By Mira Reisberg
I am super excited about today's book peek and because I love this book and former student Yuyi Morales so much I'm doing a giveaway with it. Please read on and watch the video then comment on what was most helpful to you from this post and I'll ask Yuyi, if she can, to pick a winner. I'll be announcing it here on August 8th! So here goes...
Thunder Boy Smith Jr, named after his father, Thunder Boy Smith Sr., loves his father dearly. People call his father Big Thunder, which “is a storm filling up the sky,” while he is called Little Thunder, which he believes sounds “like a burp or a fart.” Thunder Boy Jr loves his dad, but he has a secret. He hates his name and wants his own name.
So, he begins to brainstorm new names that might represent him better. He has once touched a wild orca and wonders if “Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth” might be a better fit. He loves going to garage sales with his mom, so possibly, “Old Toys Are Awesome” would work. The dog likes to chase Thunder Boy Jr.’s tail, so perhaps, “Can’t Run Fast While Laughing” is the way to go. Little Thunder is tired of being small, but he doesn’t know how to tell his dad. He loves his dad. His feelings seem to contradict themselves; how can he explain them to his dad?
In Thunder Boy Jr, Sherman Alexie shows the importance of both remembering one’s heritage while also embracing one’s unique identity. It is an empowering tale that celebrates aspects of certain Native American cultures while hilariously exploring one boy’s journey to find himself and the love between a father and a son. Alexie’s writing weaves this poignant message through prose that is simultaneously thoughtful and very clever, while Yuyi Morales's art takes the story to a whole other level. The two are like a match made in heaven.
In the video below, I show and tell how the illustrations were made and also comment on the wonderful text. I hope you enjoy it.
Dr. Mira Reisberg is: the founder of the Children's Book Academy, an award-winning illustrator & published author, a former kidlit professor, & a former literary agent among other things. Mira was lucky enough to be Yuyi and many other extraordinary people's teacher, many of whom now contribute to her courses including the upcoming annual Illustration course starting Sept 5th. Co-taught with Random House editor Julia Maguire with contributions from editors, agents, & top illustrators, Mira and Julia will also be doing a fab free teaching webinar on Wed August 24th 5.30 Pacific/8.30PM Eastern. So save the date & get first notice right here http://bit.ly/CBAtribe And do leave a comment below. Yuyi & I would love for you to win a copy of this book!
I found an awesome site that has loads of lists for kids of every type.
Check out this site for many read-a-like books. (Ex. For Kids Who Like Harry Potter, For Kids Who Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid etc...)
Also, Scholastic has a great downloadable list for kids of all ages.
Here are a few I am excited about checking out.
What's on your summer reading list?
By Mira Reisberg
Whispers of the Wolf by Pauline Ts’o is a beautiful story bound to pull on your heartstrings. It takes us back 500 years to the life of a Pueblo boy called Two Birds. Shy and insecure because of his size, he spends time searching for medicinal plants with his grandfather when he finds a helpless wolf pup and brings it home to care for it. As the wolf pup heals, Two Birds finds himself getting to know and growing closer to the other boys in his village, even telling them stories about his wolf. Time passes and he finds himself with a confidence he previously didn’t possess, becoming friends with both his wolf and his peers. But when summer fades into fall and traveling wild wolves call to the saved wolf pup, Two Birds has to make a choice—should he keep the wolf bound to stay with him, or release him to join a new wolf pack?
Pauline has a wonderful way of infusing a wide variety of emotion with her words and images using a short, simple sentence structure.
The gorgeous illustrations are detailed with unique textures that add life, power, and movement to the scenes. Pauline's use of color contributes to each spread being a work of art on its own. In the wee video below I try to give a glimpse at Pauline's skill in creating this multilayered book that deals with friendships on many levels, pre-Colonial times, inter-generational relationships, having to make an ethical decision, and the vibrancy of contemporary First Nations' culture through beautiful writing and art opening up all sorts of doors for rich discussions.
Learning to read or becoming a reader doesn’t start in school. It starts day one. And it doesn’t start with just books. Inside of books are words and those words create a language your child will listen to and learn. So, yes please read to your child from day one, but honestly the most important thing to do is talk and interact with your child from day one.
I discovered a great article called Promoting Language With Books. The full article can be found here. But I wanted to highlight a few of their key points.
“Books spark children’s interest because they have illustrations with bold colors and topics of interest to young children. Many children’s books offer imaginary topics (such as pirates, princesses, or dragons) that encourage conversation between parents and children. In addition, it’s easy for children to show their parents what interests them in a book, both with and without words (by pointing, gesturing, or drawing attention to a picture).”
3. Children learn best when adults are responsive to them.
“Much research has shown that young children benefit from interactions with adults who do the following while interacting with them:
I really think this last one has a huge impact and is really the most important one. When a parent is interacting with a child and being responsive to them, they are not only making their kid smarter, but they are being a great parent and creating memories with their child. I’ve realized this with Harper. The more I actually play with him and interact with him the more well-behaved and happier he is. Most of the time when he is acting like a crazy little monkey, it’s because I’m not giving him my full attention.
4. Words are learned when meanings are made clear
It’s not enough to simply use new words during conversation or read them in a book. Children need to learn what words mean, and this happens when parents:
I saw this little chart on facebook today and while it’s a great little resource for writers, I thought what a great tool for parents!
When talking with your kids use this Very Useful Vocabulary Tool.
So for example, when you are talking about things your child loves, like trucks, your conversation might sound something like this.
“Harper, do you see that big truck? That truck is very big. That’s a massive truck. The big truck is humongous. Do you see it? Wow what a humongous truck! Look how massive those tires are. Do you see them?”
Another great way to have conversations with your child is to find those look and see books.
Usborne has a few books that spark conversations or help parents interact with their child through a book.
These books are fantastic because there are so many interesting details on each page. And as an added bonus there are “parent prompts” on each page. These are helpful things to say to your child as you are reading the book. Things like:
“Spot a cat wearing a scarf.”
“Who’s riding a bicycle?”
“Find a duck driving a car.”
“Which car has no wheels?”
And I swear this book taught my son the emotion of sadness. On one page it says, “Can you see an unhappy cloud?” And on another page it says, “Which monster is sad?”
After that every time he sees someone who is sad, he will say in a sad empathetic way, “Mommy. Awe. Sad.”
Here’s another great conversation sparking book.
Who’s ready to play and lots of other questions
Who’s Ready to Play? is just one of fifteen questions in this delightful picture quiz book for young children. There are twenty-four different animals and things to find on every page. Both a memory game and a thinking game, Who’s Ready to Play? will keep toddlers and preschoolers actively engaged in books and reading. A test of observation and visual clues, it will have children creating their own stories as it familiarizes them with new words and activities.
Usborne also has a series of books called 1000 Things. These books would be great to spark conversation especially if your child has a particular obsession with the topic. These books don’t have parent prompts or questions, but once you are used to asking them questions with the Very First Book of Things to Spot you will become more comfortable with asking your own questions.
Lastly, I found this super cute book that is slightly higher level. I'm excited to try this book with Harper. It's sort of like the first book of things to spot, but this one will require kids to use higher level inferencing skills.
In this charming book, each page asks the reader a question about the lineup of characters featured on the spread. Sharp eyes and keen observation are necessary. There's only one right answer, and it's not always easy! Kids will love learning early concepts like expressions and positions as a natural consequence of their hunt for clues in the details of the lineup. It's a book for all audiences: the seek-and-find call to action on every page makes Who Done It? a wonderful lap or parent read, while the whimsical art, distinctive horizontal format, and hip exposed board ensures this book will be equally appealing as engaging coffee table décor.
So what books do you love to use to talk and interact with your child? Leave a comment below if you have some great ones!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.