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Monday
May022016

my ten favorite picture books for tiny readers

I'm a fan of Tiny Readers and was so excited to share some thoughts on reading, how I choose books for my kids and my ten favorite picture books on their site today.  Check out the post here.

Michelle Sterling is a speech-language pathologist, photographer and mother to Avery (7) and Nate (5).  You can find her sharing books she loves on Instagram and on her blog Avery and Augustine.  Here are some of her thoughts on reading:

“There’s something so magical about finding a book or book series that you click with as a child.  It makes reading enjoyable, which is so integral to contributing to a lifelong love of reading and learning.  When they can’t wait to find out what happens next in a book, children are motivated to learn how to decode words that are new them (even if they’re difficult), and understand their meanings.  As adults, while we read aloud a story to our children, we can bring to light the nuanced meanings of those new words, help our children understand the plot of the story and really teach them to think beyond the story, and relate it with their own life experiences.  This is a huge part of the learning process: connecting new experiences with old.  This is what happens when we’re there reading aloud books to our kids or are even just present while they’re reading aloud on their own.

According to so many books (The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease comes to mind) and many recent articles, as our kids get older, they lose interest in reading.  Compared to other countries, our kids read less and less on their own as they become teenagers.   And time devoted to reading decreases with each new generation.  Yet, lifelong reading is so essential to a well-rounded education, understanding the world, making learning connections and ultimately, helping our children discover who they’re going to be in life and what their mission will be.  So, this is why it is so, so important from a very young age and all throughout childhood to build a library of books that children will enjoy and treasure.

So, with this in mind, I carefully look for a variety of books—fresh, new works and old, beloved classics—but most importantly, I look for stories that my kids will engage with, laugh at, be amazed by, be in awe of and thoroughly enjoy.  And I am always on the lookout for books that instill a sense of wonder in my kids, ones that they can go back to over and over, get lost in, and reflect on later.  Because childhood is about nothing if not wonder.  It is my hope that in doing all this, they’ll become lifelong readers, explorers and dreamers.”

Here are ten of her favorite recent picture books, which she loves for their story as much as their artistry.

Rapido’s Next Stop by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet

Home by Carson Ellis

Henri’s Walk to Paris by Leonore Klein and Saul Bass

Little Pear Tree by Rachel Williams and Jenny Bowers

How To by Julie Morstad

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Arrow to Alaska by Hannah Viano

Chloe, Instead by Micah Player

When I Was Born by Isabel Minhós Martins and Madalena Matoso

Float by Daniel Miyares

Sunday
May012016

ralf

Ralf: another winner from Jean Jullien.  Ralf is a little dog who always seems to be underfoot or in someone's way, which deeply annoys the family he lives with.  One day, a fire erupts at his house, putting his family in grave danger.  Ever the loyal pup, he plays a huge part in saving their lives in an extraordinary way.  Sometimes pets are that way—they surprise you with what they’re capable of, and they’re always there for you, and always faithful.  The illustrations in Ralf were rendered with Jean Jullien's characteristic bold colors and drama and Gwendal Le Bec collaborated on the text. 

Friday
Apr292016

a hole is to dig

"A sea shell is to hear the sea

A wave is to save bye-bye

Big shells are to put little shells in "

Currently reading and re-reading A Hole Is to Dig by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak.  The understated charm of Sendak’s illustrations pair so well with Krauss’ endearing “first” definitions.  I inherited this book maybe ten years ago, and I’m trying to remember from whom.  I have a special feeling about this book, so I know it was passed on to me by someone thoughtful.  How we acquire a book often becomes part of its story and its significance to us.  Books seem to take on lives of their own and each one in our collection has its own story to tell beyond the narrative on its pages—be it the birthday or special milestone for which it was received as a gift, the particular season of childhood during which it was read with great frequency or the inspiration and wonder it instilled in us upon first turning its pages.

Happy weekend, all.

Thursday
Apr282016

max

One of our current bedtime reads: Max, a story about a unique friendship between Max and Bob— a seagull and a fish and chips shop owner.  It was heartfelt and left me with a hankering for a hot basket of fish and chips.  Words and pictures by Marc Martin.

Wednesday
Apr272016

grimm's alphabet game

I absolutely love this Grimm’s wooden alphabet game from The Wooden Wagon.  It’s not for only learning letters—kids can use the pieces to make pictures and designs.  it’s a winner.  We have various Grimm’s toys and adore their timeless design, thoughtful craftsmanship and durability.  They’re definitely playthings that you can pass on to the next generation.