6 Things You Need to Know About Children’s Literature

Children’s literature is the place to be.

  1.  Reading to children is one of the most crucial ways you teach them. Start reading to them when they are infants and don’t you dare stop!
  2. Reading children’s literature is good for your soul. Healing, soothing, and  relaxing.
  3.  On that note, in no way should a person ever be ashamed of reading children books. Children’s literature is NOT just for children.
  4. Don’t limit yourself to one type of children’s literature. I made this mistake and I quickly fixed it.  Read all kinds of books. Try new authors and illustrators.
  5. Let children read their books to you.  Many of them love to and adults should never discourage them from this.   Reading out loud is good for children and the older they get the less they will like to do it. Let them stumble through their books and always look interested.
  6. As much as Kindles and other devices are wonderful for reading, go out to the library and read real children’s book.  Not only because it is better to hold the book in your hands, but also because your librarian will begin to recommend books to you.   Also, you will become friends with the after school program kids that hang out at the library.  Going to the library creates a special friendship.  They will read to you and may ask you to read to them!!
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Top Ten Children’s Books I Want to Read

I’m eager to fulfill my list.

10.  “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech

A book on my list of novels that I have heard great things about. I must read it.

9. “Ballet Shoes” by Noah Streatfeild

8.  “Gone-Away Lake” by Elizabeth Enright

7. “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli

6.  “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin

5. “The Book of Three” by Lloyd Alexander

4.  “Children of Green Knowe” by L.M. Boston

3. “The Witches” by Roald Dahl

I love Roald Dahl’s work and I have never had the pleasure of reading this.

2.  “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” by Joan Aiken

1. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

I started working on knocking out a “Top 100 Children’s novels” list and these ten books are on that list that I have not yet been able to put my fingers on!

Top Ten Books to Use in The Classrom

Classroom List

10.  “The Poet Slave of Cuba” by Margarita Engle

9.  “Rosa” by Nikki Giovanni

8.  ” The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate

7. “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia

6. “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain” by Peter Sis

5 . “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

4.  “Coming on Home Soon” by Jacqueline Woodson

3.  “Green” by Laura Vacaro Seegar

2.  “Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad” by Ellen Levine

1. “The House in the Night” by Susan Marie Swanson

With the exception of a couple of these books, they are all books that have heartfelt plots.  Some devastating and some sweet.  The other books that I find important to use in the classroom are picture books that have phenomenal illustrations.

Top 10 Reads From This Semester

These are a few of my favorite books.

10.  “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson

This book is a phenomenal book. So creative and it allows your mind to go crazy!

9.   “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen

Another good book. This book is slightly stressful, however it is a well written book.

8.  “The House in the Night”by Susan Marie Swanson

Unlike the chapter books I indulged in.  This is a picture book and its illustrations are absolutely beautiful.

7.  “The Graphic Alphabet” by David Pelletier

This was strictly a picture book. I am more of a chapter book person, however I did love this book.

6.  “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl

This book is wildly imaginative.   A great adventurous book.

5.  “Winnie the Pooh” by A.A. Milne

This is a classic.  A sweet, lovable story with unforgettable characters.

4.  “Holes” by Louis Sachar

Talk about teaching a lesson.  Boys digging holes to build character. This book is a great read.

3.  “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert C. O’Brien

Mrs. Frisby is the sweetest mouse you will ever meet. This is an unforgettable tale.

2.  “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hard times call for loving measures. This family filled their lives with love in their hard times.  I loved this book.

1. “Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg

My favorite book that I read this semester.  Such a wonderfully detailed book. The illustrations are phenomenal.

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?!

Giants aren’t always scary.

For this week’s post, I read “BFG” by Roald Dahl.  An absolute charm.  This book is a typical creative Roald Dahl book, but it is not ordinary.  So vivid in it’s story of a girl and a giant and the wonderful friendship they create.  Sophie is a young girl that witnesses a giant doing something strange in her town. He has what looks like a trumpet and he sneaks to sleeping children’s windows and sticks his trumpet in the window.  She later finds out that he collects dreams and he is emitting dreams into the minds of these young children.  This book is great.  Sophie and BFG (Big Friendly Giant) embark in an unforgettable journey to convince the Queen of England how truly horrible the other giants are.  I read this book now and wonder how terrifying it would be for young kids.  Being that it is vivid, I can see this book being scary for young students.  However, I loved this book and I highly recommend reading it if you are a Roald Dahl fan.

Mock Newbery and Caldecott

Intriguing…

After reading the blog posts about the Mock Caldecott, I realize that this project would be a huge commitment.  To be honest, I would not undertake this in my first (or first few) years of teaching.  However, after having the project carefully planned out, I would LOVE to do something similar.  I think that it is great that he made the medal image a competition.  It would likely make the students motivated.  It would also make students read more.  Although it would be a large project to do it the way that this teacher did, I think it would be educational and thoroughly enjoyable.

After reading Mr. Shu’s list of nominees, I had a hard time narrowing it to my top three. However, number one was an easy pick for me.

3.   “Float” by Daniel Miyares.  This  book looks beautiful and I love the illustrations on the cover.

2.”Toys Meet Snow” by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.  This is another book that I would like to see on my desk waiting for me to crack open.  The idea of toys meeting snow brings out my inner child.

My number one choice is…

“Whisper” Pamela Zagarenski. So incredibly creative and I beautiful!

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?

A little house.

For last week, I chose to read “Little House on the Prairie”.  This a book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It is one book in a series of several books that were written in an autobiographical format.  The books are about the Ingalls family and their hardships and happy moments.  The first book “Little House in the Big Woods” was written in the early 1930’s and so it is evident that the times that they lived in were hard.  “Little House on the Prairie” has a sad plot at times. The family struggles with illness and it is incredibly difficult at the time.

I had these books read to me as a very young child and it was both heartbreaking and enjoyable to be able to read them now as an adult.  It is so incredible to read of the hardships that happened on a daily basis in this era.  It makes me grateful and so thankful for how easy we have some things today.  The Ingalls family also helps me realize how important family is.  I plan to have these books on a reading list for my students when I get my own classroom.  Down to earth, sad, eye opening, and yet beautifully written.  What a beautiful story and a family that will forever be in my hearts.  What makes it most powerful is that it is an autobiography.  These were real people and a real family.  Please read this book! ( I suggest reading “Little House in the Big Woods” first!)

Skyping With Authors

Technology at its finest.

I thought that this concept of Skyping with authors is such a neat idea. It is a way to get students excited about reading and meeting “famous people.”

One thing about this article that I found fascinating was the section titled “All The World’s a Stage.” What a cool concept! I would have loved to learn geography via Skype when I was a kid.  It is definitely an idea that I would use if I become an upper elementary classroom teacher. I didn’t travel much as a kid but I was always fascinated with the idea of traveling and I’ve always loved learning about other cultures and other places.  I think that it is so true that this would be an excellent opportunity for students to learn when they are unable to travel.  This “Skyping Renaissance” is a great movement and I think that it is such a great tool for the classroom.

I have a list a mile long of authors I would want to meet.  Some of them are no longer alive, yet they are still blessing us with their work.  I would definitely be honored to meet William Faulkner.  Roald Dahl, Jane Austen, Robert Frost, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and the list goes on.  Since many of them would be impossible to meet, I would settle for any of them.  I would be honored to be able to pick the brain of any author though.  I would not be picky and I would love it no matter who it was!!

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?

It is a hard life being a mouse…

This past week I began reading “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert C. O’Brien.  I must be honest, I did not finish the book yet so I cannot completely comment on the plot.  The book is about a family of field mice that live in a garden on a farm.  The father mouse, Jonathon Frisby, died a while ago leaving his widow, Mrs. Frisby and their four children alone on the farm.  The story is a bit stressful because the troubles that the Frisby’s go through are realistic to what a mouse family really would go through.  It is sad to me because of how hard their lives are on the farm while the humans are portrayed as having it so easy.  Me being the animal lover I am loves that this book is all about the animals.

I am hoping o finish this book within the next couple of days.I am roughly halfway done and the plot is getting exciting. It is almost moving day and that means the Frisbys must move across the field to their summer home. A very dangerous task.

Reading Aloud

Read!

The two articles that we read yesterday were both great articles.  They were both eye opening to me in different ways.

The article “Read Alouds” by Katherine Sokolowski on Nerdy Book Club was a great article.  It was eye opening to me because I had never thought about reading to the higher grade students.  I was read to a lot in fourth grade and I enjoyed that.  But I honestly do not remember being read to after that point.  Maybe I was and the memory just escapes me.  But this article made me realize that reading aloud can be important and beneficial to students of any age.

The article “A Year of Reading: Building Read Aloud Routine in Third Grade” surprised me.  I never really thought about reading to students a book of their own ability.  I can remember my teacher reading books to us that were maybe one step above our level, but she would dissect them and make us understand them as she read them.  I very much enjoyed that and so I was surprised when I realized that it does make sense to read the correct level to a student.

I walked away from both of these articles with gained knowledge.  I have always known how important read aloud time is, but now I know a little better how I can shape and mold reading time to fit my students.