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Tuesday
May032016

a good night walk

“Let’s go for a walk, along the block, and see what we can see, before it’s time for bed.”

What do you all see on your evening walk?  Dusk is one of my favorite times of the day, especially during the summer.  Our current bedtime read is A Good Night Walk—a quiet, serene and lovely way to wind down at the end of the day.  There’s always a great story behind a great book—here’s Elisha Cooper about the beginnings of the book.

“When my daughter was an infant she cried in the evenings so I took her for walks. I walked along our street in the Berkeley hills and pointed out things, from recycling bins to sprawling oak trees. The walks calmed her, and me. After half an hour she fell asleep and we came home to bed. That was the start of this book. Before we left California, I sketched our neighborhood — trees and houses — and tried to write about the shifting sights and sounds of a place as it approached bedtime. This book is about small changes, and also about the big change for me as I became a father.”

Monday
May022016

the night iceberg

The sweetest story we’ve read in awhile about siblings, sharing and growing up.  From Helen Stephens about the inspiration for The Night Iceberg:

"This book was inspired by a trip to London Zoo where I drew the penguins.  I liked their solemn expressions, and the way they silently followed each other round the edge of the pool.  At feeding time they would get very excited, but in the very quiet way that only penguins can do.  I thought they would make great characters in a book.

Not long after, I read a story by Tove Jansson who wrote the Moomin books.  The story was about a little girl who sees an iceberg drift up to her island.  She runs down to meet it and thinks about jumping on, but the moment passes.  I wondered what would happen if the girl did jump on.  The two ideas came together and—hey presto!  The Night Iceberg was born!"

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.