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Children's books

Harriet at 50

Even at 50 years old, Harriet can rankle readers. All students of children’s literature (in fact anyone interested in children’s literature) should meet her — even those who first encountered Harriet when they were children. The 1960s were turbulent; change was everywhere — including in books for children. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy marked a sea change in the direction of juvenile fiction. Some people loved it, others had an equally strong and opposite reaction to the book.

Season of giving

I always feel like I’m one step behind around this time of year which makes me realize — sometimes with a start — that the end of another year will be upon us very soon.

What can I give my friends and family that will not only slow us down but create a memory that will last longer than the moment? I’ve decided this year that I’ll share my favorite books and take time to share them. Each book will come with a promise (to myself as well as to the book’s recipient) to to share it in person, by phone, or Skype.

Bringing Amelia Bedelia’s Antics to Life

Acting stories out is a brilliant way to get to the heart of what children are reading. And not only does story dramatization have positive effects on language development and student achievement, it is an absolute blast. Wren and her Namma, Jan Worthington, take us behind the scenes of their recent page to stage adventure.

Season of thanks

It’s the season when we think about giving thanks. Occasionally, we take things for which we should be grateful for granted. Sometimes a fresh look can help us gain greater appreciation.

That’s just what happened when I read a recent book by Khizr Khan entitled This Is Our Constitution (Knopf).  It’s an introduction to the U.S. Constitution, its government, and the freedoms afforded American citizens.

How do you reward reading?

Recently I got into a discussion with a group of site coordinators who work for Everybody Wins, a program that brings adults into schools on a weekly basis to read aloud with students. The program encourages its volunteer reading mentors and students to keep track of what they read together. In the past, the program has recognized students with certificates and/or books or other trinkets for reaching certain reading goals.

The Wimpy Kid Meets the National Ambassador

At An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, MA, Gene sits down for a lively conversation with Wimpy Kid author (and bookstore owner) Jeff Kinney.

As a kid, Kinney was a prankster and a devoted reader of his sister's Judy Blume books. He later discovered fantasy (The Hobbitt, The Lord of the Rings, and the Xanth series), comics (The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes), and the genius of Carl Barks (Donald Duck comics).

Take Reading Outside

Story can do a lot to inspire kids to engage with the natural world. What can you do to get kids outside? Kit Ballenger has some ideas that all start with a book!

What’s in a flag?

What do you see when you look at an American flag? What do its colors, stars and stripes call to mind?

“Blue sky/White Stars …”, red and white rows evoke more than simply a flag. It can represent a country’s landscape, its history, and most important, the people who together create one nation, beautiful in their diversity.

Become an explorer in your own backyard or nearby park!

Strengthen your child’s powers of observation and imagination when you spend time together outdoors. You can find nature in a variety of settings within your community, giving children the opportunity to explore by touching, smelling, and examining things to make their own discoveries.

Book-ing Your Child’s Summer Vacation

Even though it is already back-to-school time in some parts of the country, there’s still time for reading fun in the summer sun for everyone!

Legendary children’s storytime performer and early childhood educator Sol Livingston has some great ideas for summer reading that will inspire reading road trips all year round.

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl