have I mentioned that I love this calendar? 

WildAboutReadingCalendarScholasticI have no idea how she came up with this idea of singing happy birthday to authors. But it makes me happy every time I hear it. I hope that hearing about this makes you happy, too. And if you are an author whose birthday is featured on the Wild About Reading calendar, feel free to picture an enthusiastic 9-year-old serenading you from San Jose. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.


Bookworm Moments: Shrieking with Joy because Two Characters Kiss

MyLifeAsABookAs regular readers know, I read aloud to my daughter while she eats breakfast on school days. We are currently working our way through the My Life series by Janet Tashjian (highly, highly recommend them). The other day, an exciting event occurred in this tween series. I won't tell you which title this occurred in, but... A Boy Kissed a Girl on the Cheek! It's true.

My daughter, who has been immersed in this series for months now, shrieked with delight. I would imagine the neighbors heard. Perhaps you heard from wherever you live. She was very loud. She also got up from her chair to hug me, simply unable to contain her joy. Of course this reaction is partly due to her age (she is almost 10). But how great is it that she was so invested in the lives of these characters that she could not contain herself? 

It was a great start to my day. Hope the story brightens yours. 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.


#BookwormMoments: This Is How Bookworms Exercise

HowBookwormsExercise_FotorRecently my daughter taken to slowly roller-skating around our kitchen while reading graphic novels. When initially questioned about this behavior she said: "This is how bookworms exercise." Can't argue with that. Personally, I listen to audiobooks when I exercise, but whatever works. 

She also  rode in the shopping cart at the grocery store today, with food stacked all around her, so that she could read while I grocery shopped. Extra exercise for me, at least. 

Happy New Year! 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


#BookwormMoments: Reading while Walking through the Mall

UltraSquadMy daughter and I spent some time at the mall recently. In truth, this is not my favorite pastime, but we needed a couple of things. I'm not sure if you all know this, but the tween girl-focused Justice store carries its own series of graphic novels, called Ultra Squad. I haven't read them myself, but in her quest to possess every single middle grade novel known to mankind, my daughter always checks for new installments. [I might add that I don't see her re-reading them very often, which suggests that they are not her top favorites, but I still respect Justice for adding some books to the sparkly mix of bling at the front of the stores.]

Anyway, this time there was a new book, and my arm was twisted to purchase it. This resulted in the following photo. 

ReadingIntheMall

Yes, that's my daughter walking through the mall while reading a graphic novel. If you think about it, the $8 I spent on the book probably saved me from arguing about quite a few other "I wants" before we could make our way to the exit. It did require a bit of vigilance to make sure that she didn't walk into anyone, but of course it was worth it. 

This is what bookworms do. We read whenever we can seize the opportunity to do so. Especially when there's a new book in hand. 

Could I just turn in this photo to her teacher, do you think? Instead of a reading log? Don't you think that a tween girl who walks through the mall reading probably does read enough over the course of the month? [Kidding. And hoping to hold onto this behavior for as long as I can.]

I took this photo to remember the moment, and because I thought that my bookish friends would appreciate it. Happy reading to all! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


Tip for #GrowingBookworms: Take Photos of Your Kids Surrounded by Books

I don't know about your kids, but my 9 year old daughter LOVES to look at pictures of herself as a baby / toddler / etc. This  is always nice, of course, but something I noticed recently was that looking at these photos is reinforcing her identity as a person who loves books.

BabyAnimalsWhen she was a baby we generally surrounded  her with books. She had accordion-style books with pictures of baby faces open in her pack-n-play. We would toss down those "indestructibles" when she was doing tummy time. We would give her taggies books to gnaw on in her carseat while we were out at restaurants (she loved the one below, with a mirror on it). We would read to her while she had her bottle. And so on.

Being first-time parents, we took lots of pictures. And because the books were always around, it turns out that we have a lot of pictures of her holding, chewing, or otherwise surrounded by books. 

Yesterday my daughter and I were looking through some little photo books that I made when she was small, and she made some remark about always having loved books. We came to a photo that included a particular book with an attached stuffed animal. I remarked that I believed this particular book to be the very first object that she ever reached for. This made her positively giddy with joy. "The first thing I reached for was a BOOK!"  She was thrilled. 

TaggiesMirrorIt struck me that every time we look at these photos, her identity as a person who loves books is reinforced. It then struck me that parents  who want to raise kids who love books could purposefully take such pictures in the first place. I'm not suggesting that you fake it and create some sort of artificial record of your baby's childhood. But if your baby happens to be holding a board book that the doctor gave her at her six-month checkup (thank you, Reach Out and Read!), make sure you snap a quick photo. If you always stick books in the playpen with the stuffed animals, make sure you capture them in photos from time to time.

Truth be told, if you know that you want your child to grow up to love books, you are probably already surrounding her with books anyway, right? If not, well, that's something to think about, too. 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


Tip for #GrowingBookworms: Schedule Playdates at the Library

I was reading a blog post by Pernille Ripp over the weekend in which she talked  about ways  for teachers to encourage kids who aren't reading (serial book abandoners). There are many good ideas  in the post, but one question she asked particularly struck me:

"Do they have people? Is it cool to not be a reader in their friend group? Who do they have to talk books to? Do they have reading role models that extend beyond the teacher? ..." 

This reminded me of something that I've done a couple of times to nurture having "book people" for my daughter. I thought the idea might be useful to other parents who are looking to support a love of reading in their kids. 

I have been scheduling playdates at the public library for my 9 year old. I am very lucky that not only are there several library branches within an easy drive of our neighborhood, but one of them has an outdoor playground accessible from the same parking lot. Brilliant work, San Jose! So here's what I've done with a couple of my daughter's friends on different occasions. 

  • Pick up the other child or meet at the library.
  • Go first to let them play in the children's section for a bit (and return books, use the restroom, etc.).
  • Take them to the playground and let them loose (bringing a comfortable folding chair and something to read for myself as well as snacks for them).
  • Let them play for as long as possible, and then return to the library to pick out books to take home. 

There is nothing like watching your child and a friend recommend books to each other, or listening to them chatter about books in the back seat while you drive. Of course you have to choose a friend who wants to go to the library, but in our case the playground also helps. I've only done this one-on-one. I realize it will be more challenging to accomplish if there are siblings with their own needs to balance, but I think it could still work.

I also think it could still work without a playground, though you probably won't be able to stay for as long. When I went recently with my daughter and her friend they had a great time giggling over the games for preschoolers on the computer. I did not fuss about screen time. I want them to enjoy the library and have fun there. And in truth they got bored with that pretty quickly.  [And yes, I supervised - I'm not saying to leave your kids at the library or anything, or to burden the library staff with watching them.]

I agree with Pernille that to become readers, it helps if kids have friends who are readers, too. If your child is lucky enough to have friends who like books, consider scheduling some playdates at the library. And really, if your child's friends don't like books, you might as well try this anyway. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


Bookworm Moments: Mourning a Ruined Book

AnneGraphicNovelMy daughter was out with my husband the other day. When she came home she immediately came to find me, with something in her hands. I couldn't quite see what it was when she called out: "Mommy! Something died!". I thought maybe they had seen a dead animal by the side of the road or something. But no. The "something" that had died was her copy of the Anne of Green Gables graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler. Apparently after the book sat in the heat in my husband's car for some period of time, the glue binding the pages together gave way. The book fell to pieces in my daughter's hands. She was devastated! 

We've all been there, mourning a ruined book. I'm still sad over my copy of The Scalawags of Oz, which was lost to water damage in my basement bedroom when I was young. In this case, I did put the pages  back in order, but it was  going to be pretty tough to read the book. [I find that difficult enough with unbound picture book ARCs.]

BookGirlOf course, this is the age of eCommerce. My daughter begged me to order another copy. Immediately. And while I really am trying to teach her that not all whims  need to be immediately granted ... this was Anne of Green Gables! Coincidentally, the very next page of the book that I was reading at the time, Sarah Clarkson's Book Girl, waxed rhapsodic over  the original Anne books. And  so ... one more Amazon  delivery came to our house this week. Anne with an e was restored. We kept the fallen apart copy to use for projects. 

A small price to pay for a child who loves books, I say. My daughter later rewarded me by remarking: "What I love about Anne  is how great her vocabulary is."  Then she quoted me a line from took. 

One day, I hope that she'll read the original. But for now, it's enough that she loves Anne enough to genuinely mourn damage to a book. 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


#BookwormMoments: Creating a Book Nook

IMG_7006My daughter had one of those bunk bed setups where there's a top bunk and a removable full-size bed underneath. We recently moved the full-size bed to another room. I noticed that the space underneath the top bunk seemed big enough to hold the two bookshelves that were on the other side of the room. My daughter immediately seized on this idea. I don't remember which of us started referring to the area as a book nook, but she was immediately eager for said nook to be arranged.

IMG_0336She even got ready for school early so that we had extra time in the mornings to move the bookshelves. This ended up involving a weeding/sorting process, discussed in a previous post. The initial stacks are shown to the left. The whole thing  took a couple of days, but in the end the shelves were much better organized. I only hit my head on the upper bunk once, so that was a win, too. 

Once the bookshelves were moved, a trip to Target followed, during which two beanbag chairs were procured.

And voila! A new book nook! I hope it gets many hours of enjoyment. 

One of the ways to encourage kids to read is to give them comfortable spaces in which to do so. I feel fortunate that we were able to put together this one.  Happy reading! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


#BookwormMoments: Seeking a Book that "Calls Out to Me"

BetterYouThanMeThis morning I found my daughter in my office, perusing the stacks of books. She said: "I'm looking for a big book that kinda calls out to me. Something like Better You Than Me or Snow and Rose." [Two titles that she had previously pulled from the stack and enjoyed, and that were both more challenging than her usual fare.] I pulled a few things from  the stacks, but they apparently did not call out to her. We had to head out and that desire was not met for today. 

Clearly we are in need of a visit to the library, where the books are much better organized.

But isn't that what we're all after as readers? That book that just calls out to us to be read. It was a tiny moment in our day, but it made me  happy. 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage