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Book Review: “Tea Rex” by Molly Idle

Tea Rex by Molly Idle.  Viking Juvenile, 2013.


To hold a perfectly polite tea party, you must follow certain rules—especially if your special guest is a dinosaur and a T-Rex, to be exact. Cordelia and her little brother are perfect hosts. They offer their guest a comfortable chair, make small talk, serve refreshments, and pour the tea. Although a few mishaps may happen along the way, it’s all worth it when Cordelia and her brother are invited to T-Rex’s next tea party.

 

Tea Rex is a fun twist to your average tea party. While the text is simple and straightforward, it is Molly Idle’s illustrations that bring fun and excitement to the story. This book is appealing to children who love to host their own tea parties, and to those who love dinosaurs and a little misadventure. A recommended read for children and adults, Tea Rex will have you laughing at every page.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, 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.



Presidential Poetry

I love to read biographies because I can learn so many interesting things about people. Among the biographies I love to read are those of the Presidents of the United States, and recently I’ve found some great new books that present Presidential biographies in a poetic format. While many people may not connect the genres of poetry and biography, children’s poets are masters at using their medium to convey information. These works of nonfiction poetry offer some great benefits to young readers, one of which is the fact that they are very short. 


The concise format allows the author to provide a lot of information in a small space, allowing readers to get a sense of the person without reading a lengthy biography. Another benefit to readers is that the poetry allows for humor to shine through and give readers funny facts that may not fit in a traditional biography format. For example, The Presidents Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents (written by Susan Katz and illustrated by Robert Newbecker) features a poem about William Taft who weighed 340 pounds and often had problems with his size. This book features different poetry styles that bring to life little known tidbits about the presidents and their family members.


 Another great book of Presidential poems is Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems About Our Presidents, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by John Hendrix. Singer does a great job of bringing the presidents to life by packing her poems with information, but she also includes some additional fun facts at the end for those who want just a little bit more. Hendrix’s humorous illustrations also add to overall playful tone of this great book. 


If you still don’t have your fill of presidential poetry, then you can also check out Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge, written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Dan Burr. Featuring clerihew, which is a simple poetic form specifically invented to make fun of famous people, this collection of poems and comic illustrations add great insight and humor into the presidential antics. So if you want to have a little fun but still want to learn a little bit more about our Commander and Chiefs, then why not check out a little bit of presidential poetry on this recommendation from us here at “Worlds Awaiting.”

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


The Presidents Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents by Susan Katz illustrated by Robert Newbecker. Clarion Books, 2012.

Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems About Our Presidents by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by John Hendrix. Disney-Hyperion, 2013.

Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Dan Burr. Roaring Brook Press, 2015.

 

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.



Worlds Awaiting: International Books

There is little doubt that we live in a global society. Because the world, in many practical ways has become so much smaller, it is essential for us as human beings to have a better sense of global literacy. For me, global literacy means that people have a strong understanding of the world and how we are all interconnected. While there are lots of ways to develop global literacy—making new friends, enjoying cultural experiences in our own backyards, and even travelling extensively across the world—it will come as no surprise that I find books and reading a fine way to build global literacy. There are many wonderful books that can extend our global viewpoint. However, it is also important to say that there are also some books that are not quite so wonderful. When extending ourselves into global literature it is important that we find the best books to assure that we are not inadvertently consuming incorrect information or hidden stereotypes. 


To help you find those great books, I’d like to recommend the International Board on Books for Young People, or IBBY. This non-profit organization includes members from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. IBBY does amazing work advocating for books from around the world. Among its many programs, it gives out the Hans Christian Andersen Award to a living author or illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. Among the award recipients will be familiar names like Maurice Sendack and Scott O’Dell. But there will likely be lots of unfamiliar names like Mitsumasa Anno from Japan and Ana Maria Machado from Brazil. There are also national sections of the IBBY such as the United States Board on Books for Young People which produces an Outstanding International Books List each year to represent the best of children’s literature from other countries that are available in the United States. 


One of my favorites from a recent list was a book from the United Kingdom called I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz. This work is a great philosophical picture book that has lots of contrast and texture in the illustrations. So, if you are looking to add a little more global literature to your reading this year, take a tip from Rachel’s World and check out the information that the International Board on Books for Young People has to offer.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


http://www.ibby.org/

http://www.ibby.org/awards-activities/awards/hans-christian-andersen-awards/

http://www.usbby.org/HomePage.asp

http://www.usbby.org/list_oibl.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.



 

Worlds Awaiting: Fake News

There has been a lot of talk about fake news lately as recent political and social events are making us aware of those who are blatantly passing off any news as real. My librarian colleagues and I have been talking about fake news, and our discussion has centered on what we can do to help people be critical of the information they receive. By helping children to develop information literacy skills, our hope is that they can navigate this world that is constantly inundated with convoluted information. One skill we have been discussing is how to help children and teens determine authority. With information, one of the things you have to determine is whether or not the author or distributor is qualified to give that information. For example, if you were going to get information on medical treatments it would be apparent that a nurse would be more qualified to give you that information than a truck driver. This same principle holds true for all kinds of information including the news we read. However, the tricky part today is that much of what we consume is online—where it really is difficult to tell who is giving you the information, let alone if they are qualified to do so. Years ago, when our news came in discrete packages like newspapers or magazines, we had a pretty good system that allowed editors and publishers to make sure that there was at least some authority to the information being published. But the Internet allows everyone to publish anything, easily masking their qualifications (or lack thereof). Producers of fake news really try hard to make their sites and posts look just like real news sites. So what can we do to make sure we are finding the best information from the best sources? To start, check out the URL to determine what kind of site you are accessing. From there, look closely to find the exact author of the information. If you can’t find a named author, or if there are no real credentials for the website, the information is most likely suspect, and you really should look further. This is just the start. But if recent events have shown us anything, it is that being able to critically assess the source and authority of alleged information, is a necessary skill. And we here at Rachel’s World know that this critical thinking process is one that we as concerned adults can help our children to master.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, 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.



Lessons from Summer Reading

Summer reading is a staple among most middle schools and high schools. I was recently revisiting some of the books I read for summer reading. One in particular is burned in my memory. I hated “Tears of a Tiger” by Sharon Draper. At the beginning, two high school boys are in a drunk driving accident and one dies. At the end, the other kills himself. In general, I personally prefer to shelter children from this kind of story. When I read, I prefer it to be for enjoyment and I hate sad things, but I had to read that book for school. While I disliked it, I will never forget it.


Often, schools require books that deal with adult themes. Sometimes we wish to shelter our children from such ideas, but these stories deal with concepts in a way that is manageable to children. Sometimes, these books can make more of a difference in a child's life. The best way to deal with summer reading that discusses adult themes is to have conversations about them with our children. In the end, they can have a large impact on children's lives.

 

By Olivia Noli, Social Media Manager, 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.



Vocabulary

Words make up an important part of my life as a reader, writer, and teacher. I would even assume that they make up an important part of your life and the life of you children as well. The body of words used in a language is termed as vocabulary. This word bank allows us to communicate effectively with one another. It is no surprise that one of the essentials of learning to read is vocabulary. 


Reading comprehension begins as you understand that the words you hear also have an equivalent in printed form (reading starts with speaking and listening). For the youngest readers, talking and interacting with lots of words is one of the the best ways to start. As children become better at decoding printed text, they then move on to expanding their knowledge and building their vocabulary. Even adults need to consistently learn new vocabulary so they can correctly identify new words in print and understand their meaning. Older children and teens soon expand beyond their daily language to the more complex vocabulary of unusual or specific contexts. 


Words such as brabble, a seventeenth-century word meaning a dispute or noisy quarrel, is an example of vocabulary that you would only encounter in a certain time context. Other words such as abiotic, meaning the absence of life, only occur in particular scientific domains. For older children, words that are rarely used need the most concentrated instruction and focus.  So, it’s critical that teachers make vocabulary instruction a part of their teaching strategies. There are also great ways to engage with unusual vocabulary outside of the classroom.


 First and foremost, reading all kinds of texts (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) in all kinds of genres (fiction, nonfiction, historical, etc.) is one of the best vocabulary builders. Writing down unfamiliar or new words and looking them up in the dictionary for their definition is another effective way to learn new words. If you’re a young child just learning to read or an older reader encountering a new text—vocabulary matters! Here at Worlds Awaiting, we recommend that it’s important for kids of all ages to see, hear, and use lots of great words.


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.

 

Coloring

I recently read an article in one of my library journals about a high school librarian who set up a coloring corner in her library. She got some copyright-free coloring pages off the internet and set up a section in her library with some crayons and colored pencils and allowed any of the students and staff to come into the library during breaks, before or after school, and during lunchtime to color. This librarian had an overwhelming positive response to her simple coloring station. At first, the students used the station as a social opportunity to visit with their friends or even collaborate to create a masterpiece. But most of those who used the coloring station left with a sense of calm, reporting a decrease in stress and anxiety. 


Adults who have encountered the adult coloring book craze in bookstores and craft stores may already have found these same benefits. Psychologist Ben Michaelis found that coloring changes focus, allowing people to feel less stressed. Other studies have also found that coloring can be a “mental pit stop” that helps people refocus so they can be more efficient at solving problems and concentrate more effectively. Our world is especially stressful for children and teens, so it seems that many have used this simple solution to enhance the social and emotional literacy of teens with just a few pencils and pieces of paper. 


It seems evident that coloring does provide some great benefits for our emotional health, but creating art of any kind is an important part of who we are as human beings. Even for young children, the simplest art project is a form of self-expression that helps children to develop mentally as they try out new ideas. Children also benefit physically from these projects as they develop motor and spatial awareness. With all of these benefits, it seems clear that here at Rachel’s World we advocate for art even in its most simple and direct forms. Maybe it’s time to consider getting a new box of crayons and a fantastic new coloring book so that your children can enjoy some of the benefits that come with creating art. And don’t be afraid to join on in because all of us could use a little more color in our lives.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


http://www.slj.com/2016/12/industry-news/high-school-library-coloring-center-de-stresses-students/

http://drbenmichaelis.com/7-reasons-adult-coloring-books-will-make-your-life-a-whole-lot-brighter-bustle-2/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201609/what-s-the-deal-adult-coloring-books

 

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.



Reading Independence

There is something wonderful about the ability to read. It is a wonder that we can see marks on a page and decode them into language that has meaning. As a librarian and teacher, I love to see the world of reading open up to children. Reading begins with the connection between oral sounds and written words, or with children “memorizing” and repeating things they hear. From there we move onto the mechanics of decoding where children really start interpreting the written word. This is a marvelous point in children’s reading development when they move into a realm that offers them more independence as a reader.


However, even as children become more independent in their reading, they have not acquired a complete mastery. For this reason, children at an earlier level may not be quite ready for highly complex books with lots of words. To meet the needs of readers at this developmental stage, the publishing world offers a lot of great books that are just right! In the field of children’s literature, we call these books easy readers, or beginning readers, to broaden out intermediate readers. Each of these designations indicate a group of books that contain more words than a typical picture book, but they still have pictures that support the text. 


A lot of easy readers are also divided into brief chapters to help children begin learning the structures that they will experience when they move into novels. Even though you may not have known what these books were called, I’m pretty sure you’re already familiar with classics like Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat or Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad series; or even one of my childhood favorites, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. All of these books are still classics today, and we have some amazing modern easy readers as well. 


One of the big trends in the market today is for publishers to take a beloved picture book character and translate them into an easy reader format. Among the beloved characters who have transitioned from picture books to easy readers are Fancy Nancy and Pete the Cat. Readers who grew up with these characters will be delighted by their new adventures as they continue to grow. Along with these familiar friends, there are also some great characters that just appear in easy readers. Among my favorites are Elephant and PiggieCork and Fuzz, and Ballet Cat. So no matter if it’s a classic, a favorite, or even a brand new friend, there is no limit to the amazing books out there that can help readers build skills and confidence while they enjoy a great story at the same time!

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Random House, 1957.

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. Harper Collins, 1970.

Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. Harper Collins, 1972.

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. Harper Collins, 1958.

Fancy Nancy: Time for Puppy School by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Glasser. Harper Collins, 2017

Fancy Nancy: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Glasser. Harper Collins, 2014

Pete the Cat: Play Ball! Created by James Dean. Harper Collins, 2013.

Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch! Created by James Dean. Harper Collins, 2013.

Elephant and Piggie: Today I Will Fly! By Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, 2007.

Elephant and Piggie: There is a Bird on Your Head! By Mo Willems. Disney-Hyperion, 2007.

Cork and Fuzz: Finders Keepers by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue. Viking Books, 2009.

Cork and Fuzz: The BabySitters by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue. Viking Books, 2010

Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea. Disney-Hyperion, 2015.

Ballet Cat What’s Your Favorite Favorite? by Bob Shea. Disney-Hyperion, 2017.

 

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 Review: “The Passion of Dolssa” by Julie Berry

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry.  Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016.

 

Botille is satisfied helping her sisters run their tavern, until she finds a girl dying on the side of the road. Moved with compassion, Botille rescues Dolssa even though she is fleeing the Church that has branded her a heretic. Keeping Dolssa safe from prying eyes is a challenge, but when miracles of healing spread through the town they can’t hide Dolssa’s real power. It’s is soon clear that Dolssa’s presence has put the whole town in danger until they commit to renounce the heretic and repent. Unable to do anything but support Dolssa, Botille and her family find they must made difficult choices that could force them to lose everything.

 

Framed as a hidden record recently revealed, Berry creates a rich novel that delves into the world of female mystics and the inquisition. The setting of 12th-century France is emphasized by the story’s shifting viewpoints which reveal the plot from the main characters’ views along with a number of supporting and minor characters weighing in. Some of the language use and tone tends to the modern, but the integration of select foreign phrases adds to the historical context. The ambiguity in the ending may be unsettling to some readers even though it adds greatly to the mysterious context that Berry has built. With much to say about the role of faith, family, and religion in the lives of women, this novel is a unique addition to the cannon that will appeal to devotees of vibrant historical fiction.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


*Contains mild yet frank depictions of violence and human sexuality in a historical context.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

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 Review: “Dream a Little Dream” by Kerstin Gier

Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier.  Henry Holt & Co., 2015.

 

Liv has spent most of her fifteen years moving, and it’s her fervent hope that a move to London will give her an ideal home. When she steps off the plane, her plans are dashed when she finds that her mother has met a man and Liv and her sister will be welcoming a new stepbrother and sister. Things get even weirder when Liv meets her new stepbrother and his buddies in a dream doing a dark ritual in a graveyard. Soon the lines between her real and dream worlds start to mesh as Liv finds out the boys have made a pact with a demon. Since Liv is the one who can help them out of their sticky situation, she must figure out who to trust while unraveling the mysteries in her dreams.

 

The worlds and characters that Gier builds are vivid and interesting. The London setting will be familiar and the dream worlds are described thoroughly, allowing readers to be drawn in. The character of Liv particularly is lively and engaging even if she makes her adjustments to the complexities of her situation with ease and grace, an emotional state that seems totally in line with her character but may be less realistic in real life. The supporting cast of characters, particularly the boys, add depth and uniqueness to the story. Despite the inclusion of this book in a trilogy, the end draws the story together but leaves a good opening for more, allowing readers to feel satisfied, yet interested in upcoming adventures. Fans of the Ruby Red Trilogy (Ruby RedSapphire BlueEmerald Green) will feel as at home with Liv as they do with Gwen.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, 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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