Book Review: Sir Simon, Super Scarer by Cale Atkinson

(I received a free copy from the publisher for review. I was not paid to write the review. All the opinions expressed in the post are mine and mine alone. In addition, I am an Amazon Affiliate, if you click on an image it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale.)

This book was published on September 4, 2018

In my fourteen years of parenting, I have checked a lot of closets, I have turned on a lot of nightlights, I have checked under beds and snuggled with my kids (and dogs!) during storms.

Fear of the unknown, make-believe or real, happens to all kids. A safe and reassuring way to help our kids work through normal fears is through reading. Children are able to visit the dark and look at the monsters and scary things all within the comfort and reassuring arms of their grown-ups.

Sir Simon, Super Scarer by Cale Atkinson is the perfect book to read with your child to help begin conversations about what scares them. Simon is a ghost, who wants to not work so hard and he is excited to learn the woman moving into the house he haunts is a “grandma.” Grandparents don’t take a lot of work and Simon can’t wait to get to work on all the hobbies he hasn’t had time form. It all goes awry when a little boy moves in as well and won’t leave Chester alone. Chester devises a plan that keeps the boy happy and Chester free until he realizes what he really needed was a friend.

Million Dollar Words Sir Simon

I was drawn to this book, not only for the unique language and the emotional intelligence it builds, but also the way it uses the illustrations to highlight the text. The text doesn’t only go from left to right, top to bottom. It will be on the stairs, or in the tree or in text bubbles. This allows for the reader to use their finger to point to the sentences which builds an awareness of the words that make up the story on the page.

The illustrations are simple but rich in color and do not overwhelm the reader. It would be a great book to tell by only using the pictures which helps the child learn to “read” through the story on their own.

Another reason this is a must read, is because your child has a lot of opportunities to participate in the storytelling. They can make the animal ghost sounds or find pots and pans or other household items to recreate the clomping, creaking and stomping sounds. Engaged listeners are engaged learners.

Sir Simon tackles a subject all kids deal with throughout their childhood: FEAR Simon is a relatable and unscary ghost who will provide an opportunity for our children to explore their feelings in a caring and controlled environment.

Find more about the Author/Illustrator Cale Atkinson here

 

Activities/Enrichment

Make your own silly ghost noises. Onomatopoeia is a great way to build the phonological awareness our kids need to build their reading skills. You can also build in some narrative skills by classifying sounds like Animal sounds, motor sounds, or letter sounds (like words that start with the k sound: creeping, clomping, crawling)

 

Ghost Sounds

 

What do you remember?Story Questions

Recall not only helps reading comprehension, but it also aids in a child’s understanding of how stories are built, what makes a good story and what they need to make their own story. After you have read the book a few times, ask your child what happens. Put it on different pieces of paper with enough space for them to draw/illustrate and then they can retell the story using the pieces of paper. They won’t remember ever single page, but by helping them remember how the story started, what the problem was and how the problem was solved, your child will be miles ahead when it comes time for them to do book reports and reviews in elementary school.

 

What to read next

Other Books about Monsters, Make-believe and Fear

Other Books by Cale Atkinson

Books for Grown-ups to Read

Understanding how to talk about feelings and emotions with our kids not only builds literacy it builds EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Emotional Intelligence benefits our kids not only during childhood but throughout life. Below are a list of suggestions of books that will be helpful in learning how to help your child discuss feelings and describe emotions.

 

What scary books do you share with your children?

 

 

Book Review: Hooray for Books! By Brian Won

child reading

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.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you click on an image or link, it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale)

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: 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

Ages 6+

Ages 6+

Ages 7+

Ages 7+

Ages 6+

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

 

Happy Reading

Book Review: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett

Reading aloud together is one of the most important parts of the day for any family. Not only does it build a reading routine, but it sets aside a special time for you and your child. A time of no interruptions, no consequences, no to do lists. It is simply a time to be together.

I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, is a perfect read for curling up and spending time together. It provides whimsical ways to say I love you. The text and pictures work well together and allows the child to fill in the blank by deriving context for the pictures. After a few read throughs with your child, pause and have them say the end of the sentence. This not only builds narrative skills and reading comprehension but kids love to participate in reading and this is the perfect way to engage them with the book.

Books with onomatopoeia are always crowd pleasers. As a bonus they help build phonological awareness and letter knowledge. There are words sprinkled throughout the pictures and it helps to point those out.

Along with emotional vocabulary, the book has a lot of rich words that will grow the words your child knows. Tuna, fossil, banker are just a few of the words in the text, but if you look at the pictures with your child you will be able to expand their word knowledge even more. What kind of hats are the tuna fish, monster and elephant wearing? Bowler Hats. The cake the boy brings pig is a tiered cake. It has three layers. Talk about the pictures before or after you read the story and point out objects like the record player your child probably hasn’t seen before.

You can also build vocabulary by going on a word/object scavenger hunt. Write out different words in the book: pig, happy, monster, lucky, window, smiling, tuna, funny, fossil, sweet, banker, crazy, raspberries, tree, rowboat, bread, milk. Cut the words into slips and go around the house finding objects that fit the word. Label the object with the correct word slip. Teach letter knowledge along with new words.

The sound play in the text not only makes it a delightful read, but helps build phonological awareness. “Funny like a fossil.” or “You’re crazy like raspberries.” Help your child hear the f or z sound. Take it further and find words that start with those sounds in the room you are reading in.

After reading the book come up with your own fun and silly “I love you like…” sentences. It reinforces the narrative of the story and encourages your child to think up his own story. Write down what he says and have him illustrate. Another way to reinforce the ideas of the book is to make a graph of what different people in your family like to eat. One of the sentences is, “I love you like bread and milk.” Ask family members how many like milk, water etc. Plot it on a graph and introduce math skills along with reading.

I Love You Like a Pig isn’t just a fun book about all the different ways we love each other, it is a strong literacy tool that children will enjoy while they learn. It is a perfect example of how critical author/illustrator teams are in producing fun, lively books that will have kids and families reading over and over again.

Just a few of books by Mac Barnett

 

Does your family have any funny sayings to tell each other how you care?

Happy Reading

Author Interview! Charles Waters and Irene Latham

Yesterday I reviewed the book Can I Touch Your Hair: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate. I do not get paid to review or recommend books, but if you make a purchase by clicking on a link I receive a percentage of the sale.

I had the privilege of interviewing the authors about their book, their friendship and their lives and am excited to share the interview today!

Photo Nov 17, 1 16 46 PM

What would surprise our readers about you?

Irene and Charles: Most people are surprised when they find out that we met – for the first time – in November 2017 at AASL in Phoenix, AZ. We were online acquaintances when we started writing this book (in January 2015), and we completed the project through email, mostly, with the occasional text and phone call. Our real-life friendship really mirrors the friendship as portrayed in the book. We’ve also discovered we have quite a few quirky things in common, including but not limited to: we both worked at Disney World; we were both named for a great-grandparent; and we each grew up in big families as one of five siblings.

Our real-life friendship really mirrors the friendship as portrayed in the book.

How did the book come about?

Irene: The book exists because of our editor Carol Hinz. We had both been reading CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine, a book of poems for adults that deals with systemic racism. Carol wanted to bring this to a younger audience, to be a change agent, and she suggested one way to do that was a conversation, through poems, between a white poet and a black poet. I instantly thought of Charles.

 Charles: Irene reached out to me with a possible collaboration on a book at a time in my life when I needed, and had been working toward for years, an opportunity to break into the book business with a book of my own and not specifically having poems of mine in children’s poetry anthologies, which at the time had been my sole publications. It was opportunity meeting preparation because I was ready to go!

Photo Nov 05, 6 56 28 AM

In your book, two students are brought together for a school project and they are unsure about working together, not only because they are very different personalities, but because of the differences in their race. Did you find yourselves confronting any misperceptions or biases you didn’t realize you had?

Irene and Charles: One example that comes to mind involves the poem “Summer Reading” about THE BLACK STALLION by Walter Farley. This actually was a childhood favorite of Irene’s, and in an earlier draft of the poem the horse was referred to as “The Black,” just like in the book. Charles suggested that was possibly offensive, so we changed the poem. Later, after the book was final, our editor mentioned being disturbed by the fact that in THE BLACK STALLION there is a character described only as a “dark-skinned man.” This is the kind of subtle racism that changes our brains and takes conscious effort to re-shape. We are comforted by the fact that this kind of language/characterization would never pass muster in today’s publishing world! We are all learning.

We are all learning.

What is the most powerful lesson you learned from writing this book? What was the easiest part of writing the book? The hardest part?

Irene and Charles: We learned that no matter what your age, it takes courage, trust, and vulnerability to talk about race — and it is from that place where true friendship can grow. The easiest part was that once we got going, the poems came fast. We had a working draft of the manuscript within 3 weeks! The hardest part was cutting poems we cared about. A favorite poem that got cut was Willie Babe, about Irene’s (white) niece’s love for her black baby doll, which, as Charles says, is a  poem that dealt with, to quote the poem Walking Away by Cecil Day-Lewis, “How selfhood begins with a walking away, And love is proved in the letting go.”

How did your childhood experiences contribute to the narratives of each of the characters?

Irene and Charles: A fair number of the poems are if not true, then the spirit of them are true. For example, Charles had a teacher named Mrs. Vandenberg who pushed him to be his best self both in and out of the classroom. She was his high school teacher though, not his 5th grade one. Just like in the book, Irene was a quiet book and horse-loving kid, in part, due to moving 9 times and attending 11 different schools by the time she was 14. She really did want — and get — and Afro.

How do you hope parents, as well as teachers will use your book? What is one step parents and teachers can take right now to start a conversation about race?

Irene and Charles: Listen! Without interrupting. And bring into the home books and toys that show other cultures. Note — and celebrate! — differences. Allow children to be curious and ask questions — we are all learners! The quickest way to shut down a conversation, and to teach kids race isn’t to be talked about, is to scold.

Listen! Without interrupting.

I find poetry to be a perfect fit for every pre-literacy skill, but is often books parents shy away from the most. What books of poetry for young kids do you suggest to get families reading more poetry?

Irene and Charles: We love anthologies as a way to introduce readers to a bunch of styles and voices. Recent favorites include ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME, edited by Kenn Nesbitt; THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY, edited by J. Patrick Lewis; FIREFLY JULY, edited by Paul Janeczko, THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong; and SCHOOL PEOPLE (coming in February 2018), edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Some of these anthologies include our own poems.

Why do you think poetry intimidates people? Why do you think poetry draws us together?

Irene and Charles: Because poetry wasn’t properly taught in schools to many former students-now-teachers, it becomes an intimidating factor when passed down to their own students. Also, because poetry takes risks and isn’t always straightforward, it requires us to THINK and often, FEEL. That can be scary! But it you give it a minute, if you approach it with an open mind, poetry is SO accessible. It goes across many curriculums and can gets to the heart of the matter in the fewest words. It makes the ordinary extraordinary, it gives value to life.

Because poetry takes risks and isn’t always straightforward, it requires us to THINK and often, FEEL.

What do you believe is the biggest misbeliefs people have of poetry?

 Irene and Charles: I think many see poetry as superfluous — either unrelate-able and too-hard, or trite. Of course there are poems that fall into these categories. But poetry is an ocean! There’s a fish for every kind of reader! And hello, we NEED fish to survive. Our ecosystem depends on it and so we need beauty and the close attention of poetry — the way poetry can give us an experience in so few words and such a short amount of time. Poetry doesn’t have to be studied to a fare-thee-well in order to be understood. What a bunch of nonsense! Read poems out loud, enjoy them, move on.

Read poems out loud, enjoy them, move on.

Building Future readers hopes to build a lifelong habit of reading together. Do you read together as a family? What are your favorite books to share and why?

Irene: My husband Paul and I have three sons, now grown, and reading as a family was something we really enjoyed. Mostly we let the kids direct our reading, based on their interests — trucks, WWII, survival stories. A couple of titles that stand out as beloved by all: FEED by M.T. Anderson and HATCHET by Gary Paulsen. More recent titles I’d recommend: BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson, ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia, and ESCAPE FROM ALEPPO by N.H. Senzai.

Charles: While I don’t have any children, I do have gaggles of nieces and nephews and have made sure they have many books, signed by the author no less, a bunch of them also generously given to them by Irene as well, that are stored on a special shelf at their grandparent’s house and ready to be read at any time. Personally I can remember reading A KICK IN THE HEAD edited by Paul B. Janeczko and being knocked sideways at the different poetic forms each poet conquered, I also remember being impressed for years to come at the book BRONX MASQUERADE by Nikki Grimes and the anthologies SHARING THE SEASONS and AMERICA AT WAR both edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. A recent favorite of mine is the novel-in-verse INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai.

What is your memory of being read to as a child? Did you have a favorite book you listened to?

Irene: I was born to a super-reader father (he read at least a book a day his entire life!) and a schoolteacher mother, so yes, books, thankfully, have always been a part of my life. My early favorites were Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. One of my treasures is a video of my nearly 70 year old father reading “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out” the same way he once read it to wee me while I sat on his knee.

Charles: Growing up I read THE BERENSTAIN BEARS series and Dr. Suess, as I got older it was the sports pages of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The three books that got me hooked on reading while becoming a teenager and young adult was OUT OF CONTROL: Confessions of an NFL Casualty by Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson and Peter Knobler, SHORT CUTS: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver and ORDINARY PEOPLE by Judith Guest.

Sadly, I didn’t get into poetry until I was 29 years old. It started with reading Jack Prelutsky before going into work by Marilyn Nelson, Nikki Grimes, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Paul B. Janeczko, Valerie Worth and many, many more. It’s my mission to make sure it doesn’t take another human so long to get into this life changing form. Poetry is as accessible as blue skies, sunshine, rain, apple pie and checkered tablecloths. Trust it, it will never let you down.

Poetry is as accessible as blue skies, sunshine, rain, apple pie and checkered tablecloths. Trust it, it will never let you down.

Thank you, Jessica, so much for having us!

Thank you so much to Charles and Irene for their time and thoughtful answers! I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of online shopping to do now 🙂

Happy Reading

Book Review: Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Publishing date: January 1, 2018 by Carolrhoda Books.

Available for preorder

Ages 8 and up

(I received an ARC of this book for a fair review. I was not paid for the review. However, I am an Amazon Affliliate and if you click on the link and make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

friendship

Conversations about race at any age is difficult. It is a topic often avoided with kids because of the worry they aren’t old enough to handle the intricate topic. “Can I Touch Your Hair” provides a starting point for deeper conversations in our schools, our families and with our friends. The authors handle cultural differences and new friendships with sensitivity.

The writing and illustrating teams gave each character and picture its own distinct voice and style through free style poetry. This is the first picture book I have read using this technique, and I enjoyed its fresh approach to the picture book genre.

The book stayed away from stereotypes of each culture, and highlighted the fact they exist. Its universal theme of fitting in makes the book a relatable for everyone. Each of the characters struggles to find his or her place in the community they live in and find friendship in the last place they expected to.

Although the concepts are sophisticated, parents and teachers shouldn’t shy away from the book. Use the book  as a discussion starter about race and our similarities and cultural differences.

“Can I Touch Your Hair” shows no matter our perceptions we are all a part of the same community.

Try It At Home

reading together

Reading aloud should never stop. This book is a perfect read aloud book for older kids. Research shows that fluency improves when kids hear books being read aloud even if the child reads independently. The back and forth nature of Can I Touch Your Hair, makes it perfect for a read aloud. Your child can practice reading with emotion and pauses and learn from you as you read the same way.

poetry

Poetry aids self-expression and builds creative writing skills. Poetry isn’t only a great way to express emotions, it is a great way to build reading and writing skills. Free style poetry is a great way to introduce creative writing to kids because it doesn’t have the rules of other types. We often think of poetry as having to rhyme and this book is a perfect example of creativity at work. Write poems with your child about what is important in his or her life. Emotions she might have a hard time expressing or places where he feels insecure. Don’t stop there! Haiku’s are a great way to connect with nature and writing and are fun to produce. Poetry doesn’t have to be intimidating as the authors demonstrate.

letter writing

Rekindle the art of letter writing. Feeling different or out of place happens to all of us and as kids age they have a harder time telling us what they are feeling and what is happening in his or her life. A friend of mine when my kids were young suggested sharing a diary that the child can write in and the parent can respond to. It gives kids a chance to let out the emotions they have a hard time discussing and gives us as parents time to think through our response. Added benefits are increasing narrative skills through the letter writing or diary format and handwriting practice.

Try these Books:

Tune in tomorrow when Building Future Readers interviews the authors Charles Waters and Irene Latham about the book!

 

 

What books do you read to begin a conversation about race and cultural differences and similarities?

Happy Reading

Book Review: Big Bob, Little Bob By James Howe

big-bob-little-bob

Big Bob, Little Bob. James Howe. Illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson. Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2016.

Preschool

Big Bob and Little Bob are the same in name only. The new neighbors learn how to navigate a different kind of friendship and discover that what makes us different can also bring us together.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

In building a long relationship with reading, kids look for books they relate to. How they see themselves reflected on the pages. How they relate to the characters in the story. How the story problem can help the reader solve his own problems. This is a huge part of Print Motivation, which simply means enjoying the books we read. And there are a lot of different reasons that make a book a fun book to read.

James Howe has been writing books for decades. I fell in love with his characters: Bunnicula, Howard and Chester when I was a child. He has written early reader books and picture books as well. Howe is one of those authors who remembers what it was like to be a kid and this picture book is a reflection of his insight.

All kids feel out of place or different. There is a pressure to be like everyone else. Howe helps kids explore how to celebrate our differences instead of conforming to them. Sharing this story with a loved one will help kids feel safe as they explore this topic.

I also appreciate that he shows the complicated relationship between the neighbor boys and how conflict is handled not with action but with words. Picture books do so much more for our kids than build future readers. They help build empathy and problem solving skills that will benefit our kids as they go through school.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Use this book as a conversation starter. Talk about a time you felt out of place. What you felt, how you acted and how you solved the problem. Sharing stories of our own emotional journeys will help our kids talk about their own feelings and allow a space for them to think about conflict with others before it happens and how they will handle the conflict. Books are always a great jumping off point for deeper talk with our kids.

I really like this activity from the Pinterested Parent blog. Take paper plates and draw different faces. Glue a popsicle/craft stick to the plate and label the emotion at the bottom of the face. It will connect the word with the picture increasing vocabulary. Read through the story again and stop and ask your child to lift up the face he thinks the character feels. For example:

big-bob-little-bob-catch
Image from Amazon

Read the page and ask your child: How do you think Little Bob feels when he doesn’t catch the ball?

The faces can even be used when your child is having strong feelings. Sometimes our kids can’t verbalize the emotion, but try using the plates to help her express what she feels. Always lead by example. Say how you feel about the disagreement you are having and choose the face that best expresses that. Then ask your child to do the same. It will help build emotional literacy and allow your child a better understanding of how to express herself.

What to Read Next

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on one of the pictures below, it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

 

What books have you read with your child that has sparked interesting conversations? Share in the comments section of the post.

HAPPY READING!

Book Review: Best Frints in the whole universe by Antoinette Portis

  • Publishing Information: Antoinette Portis. Roaring Brook Press, New York. 2016.
  • Ages: Preschool

BEST FRINTS IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE is a fun book about friendship and feelings. It is a great book for preschoolers who are learning to handle arguments and conflict as they play more with children their own age. It acknowledges the common fights that happen and what the children hear in response to those fights. I can hear children giggling as they see the pictures of the friends doing things that they themselves get in trouble for.

It celebrates differences and diversity in relationships and shows how working together is so much more fun than doing things on our own.

What I love About this Book:

The vocabulary building skills in this book are actually phenomenal. The authors use of “alien language” gives parents and children the opportunity to translate the words into “Earth language.” It builds vocabulary in a fun and unique way.

It also creates a space to talk about feelings. Using the two best friends as guides, have your child tell about a time where she disagreed with a friend. Ask questions about what she felt and how she acted and what she might do in the future to solve the fight.

Kids will really gravitate to the bright, simple pictures and the common issues the book addresses. It will definitely be one you go back to again and again. Kids will have fun while learning. The best kind of fun.

How to Use this Book:

Learn to Translate. This is a great opportunity to discuss different languages. Go online or find a book at your local library or bookstore to help translate everyday words into another language. You can print out labels on the computer and go around the house placing the English and Spanish or German or whatever language you choose! Click here for a list of  premade English/Spanish Vocabulary labels.

Make a story about a disagreement your own child has had. Using the feelings he felt, the actions he made and the solution he comes up with to create a low pressure way to work through feelings and help your child name them when he feels them.

Create your own alien. Use Playdo or paint or crayons or whatever you have on hand to create your own version of the planet Boborp and friends Omek and Yelfred. Drawing, coloring and Playdo are great ways to build hand strength for future handwriting.

What to Read Next:

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. When you click on a picture it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the salem.)

 

What are your favorite books about friendship? Comment and share!

Happy Reading!!!!

Book Review: Sweet Pea and Friends The Sheepover by John and Jennifer Churchman

The following image will take you to Amazon where you may purchase the item. I do not get paid to review the book but if purchased from Amazon I do make a small profit.

By John and Jennifer Churchman

Ages: Preschool 3-5

 

 

 

 

Laddie, a farm dog, wakes Farmer John one night when he realizes something is amiss in the barn. Sweet Pea, the orphan lamb, has a fever from an infected leg. A doctor is called and her friends gather round as she heals. When the infection is gone she has a “sheepover” with her friends in the greenhouse to celebrate her good health.

What I enjoyed about this book is the illustrations which are vibrant and rich photographs. Your child will learn a lot of new VOCABULARY words in the text of this story. From the animals introduced, the people who help Sweet Pea get better and the enriching and rhythmical text. There are a lot of phrases that your child can repeat throughout the story, engaging them in the retelling which builds NARRATIVE, PRINT MOTIVATION, and PRINT AWARENESS skills.

The story may be a little too sweet for adults but children will enjoy the focus on friendship and gentle realistic pictures.

Skills Built:

SKILLchart

 

Questions to enrich the story:

Look through the pictures and help your child identify the different animals.

Have your child repeat the sounds each of the different animals makes.

After reading the story, go back through and ask questions to help your child comprehend the story. Who woke up Farmer John? Who was sick? Who helped Sweet Pea get better? How did the friends celebrate Sweet Pea? When was the last time you were sick? Who helped you get better?

Take it further:

Have your child image what it would be like to live on a farm. Have them draw a picture of the animals they would see, the machines they would use and who would live their with them.

Go to the library and find books on Veterinarians. Explore the profession. The different types of caregivers and what they do to help animals.

Make your own photo book like the authors! Go outside and explore your neighborhood with a camera. Take pictures and print them out. Write out a story from the pictures.