Book Review: Edmond The Thing By Astrid Desbordes

Be Different….But do I have to?

I am not sure at what age the change happens, but it does. Kids, who never noticed differences before, start to see different skin tones, hair textures, heights, weights and more. Where there once wasn’t fear, now there is. The unknown is scary.

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Not just for children, but for adults as well.

I remember when my daughter received a new-to-her shirt. It said Be Different. I loved it. She hated it. She said, “Mom, I don’t want to be different.”

And although I didn’t want it to be true, I understood all to well the fear of not fitting in.

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Edmond the Thing. Astrid Desbordes. Illustrated by Marc Boutavant. Enchanted Lion Books: New York, 2017.

Edmond the Thing by Astrid Desbordes tackles the difficult subject of how we hide from people and things that are unfamiliar. Edmond and his friend George go out for a walk collecting items for a disguise when they come across…. some THING.

They don’t know what it is. It doesn’t speak their language, it doesn’t look like them and they are afraid. They assume because they don’t know what the THING is, it is dangerous. They want to exclude it from their safe, known forest. George, however, wants to learn more about this THING, so he disguises himself and discovers what it feels like when everyone, including his best friend are afraid of him.

Teach Our Children to Be the Bridge

“Carefully, he took down the sign and laid it across the river to make a bridge.”

This is my favorite line from the book. It is never to early to begin discussing with our kids that instead of keeping people out we work to find ways to “bridge” our differences and understand each other. Being different, doesn’t mean dangerous and when we are inclusive our world grows a lot bigger.

When we are inclusive our world grows a lot bigger.

This story is geared towards an older preschooler. It has a more sophisticated narrative and moral lessons are hard for young children to understand. Although, the illustrations share the context of the story well, so if you have a child who can listen to longer stories, the pictures will help them follow along with the story much more closely.

Including books from authors of different countries helps broaden our perspectives and will enrich the reading lives of our children, building not only future readers, but caring and compassionate leaders.

This is an important story to share with children, especially in a world that has grown noisy from adults fearful of change and the unknown or unfamiliar. Including books from authors of different countries helps broaden our perspectives and will enrich the reading lives of our children, building not only future readers, but caring and compassionate leaders.

Create a Better World

After reading the book, talk about a time your child was fearful of someone who was different. We all experience that horrifying parenting moment where our child points out someone who is overweight, or a different skin color or has some outward difference in appearance from us. Instead of allowing our embarrassment to overwhelm us, use the opportunity to discuss how new ideas are scary at first, but when it comes down to it we are all people living on the same planet with similar problems, hopes and dreams.

Yes, it is a heady concept for young ages, but the more we say it, the better world we create.

 

What to read next

Books to raise an activist for love

Find these titles at your local bookstore or Amazon.

 

What books have you used to explain how to embrace differences?

Happy Reading

Book Review: Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke

How Can I Read It If I Can’t Pronounce It?

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As a parent and librarian, there were many books that had words or names that I simply couldn’t figure out how to pronounce. I didn’t let that stop me, though, I would pick a way to say the word and say it with confidence. That is all that matters to our children, really. We all mispronounce words, especially when you learn a new word through reading. So, don’t shy away from books because you are afraid to look foolish! Your child will never know.

Although, those Star Wars books my kids love, can’t there be a page of a normal name like Jim, Kim or Bob?

We want to encourage exploration not hide from it because we are worried about our own ignorance.

Parents often shy away from books from other cultures. The names and places and items are unfamiliar, but it is a great opportunity to practice sounding out words in front of our kids, and it is a good starting point for conversation about all the different societies and customs and languages in our world. We want to encourage exploration not hide from it because we are worried about our own ignorance.

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Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. Candlewick Press: Somerville, 2017.

In Baby Goes to Market, author Atinuke writes a story that any parent taking a child to a store can relate to. How many times have you gone to the store and ended up at checkout with more items than you remember putting in? You think to yourself, “Did I really get that big bag of marshmallows. Especially with a tear in it. Then you look at your child with a smudge of white puff across her lips and realize you need to pay more attention to what goes into the cart than what is on your list.

Children in early preschool love to hear books about everyday life and routines.

market pictureWhat sets this book apart from others is that the daily routine takes place in South West Nigeria. So the market is open air with multiple sellers and foods different from our own. Not only will your child be familiar with the normal family outing, but she will learn new words and culture in the process.

Literacy isn’t just about words. This book introduces math literacy in a non-obtrusive way. The baby takes away one banana and puts the rest in. Your child may not be ready to think about subtraction, but reading about numbers builds the stepping stones to early math concepts.

Not only will your child learn a lot in the book, but he will have a lot of fun listening. He can see what the mother doesn’t. Make sure you stop and ask what you think the mother will say when she discovers what baby has done. You may also need to point out why it is funny the mom thinks the baby is starving. Remind him that the baby snacked the whole shopping trip!

Reading multicultural books builds more empathetic children and adults.

It is becoming easier to find multicultural books that everyone can relate to. This is not only important in helping our kids learn, but it will make them more empathetic students, citizens and friends.

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Try this recipe

In the book, the baby is given four chin chin from the biscuit seller. Chin Chin is a popular snack in Nigeria and can be made crunchy or soft. Try this recipe with your child from 9jaFoodie

 

 

What to read next

Find these other great books at your local bookstore or online at Amazon following the links.

What books do you suggest to help your child understand the similarities between families of all cultures?

Happy Reading

Book Review: Hooray for Books! By Brian Won

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How Many Times Can I Read the Same Book?

Your child has a favorite book. The book that every time she calls out it’s time for stories, she runs to the bookshelf and grabs a book. Not just any book. The same book you read this morning and before bed last night and after lunch yesterday and the book you’ve read every single day that week.

You are sick of it, but she won’t ever be. Well, at least until she finds the next BOOK. In my house each of the kids had a different favorite. For my son it was Dark Night by Dorothee De Monfried. For my oldest daughter it was Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. And for my youngest it was Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town (aka, the longest book ever without a strong plot) These were comfort books. Nap books. Bedtime books. Anytime books. No matter how many times we read them together they still wanted that old blanket of a book.

As a parent, we get tired of reading the same old, same old. We want to yank all those other books off the shelf and say, “But what about this one. This is a GREAT book because I haven’t read it a million times.”

But if your children are anything like mine, that lower lip will stick out, arms cross and feet stamp on the floor. “No, this one.”

So you read it again and again and again and again, because to your child, that book is magic.

Before you hide that favorite book, remember, rereading matters.

Take comfort though, there is a reason our kids turn to the same books over and over and over again. They are learning a new word and the more they hear it the sooner they learn it. Or a concept that they are struggling with. Or they just like how the book sounds read out loud. All of these reasons build strong future readers. Before you hide that favorite book, remember, rereading matters.

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Click here to buy on Amazon

Hooray for Books! By Brian Won. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: New York, 2017.

In Hooray for Books! Brian Won captures the intensity of that first love our kids have for books. Turtle can’t find his favorite book and remembers he shared it with his friends. As he asks each friend if he or she has seen the book, they say no, but suggest a different book to read. Turtle simply must find it and an adventure ensues.

This book is a reminder for parents that favorite books matter and for kids it shows them that the old is comfortable and sometimes we can share that comfort with friends and they can share their favorite books with us. Discovery is always best when we are safe with our family and friends.

This book is a great read aloud because it invites the listener to participate along with the text. Naming the animals that follow Turtle on his quest to find the book as well as repeating the phrase, “Hooray for Books!” At the end of the book you can make a list of your child’s favorite books. Write down and help him remember those books he loves and talk about what he liked about them. This builds reading comprehension while providing a conversation starter for you and your child.

The simple vocabulary and basic pictures ensure that even young readers will enjoy the story. The text and pictures compliment each other and help the child derive meaning easier.

Hooray for Books! is a enjoyable read that will build your child’s literacy skills while she has fun. Who knows, it may even become the new BOOK in your house.

And for that, I apologize in advance. 🙂

What to read next

Look for these other books at your local bookstore or Amazon

What is your child’s favorite book and how many times a week do you read it?

 

Happy Reading

Book Review: Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine

What is it about the dark that scares and intrigues children at the same time? How many times has your child come downstairs after you’ve tucked him in and said, “I’m afraid of the dark.” To be honest, aren’t we all still a little afraid? Shadows loom larger, sounds are louder, problems bigger.

Books that help kids explore their fear in a safe and encouraging way are great from preschool ages. They acknowledge the scariness of night but also open a world of possibilities.

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Flashlight Night is a perfect book to read around a firepit in the summer or before a walk in the winter night sky before bedtime. Esenwine creates a magical world of stories that starts with a flashlight, a boy and the night sky.

The rhyming text builds phonological awareness and the sophisticated vocabulary will help your child learn new words. Afterall, when was the last time you used the words mizzenmast or craggy?

Reading comprehension and narrative skills are highlighted through the detailed illustrations that accompany the words. There are many things to explore on the page that aren’t in the text. The pictures can lead to further conversation about pirates and pyramids and castles. Have your child tell their own story either using the book as a jumping off point or create their own using a flashlight and shadow puppets.

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Flashlight Night is a great example of how simple books can introduce complex ideas and topics while answering questions all children have about what happens in the dark.

More books to help with fear of dark

What other books have helped your child process fear of the dark? Share in comments.Happy Reading

Book Review: Belinda the Unbeatable by Lee Nordling and Scott Roberts

Graphic novels and comics often get a bad rap from teachers and parents. They are seen as not as legitimate as “real books.” But they have been a game changer in our family. My son is an avid reader, but not in the traditional sense. Give him Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Garfield or any graphic novel and he will read for hours. Graphic novels have deep narratives, help kids derive context from the pictures which builds reading comprehension, teach how to follow a story through the panels, and are just plain old fun.

Graphic Novels are becoming more prevalent for young ages which is a great thing. Reluctant readers will pick up a book that is more picture drive, boys and girls alike will find something they like with the diversity of what is published now. I was even excited to see that there was a wordless graphic novel which isn’t only perfect for school age kids, but a great way to introduce the genre to preschoolers. It will give them a way to “read books” on their own. And it will strengthen reading comprehension and narrative skills through the story they create where they can practice their growing vocabulary and understanding of the printed word.

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the images it takes you to Amazon, where if you make any purchases I receive a portion of the sale.

Belinda the Unbeatable is a great first graphic novel. It is about Belinda and her best friend Barbara. Belinda is outgoing and Barbara is shy. They join a musical chair game at the school and it becomes more than just the run-of-the-mill game. Will they work together to stay in the game?

This is a book you have to see for yourself. The pages will take you and your child on a journey of imagination.

Graphic Novels for Kids

Common Sense Media has a great article with suggestions on why graphic novels for kids. Read it here.

I Love Libraries has suggestions by age/grade here.

Three Reasons Graphic Novels Can Be Great for Young Readers by Scholastic.

Other Graphic Novels to Enjoy

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Have you and your family enjoyed graphic novels? Share what you’ve read in the comments.

 

Happy Reading