Book Review, Favorite Books, recommended reads

Recommended Reads June 2017

Welcome to Recommended Reads! We’ll be doing a blog post once a month of our favorite picks for picture books, chapter books, and young adult books. If you follow us on Goodreads, you’ve probably already seen these pop up.

Picture Book

little excavator

Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney. If the author sounds familiar, it’s because she is famous for her Llama Llama series. This book was released this month, and the illustrations and story live up to the Llama llama legacy. We loved reading this book and learning about all the different construction vehicles.

Chapter Books

deltora quest

One of my all-time favorite series is Deltora Quest. It’s a series of eight books, but the books are shorter so they are appropriate for as young as third grade. These books are sent in a fantasy world where the main character, Lief, has to complete a quest for all of the jewels for the belt of Deltora. The best part of this series is that in each book, Leif has to solve a logic puzzle. I love that these puzzles give kids the opportunity to solve it themselves. These books were well planned and each character or event builds to create a fabulous series.

YA Book

holes

Even though it’s a little lower reading level, I found this book listed on so many “YA” lists that I’m just going to put it here. Holes is a fabulous book that ties together three different time periods into one fascinating story. The protagonist, Stanley Yelnats, gets sent to a youth camp for a crime he didn’t commit. He has to dig a hole every day as part of his punishment. Throughout the book there will be different stories about Stanley’s ancestors and how their lives came to affect his.

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Favorite Books, Reading, recommended reads

5 Ways to Find Books Your Children Will Love

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It only takes my son a few pages to decide whether or not he likes a picture book. If he likes it, we keep on reading. If he doesn’t, the book gets pushed out of my hands as he proclaims, “I don’t yike it!” Once a book has been “unliked,” I hardly ever can crack it open again for a second chance. There can be many reasons why he doesn’t like a book: he isn’t in the mood to read, he doesn’t like the pictures, or the reading level is too high for him. Thankfully I’ve still be able to read quite a bit with him, and today I’ll be sharing my tips with you! This post will mostly be geared towards finding picture books your children will love, although some of the suggestions can apply to chapter books as well.

1. Pick a Subject Your Child Likes and Explore

What toys does your child play with the most? What TV shows do they like to watch? Chances are if you find a book that relates to the toys they play with or the shows they watch, they’ll end up liking it. For my son, I know I’m safe if I get a book that has dogs, construction vehicles, or is a retelling of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’ You can browse by subject at your library, or simply skim the shelves for titles and cover art that match your child’s interests. Usually I pick several shelves to look at each time we go to the library, changing it up every time so I can be exposed to new authors and illustrators. I’ve found dozens of books this way.

2. Ask a Librarian

Extra points if the librarian you ask is one that does Story Time! I always get books my son likes from Story Time. I know if he’s sat through it once, he can sit through it again. These librarians know what children’s books are most popular. They also will be able to guide you to authors or series that your child may like. They also have an extensive knowledge on searching the library databases. A few months ago, I could not figure out how to search for books with songs (you know, like nursery rhymes or classic kids songs like “Old MacDonald”) but within a few minutes one of our librarians printed out two pages of books in that category.

3. Binge Read Authors and Illustrators

Once you find a book your child likes, look up every book that author or illustrator has done. If they liked one book, they’re likely to enjoy the others. Children’s book authors are more prolific than chapter book authors, and so this should lead you to several–perhaps dozens–of books your child will enjoy. It is especially helpful to research illustrators because often they collaborate with several different authors. Pictures are really important to young kids, so if you find an illustrator they like, they probably won’t notice that the author changed.

4. Introduce Books from Your Childhood

If you remember a picture book you read as a kid, chances are it was an excellent one. Look it up and try it out! Your kids are more likely to be excited about reading it if you exclaim about how much you loved that book when you were little. And it’s much more fun to read aloud when you know you will like the book as well. We’ve already started doing this with several series, like Berenstain Bears, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and What Mommies Do Best.

5. Try Again

Your child will still come across books they don’t like. The important thing to emphasize  is that there are still books they can love to read, and you will help find them! We always have a few books from our weekly library haul that never make the cut. By figuring out why my son doesn’t like them, I’m able to troubleshoot so it doesn’t happen again. If he isn’t in the mood, I try reading the book later. If he doesn’t like the pictures, I try to avoid that illustrator in the future. If the reading level is too high, I make a mental note to try the books again when he’s older.

If you are still looking for books your kids will love, check out our Recommended Reads posts! We post about our favorite picture books, chapter books, and young adult books at the end of every month.

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Book Review, Favorite Books, recommended reads

Recommended Reads May 2017

Welcome to Recommended Reads! We’ll be doing a blog post once a month of our favorite picks for picture books, chapter books, and young adult books. If you follow us on Goodreads, you’ve probably already seen these pop up.

Picture Books

This month’s picture book author and illustrator is Mark Teague. He has written a variety of books, and here are the ones we’ve loved so far:

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf- I loved this retelling of the classic fairytale, because I don’t like that the wolf is always forced to be bad.  Once the wolf’s hunger issues are solved, it turns out he’s not so bad after all.

Funny Farm and Firehouse- Edward (a dog) learns more about how farms and firehouses function as he visits each one. The best parts of these two books are the illustrations. It is incredible how lifelike these dogs seem.

The Sky is Falling- a retelling of Chicken Little, where she is set up by a wolf but outsmarts him in an unexpected way.

Pigsty- Have a kid with a messy room? In Miss Piggle-Wiggle fashion, this book explores what would happen if pigs actually moved into a room because it was so messy.

Chapter Book

lawn boy

One of my favorite books is Lawn Boy by Gary Paulson. Written for children in grade school, Lawn Boy focuses on a 12 year old who decides to start his own lawn mowing business. Along the way, he learns about profits and expenditures, investments, and capitalism. I loved how this book wove these topics around a story that was relatable and fun.

 

Young Adult Books

bartimaeus

The Bartimaeus Series by Johnathan Stroud is set in a fictional world that reimagines what London would be like if magicians ruled Parliament through the help of djinnis (genies). The main djinn is Bartimaeus, who despite being a slave is clever and resourceful. This series focuses on redemption as secondary character, Nathaniel, who pursues fame and fortune at the expense of djinnis and many others. The best part of the books is exploring the new worlds (reimagined London and the world of djinnis) and learning how they interact.

Why I Needed a Mom Vacation