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Penguin Books

 

My favorite animal is the penguin, so it should come as no surprise to you that as a girl, one of my all-time favorite books was Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. Originally published in 1938 the Newbery Honor Award winning book spoke to me as a child because who would not want to live with a flock of penguins? It also spoke to me because of the reality it conveyed. Mr. Popper’s Penguins showed that living with penguins would be hard and there are lots of challenges to face. So it helped me understand that while living with a live penguin would be cool, it certainly would not be perfect. In 2012, thoughts of my childhood fondness for Mr. Popper’s Penguins returned when I read the Caldecott Honor award winning picture book One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small. The book’s main character, Elliot, also dreams of owning a penguin. And when his father expectedly agrees, Elliot finds out just what living with a penguin is like. I love this book because it adds on a wonderful theme about making friends that I had never found in Mr. Popper’s Penguins, but at the same time, made me want to go back and read an old favorite. This experience underscores one of the things I believe about literature, and that is, books make connections. Connections happen between a book and their reader as we see our own experiences in the pages we read. Connections also happen between books—just as they did for me with these two penguin books. And books can even make strong connections to the world around us as we see events and themes playing out in the real world. For me, the reality that literature does not exist as a single entity but connects to us, itself, and the world, is one of the things that makes books and reading richer. This reality is also an important key to know. Because I have found as a teacher and avid book recommender, one of the best ways to find a book that will make a great fit for a reader is to see how it connects to them, their reading, and their world. Maybe next time you’re looking for a great book for one of your readers, you’ll take a tip from Worlds Awaiting and will look a little closer at book connections.


By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

 

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Little, Brown Young Readers, 1938.

 

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small.  Dial Books, 2012.

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


Book Apps


One thing is very certain -- technology and how we use it today has expanded the concept of what a “book” is. A book certainly no longer needs to be printed on paper, but it can apply to technology in exciting and interesting ways. One of these applications that I love to follow are book to app transitions. This category is essentially a book or book character that has been recreated into an app.  Sometimes these apps just take the book and put it in an app, making it more of an e-book. Sometimes app creators take the book a step further and add magical things that print books can’t do, thus making the book interactive. Some apps just take the character or premise of a book and make a whole new application. 


No matter the form, these apps are exciting and take books to a whole new level. Now don’t get me wrong, not all apps are created equal and some of these are big misses. And, in all honesty, sometimes you just have to try them to see if they offer the kind of experience you want. Also, the reality is that most of the really great ones cost a little money, so you have to spend a bit to get them. But, in the end, there are those that are worth it. 


My personal recommendations are Sandra Boynton’s book apps. Boynton is an amazing artist who is well known for her outstanding board books. She has taken four of her classic books and put the stories into apps. The apps recreate the book experience with a two-page spread where the user has to turn the page. And, they include fun interactive elements where the characters move or items are added. All the interactives fit really well with the story and make sense for what is going on. So, there is another nice layer to the story without being distracting. Boynton’s books also include narration so the book can be read for you or you can read it yourself. Add in some subtle music and you have created a fun interactive app that is right for the kind of kids who love her board books. So, if you are like us here on Worlds Awaiting and you also like to look for new kinds of books, maybe it’s time to check out the apps on your phone or tablet to see what kinds of new reading experiences await you.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host of Worlds Awaiting


Check out Sandra Boyton’s apps here:

http://www.sandraboynton.com/sboynton/Going-to-Bed-App.html

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.



It Doesn't Take Much

By Sam Payne


It’s remarkable how little coaxing a memory needs before it floods your brain as a full-fledged story – bringing back to you a living, breathing part of your life that may have retreated to a foggy corner of the past.

 

Not too many days ago, Dr. Eric Eliason sent a handful of his students to the Apple Seed studios to tell personal stories for each other in front of our microphones. Dr. Eliason teaches a folklore class at Brigham Young University, and has brought classes to the studio before. It’s one of our favorite things to do, gathering, archiving, and broadcasting stories from students at the University, and we always look forward to visits from people who haven’t had that experience before. They tend to enter the studio as classmates, and leave as kin. 

 

Midway through the sharing, we heard a story from Mikaylie Hebbert about her grandfather, who, on a family picnic, brought a long, metal wrench, with which he swatted a bear on the nose as the bear got too curious (As Mikaylie told her story, I had no idea that she’s the daughter-in-law of Mary Ann Maxwell Hebbert, an old family friend. This is one small world). Like lightning, my brain went to the story of my own grandfather, who, on a mountain drive with his kids (among them my father), saw a deer out the car window. He stopped the car, rolled down the window, and said “C’mere, Deer,” upon which the deer walked obediently over to the car. This was my grandfather who used to take business trips from California to Utah, and when he returned home would hand over souvenir tortoises he’d wrangled off the desert. These things happened a generation before me, of course, but important family stories were comprised of them. I haven’t thought of these things in years. And then, whoosh. As Mikaylie told her story, back they came, with very little bidding.

 

From Left: Sam (holding the family goat, "JB"); Sam's brother, Joe (holding his cat, "Tiger"); and Sam's brother, David. Behind: Sam's grandfather, Leland Jay Payne.


Flash forward to last night. I pulled into the driveway after a long day and yanked the mail from the box as I went in the door. There was only one piece of mail; a circular from Mason Shoes, founded in 1904 by a German immigrant named August Mason and his son, Bert.  The Masons cut their teeth as shoe manufacturers by hand-making boots and shoes for Wisconsin loggers and river men. After the Forests had been logged bare, Mason Shoe salesmen peddled shoes and boots door-to-door, all over America. And if the origin of Mason Shoes sounds like an esoteric piece of knowledge to have at my fingertips, it’s only because my grandfather, (toward the end of a life that had already included a handful of years making cartoons for Walt Disney, 30 years of managing the Mormon welfare program in Southern California, and nearly eight decades in service to the Boy Scouts of America), was a Mason Shoe salesman. Mason shoes were sold by part-time sales guys who worked from their homes and sold shoes to their friends and neighbors. We Payne kids all wore Masons because we each got a pair every year around Christmastime. Grandpa’s old Honda Accord has a gold bumper sticker on it that said: “Ask me about Mason Shoes!” Devoutly religious in a suburban California neighborhood, Grandpa stuck a copy of the Book of Mormon inside the box of each pair of shoes he sold – encouraging people to find a walk to walk in their new kicks.

 

My grandfather died just as the millennium turned, in the year 2000. I haven’t thought about Mason shoes in almost twenty years. And I don’t know why the circular wound up in my mailbox.

 

But boy, did it open the lid on a bucketful of memories. Ever happen to you?

 

After all, it’s remarkable how little coaxing a memory needs before it floods your brain as a full-fledged story – bringing back to you a living, breathing part of your life that may have retreated to a foggy corner of the past. 

Financial Literacy


I recently read a newspaper article relating that starting this year a financial literacy course will be a mandatory graduation requirement for students in Florida.  The Florida department of Education sees great benefits in developing this particular kind of literacy in students. Because you know we think highly of all literacies here at Worlds Awaiting, it will come as no surprise that we agree that financial literacy is pretty significant. Again, as with all literacies, financial literacy is something we build over time, which means that we can’t just start with high school graduation. 


It’s clear that we want to see these skills building from early childhood on up. Starting this early to help kids build an understanding of how money works in the world is quite significant, considering research indicates that financial skills are often created by the age of seven. So, if you agree with us and with the folks in Florida, that financial literacy is an important skill for your child’s development, there are lots of ways you can address concepts of financial literacy with your children. 


First, it is recommended that parents help children understand what money is and how it’s used. Here experts suggest that a good place to start building this understanding is for children to earn money so they can make their own spending decisions. Another part of this equation is for children to learn how to save money for larger, more important purchases in a way that allows us to have important conversations about needs versus wants. A piggy bank or a trip to the bank and a savings account in the child’s name is a great way to start a habit of saving. 


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also tells adults to consider that whenever and however we use our money, we are teaching children about it. They recommend open and honest communication that allows us to talk with our children firsthand about our own financial goals and expectations. As children watch and listen to you, they will certainly learn from the financial literacy skills you have already developed as an adult. Here at Worlds Awaiting we know it’s these fundamentals that lay the groundwork for children to have a solid foundation of good financial habits and values that will allow them to deal with money in positive ways.


Check out these links for more information about financial literacy:

 

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-education/financial-literacy-education-will-now-be-mandatory/nr5ty/

 

http://www.themint.org/index.html

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/money-as-you-grow/

 

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/games-to-teach-financial-literacy-andrew-miller

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


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