Post Tagged with: "picture books"

Four picture books to get your kid reading

I sometimes ask publishers to send me specific books that I think will “get kids reading.” Here are a few books I think will hook kids into reading and keep them reading.

I’ve included links to each author and illustrator’s website. Author websites can be a great for additional information, resources, teacher’s guides and similar books. You (and your kids) can also send the author questions; you’ll find that most of them will respond–and getting a reply from the author, even if it’s only through Twitter, can be a very exciting thing for a child.

PICTURE BOOKS (Age 3-6)

Boy raised by librariansThe Boy who was Raised by Librarians

Some books are better for kids, and some books are better for the parents who read them to the kids—this is great for both. It’s about Melvin, who spends a lot of time at the library, and the librarians who help him with everything from snakes to acting to baseball cards. The book follows him from elementary school to high school… and after. It’s a lovely book, well written, with smart, humorous illustrations and it shows libraries as the warm, interesting, welcoming places they are. In these days of ebooks and tablets, it also shows kids how important librarians are.

Written by Carla Morris, a retired librarian. I couldn’t find her website but I found this wonderful interview in which she talks about what gets kids reading. Illustrated by Brad Sneed and published by Peachtree. They’re @PeachtreePub on Twitter.

 

Norman, Speak!Norman, Speak!

A family adopts a dog from an animal shelter. But Norman clearly isn’t very smart. He doesn’t understand even basic commands like “sit” or “come.” It isn’t until the family goes to the dog park that they discover Norman doesn’t speak English—he speaks Mandarin. I love the premise behind this book: that “different” doesn’t mean “wrong” or, in this case, “stupid.” It’s a smart, well-written and well-illustrated book that will stay with you and I highly recommend it.

Written by Caroline Adderson  and illustrated by Qin Leng @qinleng on Twitter. Published by Groundwood.

 

peachgirl1Peach Girl

If this story seems a bit quirky, it may be because it’s a take-off of an old Japanese folk tale (originally about a boy). It follows a plucky girl who was left on a couple’s doorstep, uh, after she burst from a giant peach. (Quirky. Folk tale.) This fierce girl goes hunting for an ogre who supposedly “has teeth like knives and eyes that shoot flames.” Well, of course the ogre is nothing of the sort, as the girl and some pals she has picked up along the way discover. It’s an unusual story and maybe that’s why I like it – and why I think kids will like it, too. Disclosure: the illustrator, Rebecca Bender, is a friend of mine but I requested this book (and wanted to review it) last year, before we’d even met.

Story by Raymond Nakamura on Twitter @RaymondsBrain, illustrated by Rebecca Bender, published by Pajama Press.

 

Locomotive

I know lots of kids who are fascinated by trains. Those kids, especially, will love this book. And you’ll love it too because there are bits you can read to your child, including lots of onomatopeaic Locomotive by Brian Flocawords, and bits you can read just to yourself. And through it all, the illustrations are lovely—detailed, with lots of references to the 19th century. The story is the history of the locomotive as it crosses the United States from Nebraska to California. This is a book you can read in many different ways—as a story, by just looking at the illustrations and talking about them, as a type of history book. It’s a book you and your child can read again and again, for many years—or until they drop their interest in locomotives (which may be never).

Written and illustrated by Brian Floca on Twitter @BrianFloca, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Every child in grade one gets “I’ve Lost My Cat” by Philippe Beha

IveLostMyCat_coverEvery year, all grade one students in Canada get a free book.

That’s every grade one student — more than 500,000 of them. No matter what school board they’re with, whether they’re homeschooled, whether they live in a remote community. Everyone gets a book to take home and read over and over again and keep.

The program is funded by TD Bank and it’s administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. The CCBC selects wonderful books. Just the right books, in fact. And this year’s gem is no exception.

Author/Illustrator Philippe Beha’s little grey cat once went missing. He put up signs around the neighbourhood in hopes of getting him back. Several people called with cats – however, they were always the wrong ones.

Beha’s story folds into a brilliant and beautiful picture book, “I’ve Lost my Cat,” with charm and depth and sensitive wit. The half-million children in Canada who will be receiving Beha’s book will love it.

In the book, our protagonist is handed many animals – and even a melon – that fit some part of the description of his cat. He accepts them all graciously, finding a home for the elephant, the penguin, the bird and even the sheep he’s presented with. And just when he least expects it… he finds his cat. (Didn’t think you’d mind the spoiler.)

The book is “J’ai Perdu Mon Chat” in French.

Every child deserves to have a book of their own. Not only does owning a book promote literacy, but it promotes self-esteem. TD and the CCBC began their Grade One Book Giveaway Program in 2000. Since then they’ve given away millions of books.

It is a very, very good thing.

Visit the CCBC here, and get a list of the previous years’ books – you know they are sure-fire winners, every one.

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The best Canadian picture books

Julie Booker is an author, a teacher, a librarian and last but not least, the mom of twin toddlers.

All this to say, she knows her picture books!

Her Canadian summer picture book reading list was recently published here on 49th Shelf, an awesome Canadian book website.

Below is her list of the best of the best. For her comments about each one, visit 49th Shelf.com. Click on their book links for more information about each book.

Drumheller Dinosaur Dance by Robert Heidbreder

Jelly Belly by Dennis Lee

M is for Moose by Charles Pachter

The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier

City Alphabet by Joanne Schwartz and Matt Beam

Eenie Meenie Manitoba by Robert Heidbreder

The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

Butterscotch Dreams by Sonja Dunn

My pick from here - If you're not Canadian and you've never read The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, get your hands on a copy because you will fall in love with its folk-charm illustrations and true-life story about a boy who loves his Montreal Canadiens hockey team. (If you are Canadian? You've already read it.) Oh, and another way you know Julie Booker knows her books? Her last name, sha-zam!

 

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Picture is worth 1,000 words to a toddler

The Crown On Your Head, by Nancy Tillman

A beautiful illustration from The Crown On Your Head, by Nancy Tillman

To a pre-reader, words aren’t the main attraction.

As a parent, you can read the words to your child sometimes… and then other times, don’t be afraid to ignore the words.

You can go through an entire picture book with your toddler, pointing to the pictures and talking about them.

Identify the colours. Name some of the items in the picture. Ask her, “what do you see?” or “what’s that?” Let her point something out. (Make a big deal out of it when she does.)

Going through a picture book this way can also help to prevent some of the parent burnout that can come with reading the same picture book over and over with your child.

I recently came across a picture book whose pictures I absolutely adore… but I wasn’t that taken with the words.

It’s called The Crown On Your Head, by Nancy Tillman. It’s got a great premise, too – it talks about a “crown” each of us is born with, that we wear all our lives. The “crown” signifies that we are important and special.

The book’s message about self-esteem and equality is lovely, and the illustrations are rich and luscious.

It’s a book parents could look at with a baby or a toddler and they wouldn’t necessarily even have to read the words. You could use the premise, point to the crowns on each page, and talk about how your child is special, too. And how we all have a crown, how each person is wearing one and it means that everyone can shine. So nice.

Thank you to Maile Carpenter for inspiring this blog post.

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