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big ol’ round-up: kid books

June 19th, 2010

My Favorite Kid Books (this week):

These were just the ones that were stacked on the coffeetable and the arm of the loveseat, believe it or not. (Except “Noonday Friends,” which I can’t locate but want to read again. There is an 8-year-old here who is a lot like Marshall, Franny’s little brother, who longs to stay up… All. Night. Long.) I’m already getting excited for the new school year to start and no, not because I’m ready for my own kids to go back to school, ha. We’ve barely gotten started. We’re enjoying summer break and have some fun stuff planned — trips to the beach, visits to the farmers markets, exploring our new neighborhood. There are lots of music festivals and picnics on the schedule for this summer and (best news of all to me), a new branch of the Washington County Library is opening next week, yes!

So no big vacations this summer, no road trips, but lots of at-home fun and getting to know our new town. (And we’re getting a surprise visit from our friends from Texas, wooooooooot!) In the fall, three of us will start at three new schools. (Steve doesn’t get to go to school. Pity.)

I gathered up the books you see pictured here, read through the ones I haven’t memorized yet, and popped them into a tub that I’ll take with me when I start at my new school in the fall. If it’s a high school, do you think the kids will still be interested in “Where the Wild Things Are”? Probably yes, right? If it’s a middle school, will they think that my recommendations (Mary Stolz, Louise Fitzhugh) are too old-fashioned? We’ll see…

Book reviews (and lots of library trips, and listening to recommendations from students and teachers) are the best way for me to explore some of the new fiction and non-fiction that’s out there. Also, ego has to go out the window. Just because I (or you, or your grandma) loved a book, this is the best book ever, you’ll love it, you have to love it as much as we did!!!!


Modern readers might not agree. I sometimes find my mind wandering to my K-8 library, from my own childhood. We had a fairly large school, with fairly large children (I clearly remember being 9 years old and staring up, up, up at the ginormous 8th graders. They were adult-size. Wow, would I ever be that big???). But our library was tiny, and the books… they were boring. They were Dullsville, U.S.A. They were dusty.

The librarian disappeared, who knows what happened to her. The mother of my babysitter (and neighbor) took over the library. I remember thinking, “You can be a mom and run a library? Hmm,” and stashing that thought away to pull out 30 years later. She must not have had a book budget, because all of the books, I am sad to say, were from the 1940s or thereabouts. I remember going back and forth along the shelves, hoping that a new book would jump out at me.

With my library work, I’ve been able to make that happen for my students. I was lucky enough to get grant money, not just once, but several times. And I received a small grant, too, so… more books! The students really wanted the Percy Jackson books and I didn’t have a one. Imagine how satisfying when one of my students griped, Still no Percy Jackson! and I could tell him, Look on the cart.

“Nothing,” he said, frowning.

“Look again,” I told him.

“A-ha!!” he said, grabbing the first in the series. Big smiles from both of us.

This is the most fun I’ve ever had with work.

Seriously, when kids are having a hard time with reading — if it’s because of learning disabilities, if they’re not getting the hang of it, or if it’s just that they haven’t found the right genre — picture books are great. Graphic novels are even better.

Happy reading!

(Please see my disclaimer policy.)


  1. Nan says

    Ooh, does this mean you have a new job???

    June 23rd, 2010 | #

  2. Wacky Mommy says

    (fingers crossed.)

    June 23rd, 2010 | #

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