Thanksgiving

This post from the Family Reading Corner perfectly captures how grateful we should be that we can buy our children books and spend time reading together.

Thanksgiving Day reminds us of what we should be thankful for all year: a loving family, food to eat, warm clothes on our backs, and time spent with children reading together. Yes–reading together!Reading together is an essential part of growing up, just as important as food and shelter. Reading to your young child, snuggled up to you and a book, feeds his or her brain and makes your child feel loved at the same time, nurturing both cognitive and emotional health.

What books are your favorites to read in your family? Do you read a story with words that are bouncy and rhyming or so silly that you laugh together? Maybe a favorite book is about something familiar that is comforting that your child wants to hear again and again. If your child is curious, a book about the natural world could become a favorite.

Thank you to all the grown-ups that read to young children and help them get the best start in life. Here are some ideas of books that could become classics in your household.

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  • “Silly Sally” by Audrey Wood. Rhyming, repetitive, and downright goofy, this story about Sally walking backwards and upside down into town will have your pre-schooler giggling in no time.
  • “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. Told from a young child’s perspective, this little boy discovers the wonder of snow as it falls in his neighborhood. He finds out how to make snow angels, go sledding, and how snow melts.
  • “ Pete’s a Pizza” by William Steig. Making a boy into a pizza can be a very ticklish activity! This is a book you can act out over and over.
  • “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathman. Police Officer Buckle and his dog assistant Gloria give safety lectures throughout the town. No one listens to the lectures until Gloria starts acting out the safety tips without Officer Buckle knowing. Humorous and informative, too.
  • “Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek. Is he here? Is he there? Every page is an enticement to turn to the next. Where is that green sheep?

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

Chanukah

give books

Chanukah is early this year.  It starts November 27 and coincides with Thanksgiving.  In keeping with my header, I would like to suggest you give some thought to including books in your gift giving for the Chanukah season.  I would like to share some titles with you that I found at the Nerdy Book Club:

Tolerance


The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snickett and illustrated by Lisa Brown (2007)

Reminiscent of the Ginger Bread story, Snickett’s latke scampers out of the kitchen and encounters several Christmas icons. The dialogue between the latke and symbols expresses the differences between the rituals and the importance that one’s identity be accepted.

The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate  by Janice Cohn and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth (1995)

Cohn’s story is based on events that occurred in Billings Montana in 1993. Families of different backgrounds and faith united against anti-Semitic attacks. The book provides multiple avenues for discussing the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs.

Elijah’s Angel  by Michale J. Rosen and illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. (1992)

A renowned African American Christian woodcutter and a young Jewish boy create a memorable relationship that illustrates the importance of respecting religious differences.  This book can be a starting point for understanding the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity.

Poetry

Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and pictures by Melanie Hall (2004)

This small collection of poetry is found in An I Can Read Book Level 2 book.

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriett Ziefert and illustrated by Karla Gudeon (2008)

This is a very short book designed for preschoolers. However, it provides good examples of how haiku can describe simple aspects of Chanukah

Holocaust and Chanukah

One Candle by Eve Bunting and illustrated by K. Wendy Popp (2002)

Through the eyes of a child, readers will learn about how Jews celebrate Chanukah as well as hear a retelling of how some Holocaust survivors cherished the celebration of Chanukah in Buchenwald. Passing the story from one generation to the next reaffirms the importance of following traditions.

Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story by Marci Stillerman and illustrated by Pesach Gerber (1998)

See previous Nerdy Book Club posting- Notable Holocaust Picture Books Illustrate People Making a Difference.

Historical Fiction

Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue by Heidi Smith Hyde and illustrated by Jamel Akib (2012)

Readers will get a glimpse of 18th century American Jewish history in Massachusetts. Jewish immigrants from Portugal were afraid to reveal their Jewish identity. The use of their menorah becomes a lifesaver.

Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Greg Harlin (2006)

This book takes Chanukah back to the time of the Revolutionary War.  George Washington comes upon a soldier who is lighting Chanukah candles. The dialogue provides information about Chanukah and the significance of fighting for freedom.

Folk Tales

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1985)

Hershel comes to the rescue when a town is besieged by goblins who prevent them from celebrating Chanukah. While fighting off the goblins readers learn various things about Chanukah. Good overcomes evil when Hershel is able to outsmart the group of scary goblins.

The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story by Eric A Kimmel and illustrated by Katya Krenina (1996)

Story teller Kimmel retells the tale of “The Tablecloth, the Donkey and the Stick” in a Chanukah setting . A goblin outwits a trickster woman who is trying to take advantage of a young Jewish boy. Everyone benefits from the goblin’s goodness.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

STORY STORKS

CHILDHOOD

To continue my celebration of Picture Book  Month, I want to tell you about a group of women from Haddon Heights who have taken their belief in the value of reading to our children and put that belief in action.

Adrienne Evans and Maureen Hicks were completing their teaching clinical for their master’s degree program in Camden.  They saw first hand the need for an early literacy program within this community.  In response to this need, along with Barbara Funkhouser, they started a not for profit organization named Story Storks.

Last year Story Storks volunteers visited more than 1,000 mothers of new babies.  During that visit each mother is given a book for her child.  The volunteer discusses with the baby’s mother the value of reading to the newborn child.  The mother is left with additional information on how she can create a reading routine.

The volunteers from Story Storks give special attention to the babies in the NICU.  With the parent’s permission the volunteers spend time reading to these neediest of newborns.

On Tuesday, November 12, the ladies are giving a presentation about their organization to the Evening Membership Department of the Haddon Fortnightly.  The program will start at 7:30 PM.  The Fortnightly Clubhouse is located at the corner of Kings Highway and Grove Street in Haddonfield.  All are welcome to attend.

If you believe in the power of reading to young children, one way to support this organization is to volunteer to do hospital visits.  Another way is to buy a copy of my picture book, Before I Was Born.  I will donate a 100% of the price of the book to this organization.  To purchase this book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.

And don’t forget I am giving away a copy of my book every week in November.  Just leave a comment telling why picture books are important to you to become eligible for the drawing.