Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Superman and Librarians

You know how in the old Superman shows, when Clark Kent would get that certain look in his eye and his demeanor would change, you knew pretty soon he was going to disappear and mysteriously Superman would be on the scene?  Well, that's me, only I'm in a library or a bookstore and all of a sudden I overhear a conversation, between a child and their parent, and they are trying to decide what type of book they should choose.  When it becomes obvious that the parent isn't really sure and the child is picking out something that I don't feel is up to par, I can feel that same identity switch coming on that Clark Kent experiences.  For me, instead of the cape and flying powers, I switch into Super Librarian sporting my horn-rimmed glasses and my hair automatically goes in to a bun!! :)  No matter how hard I try, and I do try, as soon as the inner librarian is triggered in me, I cannot stop it.  It would be just as easy to stop it as it would to stop Clark Kent from becoming Superman.

Well, such was the case yesterday when I was at the library with my two little ones.  There I was, minding my own business, and all of sudden a grandmother and her granddaughter came and stood right next to me and started a conversation about which book to choose.  The little girl, eight or nine, wanted a book that would scare her.  The grandmother wasn't real pleased with the choice and tried to recommend other books, but really wasn't sure what she was looking for. I started to get nervous and could feel the switch coming on.  I told myself to walk away, but my feet would not listen to my brain.  Over the little girl's head, the grandmother looked at me, shrugged her shoulders, and sighed.  Well, that did it.  Super Librarian was triggered and no matter how much I tried to stop it, my horn-rimmed glasses and the bun in my hair appeared!!

They were looking at the mystery series and so I smiled back at the grandmother and found myself asking if I could recommend a book.  She agreed and said she didn't really know what she was doing and could use help! :)  I was standing in front of the Wishbone mystery series, a series where a dog solves random mysteries, and so I suggested one to the little girl.  She said she had seen it at school, but pretty much turned her nose up at it because it wasn't scary enough.  I suggested a couple others, but the little girl was determined to be scared! I wanted to yell, ''Boo! Now, are you scared? Yes? Good, then take this wholesome, classic book and read it!"  I didn't! Instead, I just smiled and said, "Well, I hope you find what you are looking for," and moved on to the next aisle.  My horn-rimmed glasses and bun disappeared and the inner librarian crawled back in her shell, feeling a bit defeated!

I haven't been able to stop thinking about that little girl and her choice of book.  Now, I'm not saying a good mystery thriller isn't exciting!  When I was younger, I read every one of the Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, and Mandie series I could get my hands on.  I loved them all and their suspense captivated me.  It just seems that today's kids must have the spooky, demonized, and witchcraft type stories before they are intrigued.  I started thinking yesterday what the difference might be.  This is all my opinion, but here it is!

Our children grow up to like whatever we, as adults, allow them to create an appetite for while they are young.  When a child is born, they are a blank page.  Their desires and appetites are directed by what is allowed within their world.  As parents, teachers, youth leaders, etc.  we have a huge responsibility to ensure that our children do not create an appetite for the wrong type of influences.  Their entertainment is a huge part of creating an appetite.  Both of my girls love Curious George.  They watch his cartoons at home.  When we go to the library, guess what books they want! Curious George!! I know my children are young and so I only have cartoons to contend with right now.  However, at five and three, there have already been times I have had to explain to them why we do not watch certain cartoons.  I don't want to create that appetite in them.  When we go to the library and they see a book from that cartoon, they automatically pass it by or my little one yells real loud, "We aren't allowed to have that one, are we mommy?!" ;)

A lot of what I would consider to be wrong choices in reading material for our young people comes from the parent simply not knowing what is out there.  There are some really good classics that today's children are not reading because they are so in tune with the new modern writings that are not wholesome and innocent.  My best friend, Jenn, has taught me many things.  One of the best things she has taught me is if I don't know the answer to something, I Google it or I ask someone who does know.  I don't just blindly go through life or just assume every thing will be ok and hope for the best.  No, I search it out.  There is an answer out there somewhere for what I need to know!

If you aren't sure what your child should be reading this summer, (and your child SHOULD be reading this summer) then Google Classic Children's literature written before 1968, ask someone who knows, do some research at the library, etc.  Don't just allow your young children to choose their own reading material without you knowing what they are choosing.  You wouldn't allow them to choose whether or not they were going to eat their vegetables, or whether or not they were going to the doctor if they were sick, or whether or not they were going to play with a loaded gun.  Well, in my opinion, their choice of reading material is just as important.  What you read as a child shapes who you are and how you think as an adult.  Make sure your child is being shaped in a way you would desire.

I am not suggesting that all books written after 1968 are not appropriate choices.  Some of them are great! Neither am I suggesting that all books written before 1968 are appropriate. Some of them are not.  You just have to be more cautious and know what you are allowing your child to read if the book was written after 1968.  Our society went through a huge change around that time and so our literature did as well.

I can't promise that my inner librarian is not going to come out any more, but when she does come out, she hopes to be able to help some child start on the path of reading amazing authors and works that will help shape their future in a positive way!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not Alone!

I just saw this picture on Facebook and it immediately spoke to me.  I knew I had to blog about it.  

Ever feel like life is just complicated sometimes and you need some type of small retreat?  Of course you do! We all have from time to time.  Sometimes, you just need a break.  You just need to get lost in a different world for a few minutes to be able to refocus on reality and deal with the pressures and stress of troubles or just every day life.  Sounds totally like doom and gloom, but that's not what's intended by this post.  Life is wonderful and a lot of good happens around us each and every day.  Along with the good, we all know there is stress that comes our way.  Ever wish you could go back  to your childhood and live those carefree days again? You can! Pick up a book and get lost in it!

Some of my very best friends are ones I have never met in person.  For example: Jane Austen, E. Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Kate Seredy, L.M. Montgomery, etc.  I've never met these authors, but oh how I love them!  Their characters are also some of my favorite people!  I cry every time Daddy comes home in E. Nesbit's, The Railway Children.  I get a sense of excitement every time I read, The Chestry Oak, and Prince Michael is running through the Hungarian forest to get away from the nazi soldiers who are chasing him.  I fall in love all over again each time I read L.M. Montgomery's, Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat. And who doesn't love Mr. Darcy's speech professing how ardently he loves Elizabeth in Jane Austen's, Pride and Prejudice?  I rejoice, weep, agonize, love, escape danger, and laugh with these "people" each time I read their stories.  I have formed a friendship with people, I am sad to say, I will never meet face to face!

If you are reading this and thinking, "this girl is nuts! She needs to get a real life!" then I dare say you have never found yourself so lost in a good book that for a few brief moments you are part of  a different world. Sometimes, when life gets crazy all around me, I go spend some time with my "friends" and enjoy their world for awhile.  When I leave their world and enter mine again, I feel refreshed and less stressed!  We all have real life friends who do that for us.  "Story friends" can do the same!   If that seems crazy to you, go try it, I know you'll enjoy my friends too! 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Reading Resolution

It has been way too long since I posted on this blog, but my New Year's resolution is to be a bit more consistent, which shouldn't be too hard since I haven't posted since July!! :)

Speaking of New Year's resolutions - Here's one for you! Why not make a resolution to read at least one book to your child each day?  For parents, this may seem like an incredibly hard task.  Running to and from school, activities after school, getting to work on time, laundry, changing diapers, cooking, cleaning, on and on it goes!  However, to read one book to your child will probably only take you about five minutes a day!  

Those five minutes each day will be some of the best minutes you'll spend.  Reading to our children creates a bond between parent and child, encourages them to read on their own as soon as they are able, develops a love for reading, and shows them that reading is fun!

You could keep a record of each book you read for 2013.  It would be so fun at the end of the year for you and your child to look back and remember the books you've read.  You would also have a great resource of 365 children's books.  Mark which ones you really liked and how your child responded to the book.  What a fun project!!

So, how about making a resolution that will help not only your child, but also you?!  Read at least one book a day to your child and you'll see multiple wonderful effects!!  You can check out my other blog posts for book ideas to help you with your reading resolution!

Happy Reading!! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Readers are Winners!

I dropped my name in the Library's Summer Reading Contest drop box last week and never gave it another thought! This morning, I received a call from the Library that my name had been drawn and I could come pick up my prize.  I have no idea what I won, but Whooo! Hooo! I won!! :) No matter how big or small the prize may be, it's always fun to win something!

I also entered my girls in the Summer Reading program for children and every time we read 10 books together they both get to pick a prize.  It's usually some little trinket that breaks before they leave the library, but they get excited just to win something.  Which in turn, makes reading that much more exciting!

So, Readers are Winners, in more ways than one!! Happy Reading!
p.s.  I'll let you know what I won! ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It Only Takes One Person.........

Found the following article on Scholastic Books blog and wanted to share it with you all.  This book editor tells the story of how one teacher recognized her struggle with reading and made the attempt and put forth the effort to help her overcome her struggles.  Because of this one teacher, she is now an avid reader and book editor!

It only takes one person who will take the time to help one child gain a love for reading.  It will change their life forever! I hope as you read this article you will be inspired to be that one person for either one of your own children or a child in your classroom.  Happy Reading!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Historical Fiction

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE historical fiction, especially historical fiction that is set during the Revolutionary War days.  On my bucket list of things to do in my lifetime is to write a children's book set during the Revolution.  We shall see! :)

I wanted to share a few of my favorite historical fiction books that I feel boys would especially enjoy.  Now, remember, I am a girl, surprise, surprise, :) and I still LOVE these books.  They are not only for boys.  I just realize that there are some books that boys can enjoy that girls can also, but there are books that girls would enjoy that boys would not; a.k.a  Anne of Green Gables! :)

So, here's a list of some of my all time favorite historical fiction that I feel your boys would enjoy.  If I had to put an age on them, I would say mostly between 3rd grade and up.  Third grade if he is a really good reader.

I just recently read these two books, Silver for General Washington and By Wagon and Flatboat written by Enid LaMonte Meadowcroft.  They are amazing books!! Full of adventure, not at all boring history, and suspense.  Any boy would enjoy the fast paced action of soldiers, Indians, war, river rapids on the flatboat, etc.  Check these out! They are awesome.  Could easily be used as a read aloud in the classroom because both boys and girls would enjoy them!

I recently read from cover to cover, (started it when I was younger and never finished) Johnny Tremaine by Esther Forbes.  It is an excellent book for the older reader.  I would say around 6th-7th grade and older.  It's a longer book, but very, very good.  Again, it's written during the Revolutionary time period!

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare makes me excited just typing the title! It is so very good and I could not put it down. Every boy should definitely read it!!

Ben and Me and Mr. Revere and I are two books written by Robert Lawson.  He is an amazing author with a knack for taking American History and making it enjoyable for the young reader to enjoy.  Both Ben Franklin and Paul Revere have their own sidekick who tells his side of the story which makes their American Hero famous! Of course, the sidekicks, in their words, are the ones who should really be famous. Great books!

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham, tells the story of young Nat who wants to be a seaman but he is too small of build to be able to make it as a sailor.  He instead changes the world of sailing with his talent for charts and maps.  Great story of how a young man pursues his dream in spite of difficulties.

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan is the exciting story of children who help their country of Norway smuggle gold across the border to keep it out of the hands of the Nazi regime.  Such excitement and adventure is found on almost every page.  A must read for every boy!

The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy, in my opinion, needs to be read by every single boy!! It is the amazing story of a Hungarian Prince during WWII, Michael, who finds himself in the face of danger many times.  This story will grip you on every page.  It is my personal favorite book right now! I absolutely adore it!

The Buffalo Knife by William O. Steele
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

All of these are great books and must reads for every boy!  I hope you and your son will have the opportunity to sit down together and either read it out loud or talk about what he has read.  These books have character lessons, history lessons, and are full of adventure to satisfy every young boy's need for excitement!  Happy Reading!

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's Never Too Late

I recently had one of my Sunday school teachers from when I was in HS tell me that I had inspired her to become a reader.  She had never been a reader.  She very excitedly told me all the classics she has been reading and how much she has enjoyed it.  Even though she is older, I'm going to guess maybe in her 60's, she is acquiring a love for reading! It is never too late!
Mothers, if you are not a reader, it is not too late to become a reader.  We know the importance of helping our children acquire a love for reading, but how can we as mother's pass something along to our children that we do not have? It is never too late. How very important it is that our children see us reading for pleasure and hear us talking about the books we are enjoying.
If you have older children who have not yet learned to love reading, it is not too late! It's NEVER too late! It may take a little more concentrated effort, but it is NEVER too late and the effort is ALWAYS worth  the end results!
It is NEVER too late! I'm so excited for my former Sunday school teacher as she is enjoying the classics that I love so very much! I hope you too have/are/ or will enjoy them as well.  Happy Reading!!