written & illustrated by Todd Parr
Ages 4-6, 32 pages
Reading Makes You Feel Good is a great book for young children to get them motivated about reading. The pictures are bright and show a lot of activity. The focus is how reading makes you feel and everything that you can do with reading. The language is simple and relates to young children, such as reading helps you make pizza, take care of your pet, make a new friend, and learn new things. There is also reading within the pictures: the buildings are named, street signs, animal names at the zoo, and posters in a classroom. Reading Makes You Feel Good can be read aloud then read independently. You can also ask questions during the reading: ‘What can you do with reading? Do you see words on the page? How does reading make you feel?’
written & illustrated by Louise Yates
Ages 4-6, 32 pages
Dog Loves Books is about a dog who loves books so much that he decides to open his own bookstore. At first he doesn’t get customers, but this doesn’t sadden the book loving dog. He reads books and forgets that he’s alone in his bookstore. The dog has adventures and gets taken to far away places. When customers do arrive the dog knows exactly which books will interest them. I thought this book was cute to get children excited about reading and books. This is a great book to read aloud and perhaps your own dog can read along. The pictures are beautiful as you read about the dog’s adventures.
Calico Cat Meets Bookworm
written & illustrated by Donald Charles
Ages 4-6, 31 pages
This is the story about Calico Cat who has nothing to do until he meets Bookworm who introduces the wonder of books and the library. The book explores different stories that Calico Cat enjoys, such as stars, sailing ships, far away lands, clowns, and trains. Bookworm explains all those stories and more can be found at the library. Calico Cat Meets Bookworm was published in 1978, so people may not be aware of this book. My copy from the library was in the main stacks that wasn’t checked out often. I think this is a shame, because it’s a simple book that gets to the heart of books and reading. The last page gives a check list how to use the library: I know where the easy books are kept. I am quiet and orderly. I handle books with care. I know how to borrow and return books. You’ll probably have to buy this book through an outside seller, such as on ebay or half priced books. Cross your fingers that your library has the book.
by Materson Elementary Students in Kennett, Missouri
Ages 5-7, 32 pages
The horrible acts on September 11, 2001, created questions about what and how to explain the events to young children. September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right is different because first grade students themselves wrote the book. It is a simple book that discusses that ordinary things still occur, such as homework, story time, and 2+2=4. The message is of hope that even after bad things occur that each day is a new beginning. It briefly discuss what occurred, so it’s not very graphic.
Ages 6 -9, 48 pages
This is the inspiring true story of the John J. Harvey-a retired New York City fireboat reinstated on September 11, 2001. Originally launched in 1931, the Harvey was the most powerful fireboat of her time. After the September 11 attacks, with fire hydrants at Ground Zero inoperable and the Hudson River’s water supply critical to fighting the blaze, the fire department called on the Harvey for help.
The book provides brief history of events during Harvey’s prime in the 1930s. The pictures are beautiful and provide a unique story during a tragic event. It briefly explains what occurred without going into too much detail. The focus is upon the community’s involvement that creates a discussion about everyone’s role and the importance of coming together.
Ages 9 – 12, 40 pages
The Little Chapel that Stood is a beautiful book that tells the story of the historic chapel, St. Paul’s, less than 100 yards from the Twin Towers that survived on September 11th. Rescue workers used the chapel as a safe haven between helping people in the towers. St. Paul’s Chapel has a long and significant history, for example its first service was in 1698 and George Washington attended services. Visors can see artifacts from September 11th inside St. Paul’s Chapel. The link below provides more information about St. Paul’s timeline.
Around the Chapel of Old St. Paul
Blow the dancing leaves of the coming of Fall.
In the morning breeze they leap and fly
Beneath the towers that scrape the sky.
Two planes hijacked by a terrorist crew
Struck the Twin Towers: no warning, no clue!
Who thought it could happen, or knew what to do?
Fireman came and New York’s Men in Blue
Information about St. Paul’s involvement on September 11th:
Information about St. Paul’s long history:
Ages 5 – 8, 40 pages (Very short book with about a sentence on each page with beautiful pictures)
As September 11th approaches, I wanted to highlight some children’s books that can be used to discuss the topic.
September Roses is a true story about two sisters from South Africa who grow roses. They traveled with over 2,000 roses to New York City for a flower show. Due to the attack on the World Trade Centers, the flower show cancelled and the sisters weren’t able to travel back to South Africa. So, they had no where to go and boxes of unused roses. However, there was a suggestion for how to use the roses. The sisters formed two towers of roses that helped others during this tragic situation.
The book does a good job lightly explaining what occurred without giving too much details for young ages. The story is lovely of how roses could help people’s emotion during a difficult time. The pictures are beautiful as they move from bright colors into darkness. It’s a good book to lead into discussion.
– opening page
As I looked down at the roses, a young man walked to where I stood and told me how they came to be there.
Ages 5 – 8, genre: humor, imaginary, 32 pages with a few sentences on each page
This review is for the entire Black Lagoon series. It describes the fears about what their teacher will be like on the first day of school. Will the teacher have fangs, eat students, or assign fractions for homework? It makes the subject light at the end, since of course their teacher is not a monster at all. Children love this series and want to listen over and over. Other characters in the Black Lagoon series include: the principal, school nurse, the bus driver, music teacher, and more. This could be a fun way to introduce different individuals at school. I often ask what they think happens next to students, since it’s all so terrible.
– opening page:
It’s the first day of school. I wonder who my teacher is. I hear Mr. Smith has dandruff and warts.
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
ages 6-8, book genre: realistic fiction with unlikely animal behavior. (The lion doesn’t talk, so not exactly fable-like book.)
This book has 40 pages with beautiful illustrations. It alternates between one full length picture and about 2-3 text paragraphs. This isn’t a fast read book, since there is more text than usual. However, it is a great book with heart that encourages reading.
I love reading and the library, so this is a perfect ‘fit’ when sharing to children that hopefully encourages them to also cherish the library. The story is about an orderly library that has a surprise when a lion enters. At first the people are hesitant, but gradually they grow to love being with the lion and often give him jobs. However, the lion makes the mistake of roaring in the library and is asked to leave. Of course, the people are sadden by this event and want their lion back. A few terms, such as card catalog, need to be explained since not all libraries contain them anymore.
Often, when I finish this book I ask children if they have their own library card. The library is a wonderful place for knowledge and further increase reading enjoyment. Many children don’t realize how easy it is to obtain a library card with parent or guardian.
One day, a lion came to the library. He walked right past the circulation desk and up into the stacks.
ages 6-9, book genre: fairy tale
The book is 29 pages with a large picture and normally one paragraph on each page.
I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve read this to children. Just as the title states that it’s the ‘true story’ of the 3 little pigs & the big wolf. However, this story is based on the wolf’s point of view so of course he doesn’t think he’s big and bad. I like this book, because even though I’ve read it numerous times it still makes me laugh from a new perspective. Scieszka has written other books in this similar humor, such as The Stinky Cheese Man. It has some references to eating pigs, so younger children may be surprised at first when characters are eaten. I also used this book in a classroom with writing and the students wrote a new twist to a story that’s been told before. I haven’t been in a classroom where the students didn’t enjoy this well-known story with a new perspective.
Everybody knows the story of the Three Little Pigs. Or at least they think they do. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. The real story is…I was framed!