Good morning, everyone. I am taking a bit of a blog break, but hope to return before too long. My father passed away recently. When I was a little girl, he read aloud every single one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books to me. Dad would get so wrapped up in the stories that he would read ahead in the books after I went to sleep. During one of his trips up east, my father made sure to visit Malone, New York, childhood home of Wilder's husband, Alonzo. Farmer Boy is set there, and that was one of Dad's favorites in the series. I have such good memories of my father, and his reading aloud to me is one of them. A beautiful gift.
Biographile, whose tagline is "Real Stories. Real People. Great Reading.," is a new Random House site devoted to biographies. While most of the recommendations are strictly for adults, I recently wrote about some children's books from a variety of publishers.
Reading picture books together is often the beginning of a grand conversation about all kinds of subjects, from racial tolerance to fossils. Some children will be able to read the following illustrated biographies themselves, but given their rich vocabularies and somewhat higher reading levels, the books make ideal read-alouds for moms to share with kids.
To read the rest, go here. You'll also find Biographile pieces on biographies of Harriet Tubman, last night's NBCC (National Book Critics Circle) Awards, and more.
On the day after I read Library Lion to the second graders, I got shushed at the library. For real. I was talking in a no-talking room, and someone complained. Oops. Library Lion is all about knowing the rules and knowing when it's okay to break them. I better read it again. To myself.
In second grade read-aloud time, things are flowing along smoothly. I am reading somewhat longer books. We are talking lots. We've gone back to basics. I read, and they listen and then share observations. Great observations! I had been letting whoever had written a story read hers to the class after I finished up. But only girls (and the same three or four) were reading and then sometimes just making up very silly things on the spot and while it was great fun for the storytellers, it was not as much fun for the audience. I am thrilled that they are creative and interested, but I had inadvertently set up something that left out some children. And I don't want that at all!
This week's selection for the class is Some Kind of Love, written by Traci Dant and illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Marshall Cavendish, 2010). I really like this book about a big African American family reunion with lots of cousins and food and good times, told through a series of poems. Reading it just now made me miss my own cousins and grandparents. I think the children will enjoy it, too.