Posts tagged: Book Recommendations

Gerda Muller Books

By , December 14, 2007 12:54 pm

I just bought the whole set of these for my almost two-year old. They were so lovely that I couldn’t wait for Christmas to bring them out!

These books are refreshingly simple. There are four in the series, one for each season. There are no words, only lovely drawings of children engaged in fun activities appropriate to the season of the book.

There is lots to see and talk about, from picking out objects and colors, to discussing seasons, weather, clothing, nature, activities and play! My daughter loves these and will sit and pore of the pages with great interest.

Another thing I really like about these books is the fact that they are sturdy board books. This is good for us, since I think ours will get a lot of love and use!

Thank you to Greenemother of The Owl and the PussyCat, where I first learned of the series. I urge you to read her thoughts on these lovely books. I am grateful for your recommendation!

The Tomten (Astrid Lindgren)

By , November 23, 2007 8:09 pm

The Tomten is a very old little elf-like creature who lives in the hayloft on a wintry Swedish farm.

No one has ever seen him, and only the children know of his presence. He comes out at night and checks on all the animals, and the family, making sure they are safe and comfortable, reminding the animals that spring is on the way.

This is a simple story with gentle, rhythmic text and soothing, muted illustrations. A wonderfully peaceful bedtime read by Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking and The Children of Noisy Village. (See my post on The Children of Noisy Village.)

Awards: An ALA Notable Book, and a Parent’s Choice Paperback Award Winner.


"Average of 2 Hours/Day Watching TV and 7 Minutes/Day Reading " – Americans Reading Less New Study Says

By , November 19, 2007 11:25 pm

Tonight I heard on NPR’s All Things Considered an interesting story that fits right in with Unplug Your Kids so I absolutely have to report it for those who might have missed it. Sorry to postpone my next Christmas/Holiday Unplugged post for anyone who really cares, but I’ll get it up tomorrow morning or evening.

The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) has just released today, a new study on the reading habits of Americans: children, teens, and adults. Here are some of the findings:

++ Americans are reading less – teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time compared with other age groups and with Americans of previous years

Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier.

Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.

On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.

++ Americans are reading less well – reading scores continue to worsen, especially among teenagers and young males. By contrast, the average reading score of 9-year-olds has improved.

Reading scores for 12th-grade readers fell significantly from 1992 to 2005, with the sharpest declines among lower-level readers.

2005 reading scores for male 12th-graders are 13 points lower than for female 12th-graders, and that gender gap has widened since 1992.

Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of adults with graduate school experience who were rated proficient in prose reading dropped by 10 points, a 20 percent rate of decline.

According to NPR, an earlier NEA study was criticized for only considering adults reading literary works, fiction, poetry, and drama. This time the study also included all ages, and all reading materials, including newspapers, magazines, and even the internet. The results were the same.

There seems to be a decline in pleasure reading beginning in middle school and continuing on through high school and adulthood. People read less and less…and therefore, read less and less well. This affects academic and economic performance, as well as civic and political contributions.

Of course the obvious culprits appear to be electronic distractions, however some speak of a positive “New Literacy” among today’s youth, “a literacy not limited to books.” Dana Joya, Chairman of the NEA debunks this claim. Apparently all the kids tested engaged in the same sort of electronic activities, but those who READ BOOKS, did better on the tests.

Other interesting stats from the study :

55% who read below “the basic level,” were unemployed.

Only 3% of prison inmates are proficient readers.

(and I have to say I have not read the complete study so as to be able to exactly define the terms “basic level” and “proficient,” but at least this gives you a general idea).

The final tidbit that caught my attention from this report was that the NEA found that socio-economic status did not have an impact on the amount that children read, rather the defining characteristic, was the number of books in the home.


NPR story: Reading Study Shows Remarkable Decline in US

NEA: 11/19/07 New Reading Study Summary (and link to download full report)

Photo courtesy of and photographer jeltovski

Hondo & Fabian (Peter McCarty)

By , November 8, 2007 10:11 pm

My friend Wishy lent me this Caldecott Honor book and I immediately had to rush out and buy a copy to keep.

The non-wordy story is very simple: the contrast between a typical dog and cat day. Hondo the dog goes to the beach and Fabian the cat stays home with “the baby.” Guess who has the better day!

The soft illustrations are very sweet and soothing. Yet the expressions on the cat and dog faces convey such nuances of emotion that everyone, adult and child alike, will enjoy this book.

(Paperback is eligible for Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion.)

Non-Toxic Haiku Books for Children

By , November 8, 2007 1:56 pm

I must immediately write about something cheerier than lead paint and toxic Aqua Dots in order to rid myself of this bad feeling. How about haiku?

If you haven’t been following our weekly Unplugged Projects, last Monday’s project involved haiku. I wanted to suggest some children’s haiku books but couldn’t find any at my local library.

A few people came to the rescue and I would like to share their recommendations.

+++ First I must send you over to cloudscome’s blog, A Wrung Sponge. As a professional children’s librarian, she is my most authoritative source. Cloudscome kindly took the time this morning to pull her favorite haiku books off the shelf and listed them for me on her blog. Here are her recommendations:

Today and Today, Issa Kobayashi

Cricket Songs, Harry Behn

Cricket Never Does, Myra Cohn Livingston

One Leaf Rides the Wind, Celeste Mannis

A Pocketful of Poems, Nikki Grimes

Basho and the River Stones, Tim Myers

If Not For the Cat, Jack Prelutsky

Wingnuts, Paul Janeczko

Baseball Haiku, Cor Van Den Heuvel

Dogku, Andrew Clements

Thanks so much cloudscome! If you have never visited A Wrung Sponge it is worth a stop. Cloudscome writes lovely haiku herself and also gives great kids’ book recommendations (she is particularly interested in multicultural children’s books).

+++ Jenny of Wildwood Cottage found one haiku book at her library that 2 year-old daughter CJ enjoyed. She also recommends:

One Leaf Rides the Wind, Celeste Davidson Mannis

+++ Heather of Homeschooling Fun found this haiku book at her library and liked it a lot:

Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids-Haiku, Patricia Donegan

Thank you all for your recommendations! I’ll have to get busy with my Interlibrary Loans.

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