Summer is a great time to keep reading to your young ones, whether it’s reading inside in the air conditioning on a 90-degree day or taking refuge from thunderstorms by reading and snuggling. Here are six fabulous picture books that can kick off great discussions with your kids.
Shhh. Don’t tell the kids, but when they start reading and laughing out loud at the humor in the “Action Presidents #1: George Washington” and “Action Presidents #2: Abraham Lincoln,” they will be learning a bunch of history at the same time. Real history — history presented in a graphic novel format that’s humor-filled and easy-to-understand.
Tamora Pierce’s fans are legion. But if you haven’t read one of this master of fantasy’s many books, this is the perfect time to start and the perfect book to start with: “Tempests and Slaughter.” It’s the first book in a new series, and it’s a prequel to some of the other books about the Tortall universe.
As with all of Pierce’s books, the characters feel quite authentic, and each of the three main characters is unique. Each one demonstrates very human weaknesses and strengths. Pierce is fabulous at hinting at events to come through characters’ actions and dialogue — just subtle hints at deeper character traits.
Fans of “Jack: The (Fairly) True Tale of Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Rumpelstiltskin,” and “Red: The (Fairly) True Tale of Red Riding Hood” will adore the latest fractured fairy tale about “Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” by Liesl Shurtliff.
Every book in “The Trials of Apollo,” the ongoing series by brilliant writer Rick Riordan, seems better than the last. “The Trials of Apollo” differs from the other Riordan demigod adventure series that have captivated middle grade, young adult, and adult readers since the first one, “The Lightning Thief.”
“Endling: The Last” by Katherine Applegate has a title that contains an oxymoron: it’s the first book in a series about the last creature of its species. But the book is so much more than a story about extinction and the last creature of a species. It’s a story that is compelling, brutally honest, touching, and filled with non-stop action. The characters are all beautifully created and likeable, and readers will feel as if they have become a part of the dangerous adventure that these characters have embarked on.
I’ve realized how to know when I’m reading a book I’m just not that into. When I find myself playing Words With Friends for 30 minutes instead of reading, I know that the book I’m reading has just not enthralled me. That’s how I knew that I was loving “Surface Tension” by Mike Mullin; I couldn’t put it down. I started the book in the morning and had finished it by evening. I read every spare minute because I was dying to know what was going to happen next.
“Drawn Together” by Minh Lê and Dan Santat is a truly touching, beautifully written and brilliantly illustrated picture book about bridging the gap that language and generations can cause. The story is simple; the presentation is not.
The first three pages of the story have no text, but none is needed. A boy visits his grandfather. He does not look happy to be there, but they bow politely to each other. The grandfather smiles widely and invites his grandson in, and the next page shows the meals they are eating.
Summer is a time of leisure, and a time when long sun-filled days might just give parents more time to read and reflect on books with their children. Here are many picture books that kids will love, and parents will love to discuss with those kids. They would be great choices for library read aloud time or for classrooms in the fall. All share wonderful messages. Continue reading
“Pet this Book” and “Play this Book,” two books by Jessica Young and Daniel Wiseman, are sure to quickly become favorites for younger readers (or nonreaders). The subject matters, pets and instruments, are things children instinctively love.
It’s summer and time for fun and games. Keep your kids reading and loving books with this selection of stories that will also keep them laughing and asking for repeated readings. Continue reading
A beautifully written, touching picture book about a shameful period of American history is “Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind” by Cynthia Grady and illustrated by Amiko Hirao.
The book includes pictures from that time of children wearing identification tags and families with their belongings (they were only allowed to bring what they could carry). At the heart of the story is Clara Breed, a children’s librarian in San Diego County where many Japanese American families lived. She formed relationships with her patrons, and when they told her that they were going to be imprisoned because they were of Japanese descent, she gave them postcards so they could keep in contact with her.