Books Kids Will Sit (Or Jump!) For: Dog’s Colorful Day Read Alikes

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Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting is a popular children’s book that works on multiple levels. It’s humorous to see Dog get messier and messier with each accident he gets into, it encourages interaction as the child can help count how many spots are on Dog, and it has bright and colorful pictures. It also helps that the book is about a dog, an animal that’s often well loved by children. The book incorporates both colors and counting to stimulate learning.

Here is a list of read aloud books with one or more of the qualities that make Dog’s Colorful Day so fun! As an added bonus, many of these books are educational as well.

Most of these titles are available for check out at East Meadow Public Library. Books recommended for ages 2-5. 

Humor

The worst thing a book can do is bore a child. So make em’ laugh!

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Good Thing You’re Not an Octopus! by Julie Markes (Illustrated by Maggie Smith)

Don’t like getting dressed in the morning? If you were an octopus, you’d have to put on pants for eight legs! This book is less a story and more a list of funny scenarios. However, the situations are outrageous enough to keep your child laughing while learning about different animals.

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Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathon London (Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz)

Froggy wants to go outside to play in the snow! But every time he goes outside, his mom reminds him that he’s forgotten an article of clothing. He’ll need to take articles of clothing off to put the new item on (he needs to take off his shoes to put on his socks, and so on). Just when Froggy’s all bundled up and ready to go he realizes he’s forgotten something else…his underwear!

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Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

When George’s mother tells him to bark, he quacks, moos, and meows! What could be wrong? This hilarious, multiple award winning, book will have your child laughing from beginning to end. Ask your child what animals George is mimicking. Then, invite him or her to make the animal noises with you.

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Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri)

Dragons love tacos. Unfortunately, they can’t enjoy their tacos with spicy salsa. If they accidentally eat any, things get a little too…hot. This book is silly all the way through, and will probably make you really want a taco by the end of it.

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Dear Dragon by Josh Funk (Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Another book about dragons! In this story Blaise and George are pen pals who tell each other everything. There’s just one problem. One of them is a dragon, one of them is a person, and neither of them know it! What will happen when they learn the truth? A sweet story about friendship and acceptance.

Interactive

Books that children can do more than just listen to!

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Can You Jump Like a Kangaroo? by Jez Alborough

Can’t get your child to sit still for a story? Not a problem. This short picture book invites him or her to stand up and jump, waddle, or scamper along.

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From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

This is another book your child doesn’t need to sit still for. From Head to Toe, by beloved children’s author Eric Carle, is better if your child stands! He or she can follow along with the book while learning about what different animals can do with their bodies.

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Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

While this book isn’t as inviting as the others, it can be made interactive. A recipient of multiple awards, including the Redbook Children’s Picture Book Award and a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year, Mouse Paint is a fun story about three little mice who make a big mess. As you read, point to the paint and ask the child what color he or she sees. When the mice mix the paints, see if your child can guess what new color they’ll make before turning the page. For added fun, use real paint and follow along with the mice!

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury)

An award winning classic, this book is often read in a sing-song way.  Children will swishing-swashing and stumble-tripping all the way through until the end, where they will encounter a big, furry bear!

Illustrations: Pop Ups

You can’t have a good picture book without good art. All of the titles on this list have appealing illustrations. Pop up books take it up a level. I find that they never fail to dazzle children.

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Butterfly, Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Peter Horáček

This book tells the endearing story of a girl named Lucy who’s looking for a butterfly. Lucy encounters different types of bugs in the park. Just when she’s ready to give up, out pops her butterfly. The last page of this book features a butterfly pop up that never fails to delight children.

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Photo Credit

Under the Ocean by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud

This book has lovely prose and gorgeous scenery. Your child will sail through stormy seas and arctic landscapes. This book is great for stimulating your child’s imagination.

And More!

More great titles to read aloud!

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One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by David Bernstrom (Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

A sneaky snake gobbles up a boy with a whirly-twirly toy, but the boy is clever! He has a plan for escape. The text is appealingly rhythmic and the colorful illustrations are perfect for the jungle setting. Publisher’s Weekly recommends this book for ages 4 and up.

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Clip-Clop! by Nicola Smee

Mr. Horse gives some of his friends a ride. Clip clop, clippity-clop! This book’s use of repetition, as well as the surprise ending, will keep your child engaged.
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Dog’s ABC: A Silly Story About the Alphabet by Emma Dodd

Don’t forget about Dog! His adventures continue in this book about the alphabet.

Reading Aloud Tips

  • Try to be as consistent as possible. 

If you can, set a scheduled time to read aloud to your child daily.

  • Don’t get frustrated if reading aloud doesn’t work right away.

If you’re trying interactive or fun books and your child still doesn’t enjoy reading aloud, don’t get frustrated! These listening and literacy skills can be learned over time. “Remember: The art of listening is an acquired one. It must be taught and cultivated gradually—it doesn’t happen overnight” (Trelease, 2013, p. 73).

  • Allow your child to read his or her favorites.

Yes, reading the same book over and over again can be tiring. You might be afraid the child isn’t learning enough if you’re reading the same book over and over, but don’t be! Even if it’s the same book, the child is still practicing and that book is encouraging a love of reading.

  • Be aware of the stigma towards boy readers. 

As boys grow older, many stop reading. As a result, girls usually have higher reading and literacy levels. “The myth that boys won’t read or that it’s not “cool” for boys to love reading plays a big part in how these low levels come to be” (Allyn, 2011, p. 29). Try not to let these ideas get into your head as a parent. Encourage a love of reading in your son from a young age the same way that you would for a daughter.

Further Reading

References

Allyn, Pam. (2011). Turn your boys into readers! Instructor. Back to School 2011, 121(1), 29­-32.
Bird, E. (2015, October 30). Make ‘Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That’ll Have ‘Em Rolling in the Aisles. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from https://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/04/09/make-em-laugh-gut-busting-picture-books
Etue, K. (2015, June 14). 11 beautiful pop-up books to read with your kids. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from http://coolmompicks.com/blog/2015/06/14/11-beautiful-pop-up-books-for-kids/
Rasinski, Timothy V. (n.d.). Conducting the Read Aloud. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/conducting-read-aloud/
Trelease, J. (2013). The read-aloud hanbook. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Children’s Book Review: Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London, Author, Frank Remkiewicz, Illustrator Viking Children’s Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-84249-0. (n.d.). Retrieved May 07, 2017, from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-670-84249-0
Children’s Book Review: One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illus. by Brendan Wenzel. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-235485-3. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2017, from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-235485-3
The 40 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2016. (2016, December 10). Retrieved May 9, 2017, from http://coloursofus.com/the-40-best-multicultural-picture-books-of-2016/
S. (2016, November 01). We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Story Time Activities. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from http://www.myjoyfilledlife.com/2016/11/02/going-bear-hunt-story-time-activities/

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure

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Spiegelman, N., & Sánchez, S. G. (2015). Lost in NYC: a subway adventure. New York, NY: TOON Books.

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Adventure

Grade Level: Toon Comics recommends this for grades 3 and up.

Summary: New student Pablo and his classmate, Alicia, get on the wrong subway on a field trip to the Empire State Building. Now they must find each other and their class in this NYC adventure story.

Review: What a treat this comic was! You don’t have to be a New Yorker to appreciate Lost in NYC, but it certainly does help. In just over fifty pages, the comic manages to make readers feel so invested in the two main characters. The illustrations were also so impressive! They give the reader the fast paced feeling of racing through the crowded, winding streets of NYC. The comic is supported by a diverse cast. I selected this comic because the sense of adventure and theme of friendship make it both a fun and profound read for young children. The bright and colorful pictures will catch a child’s eye, and there are facts and photos about the Empire State Building and subway system to make this comic educational as well.

Educational Connections: The end of the comic features maps, photos, and facts about NYC, the subway system, and the Empire State Building. There is also a section with tips for parents, teachers, and librarians.

Reviews

Hunter, S. (2015, April 15). Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure. Retrieved May 07, 2017, from https://www.booklistonline.com/Lost-in-NYC-A-Subway-Adventure-Nadja-Spiegelman/pid=7348187

LOST IN NYC by Nadja Spiegelman , Sergio Garca Snchez. (2015, February 3). Retrieved May 07, 2017, from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/nadja-spiegelman/lost-in-nyc/

 

Read Alikes

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How Librarians Can Use Media to Close the Digital Divide

Pisano Simone, L. (2012). eBooks, Libraries and the Digital Divide: Harper Collins, the eBook Industry and the Debate on eBook Lending, Econtent Distribution, DRMs, and Democracy. International Journal Of The Book, 9(2), 69-80.

The title of this article jumped out at me. While I was already aware of the digital divide, I had not really considered how eBooks specifically affect it. I selected this article because the digital divide issue is important, and librarians need to think about how we can still present online materials to children who come from less affluent families. The article goes much more in depth than just eBooks and the digital divide. The author, a librarian herself, discusses how access to eBooks are essential to supporting the open exchange of information and ideas. One thing that affects the access to digital information is the number of eBook platforms. For a single eBook one may buy a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or other options. However, one must be able to pay for these devices. This poses a question for libraries. We provide the eBook, but what use is it if patrons can’t afford the device necessary to read it? How much help is the library then?

The resources we looked at this week pose similar questions. Some of the resources were recommendations for how much screen time children should have. However, what of the children who don’t have enough access to technology? I thought the Smart App for Kids site was a wonderful resource, specifically for its Free App Friday feature. This weekly feature isn’t going to immediately fix the digital divide problem, but does its part in closing the gap just a little bit more. The Digital Storytime website also had free apps to share. Librarians need to be aware of the digital divide issue, and of sites like this that do their part. Librarians also need to be aware that, while too much screen time is a problem for many children today, not enough access to technology is an issue for less affluent families.

 

Diverse Collections Matter

While not limited to this list, diverse books are books that are about people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and people who are part of the LGBTQA community. “…Although 37% of the population of the United States are people of color, only 10% of children’s books published contained multicultural content” (“We Need Diverse Books FAQ”). While that statistic is startling enough, it’s also true that the majority of books that are banned and challenged are diverse books. Today we live in a very tense political climate. Often these conversations can turn into shouting matches. People will dismiss someone on the grounds of his or her political alliance as opposed to actually listening to what the other side has to say. A book can present ideas in a way that having a conversation with someone cannot. If the reader enjoys a story, he or she will engage with its ideas. Children from all groups need to be reading about children who are unlike them. With this exposure, children can understand that not everyone experiences life in the same way, and this creates empathy toward others.

As Naidoo states in “The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children”, “When children never see their culture represented in a library storytime or in materials on the library shelves, they receive a resounding message that the librarian does not think their culture is important enough to feature in the library” (Naidoo, 2014, p. 3). If a collection is missing materials on a certain culture or community, then the result is twofold. One, young patrons of that community may feel excluded from the collection, and two, young patrons outside of that community may believe the excluded community is not worthy of representation. The quality of materials is important as well. Even if a collection does contain diverse materials, if these materials contain stereotypes or misinformation then they will do more harm than good.

The beauty of a properly diverse collection is that it helps young patrons develop an understanding and appreciation for communities they may or may not be a part of, “By including diversity in its programs and collections, the library has the potential for helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop the skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society” (Naidoo, 2014, p. 5). As communication technology continues to improve, young patrons will increasingly find themselves exposed to new cultures and communities. A diverse collection will help to prepare them for that future.

References

Naidoo, J. C. (2014). The importance of diversity in library programs and material collections for children. Association for Library Service to Children, American Library Association. Available at http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/f iles/content/ALSCwhitepaper_importance%2 0of%20diversity_with%20graphics_FINAL.pdf
We Need Diverse Books FAQ. (2016, January 31). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from http://weneeddiversebooks.org/faq/

 

Read Aloud Reflection

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I’m grateful for the comments I received for my read aloud of Book! Book! Book! Between my time spent as a theatre major and competing on a speech and debate team in college, I’m comfortable in front of audiences. This is great, because it means I can get past the “If you just weren’t nervous it would’ve been better” and into more in depth criticisms.

The main positive comments I received were:

  • Good introduction
  • Clear voice
  • Enthusiasm
  • Good job with the animal sounds
  • Good pacing

As for criticism, the main point I received was that I should’ve made more animal noises in the beginning of the book, so that the audience can follow my lead and better interact with the book. I definitely agree with this point. It’s not as easy, because the real interaction doesn’t take place until the second half of the story. However, it’s important to establish that connection with the audience early on, especially with children! I also received one comment each on these points:

  • Hold the book up so that everyone can see the illustrations
  • Use more variation in your reading voice
  • Speak louder
  • Slow down (which is interesting, considering I received two notes that my pacing was good!)

I’d say that from these notes, I’d really like to work on my voice variation. When I’m reading a picture book to prep for a read aloud, I will often use different voices in my head, but I get shy about doing them once I’m in front of my audience!

Overall, this  was definitely a positive experience. Book! Book! Book! makes for a great read aloud, and I’m glad my classmates seemed to enjoy the book as much as I do.

 

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

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A simply told story about a complicated topic, Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan tells the tragic story of a young girl living during the Taliban’s reign. After both her parents go missing, Nasreen no longer speaks. It isn’t until her grandmother takes her a secret school, where girls are risking their lives in order to receive an education, that she finds her voice again. The story, narrated by Nasreen’s grandmother, is succinctly told, and many readers may find themselves wanting to know more about this incredible family. Still, the story we do see is a very special one.

According to the American Library Association, Nasreen’s Secret School was one of the top ten most challenged books in 2015.  The book has been challenged in Florida, New York, and Wisconsin.  It has been challenged due to its religious viewpoint, violent content, and “references to Islam”. These reasons are confusing. While the book talks about terrorists, there is hardly any depictions of violence, and the religious viewpoint isn’t the main focus of the story. Neither Nasreen nor her grandmother condone anything the Taliban does. Quite the opposite, they defy them, and this defiance is arguably the most important aspect of this book. The author’s note in the beginning of the book shows the difference in women’s status in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban. According to the book, 70% of teachers, 40% of doctors, and half of Kabul University’s students were women. Once the Taliban seized power, women’s rights were stripped. They could not go to school, leave the home without a male escort, and were forced to cover their head and body at all times. This change in status is upsetting, but also important for readers, especially young ones, to understand.

Society tends to stereotype Muslim women as repressed and submissive. We seldom speak of the Muslim women doctors, teachers, and university students there once were in Afghanistan. We don’t talk about the amazing young women who bravely attend secret schools. Malala Yousafzai is not the only woman who has stood up to the Taliban. These other women like Nasreen and her grandmother deserve to have their story told. If people continue to challenge books such as these, they assist the Taliban in their cause of silencing and repressing Muslim women. This book must not only be made available in school and public libraries, but librarians should encourage children to read it, and to learn about girls like Nasreen.

The Sibert and NCSS Awards

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The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is an annual word for authors and illustrators of informational books. In 2000 the book Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy was a Sibert Honor recipient. The National Council for the Social Studies, grants the Carter G. Woodson book awards. This award recognizes outstanding social sciences books that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and relations sensitively and accurately. Both awards recognize the importance of education; the Sibert award valuing learning from informational books, and the Carter G. Woodson award highlighting voices that have often been silenced. Both these awards are for books that can teach us about cultures around the world and how they interact with each other.

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The Carter G. Woodson award is for a much more specific type of book. For example, Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh, details a young American girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent fighting along with her parents after she’s denied access to a “whites only” school. The author is known for his very specific style of art, and combined with a very important topic in history, one can see why he was granted this award. As for Sibert award winners, such informational books like Blizzard! The Storm That Changed Everything, the focus could be on any point in history and doesn’t necessarily have to contain diverse experiences. Blizzard! The Storm That Changed Everything is a bit denser than Separate is Never Equal, and, although there are illustrations, they’re much less vibrant and eye catching than Tonatiuh’s are. Both awards are important in recognizing the importance in learning from history.