Category Archives: kids

Teen Read Week!

This week is “Teen Read Week” – In celebration, libraries across the nation are hosting activities to encourage their teenage patrons to read.

Youth ages 12-18 were asked to pick their favorite books – Here is the Top 10 via The Washington Post:


The Teens’ Top Ten 2010:

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

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E=MC2

Yet another great little book in the Reader’s Digest collection: E=mc² by Jeff Stewart is a handy guide to all the “must know” lessons of physics.

I’m not going to lie, science is not my area of expertise, and usually physics would be above my level of comprehension, but this book lays it out in simple terms in well-organized chapters.

I can’t say this enough – this Reader’s Digest collection should be the centerpiece of a family bookcase. My 12 year old has been enjoying these as much as I have, and it’s great to know he is supplementing what he’s being taught in school, (and in some cases, getting a head start on topics they haven’t even discussed in class!)

Another great reference book from Reader’s Digest, from content to design. Love these.

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World Cup Reads for Teens

I love football (“soccer”), and the World Cup always brings us some new fans. If your tween or teen has expressed an interest, take advantage of that new passion and get them reading! Here are some cool books about soccer in Juvenile Fiction and Young Adult genres.

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

The Million Dollar Kick by Dan Gutman

Breakaway by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Keeper by Mal Peet

The Penalty by Mal Peet

Trouble in Soccertown by Rita and Spencer Olin

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Liselle and the Birch Prince


Book title/author: Liselle and the Birch Prince by Bryan P. Hunt/Illustrated by Tanya Lam

About the book:

It’s been called nature-deficit disorder: the disturbing reality that today’s over-protected, technology-addicted children are almost completely disconnected from nature. The phenomenon has been linked not only to childhood obesity and psychological imbalances, but also to the steady destruction of the environment—and some say it points to the eventual breakdown of society itself. For author Bryan P. Hunt, recognizing this dilemma was one of the main motivators behind the writing of his second children’s book, Liselle and the Birch Prince, a magical modern fairytale that weaves together subtle lessons on bravery, selflessness, and the eternal power of love against the enchanting backdrop of nature’s untarnished beauty.

My Review:

I sat down this evening and read this book to my youngest son, who is 8 years old. We don’t often read fairy tales anymore. We’ve read many of the classics, (most recently Alice and Wonderland), but this book is unique – not what we usually find at the library. The language was accessible to his age group while not being condescendingly simple in the least. The writing itself was good quality and he enjoyed the illustrations, (which looked to be watercolors.) His only complaint was when I finished the book he asked, “What happens next?” – This was partly a desire for the narrative to continue because it was good, and partly a comment on how abruptly the author ended the story. The ending is somewhat unsatisfactory and not exactly the “happily ever after” one expects, but my son wants to know when the rest of it will be written, so he did enjoy it. Perhaps the author will consider making it a series.

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United Through Reading program

I just saw this on CNN today and thought it was super cool.

This program lets soldiers in the military pick a children’s book, read it on camera and then (absolutely for free), they send the DVD recording and the book to their child.

At home, the children have story time with their parent almost as if they were right there. I think this is fantastic and I’m definitely adding it to my list of charities I’d like to contribute to.

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The Gift of an Ordinary Day

I’ve been reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir by Katrina Kenison. This book is far and away the best book on motherhood I can remember reading. Many passages left me breathless, as if Kenison had somehow reached into the depths of my heart and pulled out the most private fears and thoughts I’ve had about life as I watch my children grow old too quickly.

I soon picked up a highlighter and began marking the sentences that spoke to me, but soon sentences became paragraphs and paragraphs became pages. I had to abandon the highlighter and admit that this book, in its entirety, was something special.

This would make an amazing Mother’s Day gift. I’m planning on giving it to my mother.

Below I encourage you to watch the video of the author, Katrina Kenison, reading an excerpt. (And I’m warning you – grab a tissue!)

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There Is An Urgency

Simultaneously difficult to read, and difficult not to read once you open it, There Is An Urgency, a memoir by Greghri Love, tells the painfully true story of a boy who not only grew up in an environment of heartbreaking abuse, but managed to come out the other side better for it.

The book is arranged in chapters alternating between childhood and adulthood, keeping the reader from completely losing heart, knowing that Greghri not only survives the horrors at the hands of his step-father, (who is also his mother’s pimp and a drug dealer), but Mr. Gregrhi Love grows up to be a teacher with a unique gift for touching the lives of other youth growing up in similarly difficult situations.

Deeply honest, disturbing, and ultimately inspiring, There Is An Urgency is a must read for anyone who came from an abusive home or who works with children who do.

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