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/

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.

 

Podcasts and Knowledge for the Sake of Knowledge

The podcasts I listened to were the Hornbook Podcast 2.3 – Special Guest Jamie Tan and the Scholastic Reads Amazing, Delightful, Happy Dreamer. 

In the Hornbook Podcast, Jamie Tan discusses her job as a publicist and the different cons she’s visited. I really enjoyed the insight into how the publishing world works. I also got a thrill out of listening to book people talk so passionately, and had a a little fan girl moment when they talked about YA author Alexandra Bracken. In the Scholastic Reads podcast, author Peter Reynolds talks about his book, Happy Dreamer, and redefining ADHD (he calls it an acronym for Amazing, Delightful, Happy Dreamer). This was a really interesting way to go about challenging social stigmas, and I definitely want to get my hands on this book now. I think that these podcasts complement other resources we’ve used, if only because the more information on books we’re exposed to, the better off we are. I didn’t know who Jamie Tan was before listening to the podcast, but it’s important for librarians to know the nuts and bolts of publishing. Understanding what goes on behind the scenes gives us a better idea of how books are marketed and exposed to the public. In turn, we can learn more about how we should be promoting books to our patrons. Now that I’m aware of the book Happy Dreamer, I can see what new picture books are doing to redefine a very common condition, ADHD, and promote these kinds of books to give children a different perspective.

Spotlight On: Templar Publishing

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Since 1978, Templar Publishing has published children’s fiction, novelty and picture books. Their goal is to educate children while encouraging a love of reading. They have been recognized by the Independent Publisher’s Guild both as UK Children’s Publisher of the Year and Independent Publisher of the Year. Their home page is here, and the menu at the top provides links to their catalogue, organized by genre.

Get Connected

Recommendation: One Hundred Bones by Yuval Zommer

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Review 1: Phelan, C. (2016, March 15). Booklist Review. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from https://www.booklistonline.com/One-Hundred-Bones-Yuval-Zommer/pid=7944588

Phelan’s review of the book is positive. She especially appreciates the author’s use of a “dog’s eye view”, the illustrations where the dog can only see legs. She recommends this book as a read aloud both to individuals and groups. Her review starts off as descriptive and finishes with her personal opinions. There is little criticism in her review.

Review 2: ONE HUNDRED BONES by Yuval Zommer , Yuval Zommer. (2015, December 22). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/yuval-zommer/one-hundred-bones/

Similar to Phelan, this review begins with a description of the plot. However, the review concludes with feelings that aren’t quite as warm and fuzzy as Phelan’s were. This review criticizes the artwork as lacking warmth. The reviewer also criticizes that the jokes in the book with fly over its target audience’s heads.

Overall, I’d have to agree more with Phelan’s review. I found the book to be very warm and endearing. I also don’t think it matters if jokes fly over the children’s heads. Many forms of media meant for children are popular for adults as well because the more mature jokes are a nod to the adults watching. The show Spongebob Squarepants is an example of this. I’d recommend One Hundred Books for children, and agree with Phelan that it would make a great read aloud.

What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush

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Add this book on Goodreads

What This Story Needs Is a Hush and a Shush by Emma J. Virján is an easy reader book that is perfect for emerging readers. The story follows a pig in a wig getting ready for bed but she is constantly interrupted by different animals. The text is very simple for young readers, with very few sentences on each page. The story is told through rhyme containing different animal sounds and illustrations, allowing young readers to connect the two together. More books like these can be found in the “A Pig in a Wig Book” series.

We selected this book because the text, while short and sweet, flows excellently with the illustrations. As Horning (2010) states, “Lengthy and sophisticated abstractions are unnecessary and pointless” (p. 88). Virján’s text follows this rule. Her pictures also assist the story. “The artistic elements and principles of design work together to express meaning in picture-book illustrations” (Horning, year, p. 100). Most of the pictures show an open window with a nighttime sky. When the window isn’t seen, the deep blue walls of Pig’s bedroom give the reader a sense that it’s late and quiet is needed. The animals’ small eyes and big expressions give a comical feel, which complements their role in the story as they continue to interrupt Pig’s bedtime routine.

Horning, K. T. (2010). From cover to cover: evaluating and reviewing children’s books. New York: HarperCollins.
Virjan, E. (2016). What This Story Needs Is a Hush and a Shush. Harper Collins Books.