Growing Bookworms Newsletter: September 19: #Library Visits, Self-Made Newspapers, and the Power of Twos
Today, 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 usually sent out every three weeks.
Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two book reviews (one middle grade and one adult), three literacy milestones (writing a newspaper, making regular library visits, and not passing on a graphic novel addiction), and one mathematical milestone (reveling in the power of twos). I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, full of reading- and education-related news.
Reading Update: In the last three weeks I finished one young adult and eight adult titles. I read/listened to:
- Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Little White Lies (Debutantes, No. 1). Free Form Books (Disney). Young Adult Fiction. Completed September 1, 2018, print ARC. Review to come.
- Justin Lee: Talking Across the Divide: How to Communicate with People You Disagree with and Maybe Even Change the World. Tarcher/Perigee. Adult Nonfiction. Completed August 29, 2018, on Kindle. This was interesting, but I'm not actually determined enough to change anyone else's mind for it to be completely useful.
- William Kent Krueger: Heaven's Keep (Cork O'Connor). Atria Books. Adult Mystery. Completed August 29, 2018, on MP3.
- KJ Dell'Antonia: How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute. Avery. Adult Nonfiction. Competed September 2, 2018, on Kindle. My review.
- Scott Adams: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. Portfolio. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 5, 2018, on MP3. This one I really enjoyed, and definitely found a few useful take-home messages about things like exercise and happiness.
- Kim Brooks: Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear. Flatiron Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 10, 2018, on MP3. A friend on Facebook recommended this book to me. It was written by a woman whose life was changed forever when she got into legal trouble for leaving her four year old alone in a car for a few minutes. She ended up on something of a personal quest to understand how and why parenting has changed (to a cult of overprotection) in recent years. I am also concerned with this, and appreciated some of the insights from experts that Brooks talked to (including Lenore Skenazy). However, I found the author's tone rather whiny and anxious for my taste (compounded by her self-reading of the audiobook). Not a keeper for me.
- Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. Penguin Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 13, 2018, on Kindle. This book was fabulous. I think everyone (especially college administrators) should read it. It's about how well-intentioned parents have over-protected kids to the extent that they have trouble facing any dissent or anxiety. Then consumer-driven college administrators have compounded the problem by allowing students to conflate the need for physical safety with the need to be protected from any idea that they don't like. The authors show how damaging this all is psychologically to the kids of GenZ (or i-Gen, or whatever you want to call them), and propose steps that they think schools and parents should take to improve the situation. Important stuff, if you ask me.
- Catherine Pearlman: Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction. TarcherPerigee. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 13, 2018, on Kindle. This was a quick little read, written by a family counselor who advises that parents studiously ignore all behaviors that they don't want to reinforce (whining, negotiating, etc.). The idea is to find positive ways for kids to get what they want, and not reward them with attention for the negative behaviors. Which all certainly makes sense.
- Craig Johnson: Depth of Winter: A Longmire Mystery. Viking. Adult Mystery. Completed 9/14/18, on MP3. This is a bit of an odd installment to the series, one in which Walt is on his own in Mexico without his usual backup team (though with support from some new characters), searching for his kidnapped daughter. I enjoyed it, though.
I'm currently dipping my way between several nonfiction titles at once on my Kindle, and have a couple of new middle grade books calling to me from my nightstand. I'm listening to The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen. I've also been dabbling in listening to podcasts. I'm enjoying the immediacy of that (e.g. listening to people talking about current events), but it is cutting into my ability to listen to actual books. I'll have to see where that goes. My daughter has been on my case to do more reading of physical books, instead of reading on my Kindle. I think she saw something about it in one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. And she's not convinced that the Kindle (Paperwhite) is any better than any other screen. I'll have to see where that goes, too. I have picked up a few nonfiction titles in print instead of on my Kindle, but I find it a bit less convenient to read them (I just take the Kindle everywhere).
My daughter and I are continuing to read picture books together while she eats breakfast. We've been checking out a few each week from the library (more details about our library visits here). We mix these in with books from our "keep" shelf. We are starting to have a bit of trouble getting her ready for school on time because we both want to keep reading.
On her own she's been tearing through the Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths. She's also dipped a toe into chapter books, finally reading one of the titles for the Battle of the Books, and reading Andrew Clements' The Losers Club. She started that one probably a year ago, before she was ready, and I was pleased to see recently that she had pulled it from the book bin in the car and was about halfway through. She also finished the second Harry Potter book, switching back and forth between a copy from home and a school library copy. She alternates reading these books with heavy doses of her regular favorite graphic and notebook novels. Cosmic Commandos by Christopher Eliopoulos has been in heavy rotation as have the Babymouse books.
Third grade is going well for her so far. I'd been a bit concerned because this is the first year that she will have a requirement for a certain number of AR points (sigh). However, so far it's been ok. Her teacher doesn't seem particularly focused on this - she cares more about generating enthusiasm for reading and writing. And my daughter was able to knock out this month's requirement by taking the test for the first Harry Potter book. I've let her know that there is no need for her to be competing to get a high number of points, so I'm pretty confident that we'll get through this year unscathed. But I am already seeing some of her friends struggle (weekly tests limiting kids to reading shorter books so that they can finish in time, etc.). I'm sure I'll be writing about that more as time goes on. But for now, so far so good. She loves her teacher and continues to read and write whenever she can.
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!