Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Early Readers - Nice Wheels

Recently, I have been trying to locate, mainly for curiosity sake, some decent Early Readers. This past week I checked out a number of them from our local library and hope to provide a few reviews over the next couple of weeks. Generally, it is hard to find an Early Reader that isn’t boring or lacking in something to keep a reader’s interest. Granted when writing these the author is trying to stick to a controlled vocabulary list and you never know what the editor is thinking when selecting the illustrator. Hopefully, this lack of decent Early Readers isn’t putting off kids that need help in moving forward in their independent reading.

Nice Wheels – Gwendolyn Hooks 2005

This book is part of the My First Reader series from Scholastic. Overall, it is pretty good and even tackles what could be a touchy subject. We find that a new boy is joining an existing class, but he is also in a wheelchair. The main character (a nameless boy) narrates the story through his thoughts about the “new kid” and wonders if he can do what the rest of the class can do. As the class goes through its daily activities, the class and narrator sees that the “new kid” can do all the same things they can such as paint in art class, sing in music, share during lunch, etc.

The illustrator does a nice job in presenting the message and story without over doing the wheelchair factor. The expressions of the class and the “new kid” are upbeat and believable. This book makes for a nice story to learn about school activities and others that may appear to be different along with a number of new easy to recognize words.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Family Fun with Money & Coins

Are you looking for some fun with money? No, no! Not that kind of fun. I mean history type fun. Well, if I still have your attention then check out the site The U.S. Mint's Fun Facts. They have some great information as well as fun activities. It isn't just the kids that are enjoying those new quarters that are coming out every three months. I think many adults (or at least the ones I know) are eagerly anticipating each new release as well. Plus, with several new nickel designs being released recently and the latest remake of the ten dollar bill, you can't help being interested in the changes and the history behind the old versus new.

If you are looking for a specific family and kid friendly activity (for those kids that have stopped putting things in their mouth), an idea, if you haven't already, is try finding and collecting all the new quarters. What a great way to learn about different U.S. facts and the states. For each quarter release, you can check out the page Coin News. There are several coin programs discussed in The Coins Are Coming section, but it is the 50 State Quarters Program you want to look at. Under this link you will find out the why's to the state's quarter design such as why a particular symbol is included or slogan. Under Coin News you will also find a information on: Making Cents, Coin of the Month, The Coins Are Coming, The Real Tour of the Mint, The Minting Process Revealed, and Europe's Euro.

There also are a number of other informative topics and such you will find at The U.S. Mint's Fun Facts, but a favorite of mine is The U.S. Mint Library. Here "You'll find dozens of numismatics images of coins, buildings, machinery, people...from A-Z! (That's Abraham Lincoln to the Zinc-coated 1943 penny!)". Amazing! I have only recently begun an interest in coins due to my husband's influence. He and his dad have been collecting for years. It is one of his favorite fun father/son activity memories.

Now, if you are interested in some books to get you started or just are curious check these out:

Follow the money! by Loreen Leedy - Summary: "A quarter describes all the ways it is used from the time it is minted until it is taken back to a bank."
Paper Money by Dana Meachen Rau - Summary: "Presents a children's book for early readers that describes the history of coins and paper money and how to spend and save it wisely."
Money by Joe Cribb (A DK book) - Summary: "Examines, in text and photographs, the symbolic and material meaning of money, from shekels, shells, and beads to gold, silver, checks, and credit cards. Also discusses how coins and banknotes are made, the value of money during wartime, and how to collect coins."
Money: A Rich History by Jon Anderson - Summary: "Briefly relates the origins and history of money, how coins and paper money are made and other money-related facts, presented in the form of a child's school report."
(This is an older book, but popular.) Jelly Beans for Sale by Bruce McMillan - Summary: "Shows how different combinations of pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters can buy varying amounts of jelly beans. Includes information on how jelly beans are made."
My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tolowa M. Mollel - Summary: "A Tanzanian boy saves his coins to buy a bicycle so that he can help his parents carry goods to market, but then he discovers that in spite of all he has saved, he still does not have enough money."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Babybug and Other Reading Material Options

It has been so long since I have had a chance to check out magazines for kids. There are so many now available and on so many different topics and format types. When I was young all I remember is Highlights and National Geographic. But, a few months back I discovered there is actually a magazine just for babies. So, what do I do, but of course, I subscribed to it. The magazine is called Babybug. It is published by Carus, who also produces Cricket and other worthwhile magazines.

However, after now receiving our first copy of Babybug, so far, I have to admit it really isn't what I thought it would be. Yes, I was probably over estimating its potential for babies. Carus describes Babybug as "the listening and looking magazine for infants and toddlers, is just right for small hands. " Well, I think it is right on target for toddlers that are at least 24 months and older. However, I wouldn't recommended it for anyone younger. For a magazine though it comes across as okay in content and structure. The medium weight of the cardboard type pages works well for toddlers sitting on a lap who like to turn the pages. The stories are very, very short and are accompanied by simple and engaging artwork. Overall, I would not recommend getting this magazine unless you have a little one with an extremely short attention span or one that likes quick variety. Although, I am trying not to judge the magazine as a book, it really is hard to explain my disappointment without comparison. For this age of a market I must admit, they are better suited I think for regular boardbooks. But, then again each child is different and this may be better for one rather than another.

But, I do want to mention there are a number of wonderful magazines written just for kids (usually 9 and up) that are great. Try ones like Spider, Kids (National Geographic), Ranger Rick, American Girl, Appleseed, etc. To me magazines seem to match up better with kids that are at least able to read on their own rather than needing assistance. The wear and tear alone makes it difficult to maintain, plus kids at earlier ages tend to like repetition more, which magazines cannot offer. (Just a thought though, magazines like American Girl and such offer a lot of advertisements versus those like Spider.)

Some others to consider:
Cobblestone: "is American history magazine for kids 9 to 14. Read about many events and places, from Colonial Williamsburg to famous battles of the Civil War to the Gold Rush to the Korean War."
Cricket: "is filled with stories, poems, puzzles, recipes, and science and nature articles- all designed to stimulate the imagination and help young people discover and explore the world around them". (ages 8 and 12)
Dig: "lets young people ages 9-14 share in the thrill of archaeological discovery while learning about the cultural, scientific and architectural traits and beliefs of different societies."
Faces: "is about the cultures of the world for kids 9-14. Each issue focuses on a different cultures- from Laos to Morocco to Jamaica."
Muse: ages of 9 and 14 (sponsored by Smithsonian) "features articles on space, genetics, lasers, rain forests, computers, physics, math, and visual arts."
Sports Illustrated for Kids: "covers sports and includes interviews with sports heroes, hilarious comics, awesome action photos, etc." (lots of ads)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Non Fiction - Quilt of States

Quilt of States: Piecing Together America by Adrienne Yorinks (and contributions by 50 librarians across the nation) 2005

This juvenile book caught my eye first because of the quilt connection then the authorship indicating assistance from 50 librarians. Then seeing the publisher is National Geographic, which lends some support to its credibility, peaked my interest even more as I have in the past found most of their publications generally have appealing content. So, from here I grabbed the book up headed to check out and thought this is a book worthy of looking at. (I do usually find many good non-fiction books, but I seem to have difficulty in writing about them.)

Now, one of the other things that struck me right off hand was, I doubt seriously if any young gentleman would venture to check out a book with the word Quilt as the first word in the title. However, there are some that are desperate enough when it is crunch time for a paper and need a print resource.

So, off to the pages I went in search of enlightenment, which I did find. Following a brief historical introduction the states are arranged in the order in which they were admitted to the union. For each state the author created a quilt patch that artistically highlights what is found and/or unique about the state in a two page spread. For instance, Indiana's design includes a race car, cow, corn, state flower, etc., with the state shape and capital set apart in a distinctive manner. The state information is laid out to appear to be a part of the quilt and includes a very succinct description about the state. This included the state's "ownership" or territorial background, what needed to be done to join the union, and when this happened. The originator of the information is then credited.

Interspersed throughout the book are quilt designs of the United States and what its' territories and states comprised of at a particular time period. Compiled at the end of the book are helpful specific state facts arranged in alphabetic order. In addition, a contributor section is included briefly describing the person's position and authority basis for the information provided. (By the way, they were not all librarians.)

Overall, it is a really nice book. But, I really do not think it would be of any interest to students lower than 3rd grade and will probably be only of use to students in 5th grade due to their curriculum of U.S. history (at least those here locally). If you like U.S. trivia whether young or adult, this is a book that you would enjoy. If not, skip it unless you know someone in need of a quick print resource for a paper.

P.S. If you know a person you really is into quilts, they would like this book too. Really creative and artistic work. Another "kid" book that makes a good adult book.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chapter Books - Here Lies the Librarian

I know, I know. I previously mentioned this book back on the 4th of May. But at that time I still hadn't put my little hands around the cover and opened it for my own eyes to savor. Now my husband who stops by occasionally to see what I have written about noticed the write up and decided I needed to have this book. Did I mention he is the most thoughtful man and I am so fortunate to have snagged him? Well, anyway I have now officially read the book. The good thing is it is great. The bad thing is I kept getting caught up with background and setting for the story (my issue though not the book's). Being a long life Hoosier and one from central Indiana makes me especially keen on books that feature this lovely place I call home. Peck does a great job with the story and Eleanor (which was my grandmother's name and another tie to home) is one spunky girl (like my grandmother).

As the story unfolds it becomes a fast moving tale and matches backwoods living with new "fangled" ideas of industrial progress. The lady librarians (young adults) who sweep into town after a devastating tornado captivate and help strengthen the cause, in their own small yet stylish way, for libraries. Each of the women demonstrates some strength in library science skills and made me cheer them on. Yet, they are really only a subset of the story. The story really centers on Eleanor (Peewee) and her relationship with her brother and their changing lives. Of course, being set in Indiana you have to throw in a bit of racing to keep the ole' tradition going. Plus, for those not aware Indiana, especially Indianapolis, use to be one of the top car manufacturing areas in the country thus producing the now famous 500. Well before Detroit was, well Detroit.

Although the main character is a girl of 14 on the verge of "growing up", it has a number of appealing aspects that boys would enjoy. Some of these include the obvious racing, mechanics, car manufacturing, and outsmarting bullies. Oh, and let's not forget the tornado unearthed residents of the cemetery. As indicated earlier the recommended age range is all over the map. My personal opinion is that it would work for just about anyone 10 and up. Those from Indiana will feel a special connection as well.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Picture Books - I Knew You Could

I Knew You Could by Craig Dorfman 2003

Did I mention I come from a "bookish" family? As a graduation gift for receiving my master's a few years back my sister-in-law gave me this book, I Knew You Could. It sort of picks up where the "I think I can" little engine leaves off and is a part of that series. The subtitle on the book says "A Book for All the Stops in Your Life". It really is a book that encourages and one that reminds us that each next "stop" or as I like to call them "chapters" of your life begins with making a choice. It really is a good book to share with any age from Kindergarten through adulthood. The book jacket markets itself as an inspiration to "graduates of all ages". However, I have to admit I think I definitely appreciate the words of wisdom and life connections better than say a six year old would. But, that is not to say this book should not be shared with the younger crowd.

I think it is one that we could use all through are lives, but for those on the younger side I would recommend it being read together with a parent or grandparent. The story provides a number of opportunities to share insight and encouragement with a child. Plus, I really do not think it is a book they would enjoy without some read along time. Also, the artwork is fine, but it doesn't have a "pick me up" and read me or check me out look to it. Here's another thought. I think some children's books make great adult books and this is one of them. So, don't get hung up on a classification title, we all need to feed our "inner" child. And, another thought (no surprise) children's literature is generally not written in a dumbing down style, but usually in a clear precise tone without all that running around convoluted excess baggage mannerism.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Baseball Books for Kids-according to AP

In yesterday's paper (May 21, 2006) the Associated Press had an article that discussed a number of books that would help inspire kids to become lifelong fans of baseball. Well, there are a lot of lifelong fans, but not as many as there use to be and I am one of those former fans. I use to love baseball until there were just too many strikes to get me back to watching or think about going to a game. So, maybe the current youth who do not have memories of the strikes can start out with fresh new look on this sport. The books the AP listed are as follows.

"Let's Play Baseball" (ages 1-3), by Charles R. Smith Jr. and illustrated by Terry Widener. - Consider this as baby's first baseball book. The sturdy-page primer highlights the key words and images of the game. There's a big white ball, a glove and lots of kids having fun.
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (ages 3-6), by Jim Burke. - This book offers the backstory of the song-turned-anthem "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," by Jack Norwith. The year was 1908, and the New York Giants were playing the Chicago Cubs at Central Park. Entertainer Norwith was riding the subway, passing the Giants' baseball field. He found inspiration in a poster: "Base Ball Today -- Polo Grounds." He'd never been to a game, but he tapped into fans' excitement with the now-famous lyrics that popped into his head. The book is sprinkled with baseball folklore and facts, and both the words and music to the song."
"Hit the Ball Duck" (ages 4-6), by Jez Alborough. - Duck actually has no problem hitting the ball, but it flies so high it ends up in a tree. Duck and his barnyard friends have a hard time figuring out how to get it down. Of course, the answer is in teamwork.
"Pecorino Plays Ball" (ages 4-8), by Alan Madison and illustrated by AnnaLaura Cantone. - Pecorino Sasquatch is known to be a silly boy, and he looks pretty silly on his first day of Little League in a way-too-big uniform. But he gets his moment as a star when he catches the ball in one of those tension-filled all-or-nothing baseball moments.
"Play Ball!" (ages 6-10), by Jorge Posada with Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raul Colon. ("Si, Puedes," the Spanish edition of the book, is being published simultaneously.) - New York Yankees star Posada writes about the first time a little boy named Jorge batted left-handed. His father made him do it because he said simply being a good hitter as a righty wasn't enough. Soon Jorge was hooked on swinging, even if he was hitting at dry bush at the edge of his lawn instead of a ball.

Beverly Cleary is in the air

There must be something “Cleary” in the air. This past weekend I ventured over to the Scholastic warehouse sale and picked up some great buys. But, while I was there I overheard a young boy and his sister ask their Mom, “where are the Cleary books”? Unfortunately, there were none, but the sister did shout out, “here are the Boxcar’s and Magic Tree House”. So, as I took a stroll on the Internet highway later that day, I then came across an article at’s Children’s Book Reviews on an upcoming movie about Ramona Quimby. Elizabeth Kennedy relates an article from the San Francisco Chronicle where Cleary and movie people are making Ramona and Her Father into a film. However, the title to the news piece indicates this is the first adaptation ever for Cleary. I am pretty sure though that one of the Ralph S. Mouse books was made into a movie in the 80’s. Of course, all of this Cleary news was following an impromptu discussion of Cleary’s website and a Ramona quiz taking with my sister-in-law Friday night. We were discussing that I had for the very first time finally had the opportunity to read Cleary’s Ellen Tebbits (review at a later date) this past week. I think I hear the Twilight Zone music playing now.

Check out the latest The Edge of the Forest Edition

The latest edition of The Edge of the Forest is out. Yeah!!! Go check it out. It is a great online Children's literature monthly. Just in time for the coming school break is a feature article on Summer Reads by Allie, Slayground. There is also an interview with Chris Abouzeid author of Anatopsis by Michele Fry, Scholar's Blog. In addition, you will find a movie review of The Thief Lord reviewed by Liz Burns, A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy and many other wonderful articles and information on Children's literature from young ones to teens.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Summer Reading Programs - Check them out

If your area is as fortunate as mine, then you too will be seeing information on upcoming Summer Reading programs at your neighborhood library. The Summer Reading programs at our local library is one of the biggest budget items in the entire library system and sees the most participation of all programs. Ours starts on June 5. Also, our library provides a Summer Film series. Throughout the summer there are a number of G or PG rated films that are put on and are free. Of course, this is in addition to all their great activities they direct, which are also free.

But, back to Summer Reading programs. They are a great way to encourage your children to get out of the house and visit the library. In addition, the program keeps your children involved in some type of brain stimulation and has been proven in a number of studies that it helps children from losing ground on what they gained during the school year. Hopefully, your program is one that provides some exciting opportunities along with motivational activities. One of the favorites I think the kids enjoy with our library is it includes a reward system that provides a number of fun prizes at different point levels. The kids earn points for the type of book they check out and read. (It is an honor system and assumed the parents will encourage their reading.) Even if they do not read the whole book the fact they are getting out of the house and away from the television is a big plus.

So, if your program is like ours and FREE then go check it out. And, if you already do participate, tell your neighbors so they can take advantage and maybe, just maybe, the neighborhood will be a bit less crazy this summer. Also, don't forget to say thanks to the Children's Librarians as they put a lot of effort into these programs as well as take on the craziness of "out-of-school" kids. Now, if your library doesn't have a program don't be shy and check out neighboring towns. Sometimes you can join one of the libraries for a small fee and reap the wonderful rewards.

The posters of reading programs featured here are from the Connecticut Library Consortium and West Dunbartonshire's Summer Holiday Programme.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

In Memory

Normally, I like to include a review or posting on four to five children’s books a week. But, as you can see there has been only one in the last week. Unfortunately, this is primarily due to the sudden passing of my wonderful Dad this week and all the arrangements, events, and paperwork that goes with such an occurrance. So, in tribute to him I am including the conclusion of the memorial statement I made Saturday in honor of him.

He was a man of faith and a man that I am proud to call my Dad. He left us too early and very suddenly, but I know that he knew I loved him and that I would see him again at the great banquet that God has prepared for each of us that have come to know Him. So, the best thing I can say that I learned from my Dad and that I hope to share with you is to forgive others no matter how hard. And, the greatest thing he shared with me was that no matter what has happen or what I have done God will always be there.

And, finally to my Dad’s family, friends, and acquaintances I leave you with a thought that my Dad had written down as a personal attribute to try and attain, he paraphrases from scripture that - - - Love seeks the best in others.

There was quite a bit more and the beginning was written in a letter format to my daughter, but I thought it too long to include. So, although not book related, my Dad was a great encourager of my book “habit” and love of reading.

In about a week I will start the book reviews up again. So, please stop by and see what’s new.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Books for Mother's Day

A few years back I put together a children's Mother's Day program. Part of the preparation was preparing a bibliography of books that would be good to put out to accompany the program. I still have the list and have transferred it to my category archive listing on Mother's Day books. The following are a few books I have received as gifts or recently checked out and really enjoyed, but are not on the list. So, if you are looking for a special gift for your Mom or just something fun to share with your young one(s) take a look at the list. It is in alpha order by author's last name. There are a few Early Readers, Spanish Language, and I think maybe one or two books regarding adoption included in the list. Also, if you do not find anything of interest here there is always the option of searching under the topic of Children's Mother's Day books at one of the online bookstores or your local library.

I Love my Mommy Laurel Porter-Gaylord

Summary: As a child explains the many happy, loving things Mommy does, many different animal mothers are shown caring for their young.
Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz
Summary: A loving mother counts the hugs she gives her baby throughout the day.
Mommy Hugs by Anne Gutman
Summary: Features a variety of animals that celebrate the affection between mothers and children.
I Love You Because You're You by Lisa Baker (previously reviewed here)
Summary: Describes, in rhyming text and illustrations, a mother's love for her child no matter how he feels or what he does.
I Love My Mommy by Sebastien Braun
Summary: Attentive animal mothers engage in a variety of activities with their children.
Mama's Wild Child/Papa's Wild Child by Dianna Hutts Aston
Summary: Read about some mamas of the animal world -- then flip the book over and meet some papas. Seal mamas cuddle their pups, swan papas piggyback their cygnets, and mama and papa ostriches take turns babysitting. Little wild ones will delight in discovering that human families and animal ones are not so different after all.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Picture Books - Hugville

Hugville by Court Crandall and illustrated by Joe Murray 2005

For some reason I have been finding a few picture books recently that I have really enjoyed, but for some reason I have not been taken with the illustrations. This book for instances I found the text both whimsical and humorous. Unfortunately, the illustrations really made me not want to finish reading it. Now that is kind of harsh you would think for a book that is less than 32 pages. The mayor for the town of Hugville narrates the story. As he takes you on a tour of the town you are introduced in a rhyming fashion to the various types of hugs you will find the town is famous for. Plus, you discover that these are in addition to the multiply ones the town’s children learn at school. The basic idea behind the story is well let’s just say really fun and cute. Also, it would be fun to use with a group of little ones and have them try out some of the various styles like the Monkey or Pogo stick hug.

The story also ends on a great family idea of a jug of hugs. The jug is loaded up with different types of hugs and you pull one to find out which one you will share that day. But, back to the illustrations, they are definitely overly exaggerated and stretched. You would think with a whimsical theme that this would work well. However, I think it is grossly animated and trying too hard to be like a television show. The artist has a background in animation and was the creator of Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life and the creator of Cartoon Network’s Camp Lazlo. I must not be able to relate to his style, but maybe the average preschooler will. That would be about the age I would recommend for this book it you can get past the illustrations.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Chapter Books - Here Lies the Librarian

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck 2006

Yeah!!! Richard Peck has a new chapter book out. I haven’t had a chance to read it, but will. Even better is that the story’s setting is right here in little ole’ Indiana. I have seen mixed age recommendations and since I haven’t read it yet, you’ll have to take your chances. Some have it listed as 5th grade and up. Others the 9 to 12 year-old bracket, while another has it as 11 to 15. The main character is 14, but the other personalities in the story are generally older. However, The Westing Game was similar in its characters age range and it had a wide age appeal.

From Publishers Weekly: “Set in 1914, an era when women hobbled their skirts, and automobiles with "an electric self-starter" were still a novelty ("Crank from your seat, not from the street," went the Cadillac motto), the novel traces the eventful 14th summer of narrator "Peewee" McGrath, an orphaned tomboy who would rather help her brother tinker with cars than go to school. Both Peewee and her brother, Jake, long for the day when a road is built through their Indiana township, bringing business to their makeshift auto repair shop. In the meantime, four young librarians arrive from Indianapolis and stir up some dust-they're bent on spreading culture and reviving the long defunct local library. Irene, their ringleader, teaches Peewee a thing or two about being a lady. Her coworker Grace, the daughter of an automobile mogul, wheedles smiles and conversation out of painfully shy Jake. The story culminates at the county fair where Irene, Grace, Jake and Peewee join forces and skills to compete in the township's first annual road race. Offering plenty of action and a cast of larger-than-life characters, the book pays tribute to the social and industrial revolution, which awakens a sleepy town and marks the coming-of-age of an unforgettable heroine.”

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Board Books - Zoo Animals & Baby Animals

What a fun Saturday we spent at the zoo this past weekend. The baby and parents were joined by the grands. Although an overcast and semi-wet day, we had a good time. The baby is really getting into seeing the animals. On the way out we stopped by the gift store and picked up a few books. No surprise with me along. Two of those I want to share today. I had previously heard of the babygenius series, but primarly in music form. But, to my surprise and baby's delight we found some board books in this series at the gift shop. I specifically picked up Zoo Animals and Baby Animals as they both contained photos of animals I knew the baby loved to look at. Oh and did I find winners. The baby must have these "read" to her several times in a row.

Baby Animals includes a variety of domestic and wild animals. In a two page layout you get a full page picture of the animal then the second page includes three smaller shots of the animal doing something cute along with a simple descriptive word. The second page photos are also displayed on a theme type background. DK the publisher has listed Baby Animals as part of their 0 to 18 months group. Zoo Animals is listed for the 18 to 36 months range. It too is designed in a two page layout for each typical zoo animal. The first page again being a large full page photo. However, the second page includes three photos, but they fill the entire page and do not include a background design. The words that accompany the tri-photo page are simple phrases.

I wouldn't let the age catagories keep you from picking up either book for your young one. The photos are what really excites my little one. We discuss the images, but she really enjoys just looking at the photos that are quite good.

Baby Animals DK Publishing 2003

Zoo Animals DK Publishing 2004

Please note the books and covers I purchased at our zoo are different then the additions I found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The images here are of the books we purchased.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Picture Books - Hunter & Stripe and the Soccer Showdown

Hunter & Stripe and the Soccer Showdown by Laura Malone Elliott and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger 2005

With so many blogs commenting recently on sports related books, I thought I would share this one that I picked up at the library last week. Hunter and Stripe are the quintessential best friends. They do everything together from learning to read to dressing the same at Halloween. Then comes the day when they sign up to play soccer, but Hunter and Stripe end up playing on different teams. So far, it isn’t too bad. Each gets to go to the other ones games and cheer their friend on. As the season moves forward each has learned to better themselves in a particular soccer skill. However, as the season comes to a close both of their teams are undefeated and now they have to play each other. Like typical boys they begin to “trash” talk about the other losing and how one is better than the other at playing soccer. As the week wears on their friendship is challenged.

Right before the big game Hunter’s big sister explains what is really important about playing. That it is only a game and it is suppose to be fun. She then continues to explain that one should be excited and enjoy the wonderful things you are able to do no matter who wins. But, Hunter doesn’t get it right away. As Hunter and Stripe match up against each other at the game words begin to fly. But, as the game goes on each of them sees how well the other plays, yet they don’t verbalize the compliments. With the game tied up and the coaches arguing about an out of bounds call, Hunter and Stripe share a laugh over the situation. When the game starts back up, they return to playing each other, but now as friends. In the end, someone must lose, but Hunter sums it up as “If he had to lose, he was glad his friend could win”. The story really portrays what sportsmanship could be like and hopefully is for many kids and their friends. Maybe some of the professionals out there can take a tip from this book. I would recommend this to all kids age 4 and up.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Read and Rise - Book & Program

Hope you were able to catch the weekend edition of Today’s Saturday morning show. I normally do not have time to watch much television, but had the opportunity this time. A segment that caught my attention was on a book and program called Read and Rise. Author Sandra Pinkney and illustrator Myles Pinkney were being interviewed about the book Read and Rise and how it came about. Unfortunately, I came in on the last part of the interview, so I missed some of the information. The interviewer then introduced a former intern that had been with Scholastic publishing, who spoke about a project he was involved with. The overall objective was for a group of Scholastic interns to come up with a product that would inspire African-American families and their children to learn to read. This is where the Pinkney’s helped pull the interns’ work together and created the Read and Rise book, which includes a foreword by Maya Angelou. The aim of the book according to its creators is to help the African-American family increase their children’s reading and see what can come from reading books.

Upon further review I found that NBC on their website defined the shows’ book piece as part of “A program for parents, family members, and caregivers to help them and their children learn the necessary early literacy and pre-reading skills”. Now the overall program called The Read and Rise Initiative is a partnership between The National Urban League and Scholastic publishing. The National Urban League describes the program as “...specifically for African-American and Latino parents, provides parents with the basic tools for helping children achieve reading success. The initiative is comprised of the Read and Rise Guide, Read and Rise magazine and Reading Room Tips.” Also, Scholastic includes in their Family Matters agenda the ability to download a free copy of the Read and Rise Guide.

Check the book out here.